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Ricardo Fernandez v. Officer M. Rodriguez

May 2, 2012

RICARDO FERNANDEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER M. RODRIGUEZ, STAR NO. 12243, OFFICER S. BERANEK, STAR NO. 6356, AND CITY OF CHICAGO, AN ILLINOIS MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James B. Zagel

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Ricardo Fernandez ("Fernandez" or "Plaintiff") is an individual residing in the City of Chicago in the Northern District of Illinois. Defendant Officer Steve Beranek is a duly appointed officer of the Chicago Police Department and resides in the City of Chicago. Defendant Officer Marian Rodriguez is a duly appointed officer of the Chicago Police Department and resides in the City of Chicago. The City of Chicago is a municipal corporation operating in the Northern District of Illinois.

Plaintiff brings a § 1983 action for false arrest, false imprisonment, and deprivation of substantive due process. Defendants seek summary judgment on undisputed facts.

I. BACKGROUND

In the early morning hours of June 15, 2008, Plaintiff went to a bar on the northwest side of Chicago. He left the bar at around 4:40 a.m. and headed to the Belmont and Central intersection to try to catch a bus to a friend's barbeque.

Fernandez had about six beers over the course of the evening. He testified at his deposition that he takes Lexipro for depression and anxiety, but the last time he took Lexipro was three or four days prior to the incident.

Plaintiff waited for the bus at Belmont and Central for over an hour. While he was waiting, two teenage males and one teenage female came to him and told him he could not wait for the bus at that location. The individuals called to a dog and tried to "set" the dog on Ricardo. According to plaintiff's deposition the dog was behind a fence. His affidavit denied this but the deposition trumps the affidavit. See Velez v. City of Chicago, 442 F.3d 1043(7th Cir. 2006).

Fernandez called 911. Police arrived on the scene, but by the time they had arrived the teenagers and the dog had retreated into a residence. The police officers were later identified as Officers Steven Beranek and Marian Rodriguez. When they arrived, Fernandez appeared to be wearing military fatigues or apparel.

Neither of the officers saw any other people nor any dogs in the area. Fernandez would not answer Officer Beranek's questions, including requests for his home address. Fernandez complained of his neighbor's dog barking. Seeing no dog and not getting any answer at the residence, the police left the scene.

After the police left, the teens and the dog came out again. This time, the female of the group actually chased Fernandez across the street, attempting to hit him. Fernandez remained on the far side of the street and again called 911.

Fernandez ultimately called 911 seven times. To the Chicago Office of Emergency Management Communications ("OEMC") dispatcher, he said "I take care of my fucking whatever you're supposed to do" and "I'm going to have to do something about it" and "I can fucking eliminate the mother fuckers, okay?" and "Where the hell is the fucking law?" Fernandez admits that he was very angry when he called 911.

The officers were dispatched a second time to the scene. When Officer Beranek returned to the scene the second time, Fernandez was in the middle of the street.*fn1 There was no one else in the area. He appeared to be angrier than the last time and continued to complain about dogs barking. He was swearing. The officers found him difficult to understand. He stated that if the police did not help him, he would go home and kill his neighbor and his neighbor's dog. Rodriguez heard him say a dog had assaulted him and he would take the law into his own hands. In speaking Fernandez was jumping from one topic to another in an incoherent way. Fernandez disputes this description, stating only that was trying to explain what had happened to him with the teenagers and the dog the second time.

The officers decided to transport Fernandez to Swedish Covenant Hospital for a mental evaluation because of the way he was dressed, the fact that he was in the middle of the street, and his 911 threats to another individual. They believed he was a threat to himself or others. Officer Beranek and Officer Rodriguez placed handcuffs on Fernandez which they believed necessary for officer safety.

At Swedish Covenant, Officer Rodriguez provided her name and badge number to the staff as part of a "Petition for Involuntary Admission." Pam Parrish, a Swedish Covenant employee, signed the Admission and in fact admitted Plaintiff. Officer Beranek completed ...


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