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Smith v. Detective Oscar Arteaga #20345

September 30, 2010

THEOLIS SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DETECTIVE OSCAR ARTEAGA #20345, DETECTIVE HENRY BARSCH 20923, INDIVIDUALLY, AND THE CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Ronald A. Guzmán

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff claims that Chicago police officers Arteaga and Barsch falsely arrested him in violation of federal law and maliciously prosecuted him in violation of state law and that the City of Chicago is required to indemnify the officers for any judgment rendered against them on the state law claims. Defendants have filed a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 motion for summary judgment on all of these claims. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the motion.

Facts

Viewed favorably to plaintiff, the record shows that Antoine Edwards was fatally shot on November 1, 2006 at about 11:00 p.m. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 15; Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt, Ex. F, 11/4/06 Case Supplementary Report at 1*fn1.) That night, and again on December 9, 2006, Arteaga interviewed Raymond Cooks. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 19; Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt., Ex. G, 1/30/07 Case Supplementary Report at 9-10; id., Ex. H, 11/18/06 Case Supplementary Report at 7-8.) Cooks said that he and Paul Anderson had been sitting with Edwards in Edwards' SUV, which was parked in front of 8108 Oglesby, drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, just before Edwards was shot. (Pl.'s Stmt. Add'l Facts ¶ 19; Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 19; see id., Ex. G, 1/30/07 Case Supplementary Report at 10.) According to Cooks, Edwards was in the driver's seat, Cooks was seated behind him and Anderson was in the passenger seat. (Pl.'s Stmt. Add'l Facts ¶¶ 20, 22.) Cooks said two black men, who were wearing black sweatshirts with the hoods pulled up and black masks that covered their noses and mouths, approached the SUV and one of them shot Edwards. (Id. ¶ 23.) Cooks did not provide any other description of the shooter and said that Anderson had been asleep in the SUV until the shot was fired. (Id. ¶ 23; Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt., Ex. G, 1/30/07 Case Supplementary Report at 10; id., Ex. H, 11/18/06 Case Supplementary Report at 7.)

On the night of the shooting, Arteaga also spoke to Edward Whetstone, a friend of the victim. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 20.) Whetstone said plaintiff might be the shooter because, about a week before, Anderson had beaten plaintiff and plaintiff later threatened Anderson with a gun near 81st Street and Oglesby. (Id. ¶¶ 22-23.) Whetstone said shots were fired into 8108 Oglesby later that night. (Id. ¶ 22.)

On November 4, 2006, officers Swain and Easter questioned Anderson about Edwards' shooting. (Id. ¶¶ 30, 32; see Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt., Ex. F, 11/4/06 Case Supplementary Report at 6.) Anderson said he was asleep in the SUV, which had tinted windows, until the shot was fired, and could not identify the shooter, but "[he] seemed to be the same size as" plaintiff. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 32; Pl.'s Stmt. Add'l Facts ¶¶ 19-20, 22.) Easter was also the detective investigating the October 23, 2006 shooting at 8108 Oglesby, and he told Arteaga and Barsch that Anderson may have been the intended victim of that shooting. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶¶ 9, 31-32; Def.'s LR 56.1 Stmt., Ex. F, 11/4/06 Case Supplementary Report at 5.) Easter also told defendants that he had put out "an active investigative alert with no probable cause to arrest" for plaintiff in connection with the October shooting. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 14; see Def.'s LR 56.1 Stmt, Ex. B, 12/9/06 Arrest Report at 3.)

On November 17, 2006, Arteaga and Barsch questioned Anderson about the night Edwards was murdered and then "asked him about a history between him and [plaintiff]." (Pl.'s Resp. Mot. Summ. J., Ex. B, Arteaga Dep. at 95-112.) After questioning Anderson about plaintiff, defendants showed him a photo array that included plaintiff, and Anderson identified plaintiff as the shooter. (Id. at 112-13; Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 36; id., Ex. G, 1/30/07 Case Supplementary Report at 9.)

On December 9, 2006, plaintiff was arrested by two other officers on unrelated charges. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 4.) When they processed plaintiff, the officers discovered the investigative alert, so they turned plaintiff over to Easter for questioning about the October shooting. (Id. ¶¶ 7-6.)

When Easter was finished, he turned plaintiff over to Arteaga and Barsch for questioning about Edwards' murder. (Id. ¶ 12.) Defendants interviewed plaintiff at 2:47 and 7:50 p.m. on December 10, and at 12:06 a.m. on December 11, 2006. (Def.'s LR 56.1 Stmt., Ex. G, 1/30/07 Case Supplementary Report at 13-14.) During the first interview, plaintiff said Anderson had beaten him because plaintiff's girlfriend had replaced Anderson's friend as the payee for "Billy's" social security checks. (Id. at 13; Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶¶ 45-46.) He also said he was playing video games at home with Tanorris Simms, Billy and Lydia on the night of the murder. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 47.)

During the second interview, plaintiff said he did not find out about Edwards' murder until the day after it happened. (Def.'s LR 56.1 Stmt., Ex. G, 1/30/07 Case Supplementary Report at 11.)

During the third interview, plaintiff said he had been afraid he would be arrested for Edwards' murder, so he told Tanorris Simms to tell the police that he was with plaintiff when the murder occurred. (Id. at 14; Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 56.) Simms refused to speak to the police. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 57.)

During one of the three interviews, Arteaga told plaintiff that he did not believe Anderson's story and thought plaintiff had nothing to do with the murder. (Pl.'s Resp. Mot. Summ. J., Ex. A, Pl.'s Dep. at 96, 105.)

On December 10, 2006, Arteaga and Barsch re-interviewed Anderson. (Def.'s LR 56.1 Stmt., Ex. G, 1/30/07 Case Supplementary Report at 11.) Anderson told them plaintiff had chased him with a gun on October 23, 2006, in reprisal for a beating Anderson had given plaintiff earlier in the day, and Anderson got away by going into 8108 Oglesby. (Id. at 11.) Anderson also said he thought plaintiff shot Edwards "due to the physique and the [part of the shooter's] face that was... visible" above the mask. (Id. at 12.)

On December 10, 2006, Arteaga and Barsch also interviewed plaintiff's girlfriend, Denise McBride. (Id. at 12.) Initially, she said she could not remember what she did or where she was on November 1, 2006. (Id.) When the officers told her that was the night Edwards was killed, she said she came home from work around 7:30 or 8:00 p.m and found plaintiff ...


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