For purposes of the motion to dismiss, we must accept the
well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true. On three
occasions in November 1998, December 1998, and March 1999,
unknown officers of the Chicago Police Department (the "Police
Department") arrested Plaintiff Kenneth H. Gray on an outstanding
DUI warrant for a man by the name of Kenneth R. Gray. On each
occasion, Plaintiff informed the arresting officers that he was
not Kenneth R. Gray, that Kenneth R. Gray had a different middle
name than Plaintiff, and that Kenneth R. Gray had a different
driver's license number than Plaintiff. At the time of the March
1999 arrest, Plaintiff additionally showed the police officers a
court order stating that he was not the person wanted on Kenneth
R. Gray's warrant. Nevertheless, after each stop the officers
placed Plaintiff in custody, where he remained until an Illinois
court dismissed the charges against him.
Plaintiff alleges that on all three occasions, the officers
arrested him without probable cause and without an arrest warrant
or a search warrant in his name. He attributes his arrests to
practices and patterns of the City and/or the Police Department,
including: (1) inadequately correcting and keeping accurate
records of court-generated information regarding incorrectly
executed warrants for dissemination to its police officers in the
field; (2) failing to train police officers to fully identify
persons before arrest pursuant to warrants and to follow the Cook
County court's orders; and (3) inadequately supervising and
training police officers, including failure to require
appropriate in-service training and re-training of officers who
make arrests without probable cause, thereby failing to
discourage constitutional violations by police officers.
Plaintiff further alleges that on each occasion he was stopped
because of his race, African-American, pursuant to a practice and
pattern of the City and/or the Police Department.
On November 3, 2000, Plaintiff filed suit against the City, the
Police Department, and unnamed Chicago Police officers
individually and in their official capacities. The complaint
alleges violations of Plaintiff's rights under the Fourth, Fifth,
and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. It
also contains state law claims for malicious prosecution, false
arrest, and false imprisonment. The City has moved pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to dismiss
portions of Count I of the complaint, as well as the requests for
punitive damages and for attorneys fees on Counts II and III.
The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is
to test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the
merits of the case. Triad Associates, Inc. v. Chicago Housing
Authority, 892 F.2d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 1989). In ruling on a
motion to dismiss, the Court must construe the complaint's
allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and all
well-pleaded facts and allegations in the plaintiff's complaint
must be taken as true. Bontkowski v. First National Bank of
Cicero, 998 F.2d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1993). The allegations of a
complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim
"unless it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no
set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to
relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2
L.Ed.2d 80 (1957); see also Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v.
California, 509 U.S. 764, 113 S.Ct. 2891, 125 L.Ed.2d 612
(1993); Sherwin Manor Nursing Center, Inc. v. McAuliffe,
37 F.3d 1216, 1219 (7th Cir. 1994). Nonetheless, in order to
withstand a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must allege facts sufficiently setting forth the
essential elements of the cause of action. Lucien v. Preiner,
967 F.2d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir. 1992).
I. Claims against the Chicago Police Department
Plaintiff has sued the City of Chicago and the Chicago Police
Department on identical grounds. The Police Department is not a
suable entity, but merely a department of the City of Chicago
which does not have a separate legal existence. See Jordan v.
City of Chicago, Department of Police, 505 F. Supp. 1 (N.D.Ill.
1980) (citing Ellis v. City of Chicago, 478 F. Supp. 333
(N.D.Ill. 1979)); Bonilla v. City Council of City of Chicago,
809 F. Supp. 590 (N.D.Ill. 1992). The claims against the Chicago
Police Department are therefore dismissed and the name stricken
from the caption.
II. § 1983 claims against the City of Chicago
Section 1983 "is not itself a source of substantive rights but
merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere
conferred." Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144, n. 3, 99
S.Ct. 2689, 2694, n. 3, 61 L.Ed.2d 433 (1979) (quotation marks
omitted). The first step in analyzing a § 1983 claim is to
identify the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed.
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 394, 109 S.Ct. 1865, 1870, 104
L.Ed.2d 443 (1989). In paragraphs 7, 8, and 9 of the complaint,
Plaintiff alleges various violations of his rights under the
Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution. The City acknowledges that the complaint states a
Fourth Amendment claim but contends that all claims under the
Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments should be dismissed.
A. Racial profiling
The City moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment
claims to the extent they are based on his claim that the City
has a practice and pattern of racial profiling of
African-American motorists and citizens, whereby police officers
stop and/or arrest African-American citizens based on their race.
The City argues that the complaint fails to allege a causal link
between the alleged policy of racial profiling and the police
misconduct of which Plaintiff claims to be a victim. We disagree.
Paragraph 8 of the complaint expressly alleges that on each of
the occasions when Plaintiff was stopped by the Defendant police
officers, he was stopped because he was black. In combination
with the allegation in Paragraph 10(a) that the City had a
practice and pattern of racial profiling whereby police officers
stop African-Americans based on their race, this is sufficient to
state a constitutional claim.
Plaintiffs contention that he was arrested because his name was
similar to the name on an outstanding DUI warrant does not, as
the City argues, undermine his claim that he was stopped and/or
arrested on the basis of his race. Cf. Henderson v. Sheahan,
196 F.3d 839 (7th Cir. 1999) (plaintiff can plead himself out of
court by pleading facts that undermine allegations in complaint).
Though it may be difficult for Plaintiff to prove in light of the
unique circumstances under which he was arrested, that is a
matter of evidence but not one of pleading. Because Plaintiff's
claim could be established with facts consistent with the
allegations in the complaint, we decline to dismiss the racial
profiling claim at this juncture. See Spiegel v. Rabinovitz,
121 F.3d 251, 254 (7th Cir. 1997).
B. Other § 1983 claims
In addition to the racial profiling claim, the complaint
purports to state § 1983 claims for various other violations of
Plaintiff's equal protection and due process rights as guaranteed
by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. In particular, Plaintiff
alleges in Paragraph 9 that the Defendant police officers, acting
pursuant to policies and practices of the City and/or the Police
Department, deprived Plaintiff of his liberty without due process
of law and denied his right to equal protection of the laws by
arresting him, making misleading statements in his prosecution,
and causing false criminal charges to be brought against him. The
City moves pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) to dismiss these
In § 1983 actions, "[m]unicipalities are answerable only for
their own decisions and policies; they are not vicariously liable
for the constitutional torts of their agents." Auriemma v.
Rice, 957 F.2d 397, 399 (7th Cir. 1992). Thus in order to state
a legally cognizable § 1983 claim against the City, Plaintiff
must allege that (1) he suffered a constitutional injury; and (2)
the City authorized or maintained a custom of approving the
unconstitutional conduct. Thompson v. Boggs, 33 F.3d 847, 859
(7th Cir. 1994). The City argues that Plaintiff has failed to
allege any cognizable constitutional injury, other than racial
profiling, under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
There is no substantive right under the Due Process Clause of
the Fourteenth Amendment to be free from arrest or criminal
prosecution except upon probable cause. Albright v. Oliver,
510 U.S. 266, 114 S.Ct. 807, 127 L.Ed.2d 114 (1994); Williams v.
Heavener, 217 F.3d 529, 531 (7th Cir. 2000) (malicious
prosecution); Smart v. Board of Trustees of the University of
Illinois, 34 F.3d 432, 434 (7th Cir. 1994) (malicious
prosecution); Patton v. Przybylski, 822 F.2d 697 (7th Cir.
1987) (citing McKinney v. George, 726 F.2d 1183, 1187 (7th Cir.
1984) and Olson v. Tyler, 771 F.2d 277, 280 (7th Cir. 1985))
(false arrest). Plaintiff's claims — that the officers arrested
him without probable cause, made misleading statements in his
prosecution, and caused false criminal charges to be brought
against him — are classic false arrest and malicious prosecution
claims. To the extent that Plaintiff seeks relief for this
alleged misconduct under principles of substantive due process,
therefore, his claims are not viable and are dismissed.
Nor can Plaintiff state a procedural due process claim arising
out of his arrests or prosecutions. Illinois provides adequate
state law tort remedies for false arrest and malicious
prosecution. Indeed, Counts II and III of Plaintiff's complaint
seek relief under those Illinois doctrines. Because "a victim of
a property or liberty deprivation who has recourse to an adequate
state remedy has not been denied `due process of law,'" Guenther
v. Holmgreen, 738 F.2d 879, 882 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied,
469 U.S. 1212, 105 S.Ct. 1182, 84 L.Ed.2d 329 (1985) (citing
Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 101 S.Ct. 1908, 68 L.Ed.2d 420
(1981)), we dismiss Plaintiff's § 1983 claim to the extent it
alleges a procedural due process violation.
Finally, the only colorable equal protection claim which can be
gleaned from the complaint is the racial profiling claim
discussed in Part I.A., above. Accordingly, to the extent that
Plaintiff seeks relief for any other alleged violations of his
rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment, or under any other
constitutional provision, those claims are dismissed.
III. Punitive damages
Plaintiff's claims for punitive damages against the City are
improper. Punitive damages are not recoverable against a
municipality in a Section 1983 suit. City of Newport v. Fact
Concerts, 453 U.S. 247, 271, 101 S.Ct. 2748, 69 L.Ed.2d 616
(1981). Municipalities are similarly immune from awards of
punitive damages under Illinois law. See 745 ILCS 10/2-102.
Accordingly, all punitive damages claims against the City are
stricken from the complaint.
IV. Attorneys fees
Under Illinois law, a prevailing party may not recover
attorneys fees in the absence of statutory or contractual
authorization. Pennsylvania Truck Lines, Inc. v. Solar Equity
Corp., 882 F.2d 221, 227 (7th Cir. 1989) (citing Kerns v.
Engelke, 76 Ill.2d 154, 28 Ill.Dec. 500, 506, 390 N.E.2d 859,
865 (1979)). As Plaintiff's claims for attorneys fees on Counts
II and III of the complaint do not appear to be based on any
statutory or contractual provision, those claims are dismissed.
For the foregoing reasons, the motion to dismiss is granted in
part and denied in part. All claims against the Chicago Police
Department are dismissed with prejudice and the Police Department
is ordered stricken from the case caption. Count I is dismissed
as to all parties to the extent it is based on violations of
Plaintiff's rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to
the United States Constitution, with the exception of those
claims based on allegations of racial profiling. All claims for
punitive damages against the City, and the claims for attorneys
fees on Counts II and III, are also dismissed.