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Haynes v. Village of Lansing

August 26, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer


Plaintiff April Haynes ("Haynes") brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Village of Lansing ("Village") and certain Village police officers ("Officers") in both their official and individual capacities. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Officers used excessive force in effecting her arrest or that they failed to intervene to stop the use of excessive force by others. Defendant has moved for summary judgment on all claims, and for the reasons discussed below, that motion is granted in part and denied in part.


The following facts are drawn from Defendant's Local Rule 56.1(a) Statement of Facts and attached exhibits [Dkt. 73]. N.D. Ill. Local R. 56.1(a). Although Plaintiff filed a brief in response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, she did not respond to Defendant's Rule 56.1(a) Statement either by admitting or denying the facts asserted pursuant to Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) or by submitting an Additional Statement of Facts pursuant to Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C). Failure to comply with Rule 56.1(b) may result in the court accepting as true all facts set out in the Rule 56.1(a) Statement. It does not, however, result in an automatic grant of summary judgment: Defendant still bears the burden of showing that it is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law, and the court must evaluate all facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. See Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006).

The Accident and the Investigation

On the morning of November 23, 2005, Plaintiff's son, Lance, drove Plaintiff's car into a pole while driving himself and his younger brother, Ellis, to school. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 1, Pl. Dep. 47.) Ellis was sitting in the passenger's seat and the two were fighting when Lance crashed the car. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 1.) At the time, Lance held a learner's permit, but was not a licensed driver. (Id. ¶ 2.) The car, a 1992 Crown Victoria, was totaled. (Id. ¶ 3.) Lance called Plaintiff from a nearby restaurant called Mancino's Pizza & Grinders ("Mancino's") and told her what had happened. (Id. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff responded that she was on her way. (Id. ¶ 5.) By the time Plaintiff arrived in one of the other two cars she owned at the time, Lance and Ellis had hitched a ride to school with some classmates who happened to drive by. (Pl. Dep. 41, 47.) They left the car smashed up against the pole. (Id. ¶ 7.)

Shortly after Plaintiff reached the scene, Officer Michael Hynek arrived to investigate. (Id. ¶ 8.) It is not entirely clear from the record who notified the police of the accident, but Plaintiff testified that Lance called the police from Mancino's immediately after the crash and before calling Plaintiff. (Pl. Dep. 46:16-17, Ex. A to Def. 56.1 Statement.) When Officer Hynek first arrived at the scene, he asked Plaintiff what happened and Plaintiff claimed she did not know. (Id. 49:7-11, 50:6-23, 64:14-65:5.) According to Officer Hynek's deposition testimony, Plaintiff initially told him she had been driving the car. (Hynek Dep. 17:16-19, Ex. C to Def. 56.1 Statement.) Plaintiff, however, claims she told Officer Hynek that she did not know who was driving the car and did not volunteer any additional information about who may have been driving. (Pl. Dep. 61:10-24.) Officer Hynek instructed Plaintiff to wait inside Mancino's, which had not yet begun serving customers, while he continued his investigation. (Id. 54:8-21.) Some 20 to 25 minutes after Plaintiff reached the scene, Officer Barbara Klingelschmidt arrived to assist Officer Hynek. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 16.) Officer Hynek instructed Officer Klingelschmidt to stay with Plaintiff in Mancino's while he continued his investigation. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 15.) Over the course of an hour, Officer Hynek questioned several people who had witnessed the accident, and other unidentified officers interviewed Lance at the school nurse's office, though it is unclear whether Officer Hynek knew of this interview before he arrested Plaintiff. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 13; Pl. Dep. 15-18.) Based on his investigation, Officer Hynek came to believe that a young boy had been driving the car with another child riding in the passenger seat. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 17.) Hynek asked Plaintiff whether she was aware that more than one person was in the car at the time of the accident, and again Plaintiff claimed she did not know. (Hynek Dep. 18:8-22; Pl. Dep. 62:1-63:3.) Based on Plaintiff's responses to his questions, Hynek concluded that Plaintiff had provided him with false information about the identity of the driver. (Hynek Dep. 18:8-22.) It is undisputed that Plaintiff was unarmed and that none of the Defendant Officers at any time believed she was armed.

Plaintiff's Arrest

Plaintiff's entire arrest was captured on two security cameras in Mancino's and submitted on DVD as Exhibit J to Defendant's Rule 56.1 Statement. Neither camera recorded any audio, but Plaintiff and several of the officers testified to their recollections of what was said. In the video, Plaintiff is initially sitting by herself at a table in Mancino's, which appears to be a small, family-style pizza restaurant. No one else is present in the restaurant's dining area and most of the chairs are hanging upended from the edges of the tables.*fn1 Officer Hynek and Officer Klingelschmidt enter the restaurant, and according to Plaintiff, Officer Hynek yelled, "[S]tand up and put your hands behind your back; Lance was driving." (Def. 56.1 ¶ 18.) Plaintiff testified that at this time she understood that she was under arrest, but did not yet know why. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 19; Pl. Dep. 59:21-60:13.)

Plaintiff stands up and Officer Hynek attempts to pull her hands behind her back to apply handcuffs. Handcuffing behind the back is intended to prevent the arrestee from using the cuffs as a weapon against the officer. (Hynek Dep. 20:11-14.) It is unclear in the video whether Plaintiff says anything, but according to her testimony, she explained to Officer Hynek that she was too large to be handcuffed behind her back and requested to be handcuffed across the front of her body. (Pl. Dep. 60:18:22.) Officer Hynek also testified that Plaintiff did at some point tell him that she was physically incapable of putting her wrists together behind her back, and according to Officer Hynek, he and Officer Klingelschmidt told Plaintiff that they intended to use multiple sets of handcuffs if necessary. (Hynek Dep. 12:4-9.) At the time of her arrest, Plaintiff weighed approximately 415 pounds. (Pl. Dep. 13:7.)

Plaintiff responds to Officer Hynek by forcefully twisting and pulling away from him. Plaintiff testified that at this time Officer Hynek told her she'd "been fucking him around all morning." (Pl. Dep. 61:2-3.) After a few seconds' struggle, Officer Hynek and Officer Klingelschmidt wrestle Plaintiff to the floor of the restaurant, where she pins her hands under her body in an attempt to prevent the officers from pulling them behind her back. Officer Hynek, obviously agitated, pulls his baton from its holster and begins swinging it at Plaintiff without actually striking her. Officer Hynek then places the baton on a table behind him and removes his taser*fn2 from its holster. He points the taser in Plaintiff's face and appears to be yelling at her. After a moment, Officer Hynek re-holsters his taser and kneels beside Plaintiff. He and Officer Klingelschmidt, who until this time has acted as little more than a spectator, then attempt to flip Plaintiff onto her back. Plaintiff resists, and Officer Hynek kneels on Plaintiff's right shoulder in an attempt to lever her arms out from under her. When that proves unsuccessful, he again unholsters his taser and this time applies it to Plaintiff's right shoulder, delivering a 50,000 volt shock. (Klingelschmidt Dep. 8:5-7.) After shocking Plaintiff with the taser, Officers Hynek and Klingelschmidt again attempt to pull Plaintiff's arms behind her back and again she resists. Officer Hynek seizes Plaintiff's right wrist, waves the taser in Plaintiff's face while speaking to her, and then releases her wrist. Plaintiff, now lying on her back, waives her open palms before her face in a defensive gesture. Officer Hynek attempts to seize Plaintiff again, but she bats him away. Officer Hynek then begins to circle Plaintiff, with the taser readied. Plaintiff swats at the taser several times before Officer Hynek grabs her right wrist and shocks her on the right side of her chest just above breast. After being tased a second time, Plaintiff sits up and attempts to speak to Officer Klingelschmidt, who has been circling Plaintiff and occasionally attempting to restrain her. While Plaintiff is speaking to Officer Klingelschmidt, Officer Hynek approaches Plaintiff from behind and grabs the back of her neck, forcing her head toward the ground, with Officer Klingelschmidt assisting. Officer Hynek releases Plaintiff, takes a step back, and tases for her a third time on the left side of her chest. Officers Hynek and Klingelschmidt are again attempting to seize Plaintiff's hands when a third officer arrives.

This third officer, Dada Tatgenhorst, appears to direct Officers Hynek and Klingelschmidt to step away from Plaintiff. Officers Tatgenhorst and Klingelschmidt then attempt to help lift Plaintiff to her feet, with Officer Hynek continuing to shout at Plaintiff throughout. Officer Tatgenhorst does not strike, taser, knee, kick, or otherwise physically assault Plaintiff in the video. Officer Tatgenhorst later testified that Plaintiff told him that she had a disability, but did not specify its nature. Plaintiff also told Officer Tatgenhorst that she was incapable of bringing her hands together behind her back. (Tatgenhorst Dep. 12:23-13:4.)

As Officers Tatgenhorst and Klingelschmidt are helping Plaintiff to her feet, a fourth officer, Todd Yonkers, walks into the camera's range and also tries to help lift Plaintiff, without success. At this point, Plaintiff begins speaking to the officers from a seated position on the floor, and Officer Yonkers begins talking with Officer Hynek before leaving the restaurant for the remainder of the arrest. Officer Tatgenhorst kneels beside Plaintiff, clasps her right hand, and appears to try to calm her. A conversation ensues between Officers Tatgenhorst, Klingelschmidt, and Plaintiff. During this conversation, two more officers, Todd Heintz and Christopher Hasse, enter the restaurant. Officer Hynek and Plaintiff appear to begin to argue, but Officers Heintz, Tatgenhorst, and Klingelschmidt cut the exchange short and lift Plaintiff to her feet. Once Plaintiff is on her feet, she clasps her hands in front of her. Officer Hynek grabs Plaintiff's face, and Officer Heintz strikes her forearm with his fist to force her hands apart, a technique he testified to learning as part of his formal training in forcing an arrestee to submit to an order of arrest. (Def. 56.1 ¶ 44; Heintz Dep. 14:12-15:8, Ex. G.)

Plaintiff continues to struggle with all five officers for approximately another minute and a half, when she is finally secured in three sets of handcuffs chained together behind her back, leaving her arms ...

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