United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
February 2, 2004.
TYRONE SAUNDERS, Plaintiff,
CITY OF CHICAGO, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, OFFICER ROONEY, OFFICER FERRARO, AND 4 UNKNOWN OFFICERS, Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ELAINE E. BUCKLO, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On January 28, 2001, Super Bowl Sunday, plaintiff Tyrone Saunders was
at his girlfriend's home at 1508 North Leamington in Chicago. His
girlfriend, Kenyatta Smith, had given birth to the couple's second set of
twins by Cesarean section six days earlier. Mr. Saunders and Ms. Smith
began arguing over Mr. Saunders' intention to watch the game at a party
at his cousin's house. Ms. Smith slapped Mr. Saunders, and Mr. Saunders,
who is six feet tall and weighs over 300 pounds, hit her back, creating a
red mark on the side of her face. Soon afterwards, defendant police
officers Ferraro and Rooney arrived at the house and asked if there was a
problem. The red mark on Ms. Smith's face was still visible. Mr. Saunders
and Ms. Smith denied that there was a problem, and Mr. Saunders said that
he was leaving. Officer Ferraro put his hands out to keep Mr. Saunders
from leaving. Ms. Smith told the officers that she just wanted Mr.
Saunders to leave. Officer Ferraro informed Mr. Saunders that he was
under arrest for domestic
battery. Mr. Saunders began arguing with Officer Ferraro, insisting
that he be arrested outside rather than in the house, in front of his
young daughter. Officer Ferraro drew his gun and pointed it at Mr.
Saunders. Mr. Saunders began screaming at Officer Ferraro not to kill him
in front of his kids over a domestic dispute. Officer Ferraro
re-holstered the gun. At that point, additional police officers
brandishing nightsticks and flashlights entered the house and told Mr.
Saunders that he was under arrest. Frightened, Mr. Saunders began backing
up into the dining room and then the hallway, where the officers sprayed
him with mace. Mr. Saunders ran into the bathroom and closed the door,
kneeling by the bathtub and protecting his head in anticipation of a
beating. Officers hit him with sticks and stepped on his leg numerous
times, fracturing his ankle. Mr. Saunders was handcuffed, but the blows
continued. As he was being moved into a transport vehicle, Mr. Saunders
told Officer Ferraro that if the handcuffs were removed, "we could get
down" in a one-on-one fight. After several hours in jail, Mr. Saunders
received medical treatment for his broken ankle.
Later that day, a police officer had Ms. Smith sign a blank complaint
alleging domestic battery, which formed part of the state's domestic
violence charge against Mr. Saunders. This charge was later dropped, but
Mr. Saunders went to trial on counts of battery on a police officer and
resisting arrest. A jury acquitted him of battery on a police officer and
convicted him of resisting
Mr. Saunders filed suit in this court against Officers Ferraro and
Rooney, and four unnamed officers, alleging false arrest in violation of
42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count I), false imprisonment in violation of §
1983. (Count II), assault (Count IV), battery (Count V), and intentional
infliction of emotional distress (Count VI).*fn1 The defendants move for
summary judgement in their favor on all counts.
On a motion for summary judgment, I evaluate admissible evidence in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party, Bennett v.
Roberts, 295 F.3d 687, 694 (7th Cir. 2002), and grant the motion
only if there is no genuine issue of material fact that requires trial.
Warsco v. Preferred Technical Group, 258 F.3d 557, 563 (7th Cir.
If the defendants had probable cause to arrest Mr. Saunders, then no
cause of action for wrongful arrest or imprisonment under § 1983 will
lie. Currier v. Baldridge, 914 F.2d 993, 996 (7th Cir. 1990),
Here, no reasonable jury could find that probable cause did not exist at
the time of the arrest. The officers had received a 911 call stating that
domestic battery was occurring at Ms. Smith's home. Ms. Smith testified
in her deposition that Mr. Saunders hit her and that swelling and redness
were visible on her face when the
police officers entered the home. Therefore, the defendants' motion
for summary judgment is GRANTED as to Counts I and II.
Counts IV and V, which allege claims of assault and battery under §
1983, survive summary judgment. There is a genuine issue of material fact
as to whether the officers used excessive force against Mr. Saunders in
violation of his civil rights.
Count VI, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, cannot
survive summary judgment. The elements of this tort are (1) extreme and
outrageous conduct, (2) intent by the defendant to cause emotional
distress, and (3) severe or extreme emotional distress on the part of the
plaintiff due to the defendant's conduct. Debolt v. Mut. of
Omaha, 371 N.E.2d 373, 375 (Ill.App. Ct. 1978). In his statement of
facts opposing summary judgment, Mr. Saunders does not even allege that
he suffered emotional distress. He fails to point to any admissible
evidence to support the allegation that he suffered severe or extreme
emotional distress as a result of the defendants' actions. The
defendants' motion for summary judgment on Count VI is GRANTED.