The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Plaintiff's false arrest and malicious prosecution claims. For the reasons that follow, the Motion is granted as to the false arrest claim and denied as to the malicious prosecution claim.
Plaintiff Johnny Jenkins ("Jenkins") brought the instant civil rights suit against Michael Spaargaren ("Spaargaren") and Christopher Florek ("Florek") following a December 18, 2007 traffic stop. In Count I, Jenkins alleges that Spaargaren and Florek, both then Chicago police officers, unlawfully arrested him, used excessive force, and detained him for an unreasonable period of time in violation of the Fourth Amendment. In Count II, Jenkins alleges malicious prosecution under Illinois law. Because this motion concerns only the false arrest and malicious prosecution claims, the Court will discuss only those facts necessary to resolving the motion.
At the time of the stop, Jenkins, himself a Chicago police officer, was on duty disability. Spaargaren and Florek stopped Jenkins' vehicle near the intersection of 111th Street and Western Avenue a short time after Jenkins pulled out of a credit union parking lot on 111th Street. The parties dispute most of the details of what occurred prior to the traffic stop. Jenkins maintains he was driving safely and did not violate any traffic laws. Defendants paint a different scene. They say they were in the credit union parking lot at the same time as Jenkins. When Jenkins left the lot, they contend, he backed his vehicle too close to the officers' squad car, then screeched his tires as he left the lot. Defendants say they followed Jenkins' vehicle onto 111th Street and pulled him over because of his driving and because he had a plastic license plate cover on his rear license plate.
Jenkins does not dispute that he had a clear cover on his rear license plate, but contends that such a plate cover is not illegal, and regardless, it is not the real reason why Defendants stopped his vehicle.
Following the traffic stop, Jenkins was ticketed for a violation of Section 9-76-160(d) of Chicago Municipal Code, which prohibits motorists from covering their license plates with "any tinted or colored screen." (the "Ordinance").
Defendants base their probable cause argument on the Ordinance and Illinois law. The Illinois Motor Vehicle Code provides, in relevant part:
12-610.5. Registration plate covers.
(a) In this Section, "registration plate cover" means any tinted, colored, painted, marked, clear, or illuminated object that is designed to:
(1) cover any of the characters of a motor vehicle's registration plate; or
(2) distort a recorded image of any of the characters of a motor vehicle's registration plate recorded by an automated traffic law enforcement system as defined in Section 11-208.6 of this Code or recorded by an automated traffic control system as defined in Section 15 of the Automated Traffic Control Systems in Highway Construction or Maintenance Zones Act.
(b) It shall be unlawful to operate any motor vehicle that is equipped with registration plate covers. . . . 625 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/12-610.5 (2006).
Defendants argue that these provisions gave them probable cause to arrest Jenkins, or, in the alternative, that they are entitled to qualified immunity because it was reasonable for them to believe they had ...