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Moore v. City of Chicago

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

April 28, 2014



JOHN Z. LEE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Tiawanda Moore has sued the City of Chicago and Chicago Police Officers Jason Wilson, Luis Alejo, and Richard Plotke pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating her constitutional rights under the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as under Illinois law for malicious prosecution. The City of Chicago, Alejo, and Plotke ("Defendants") have moved for summary judgment. For the reasons provided herein, the Court denies Defendants' motion.


The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted. On July 6, 2010, Officer Wilson and his partner responded to a police call regarding a domestic disturbance at the residence of Moore and her boyfriend. Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶¶ 9-10. For reasons that are unclear, after arriving at the scene, Officer Wilson entered Moore's bedroom and found her alone. Id. ¶ 12; Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 2. Officer Wilson touched Moore's chest and buttocks with both hands. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 2. After Moore quickly took Officer Wilson's hands off of her, Officer Wilson wrote down his phone number on a piece of paper, set the paper on Moore's bed, and told Moore not to tell anyone that he gave her his number. Id. ¶ 3.

Moore called 311 to report her allegations against Officer Wilson. Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 14. Moore's call prompted the initiation of a complaint log file, which was then assigned to the Chicago Police Department's Internal Affairs Division, id. ¶ 15, which investigates complaints of misconduct alleged against Chicago police officers. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 4. The complaint log file was assigned to Sergeant Plotke, who then asked Officer Alejo to assist him with the investigation. Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶¶ 15, 22.

On August 18, 2010, Moore met with Sergeant Plotke and Officer Alejo to discuss her complaint. Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶¶ 23-25. Moore explained the details of what had happened, including how Wilson had touched her body, as well as where and how the incident took place. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 7; see Defs.' Ex. C, Alejo Dep. at 36:18 (characterizing Moore's complaint against Wilson as one of "sexual abuse"). Plotke and Alejo explained that Moore had two choices. She could sign a sworn affidavit, which would mean that the investigation into Wilson's conduct would go forward, or sign a letter of declination, which would mean that any investigation would not go forward. Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 32. She showed them the piece of paper that Wilson had given her on which was written the name "Jay" and Wilson's phone number. Id. ¶ 34. Plotke and Alejo then asked her if she wanted to proceed with the complaint, and she stated that she did. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 8.

At this point, Plotke and Alejo told Moore that if she tried to take the case to court, she probably would not win. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 9. Plotke also told her that they already had spoken to Wilson and his sergeant, and Alejo stated that they could almost guarantee that what Wilson did to her would never happen again. Id. ¶ 10. Plotke told Moore that "if it does happen again, we will already have the first complaint on file, but you can sign off on this piece of paper stating that you no longer want to proceed with the charges. You want to do that?" Id. ¶ 11. Alejo added, "We don't feel like you should proceed with charges due to the fact that we already talked to the sergeant and the officer." Id. ¶ 13.

Moore repeated her desire to proceed with the charges. Id. ¶ 14. She asked them whether there was a sergeant or supervisor in the building to whom she could speak. Id. ¶ 15. Plotke responded that he was the sergeant and no one else would take her case. Id. ¶ 16.

Plotke and Alejo then left the room, and Moore began to fill out the sworn affidavit. Id. ¶¶ 17, 23. Because Moore felt that Plotke and Alejo were attempting to convince her to drop her complaint against Wilson, she activated a recording application on her Blackberry cell phone so that she could record the rest of the interview. Id. ¶ 23; Defs.' LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 40; Pl.'s Dep. at 257:18-21.

The parties dispute the sequence of the events that followed. According to Defendants, Plotke and Alejo re-entered the interview room, and Alejo observed a microphone symbol with wave bars on the screen of Moore's Blackberry phone. Alejo believed that a voice recording application had been activated, id. ¶¶ 42, 47, and he then told Plotke that he needed to speak with Plotke outside of the interview room. Id. ¶ 48. After exiting the room, Alejo explained to Plotke what he had observed. Id. ¶ 49.

According to Moore, after she engaged the recording function on her phone, the officers reentered the room. At this point, she asked to leave and walked toward the door, but before she could leave the room, Plotke told her, "no, sit down.... [You are] not going anywhere." Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶¶ 19-21; see Defs.' Resp. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶¶ 19-21; Pl.'s Dep. at 260:20-24; Trial Tr. 150-51. Thus, by Moore's account, Plotke impeded her exit from the interview before he had an opportunity to learn that Moore had been recording the conversation. As we shall see, this dispute is critical.

At one point, Alejo asked Moore whether she was recording the interview. Id. ¶ 50. Moore denied that she was. Id. ¶ 51.[1] Alejo told her that it was illegal to record a conversation without the consent of all parties involved. Id. ¶ 52. Alejo then apparently left the room, leaving Plotke alone with Moore. See Pl.'s Dep. at 263:24-264:19.

Plotke asked Moore to give him the phone, which she did. Id. at 261:4-9; Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 33. According to Moore, she then told Plotke that she did not know that recording the interview was illegal, and Plotke responded that, even if she was ignorant of the law, she could still go to jail. Pl.'s LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) Stmt. ¶ 51; Pl.'s Dep. at 261:17-24, 263:3-18. Moore again stated she did not know that recording the interview was illegal, and when she asked Plotke, "Am I going to jail?" he replied, "Yes, you are going to jail." Pl.'s Dep. at 263:19-23. Plotke left Moore alone in the interview room, taking the phone with him. Id. at 263:24-264:19.

A woman then entered the room and sat with Moore. Id. at 265:4-17. Moore told her that she wanted somebody else to investigate her complaint against Wilson because she felt that Plotke and Alejo were trying to talk her out of pursuing her complaint. Id. The woman asked Moore for the password to her Blackberry phone, and Moore ...

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