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Andrew Richardson v. City of Chicago

March 10, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Virginia M. Kendall


Plaintiff Andrew Richardson ("Richardson") sued the City of Chicago ("the City") and eight members of its police department, Darrin Macon ("Officer Macon"), Tim Tatum ("Officer Tatum"), Ralph Harper ("Officer Harper"), Phillip Orlando ("Sergeant Orlando"), William Meister ("Detective Meister"), Patrick Ford ("Detective Ford"), Leo Schmitz ("Commander Schmitz"), and Glenn Evans ("Lieutenant Evans") (collectively "the Defendants") under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his civil rights. Specifically, Richardson alleges that: (1) Officer Macon engaged in excessive force (Count I); (2) the police officers falsely arrested him (Count II); (3) the police officers conspired to violate his constitutional rights (Count III); and (4) the City's widespread practice of failing to discipline its police officers caused his injuries (Count IV). Richardson also brings related claims under Illinois law, alleging that: (1) Officer Macon assaulted him (Count V); (2) all the Defendants except Commander Schmitz and Lieutenant Evans falsely imprisoned him (Count VI); and (3) the Defendants maliciously prosecuted him (Count VII). Finally, Richardson seeks indemnification from the City on his state law claims (Counts V, VI, and VII).

Officers Tatum and Harper, Sergeant Orlando, Detectives Meister and Ford, Commander Schmitz, and Lieutenant Evans (collectively "the On-Duty Officers") move for summary judgment on all claims asserted against them. The City moves for summary judgment on Counts IV. For the reasons stated below, the Court denies the On-Duty Officers' motion for summary judgment but grants the City's motion for summary judgment.


I. The Domestic Incident Between Officer Macon and Kim Scott.

On Friday, August 24, 2007, Richardson went on a date with a woman named Kim Scott ("Scott"). (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 1.) Unbeknownst to Richardson, Scott had recently ended a tumultuous ten-year relationship with Officer Macon, a member of the Chicago Police Department ("the Police Department"). (Id.) After his date with Scott, Richardson drove Scott home and parked his red Pontiac Trans Am on the street in front of her apartment building. (Id. ¶ 2.)

Around midnight, Officer Macon, who was off duty and not in uniform that night, also arrived at Scott's apartment. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 4; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 2.) Officer Macon, who was driving a red Lincoln Navigator, pulled up in front of Scott's home and honked his horn several times before driving off again. (Id. ¶ 2.) As Richardson and Scott sat in Richardson's car talking, less than one minute later, Officer Macon returned and parked his Navigator alongside Richardson's car, blocking Richardson in and preventing him from driving away. (Id. ¶ 2.)

An argument between Scott and Officer Macon ensued, during which Officer Macon was verbally abusive toward Scott, while Scott repeatedly asked Officer Macon to stop harassing her and to leave. (Id. ¶ 3.) After several minutes, Richardson interrupted their argument and asked Officer Macon to move his car so Richardson could leave. (Id. ¶ 4.) When Officer Macon did not move his car, Richardson repeated his request at least five or six times. (Id.) At some point, Scott got out of Richardson's car and continued to argue with Officer Macon while she was standing at Officer Macon's passenger-side window. (Id.)

Richardson did not have a mobile phone with him that night, but he got a pen and paper from his car and told Officer Macon that he was going to get his license plate number and report him. (Id. ¶ 5.) When Richardson walked toward the back of Officer Macon's car, however, Officer Macon backed up, forcing Richardson to move out of the way to avoid being hit. (Id.) Richardson got back into his car, believing that he could get his car out, but as soon as he opened his driver's side door to get in, Officer Macon pulled his car forward again, blocking Richardson in. (Id. ¶ 6.) Richardson then walked to the driver's side door of Officer Macon's car and repeated his request that Officer Macon move. (Id.) Officer Macon responded that Richardson better go back and sit in his car and pointed what Richardson thought was a taser gun at him. (Id.)

At this point, Richardson went back to his car and got a baseball bat out of his backseat. (Id. ¶ 7.) In an attempt to get Officer Macon to let him leave, Richardson told Officer Macon that he would break out his windows if Officer Macon did not move his car. (Id.) Officer Macon then threw a cup of soda at Scott, striking her in the face and spilling soda all over her, before driving off toward Cottage Grove Avenue. (Id. ¶ 8.) At no point did Richardson hit Macon's car or Macon's body with the baseball bat. (Id. ¶ 7; see also Pl. 56.1 Ex. B, Scott Dep. at 67:4-13.) As Macon drove away, Richardson told Scott he was going to follow Officer Macon and get his license plate number. (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 8.)

II. The Shooting in the Target Parking Lot.

Officer Macon drove two blocks on Cottage Grove and pulled into a large strip mall parking lot which included a Target store. (Id. ¶ 9.) Richardson followed him, trying to get close enough to see Officer Macon's license plate number. (Id.) During this time, Officer Macon dialed 911, identified himself as an off-duty police officer driving a red Navigator, and reported that a male in a red Trans Am was following him. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 5; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 13.) When the 911 dispatcher asked Officer Macon whether the man following him had a gun, he replied "Well, he threatened me and he pulled-he pulled a bat out . . . . No . . . he said he had one, he pulled out a bat." (Def. 56.1 Ex. A at 170:3-17; Pl. Ex. E at 2:25-2:30.)

While Officer Macon was still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, he and Richardson drove around the strip mall parking lot and then circled each other in the middle of the Target parking lot. (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 10.) Officer Macon then pulled over, and Richardson was able to get his license plate number. (Id.) Richardson yelled out that he got Officer Macon's plate number and began to drive away. (Id.) At this point, Officer Macon got out of his car and, while still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, he fired one round at Richardson with his service revolver. (Id. ¶¶ 11, 13.) When he fired his weapon, Officer Macon states he was about 35 to 45 feet away from Richardson, who was still in his car. (Id. ¶ 11.) The bullet from Officer Macon's gun went through Richardson's driver-side door and lodged in the driver's seat. (Id.)

During his conversations with the 911 dispatcher, Officer Macon was unable to give her Richardson's license plate number and had difficulty giving any description of Richardson or his car. (Id. ¶ 13.) Officer Macon repeated the same phrases over and over to the dispatcher, who asked him for clarification several times. (Id.) Officer Macon also had trouble providing his location and direction of travel. (Id.) In response to a question from the dispatcher about the identity of the man following him, Officer Macon first denied knowing who he was, but then stated that Richardson had been "dealing" with his "ex." (Pl. Ex. E at 2:14-2:20.) At one point, Macon states that he's "pulling over now and going to just stay right here in this parking lot." (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 13.) The tape captures the sound of Macon getting out of his truck (the car door makes a sound when it is opened) and Macon reports to the dispatcher that he is outside the car. (Id.) At that point, there is a loud sound on tape that is consistent with a gunshot, and Macon states something to the effect of "I done shot him." (Pl. Ex. E at 3:58-4:00). Immediately after this statement, a police car's horn can be heard and Macon verifies that the officers have arrived on the scene. (Pl. Ex. E at 4:00-4:02.) Macon did not report to the dispatcher that he had been hit with a bat and did not report seeing Richardson with a gun. (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 13.)

III. The Police Response.

Based on Officer Macon's 911 call, a police dispatcher from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications came over the police radio and stated: "Officer needs assistance at 87th and Cottage, Target lot, I've got an officer needs assistance, Officer Ma[c]on, a red Trans-Am is following him, the officer is in a red Navigator, caller says he was threatening to shoot him, its some domestic over somebody's ex-girlfriend, 87th and Cottage, Target lot." (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 6.) Sergeant Orlando and Officers Tatum and Harper, as well as another officer named Covonia Jones ("Officer Jones"), were on duty and responded to the police dispatch. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 3, 7; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 14-15.)

Officer Jones called in on her police radio. (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 14.) Officer Jones reported that she was at the scene and that she saw two cars going around the Target parking lot. (Id.) At that point, she was the only officer on the scene. (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 15.) Over a minute later, other officers began to arrive, one of whom was Sergeant Orlando. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 7; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 15.) Sergeant Orlando arrived at the scene around the same time as a marked police car carrying uniformed officers. (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 19; Macon Dep., Pl. 56.1 Ex. D at 270:6-271:20.) When he arrived at the scene, Sergeant Orlando saw Richardson driving a red Pontiac Trans Am and Officer Macon driving a red Lincoln Navigator. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 8.) Sergeant Orlando testified that when he first saw the cars, they were moving and the Navigator was following the Trans Am, not the other way around. (Orlando Dep., Pl. Ex. H, 52:7-18.) When the police cars arrived, Richardson and Officer Macon both stopped and got out of their respective cars. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 9-10.)

Some of what happened next is disputed. Richardson contends that as soon as the police arrived, he jumped out of his car and ran toward a marked police car that held two uniformed officers, whom he believes were Officers Tatum and Harper. (Richardson Dep., Pl. 56.1 Ex. A. at 130:4-7.) Richardson claims that he told the uniformed officers that Officer Macon had a gun, had shot at him, and was trying to kill him. (Id. at 130:8-14.) The On-Duty Officers, however, assert that Richardson's first contact with police officers was with Sergeant Orlando. (Def. 56.1 Ex. C at 67:17-68:5.) Sergeant Orlando testified that as he approached Richardson, Richardson told him, while pointing at Officer Macon, "he's got a gun." (Id. at 68:2-5.)

The parties agree that when Sergeant Orlando approached Richardson and Officer Macon, he saw that Officer Macon was holding a gun. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 10; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 22.) Sergeant Orlando pointed his gun at Officer Macon and told him to "Drop [his] fucking gun." (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 11.) At this point, Officer Macon produced his police identification and told Sergeant Orlando that Richardson may have a gun and had threatened him. (Id. ¶ 13; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 23.)*fn2 As a result of his conversation with Officer Macon, Sergeant Orlando decided to handcuff Richardson. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 13; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 24.)

The parties dispute whether, at this point, Richardson was simply detained or was under arrest. (Orlando Dep., Def. 56.1 Ex. C at 80:22-81:6; Richardson Dep., Pl. 56.1 Ex. A at 132-135.) Richardson contends that immediately after speaking to Officer Macon, one of the officers walked back over to him and told him that he was under arrest for assault. (Richardson Dep., Pl. 56.1 Ex. A. at 133:2-134:134:8.) Richardson testified that the officer handcuffed him, searched him, and placed him in the back of a police car. (Id. at 134:1-13.) Sergeant Orlando testified, however, that Richardson was detained and not free to leave, but was not yet under arrest. (Orlando Dep., Def. 56.1 Ex. C at 70:6-7; ...

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