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Edwards v. Two Unknown Male Chicago Police Officers

June 8, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Elaine E. Bucklo United States District Judge


Plaintiff Daniel Edwards' second amended complaint ("complaint") alleges: excessive force and "false imprison[ment]" in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against "individual defendants" (count I); failure to train, supervise, and discipline in violation of § 1983 against the City of Chicago ("City") and the unknown supervisor (count II); false imprisonment in violation of Illinois law against the defendants (count III); and false arrest in violation of Illinois law against the defendant unknown officers (count IV).*fn1 Defendants Timothy O'Brien ("O'Brien"), Stefan Zadura ("Zadura"), Robert Tietz ("Tietz"), and City have moved for summary judgment on all claims. Defendants Richard Mota ("Mota") and Gregory Gray ("Gray") have moved for summary judgment on the federal false arrest and state law claims. Gray has moved for summary judgment on the excessive force claim. The motion is moot to the extent summary judgment is sought by Mota, Gray, O'Brien, Zadura, and Tietz on a federal false arrest claim. For the following reasons, the motion is granted in part as follows. I grant summary judgment as to O'Brien, Zadura, and Tietz on counts I, III, and IV, as to Mota and Gray on counts III and IV, and as to the City on count II. I deny summary judgment as to Gray on count I.


Edwards filed a Local Rule 56.1 statement opposing summary judgment, but he did not file a response to defendants' Local Rule 56.1 statement. Unless otherwise shown to be disputed in Edwards's Local Rule 56.1 statement,*fn2 the facts set forth in defendants' Local Rule 56.1 statement are deemed admitted.

Edwards was twenty-two years old at the time of the incident alleged in the complaint. Gray, Mota, O'Brien, and Zadura are Chicago Police Officers. Tietz is a Chicago Police Sergeant. Spybar, a nightclub located at 646 North Franklin Street in Chicago, is located in an area with other bars; the police are regularly summoned there.

At approximately 12:15 a.m. on July 16, 2006, Edwards and his friends went to Spybar. Approximately an hour later, around 1:00 to 1:10 a.m., one of Edwards' friends, Jason Zavala ("Zavala"), was escorted out of the bar by security. Five other patrons with whom Zavala was yelling back and forth also exited the bar. Edwards and his friends followed them out to the street, and found the other patrons had Zavala on the ground and were beating him up. Edwards and three of his friends tried to help Zavala by yelling, pushing, pulling, and grabbing at the attackers.

After pulling the attackers off Zavala and getting him off the ground, a Chicago Police squad car arrived with its lights activated.*fn3 Mota and Gray*fn4 got out of the car and approached Edwards. Edwards did not move away or make any threatening gestures. Mota grabbed Edwards by the shirt, ripping off the buttons. Edwards was confused and shocked, and asked Mota why he was grabbing him. Mota swore at Edwards.

Gray went to assist Mota because Edwards was bigger than both of them. Gray grabbed one of Edwards' arms, and Edwards was slammed down on the hood of the car. In his statements of fact, Edwards claims that both officers slammed him onto the hood of the car. Although defendants object for various reasons to Edwards' statements of fact about being slammed into the hood of the car, they do not specifically object to the statements that both Mota and Gray participated in this action. Edwards' friend, Patrick Dillon, testified that Mota and Gray handcuffed Edwards and "put him on the car." Edwards testified that, "he had me from behind and threw me down like that, forcefully on the hood (indicating)." Although Edwards' testimony on this point is ambiguous, he seems to refer to Mota.

Edwards was asked if Gray grabbed him, and he answered no. When asked what Gray did to him physically, Edwards answered, "When he threw me in the police car, he was behind me, grabbing one of my arms." When asked if Gray handcuffed him, Edwards answered no, testifying that Mota "most likely handcuffed [him] because he had control of [him]." Edwards also attests that, as he lay on the front of the hood of the car, Gray "joined in, and the two of them pulled back [his] arms behind [his] back and put them in handcuffs." When asked if Gray helped secure him from behind, Edwards answered yes.

When asked what happened after he was thrown down on the hood of the car, Edwards testified that he yelled at Mota and Gray that they were hurting his shoulder because he had had shoulder surgery, but "[t]hey kept pushing [his] arm up[.]" Edwards also yelled because the hood of the car was really hot and his shirt had been ripped off. Mota and Gray were swearing at Edwards. Mota and Gray pulled Edwards off the hood of the car by his arms, and took him to the police car. Mota slammed Edwards' face into the roof or door frame while putting him in the back of the car, knocking out his front teeth.

Edwards believes he heard police cars coming when he was already on the hood of the car. He believes other police officers were standing behind him. None of the other police officers approached, touched, or talked to Edwards. As Edwards sat in the back of the car, his friends and the other officers looked in and he shouted, "Look what they did to me!"

Mike Lucente, a Cook County Sheriff and Edwards' acquaintance, talked to Mota and Gray. James Caron ("Caron"), one of Edwards' friends, spoke to Mota or Gray. Mota told Edwards to get out of the car because he was being let go. Edwards initially refused to exit the car, demanding to go to jail so he could report what had happened. Lucente persuaded Edwards to get out of the car, telling him he did not know what they were going to do to him. Edwards eventually agreed to get out of the car, and Mota and Gray took off the handcuffs, swore at him, and released him without charging him with a crime.

Edwards then went home. Edwards attests that, on the Monday following the incident, he went to the dentist. Edwards further attests that surgery was performed on his front teeth and mouth.

At least five to seven minutes elapsed from when Mota grabbed Edwards and when Edwards was released from the police car. By the time Edwards was released, other Chicago Police officers and an African-American sergeant were at the scene. Edwards heard other police cars approaching while he was on the hood of the car. None of the other officers had any physical or verbal contact with Edwards. The other officers were checking out the area around the bar and talking to the bouncers. Edwards does not remember what the other officers, besides Mota, looked like and he does not know their names.

Tietz is thirty-seven years old and white. He has no recollection of going to the scene of the incident or witnessing any of the events alleged, testifying that he "definitely would have remembered this incident if this would have happened." Dispatch records indicate that O'Brien and Zadura assisted a call for a disturbance at Spybar at approximately 2:34 a.m. According to dispatch records, they were on the scene sometime after the initial responding officers, and they made a report to dispatch to close out the call at 2:46 a.m. O'Brien and Zadura do not remember being involved in or witnessing any of the events alleged at one of the many stops they made that night.

When asked how, if he does not remember the incident, Mota knew that he was not at the Spybar "that evening in your squad car at the 1821H[,]" Mota answered that he "think[s] it's something [he] would remember, being there." Edwards refers to the event query, which states "Papercar changed from 1821H to 1823H D/5P[.]"*fn5 Zadura testified that "paper car" is the term for whoever is originally dispatched to a job, but can change. O'Brien testified that the vehicle assigned the paper car is responsible for doing the investigation and for coding it. O'Brien testified that, "according to the event query and . . . the . . . attendance sheet, he "worked 1823 Henry[.]" Referring to the event query, Zadura testified that he "was on 23 Henry[.]" Zadura also testified that 1821H was the initial car. O'Brien testified that the event query says in which order cars were dispatched, not necessarily which car responded at what time. O'Brien also testified that the statement in the event query that the paper car was changed from 1821H to 1823H indicates to him that "1823 Henry car performed the functions of a preliminary ...

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