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Wade v. Collier

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

September 6, 2013

ADRIAN WADE, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES COLLIER JR., DONALD MOBLEY, DWAYNE WHEELER, and the VILLAGE OF MAYWOOD, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

VIRGINIA M. KENDALL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Adrian Wade sued the Defendants James Collier Jr., Donald Mobley, and Dwayne Wheeler, each officers of the Maywood Police Department, together with their employer the Village of Maywood, Illinois for violating his constitutional right to equal protection under the laws pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as for malicious prosecution under Illinois state law.[1] Defendants each move for summary judgment in their favor. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants' motions are granted and judgment is entered in their favor.

FACTS

Wade joined the Maywood Police Department in April of 1994. (Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 1).[2] Each of the defendants are or were employed as police officers by the Village of Maywood. (Pl. Resp. to Wheeler 56.1 at ¶ 2; Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶2)[3]. At the time of the events at issue here, each of the Defendant Officers was acting in their official capacities on behalf of the Maywood Police Department. (Pl. Resp. to Wheeler 56.1 at ¶ 3).

Operation Pocket Change

The events at issue stem from a Maywood Police Department investigation known as Operation Pocket Change. (Pl. Resp. to Wheeler 56.1 at ¶8). Operation Pocket Change started after Officer Wheeler contacted the State's Attorneys' Office to report an incident with a known drug dealer, Hosie Thurman ("Thurman"), in which Thurman unsuccessfully tried to bribe Officer Wheelers and Cobos in exchange for leaving Thurman's drug dealers alone. (Pl. Resp. to Wheeler 56.1 at ¶¶ 9, 11, 12; Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 5).[4] Additionally, an individual who was arrested by the Maywood Police Department in the summer of 2004 had indicated that Thurman had officers on his payroll. (Pl. Resp. to Wheeler 56.1 at ¶ 14, Wheeler 56.1 Ex. E at 7; Collier/Mobley Resp. to Pl. Add'l 56.1 at ¶ 25).

Officers Wheeler and Cobos did not accept Thurman's offer, but rather reported it to Chief Collier, who reported it to the state's attorney's office and raised the possibility of setting up a sting operation. (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 6). The purpose of Operation Pocket Change was to find out who supplied drugs to Thurman, whom he used to sell the drugs, and which police officers, if any, were in communication with Thurman. (Pl. Resp. to Wheeler 56.1 at ¶13). As part of the operation, Officer Wheeler and Officer Theodore Yancy worked undercover to gather evidence against Thurman and his drug operation, including via meetings they arranged with Thurman. (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶¶ 6, 7).

During the course of the Operation Pocket Change investigation, the State's Attorney's Office was involved in the process of obtaining a pen register, consensual wire taps, and electronic surveillance orders. (Pl. Resp. to Wheeler 56.1 at ¶ 17). The "pen register" allowed investigators to record information related to incoming calls, chirps or texts made or received by Thurman's cell phone. (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 10). During the investigation, there were numerous calls between Wade and Thurman that were recorded by the wire tap and pen register. (Pl. Resp. to Wheeler 56.1 at ¶¶ 19, 20, Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at p 38). Wade admits that at some point in 2004, he voluntarily gave Thurman his cell phone number. (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 3). Those recorded conversations between Wade and Thurman included discussions about Wade purchasing a bulletproof vest for Thurman (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶30), and a conversation between Wade and Thurman about Wade's ability to assist one of Thurman's drug dealers who had been stopped by the police. (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 50).

The Operation Pocket Change investigation was coordinated at the State's Attorney's Office by Assistant State's Attorney Daniel Reedy and investigator Maurice Macklin. (Pl. Add'l 56.1 at Ex. C, Pg. 16; Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 34). During the course of the investigation, Lieutenant Mobley went to monthly meetings regarding Operation Pocket Change. (Collier/Mobley Resp. to Pl. Add'l 56.1 at ¶77). Chief Collier also attended Operation Pocket Change meetings. (Collier/Mobley Resp. to Pl. Add'l 56.1 at ¶ 19).

Once the team noted the frequency of calls between Wade and Thurman, investigators determined that "tickling the wire" would help to determine the identity of any Maywood officers who were assisting Thurman. (Pl. Resp. to Wheeler 56.1 at ¶ 22; Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 56). The investigators decided to put out false information at a roll call meeting and observe what, if anything, Wade would do with that information once disseminated. (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 57). The investigators decided to have Lieutenant Mobley notify his officers during a roll call that another police agency would be in the area of Maywood in which Thurman was known to operate, in hopes that the announcement would trigger calls between an officer and Thurman and "flush out" any officers providing protection to Thurman. (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley at ¶¶ 42, 43).

The details surrounding the execution of the planned announcement to "tickle the wire" are the source of this suit. According to Defendants, the investigative team for Operation Pocket Change decided to make an announcement at the December 9, 2004 roll call that police activity would occur that afternoon around Thurman's grandmother's house - an area Defendants allege to have been known for Thurman's trafficking. Defendants claim that Officer Wheeler called Lieutenant Mobley on December 9, 2004 and told him to make the announcement that day, (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 16), and that Lieutenant Mobley made sure that Wade was in the room during the 3pm roll call and then made the planned announcement, specifically announcing that officers should stay out of the 100 block of 10th and 11th between 3 and 7 pm because an outside law enforcement agency would be conducting a drug operation there. (Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 17, 19). Macklin was notified on December 9, 2004, while standing in the wire room, that the announcement had been made. (Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 22).

Wade admits that he was present for some portion of the December 9, 2004 roll call but denies that any such announcement took place at the December 9, 2004 roll call. (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 18). In support of his position that there is no evidence of December 9, 2004 announcement, Wade cites to Lieutenant Mobley's own memorandum of the roll call announcement, of which three drafts exist. (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley at Exs. A1, A2, A3). The first draft was originally drafted on December 15, 2004 and dated the roll call announcement as December 13, 2004; the roll call announcement date was changed to December 9, 2004 only in the subsequent drafts of the memorandum. Id. The officers listed as present at the meeting are different on each of the three memorandum drafts. Id.

While the statements at the December 9, 2004 roll call are in dispute, it is undisputed that Wade and Thurman spoke by phone at approximately 4:24pm the afternoon of December 9, 2004. (Wheeler 56.1 at ¶25; Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 27, Ex. H). Wade stated during the call to Thurman that there would be "a lot of people around granny's house until 7". (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley 56.1 at ¶ 23). Thurman responded "I'll shut it down and lay low then." (Pl. Resp. to Collier/Mobley at ¶ 25). Wade does not deny that he made the recorded call and statement about "granny's house" to Thurman on December 9, 2004 or deny Thurman's recorded response, but rather denies that he made this call and statement as a result of any information gathered at the December 9, 2004 roll call. Instead, Wade justifies this call on grounds that Thurman was one of Wade's confidential informants ...


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