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Keith L. Blunt v. Kenneth Becker

May 2, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Robert M. Dow


Plaintiff Keith L. Blunt brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's remaining claims include false arrest, conspiracy to falsely arrest, state law respondeat superior, and statutory indemnification. Presently before the Court are Defendants' joint motion for summary judgment [83] and Plaintiff's motion for the court to take judicial notice [89]. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' joint motion for summary judgment [83] is granted and Plaintiff's motion for the Court to take judicial notice [89] is denied.

I. Background*fn1

In the early morning hours of August 18, 2007, Plaintiff and his wife, Andretta Crocket, got into an argument at their residence on West Van Buren in Chicago, Illinois. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 7.) L.B., the 7 year old daughter of Plaintiff and Crocket and T.H., Crocket's 13 year old son, were present at the residence. (Id. at ¶¶ 8-9.) At some point, the argument turned into a physical altercation. (Id. at ¶ 10.)

That same morning, Chicago Police Officers Osborne and Berka were on patrol together in the 15th District. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 31.) Sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 12:45 a.m., Officers Osborne and Berka were dispatched to Plaintiff's residence to respond to a domestic disturbance. (Id. at ¶ 32.) During the initial communication, the dispatcher did not inform Officers Osborne and Berka who placed the 9-1-1 call or whether anyone had been injured. The dispatcher did indicate that there was a domestic disturbance between a girlfriend and boyfriend and that the front door was open. (Id. at ¶ 33.) An alert over the police radio approximately five minutes later indicated that the "caller stated his wife was stabbed in the head." The parties dispute whether Officers Osborne and Berka heard the alert. (Id. at ¶ 33; Pl.'s response to ¶ 33).

Officers Osborne and Berka were the first police officers to arrive at the residence. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 34.) Upon arrival, Officers Osborne and Berka were waved down by T.H., who was crying and visibly shaking. (Id. at ¶ 35.) Officer Osborne heard T.H. tell them to "hurry up, he is going to kill my mom." (Id. at ¶ 37.)

Officers Osborne and Berka quickly proceeded into the residence and observed Plaintiff and Crocket inside the residence. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 38.) Officers Osborne and Berka observed that Crocket was bleeding from a gash to her head and blood scattered throughout the kitchen. (Id., ¶ 39.) Officer Osborne observed blood on Plaintiff's hands. (Id.; Pl.'s response to ¶ 39.)

Officers Berka remained with Plaintiff in the living room while Officer Osborne spoke with Crocket in the kitchen. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 40.) Crocket told Officer Osborne that she and Plaintiff had been arguing and that Plaintiff started punching her in the head with his fist. (Id. at ¶ 41.) Plaintiff also cut her on the head with a knife causing the gash that officers observed when they first entered the residence. (Id. at ¶ 42.) Officer Osborne saw the knife in the kitchen and Crocket identified it as the knife that Plaintiff used to cut her. (Id. at ¶ 43.) Crocket told Officer Osborne that she wanted Plaintiff arrested and signed a complaint against him for domestic battery. (Id. at ¶ 44.) After speaking with Crocket, Officer Osborne told Officer Berka what Crocket had said. (Id. at ¶ 45.) During Officer Osborne's conversation with Crocket, Plaintiff was taken to the bathroom to wash the blood from his hands, handcuffed, and sat on the couch. Following Crocket's statements, Plaintiff was taken to the squad car and transported from the scene. (Id. at 47-48; Pl.'s response to ¶¶ 47-48.)

That same morning, at approximately 1:44 a.m., Evidence Technician Officer Dust was assigned to Plaintiff's residence to process the crime scene. Officer Dust arrived at the residence at 1:59 a.m. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶¶ 49-50.) Neither Plaintiff nor Crocket was at the residence when Officer Dust arrived. (Id. at ¶ 51.). Officer Dust photographed the blood stains in the residence and the knife on the table that was used in the incident. (Id. at ¶ 52.) Officer Dust then went to Loretta Hospital and photographed Crocket's face and bandaged head. (Id. at ¶ 53.)

Officer Dust was not present when Plaintiff was placed under arrest, did not witness him being arrested, and did not encounter Plaintiff at any point on August 18, 2007. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 54.) Officer Dust did not speak with Detective Kenneth Becker or Officers Osborne and Berka on August 18, 2007. (Id. at ¶ 55.)

On August 18, 2007, Detective Becker was working in the Special Victim's Unit in Area 5 of the Chicago Police Department. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 57.) Detective Becker was not present when Plaintiff was taken into custody. (Id. at ¶ 58.) Detective Becker did not speak with Officers Dust, Osborne, or Berka on August 18, 2007. (Id. at ¶¶ 59-60.) Detective Becker interviewed Crocket, T.H., and L.B. at the police station. (Id. at ¶ 62.)

II. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is proper where "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Factual disputes that are irrelevant to the outcome of the suit "will not be counted." Palmer v. Marion County, 327 F.3d 588, 592 (7th Cir. 2003) (quotation marks and citations omitted).In determining whether there is a genuine issue of fact, the Court "must construe the facts and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Foley v. City of Lafayette, 359 F.3d 925, 928 (7th Cir. 2004). To avoid summary judgment, the opposing party must go beyond the pleadings and "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

A genuine issue of material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. at 248. The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Summary judgment is proper against "a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Id. at 322. The non-moving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). In other words, the "mere existence of a ...

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