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ANDERSON v. CITY OF CHICAGO

March 25, 2004.

GORDON ANDERSON CRYSTAL ANDERSON Plaintiff's,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, et al Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID COAR, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff's Gordon and Crystal Anderson filed this action in January 1999. Their Complaint was subsequently amended twice, most recently in July 2002. It is the Second Amended Complint ("Complaint") that now sets forth Plaintiff's allegations in this case. This Complaint contains two counts. Count I states a claim that the conduct of the Defendant Police Officers violated both Plaintiff's rights under the Fourth Amendment. Count II alleges that the Defendant City of Chicago violated Plaintiff Gordon Anderson's due process rights when it destroyed his antique firearm collection in advance of his trial.

The case comes before the Court now on the Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment. The Defendant Police Officers seek summary judgment on Count I. The Defendant City of Chicago seeks summary judgment on Count II. Both motions have been fully briefed and they will both be addressed in this opinion. For the reasons set forth below, the Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment are granted. Page 2

  I. FACTS

  Plaintiff Gordon Anderson ("Mr. Anderson") is the father of Plaintiff Crystal Anderson ("Ms. Anderson").*fn1 Mr. Anderson was the owner of a residence at 4049 W. Patterson. The residence at 4049 W. Patterson consists of a basement unit, a first-floor unit, and a second-floor unit. (PI. Aff. Opp. Summ. J., Ex. 10 at 31, lines 18-21.) The basement level of the residence is divided into a living unit at the front of the building, and a smaller common area at the back of the building containing, among other things, a washer and dryer. (Pl. Aff. Opp. Summ. J., Ex. 10 at 29, lines 14-23.) At all times relevant to this case, Plaintiff's Gordon and Crystal Anderson resided in the second-floor unit; the first-floor apartment was occupied by Ms. Debra Singleton; and the basement unit was unoccupied.

  On December 21, 1997, Chicago police officers responded to a complaint that Mr. Anderson had issued threats against Placko.*fn2 (Def. Officers Motion Summ. J., Ex. F) The police report indicates that Placko reported he was "involved in a long running dispute" with Mr. Anderson. (Id.) The police report also notes "Offender alluded [sic] to having numerous weapons in the house." (Id.) The responding officer urged Placko to obtain a restraining order against Mr. Anderson, but no further action was taken on the complaint. (Id.)

  At approximately 1:15 p.m. on January 31, 1998, Defendant Joseph Gawlick, a Chicago Police Officer, received an anonymous call from a concerned citizen that Mr. Anderson was stockpiling weapons in the basement of the building at 4049 W. Patterson. (Def. Officers Page 3

  Motion Summ. J., Ex. G at 26, lines 11-17.) At that time, Defendant Gawlick was a Sergeant in the Gang Team Tactical Unit in the 17th District of the Chicago Police Department. (Id. at 25, lines 13-14). In response to this phone call, Defendant Gawlick "called in officers off of the street from my unit to formulate a plan of going over to this house and seeing Mr. Anderson." (Id. at 27, lines 7-10.)*fn3

  Thereafter, the six Defendant Officers, Jesse Eng, Janine Hermonn, Mark George, James Tarara, Michael Rice, and Joseph Gawlick, went to the residence on 4049 W. Patterson. None of the Defendant officers were in uniform. It is fairly contested whether the Defendants could see the weapons through the window into the basement of the residence. (Compare Def. Officers Statement of Uncontested Facts No. 15 with Pl. Aff. Opp. Def. Motion Summ. J., Ex. 10 at 32, lines 6-24 and Def. Officers Motion Summ. J., Ex. C at 160, lines 20-24.) At least two of the Defendant officers knocked on the front door of the building and Ms. Singleton, the first-floor tenant, let them in. (Def. Officers Motion Summ. J., Ex. D at 27, lines 3-8.) Ms. Singleton let at least two of the Defendant Officers into the basement of the residence. (Id. at7) She also told them where to find Mr. Anderson's guns in the basement. (Id. at 28.) Page 4

  Meanwhile, four or five officers knocked on the front door of Mr. Anderson's apartment.*fn4 (Def Officers Motion Summ. J., Ex. C at 156.) At the time, Ms. Anderson was not at home and Mr. Anderson was sleeping. (Id.) When he answered the door, the Defendant officers demanded to be let in, claiming to have a warrant for Mr. Anderson's arrest. (Id.) When they were unable to produce the warrant (which they never had), Mr. Anderson told them, "No warrant, leave", and closed the front door. (Id.) Mr. Anderson then attempted to return to sleep.

  A few minutes later, Mr. Anderson heard his dogs barking at the back door. (Id. at 165.) Four of the Defendant Officers knocked at the back door of Mr. Anderson's apartment. (Id. at 166.) Again, Mr. Anderson asked the officers if they had a warrant. When they informed him (truthfully this time) that they did not have a warrant, he again told them to leave and attempted to close the door. (Id. at 167.) Defendant Gawlick stuck his foot between the door and the door jamb to prevent Plaintiff from closing the door. (Id. at 167.) Next, Defendant Gawlick "pulled out a snub-nose revolver . . . pointed that just close enough to the door, said that if [Mr. Anderson] didn't let him in, he was going to knock the door down and start shooting the dogs." (Id.) Mr. Anderson, fearful that either he or his pets were about to be shot, permitted the Defendant officers access to his apartment at that point. (Id.) Once the Defendant officers were in the apartment, they immediately handcuffed Mr. Anderson and placed him under arrest. (Id. at 168.) The Defendant Officers told Mr. Anderson that they had found his guns in the basement. (Id. at 172-73.) Mr. Anderson was told that he was being arrested for illegal possession of firearms. (Id. at 173.) Page 5

  After arresting Mr. Anderson, the Defendant Officers asked him if he had any more guns in the apartment. (Id. at 172.) Mr. Anderson told them that there were some in a gun case in his office. (Id.) The Defendant Officers proceeded to search Mr. Anderson's apartment, From the basement and the apartment, the Defendant Officers seized thirty-two weapons from 4049 W. Patterson on January 31, 1998. The weapons were assigned inventory numbers by the Chicago Police Department, ranging consecutively from 1937601 to 1937633. (Pl. Comp. Ex. A.) The Standard Operating Procedures of the Chicago Police Department require the weapons to be transfered to the "gun vault" at 1011 South Homan in Chicago. (Def. City Statement Uncont. Facts No. 21,)

  Later on January 31, 1998, Defendant Officer Mark George executed thirty-two quasi-criminal complaints charging Gordon Anderson with "Failure to Register Firearms" in violation of Section 8-20-040 of the Municipal Code of the City of Chicago. (Def. City Motion Summ. J., Ex. 7.)

  At some point on January 31, 1998, Mr. Anderson's neighbor, Dane Placko, swore a criminal assault complaint against Mr. Anderson based on the events from December 20, 1997. (Def. Officers Motion Summ. J., Ex. BC.) Mr. Anderson asserts that this complaint was signed and sworn to after the Defendant Officers came to his home, Defendants do not proffer a more specific ...


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