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Moore v. City of Chicago

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

May 30, 2014

GWENDOLYN MOORE, as Independent Representative of the ESTATE OF JAMAAL MOORE, SR., deceased; and GWENDOLYN MOORE and JACETA SMITH, both individually, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, a municipal corporation, and CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS CASTELLI, HACKETT, REIFF, GORMAN, MUTH, NORRIS, and GONZALEZ, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JAMES F. HOLDERMAN, District Judge.

On December 15, 2012, Jamaal Moore, Sr. ("Jamaal") was shot and killed by Chicago Police Officer Ruth Castelli ("Officer Castelli") after her partner Officer Chris Hackett ("Officer Hackett") ran Jamaal over with a marked police car. Plaintiff Gwendolyn Moore ("Moore") is Jamaal's mother and the Independent Representative of the Estate of Jamaal Moore, Sr. Plaintiff Jaceta Smith ("Smith") is Jamaal's sister. Plaintiffs have sued Officer Castelli, Officer Hackett, and five other Chicago Police officers, as well as the City of Chicago ("City"). Plaintiffs have amended their complaint four times. (Dkt. Nos. 1, 6, 28, 108, 126.) Plaintiffs' fourth amended complaint ("Fourth Amended Complaint") (Dkt. No. 126 ("Am. Compl.")) contains twelve counts: three wrongful death claims filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Illinois state law (Counts I through III); three "survival" claims filed pursuant to § 1983 and the Illinois Survival Act, 755 ILCS 5/27-6 (Counts IV through VI); a "survival" claim for failure to intervene filed pursuant to § 1983 and the Illinois Survival Act (Count VII); a conspiracy claim filed pursuant to § 1983 (Count VIII); an Illinois state law negligence claim for failure to preserve evidence (Count IX); an Illinois state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count X); an Illinois state law claim for failure to supervise (Count XI); and an indemnification claim against the City (Count XII). The Chicago Police officers and the City (collectively, "Defendants") have moved for summary judgment on all counts. (Dkt. No. 153.) For the following reasons, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

I. The Car Chase

It was raining on the morning of December 15, 2012. (Dkt. No. 155 ("Defs.' SMF") ¶ 15.) At 10:22 a.m. that day, the first of several police broadcasts relayed a robbery in progress at 38th Street and Kedzie Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 7.) According to the initial broadcasts, several suspects had broken into the back of a semi-truck, had stolen the televisions inside of the semi-truck's trailer, and were beating the driver of the truck. ( Id. ¶¶ 5, 7.) Police dispatch further reported that the suspects were traveling in a silver Chevy Trail Blazer with temporary Indiana license plates. ( Id. ¶ 5.) Approximately thirty minutes after the first broadcasts, police dispatch reported that suspects in the same silver Trail Blazer "broke the seal" of another semi-truck at 54th Street and Western Avenue. ( Id. ¶ 9.) More than once police dispatch reported that at least one of the suspects was armed. ( Id. ¶ 8; Defs.' SMF Ex. G at 7:11, 24:5, 25:12.)

At 11:16 a.m., Officers Castelli and Hackett, who were in a marked Chevy Tahoe police vehicle with Officer Hackett driving, observed a silver Trail Blazer with temporary Indiana plates at the intersection of 51st Street and Western Avenue. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 10-11.) When Officer Hackett "nosed up" to the Trail Blazer to perform a stop, the Trail Blazer turned southbound onto Western Avenue and fled from the officers. ( Id. ¶ 11.) With their lights and siren activated, Officers Castelli and Hackett gave chase in their police vehicle as the Trail Blazer sped at a high speed down Western Avenue, running red lights, and weaving in and out of traffic. ( Id. ¶ 12.) At the intersection of Garfield Boulevard and Ashland Avenue, the fleeing Trail Blazer swerved, spun 180 degrees, smashed into a lamppost, and stopped when it collided with a metal fence at a Phillips 66 gas station. ( Id. ¶ 13.) The car chase lasted approximately one minute and thirty seconds and was captured by the video camera mounted on the dash board of the police vehicle. (Ex. H ("Dash Cam Video") at 00:00-01:30.)

II. The Shooting

After the Trail Blazer crashed, four males jumped out of the Trail Blazer and fled on foot. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 14, Ex. I ("Gas Station Video") at 01:32-01:37.) Officer Hackett pulled into the gas station driveway two seconds later and struck Jamaal, who was the last suspect to exit the Trail Blazer. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 15; Gas Station Video at 01:36-01:40.) Officer Hackett testified at his deposition that he hit the brakes but "slid" into Jamaal because of the wet road conditions. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 15; Defs.' SMF Ex. C at 22:4-14.) Sharon Agee, who witnessed the incident, testified that it looked like the police vehicle was "trying to run [Jamaal] over to stop him from fleeing." (Dkt. No. 168 ("Pls.' Resp. to Defs.' SMF") ¶ 15; Pls.' Resp. to Defs.' SMF Ex. 3 at 101:22-24.) The video recordings of the incident do not confirm one account over the other. (Dash Cam Video at 01:36-01:41; Gas Station Video at 01:36-01:41.)

After Officers Castelli and Hackett left their vehicle, they observed Jamaal crawling out from underneath the front of their police vehicle. ( Id. ¶ 17.) Officer Castelli's service weapon was drawn. ( Id. ¶ 16.) Officer Hackett attempted to place Jamaal, who was face down on the ground, in custody by handcuffing Jamaal's hands behind his back. ( Id. ¶ 17; Defs.' SMF Ex. C at 24:23-25:10.) At the same time, Officer Castelli turned to visually locate the three fleeing suspects and reported on her radio the suspects' direction of flight. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 20; Dash Cam Video at 01:45-01:51.) When Officer Castelli turned back toward Officer Hackett, she saw that Officer Hackett had not yet successfully placed Jamaal in handcuffs. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 21; Dash Cam Video at 01:51-01:52.) Although Defendants contend Officer Castelli saw Officer Hackett in a "vulnerable position" and "losing the fight" with Jamaal, the video recording shows that Officer Hackett remained on top of Jamaal, who was face down on the ground. (Dash Cam Video at 01:51-01:52.) Officer Hackett testified that Jamaal "began to struggle a little bit." (Defs.' SMF Ex. C at 25:12.)

Officer Castelli attempted to holster her weapon to assist Officer Hackett in placing Jamaal in custody. (Dash Cam Video at 01:52-01:53.) As she did so, Jamaal stood up, flipping Officer Hackett over his back in the process. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 22; Dash Cam Video at 01:53-01:54.) Officer Hackett explained at his deposition that he "got too high on [Jamaal's] shoulders, " which caused him to be flipped as Jamaal stood up. (Defs.' SMF Ex. C at 25:12-19.)

The parties dispute what happened next. Defendants contend that as Jamaal got off the ground, Officer Castelli saw what she believed to be a gun in Jamaal's right hand. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 25.) According to Defendants, both of Jamaal's arms were pointed in Officer Castelli's direction in a "C" formation, as evidenced by still photographs taken from the Dash Cam Video and Gas Station Video.[1] ( Id. ¶ 26-27 (citing (Defs.' SMF Exs. L, M, and O).) Upon seeing the black metal object in Jamaal's right hand pointed in her direction, Defendants assert Officer Castelli shouted "gun, gun, " redrew her weapon, and fired two shots in rapid succession. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 28.) The gunshots struck Jamaal in the left lateral hip and the back. ( Id. ¶ 30.) Officer Castelli has repeatedly stated that she fired at Jamaal "in fear [for] [her] life and [her] partner's life." ( Id. ¶ 29; Defs.' SMF Ex. B at 28:8-9; Pls.' Resp. to Defs.' SMF Ex. 4 ¶ 40, 75; Pls.' Resp. to Defs.' SMF Ex. 8 at 7.) Plaintiffs contend that Jamaal was not holding anything in his right hand, that Officer Castelli never shouted "gun, gun" before shooting, and that Officer Castelli fired at Jamaal solely to stop him from fleeing. (Pls.' Resp. to Defs.' SMF ¶ 25, 28, 29.)

The Dash Cam Video recording, viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs, does not comport fully with Defendants' version of events. According to that video, Officer Castelli re-raised her service weapon (which was never shown to be fully holstered) immediately after Officer Hackett flipped over Jamaal's back. (Dash Cam Video Fr. 6822-6844.) As Jamaal stood up, he attempted to begin to flee away from Officers Castelli and Hackett. ( Id. at Fr. 6840-6855.) Officer Castelli, with her service weapon in her right hand, grabbed Jamaal's left arm with her left hand. ( Id. at Fr. 6850-6863.) As Officer Castelli grabbed Jamaal's left arm, she shot him at point blank range in the left lateral hip. ( Id. at Fr. 6858-6861.) Jamaal continued to move away from Officer Castelli, either as a continuance of his original movement or from the force of Officer Castelli's first shot, and Officer Castelli was unable to maintain a grip on Jamaal's left arm. ( Id. at 6865-6870.) Officer Castelli then fired her second shot into Jamaal's back, ( id. at 6883-6888), from which he died. The Dash Cam Video shows Officer Castelli's pistol slide recoil after both shots. ( Id. ) Defendants' are correct that Defendants' Exhibit O, which is a still photograph of frame 3416 of the Zoomed Gas Station Surveillance Video, shows both of Jamaal's arms pointed toward Officer Castelli in a "C" formation. (Defs.' SMF Ex. O.) Defendants' Ex. O, however, is a still photograph of a time after Officer Castelli fired her first shot, and potentially her second shot into Jamaal's back.[2]

Although the Dash Cam Video undercuts portions Defendants' version of events, it does not establish whether Jamaal was holding an object in his right hand or whether Officer Castelli shouted "gun, gun." James Porter, a witness, testified at his deposition that Jamaal had nothing in his hands when Officer Castelli shot him. (Defs.' SMF Ex. R at 83:5-9.) Cameron Parker, another witness, testified that Jamaal had nothing in his hand when he was "tussling" with Officer Hackett or when he got up to run away. (Defs.' SMF Ex. Q at 26:12-24, 27:1-4.) Officer Hackett did not testify that he noticed anything in Jamaal's hands when he attempted to handcuff Jamaal before the shooting. (Defs.' SMF Ex. C.) Finally, Sharon Agee, another witness on the scene, testified that Officer Castelli did not provide any verbal warnings to Jamaal before she shot him. (Pls.' Resp. to Defs.' SMF ¶ 16, Ex. 3 at 69:9-24, 72:2-3, 72:13-16.)

Dr. Andrienne Segovia, an assistant medical examiner with the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, performed an autopsy after Jamaal's death and concluded that he died on December 15, 2012 as a result of the gunshot wounds inflicted by Officer Castelli. (Defs.' SMF Ex. P at 6:11-15, 13:22-23, 22: 4-5.)

III. The Flashlight Recovery

After the shooting, Officers Hackett and Castelli attempted to secure Jamaal, who was lying on the ground. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 35; Zoomed Gas Station Surveillance Video at 01:55-02:09.) Officer Hackett placed Jamaal into a "bear hug" from behind and rolled both himself and Jamaal onto Officer Hackett's back. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 35; Zoomed Gas Station Surveillance Video at 02:09-02:20.) Officer Castelli stood bent over Jamaal and Officer Hackett. (Zoomed Gas Station Surveillance Video at 02:09-02:20.) Officer Christopher Miller ("Officer Miller") arrived at the scene and replaced Officer Castelli standing over Officer Hackett, who still had Jamaal on the ground in a "bear hug." (Defs.' SMF ¶ 37; Zoomed Gas Station Surveillance Video at 02:21-02:33.) Officer Miller testified that he searched Jamaal, who was on top of Officer Hackett facing upwards, but did not find anything. (Defs.' SMF Ex. T at 43:19-24.) Officers Hackett and Miller then rolled Jamaal onto his stomach and placed his hands in handcuffs behind his back. ( Id. at 44:1-6; Zoomed Gas Station Surveillance Video at 02:33-02:44.) Officer Miller testified that he again searched Jamaal and did not find anything. (Defs.' SMF Ex. T at 44:6-7.)

Officer Miller testified that after he got up, he noticed a flashlight lying on the ground. ( Id. at 44:7-9.) This was apparently not captured on any video recording of the incident. Detective Scott Reiff ("Detective Reiff"), who compiled the investigative report of the incident that day, reported that Officers Hackett and Castelli both told him that they discovered a metal flashlight underneath Jamaal. (Pls.' Resp. to Defs.' SMF Ex. 8 ("Incident Report") at 6-7.) Officers Bradley Loduca ("Officer Loduca") and Timothy Westbrooks ("Officer Westbrooks") arrived at the scene after Jamaal was lying on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. (Zoomed Gas Station Surveillance Video at 02:44-02:53.) Detective Reiff's Incident Report states that Officer Westbrooks told him that Jamaal was "clutching" to a flashlight in his right hand. (Incident Report at 7.) The Incident Report states that Officer Loduca told Detective Reiff that Jamaal was "holding" a flashlight in his right hand. ( Id. )

The parties agree that a flashlight was inventoried by the police as evidence. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 38.) Detective Reiff submitted an affidavit stating that he sent the flashlight to the Illinois State Police for testing on December 31, 2012. (Defs.' SMF Ex. V ¶ 9.) The Forensic Science Center at Chicago, which is a division of the Illinois State Police, received the flashlight on May 28, 2013. (Pls.' Resp. to Defs.' SMF Ex. 14.) Neither party can explain the delay, although Defendants speculate that the flashlight resided with the Illinois State Police between December 31, 2012 and May 28, 2013. (Dkt. No. 179 ("Defs.' Resp. to Pls.' SMF") ¶ 27.) Lisa Kelly, a forensic scientist employed by the Illinois State Police, concluded that Jamaal's DNA and another individual's DNA were on the flashlight. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 41; Defs.' SMF Ex. W at 60:22-24; Pls.' Resp. to Defs.' SMF ¶ ...


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