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Charles Boyle v. University of Chicago Police

December 21, 2010

CHARLES BOYLE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER LARRY TORRES, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Charles Boyle ("Boyle") sued several officers of the University of Chicago Police Department ("UCPD"): Larry Torres ("Torres"), Clarence E. Moore ("Moore"), Oscar Galarza ("Galarza"), Michael Kwiatkowski ("Kwiatkowski"), and Arthur Gillespie ("Gillespie") (together, "the UCPD Officers"). The suit is also brought against the City of Chicago and two officers of the Chicago Police Department ("CPD"): Vincent Darling ("Darling") and Carl Martin ("Martin") (together, "the CPD Officers"). Boyle's complaint asserts causes of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Illinois law. The UCPD Officers and the City/CPD Officers have each moved for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed below, the CPD Officers' motion is granted, and the UCPD Officers' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I.

During the early morning hours of October 18, 2008, Boyle was riding in a car with his friends, Kenneth Roberson ("Roberson"), Steven Sinclair ("Sinclair"), and Ashley Glover ("Glover"). The car, which belonged to Glover, was driven by Sinclair. They were headed to an ATM machine in the Hyde Park neighborhood after spending the evening at a bar.

When the car was one or two blocks from the ATM, its horn spontaneously began to sound. This was the result of a malfunction in Glover's car and had occurred on previous occasions. While the horn was blaring, the car happened to pass Officers Moore and Torres. Sinclair parked the car a short distance away. He and Roberson then exited the car and walked about half a block to the ATM. Boyle got out of the car and began looking under the hood to see if he could fix the horn (which by now had stopped blowing). Glover remained in the front passenger seat of her car. Less than one minute later, Moore and Torres drove up and parked in front of Glover's car. The parties offer different accounts of what happened next.*fn1

The UCPD Officers claim that they approached Boyle and asked him who owned the car. They note that Boyle, who was an All Conference football player in high school, stands nearly six feet tall and weighed about 235 pounds on the date of the incident. Boyle gestured in the direction of Glover in the front seat and stated that the car belonged to her. Glover waved her hand out of the passenger window and said that the car was hers.

The UCPD Officers then asked Boyle for his identification. Boyle asked the officers why they wanted to see his identification. When they asked him again, Boyle responded by asking why. Moore then placed his hand on Boyle's arm with the intention of guiding him over to the squad car. They claim that for the Court to disregard facts not supported by the cited evidence." Id. at *2. Essentially, Boyle asserts this objection wherever the defendants' factual allegations differ from his own. This has prompted the UCPD Officers to move that Boyle's response be stricken in its entirety. See Doc. 72. Meanwhile, the CPD Officers argue that many of Boyle's Rule 56.1 statements of additional fact should be denied on the ground that many of Boyle's statements are immaterial, or because they are redundant and fail "to set forth an additional fact requiring denial of City Defendants' summary judgment motion."

None of the actual or alleged violations of Local Rule 56.1 has hindered my ability to meaningfully review the parties' motions for summary judgment. Indeed, if the alleged violations have caused an inconvenience, it is by spawning ancillary arguments over the motions and requests to strike. Accordingly, I deny all of the parties' requests to strike.

Boyle pushed Moore's arm away. Torres then allegedly grabbed Boyle's arm and told him to relax, and Boyle pulled his arm away from Torres. Moore then allegedly grabbed Boyle's other arm. At some point during this sequence of events, Moore and Torres claim that Boyle flailed his arm in order to remove the officers' hands from his shoulder. Before long, the three were entangled in a wrestling match.

The UCPD Officers claim that Boyle knocked the wind out of Torres by putting him in a "bear hug," lifting him up, and pushing him into their police car. Torres called the dispatcher for assistance. A short time later, UCPD Officers Gillespie, Galarza, and Kwiatkowski arrived and assisted in the arrest. Boyle continued to struggle, kicking Gillespie in the side of the head and breaking his glasses. Moore is alleged to have injured his wrist; Galarza was seen in the University of Chicago emergency room, where his shoulder was x-rayed and he was prescribed pain medication. Boyle was eventually handcuffed and handed over to CPD Officers Darling and Martin, who, along with a number of other Chicago Police Officers, had arrived at the scene after hearing the dispatcher's call for assistance.

According to Boyle's version of events, Moore and Torres approached him while he had his back turned to them and was looking under the hood of Glover's car. One of the officers told him to "put [his] f[uck]ing hands up." Boyle complied and turned around to face the officers. Moore then asked Boyle who owned the car. Boyle pointed to Glover, who was sitting in the car, and said that the car was hers. Glover waved her hand outside of the passenger window to indicate that she owned the car. Boyle claims that he turned back around and began tending to the car's engine, and that one of the officers then told him, "Show me some damn ID." Boyle claims that he responded by asking "Why?" and that he turned back around to face the officer. According to Boyle, the officer said, "Show me some fucking ID." Boyle says that he told the officer that he did not have a problem with authority and that he was simply asking why he was being asked to show his identification.

At this point, Moore allegedly said, "I see we're going to have to deal with you." He allegedly grabbed Boyle, turned him around, and slammed him onto the squad car parked in front of Glover's car. Boyle claims that Moore grabbed him by the collar and again ordered him to produce his identification. Once more, Boyle responded by asking why, to which Moore replied, "Because I said so." Moore then slammed Boyle into the car. At the same time, Torres punched Boyle in the back, hit him in the stomach with a flashlight, and began to pull Boyle's pants down. Moore allegedly commented, "We're going to get your ass." As Moore and Torres continued to kick and beat him, Boyle claims that he fell to the ground. As the beating continued, Boyle says that he asked the officers to stop, saying "I'm not doing anything, please stop hitting me," and "I'm not resisting. Please stop kicking me."

After two or three minutes, additional squad cars arrived on the scene. UCPD Officers Galarza, Gillespie, and Kwiatkowski exited their vehicles and, Boyle alleges, immediately began assisting Moore and Torres in beating him. A number of CPD officers, including Darling and Martin, also arrived. According to Boyle, instead of coming to his aid, Darling and Martin stood by and watched the beating continue. Boyle claims that the UCPD Officers kicked and punched him more than twenty times, for a period lasting between five and ten minutes.

Roberson returned from the ATM to see Boyle lying on the ground, handcuffed, with his pants partially pulled down. When he asked the officers what they were doing, one of them responded by asking him if he "wanted to be next." Roberson claims that he also heard one of the officers say to Boyle, "You're lucky this wasn't ten years ago because I would have killed you, you made me break my glasses."

Eventually, Boyle was lifted off the ground and slammed into a squad car. He was then walked over to Darling and Martin and placed in the back of their vehicle. Darling and Martin transported Boyle to the 21st District Police Station for processing, and he was charged with resisting arrest under 720 ILCS 5/31-1(a). In January 2009, the charge was dismissed by entry of a nolle prosequi.

II.

Summary judgment is appropriate where the record shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A genuine issue for trial exists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

Boyle's complaint has six counts: Count I alleges a § 1983 claim for unreasonable seizure against the UCPD Officers; Count II alleges a § 1983 claim for unreasonable seizure against Darling and Martin; Count III alleges a § 1983 excessive force claim against the UCPD Officers; Count IV alleges a § 1983 claim against Darling and Martin for failing to protect him; Count V asserts a claim for malicious prosecution under Illinois law against all of the defendants; Count VI alleges a claim for battery under Illinois law against the UCPD Officers.

A. Count I: Unreasonable Seizure (UCPD Officers)

Count I alleges that the UCPD Officers violated Boyle's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. "To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) the defendant deprived the plaintiff of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and (2) the defendant acted under color of state law." Reed v. City of Chicago, 77 F.3d 1049, 1051 (7th Cir. 1996).

1. Deprivation of a Constitutional Right

"In order to make out a claim under Section 1983 for an unreasonable seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment, a plaintiff must allege . . . that the defendants' conduct constituted a seizure, and that the seizure was unreasonable." Bielanski v. County of Kane, 550 F.3d 632, 637 (7th Cir. 2008). Boyle argues that the UCPD Officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights at several points during the October 18 encounter.

Boyle first claims that Moore and Torres violated the Fourth Amendment when they initially approached him and demanded to see his identification. This argument is without merit. As Boyle himself acknowledges, this initial inquiry amounted to no more than a Terry stop, which only requires a showing that the officers had reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime was about to be or had been committed. See, e.g., United States v. Carlisle, 614 F.3d 750, 754 (7th Cir. 2010). "A reasonable suspicion requires more than a hunch but less than probable cause and considerably less than preponderance of the evidence." United States v. Oglesby, 597 F.3d 891, 894 (7th Cir. 2010) (quotation marks omitted). "Determining whether an officer had a reasonable suspicion is assessed considering the totality of the circumstances and common-sensical judgments and inferences about human behavior." Id. (quotation marks omitted).

Boyle claims that the UCPD Officers lacked reasonable suspicion because they stopped him only on account of the fact that he was looking under the hood of Glover's vehicle. This is not an accurate characterization of the circumstances. In particular, Boyle ignores the lateness of the hour, the frequency of car theft in the area, and especially the blaring car horn. As Moore testified, the sustained blowing of a car horn often indicates that a vehicle's alarm system has been short-circuited as a result of a hot-wiring attempt. University Defs.' L.R. 56.1 Stmt. ΒΆ 32. Under ...


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