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White v. Chicago Police Officer Kellie Doyle

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

September 22, 2014

EDDIE WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER KELLIE DOYLE (Star No. 4419), CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER M. HERNANDEZ (Star No. 17970), CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER R. AGUINAGA (Star No. 15), CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER D.E. WARD (Star No. 12288), and CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER E. REYES (Star No. 13185), Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

HARRY D. LEINENWEBER, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons stated herein, the Motion is granted in favor of Defendant Reyes on all counts in which he is named. Summary judgment is granted in favor of all Defendants on Counts I and IV. The Motion is denied as to Count VI.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Eddie White's (the "Plaintiff") claims arise out of his arrest and detention on June 17, 2011. That morning, Plaintiff went to the Cook County Jail (the "Jail") and inquired with a Cook County Sheriff's Officer about obtaining employment with one of the Jail's construction contractors. On the Officer's instructions, Plaintiff proceeded around the Jail to a different location, where construction trucks were entering and leaving. Plaintiff walked into a fenced-in parking lot near "Post 10, " an entrance to the Jail, where a trailer was located because he believed that the contractor was using the trailer. Inside the trailer, Plaintiff talked to a Cook County Deputy Sheriff, who told Plaintiff that he could not apply for a job at that site. Plaintiff then left the trailer. Although the parties dispute precisely what happened next, it is undisputed that a Sheriff's Officer handcuffed Plaintiff, accused him of trespassing, and called the Chicago Police Department ("CPD") for assistance.

Chicago Police Officers Kellie Doyle ("Doyle") and M. Hernandez ("Hernandez") responded to the call. When they arrived at the Jail, Doyle and Hernandez spoke to one or more Cook County Sheriff's Officers, who accused Plaintiff of trespassing on Jail property. Plaintiff could not hear the conversations, but every deponent who testified about the conversations said that Doyle and Hernandez were told that Plaintiff was trespassing. The record reveals some inconsistencies regarding the details of exactly what happened, such as which Sheriff's Officers were present at the site, which ones talked to Doyle and Hernandez, what was said, and how long Doyle and Hernandez remained at the Jail.

Shortly thereafter, around 10:40 a.m., Doyle and Hernandez arrested Plaintiff and drove him to the District 10 Police Station. Upon their arrival, Doyle and Hernandez completed various administrative tasks before White was received in lock-up at 12:45 p.m. Plaintiff was interviewed, inspected, fingerprinted, and photographed by CPD Officer Dannye Ward, the on-duty "lockup keeper." These intake procedures were completed by 1:00 p.m., at which point Plaintiff was placed in a cell and his fingerprints were sent to the CPD's "identity section." The identity section checks for warrants associated with fingerprints, a process that often takes between three and eight hours. At this time, no other detainees were in the District 10 lock up. Officer Ward's shift ended at 2:00 p.m.

CPD Captain Richard Aguinaga ("Aguinaga"), whose shift started at 1:30 p.m. that day, was the on-duty watch commander and the only person with authority to release arrestees from the District 10 lockup. Defendants assert that, per department policy, arrestees usually are not released from custody until their fingerprints have cleared the identity section. However, the CPD has a "General Order" that allows, but does not require, release before fingerprints have cleared, when three requirements are met: (1) the detainee was arrested for a misdemeanor that was not upgradable to a felony, (2) the detainee is not wanted by the CPD nor has any outstanding warrant that could be identified, and (3) the detainee's identity has been established, such as with a driver's license. These requirements were met by 1:00 p.m. Pursuant to this order, Captain Aguinaga decided to release Plaintiff before his fingerprints cleared; he gave final approval of Plaintiff's charges at 7:16 p.m. At that point, CPD Officer E. Reyes ("Reyes") processed the paperwork so that Plaintiff could be released, and Plaintiff was released at 7:34 p.m.

On June 13, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint that asserted six counts against fourteen individual Defendants. R. 43. Claims against the Sheriff's Officers and several other Defendants have been dismissed voluntarily. The five remaining defendants - Doyle, Hernandez, Aguinaga, Ward, and Reyes - are all CPD Officers. Three counts remain: Count I, a § 1983 false arrest claim asserted against Doyle and Hernandez; Count IV, an Illinois false imprisonment claim asserted against all remaining Defendants; and Count VI, a § 1983 excessive detention claim, also asserted against all remaining Defendants. All five Defendants have moved pursuant to Rule 56 for summary judgment on all three counts.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). The Court construes all facts and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 586 (2009).

III. ANALYSIS

A. Probable Cause

Defendants argue that Plaintiff cannot prevail on both Count I for false arrest and Count IV for false imprisonment because they had probable cause to arrest him. Probable cause is "an absolute bar" to both a § 1983 claim for false arrest and a claim of false imprisonment under Illinois Law. McBride v. Grice, 576 F.3d 703, 707 (7th Cir. 2009); Poris v. Lake Holiday Prop. Owners Ass'n, 983 N.E.2d 993, 1007 (Ill. 2013). "A police officer has probable cause to arrest if a reasonable person would believe, based on the facts and circumstances known at the time, that a crime had been committed." McBride, 576 F.3d at 707. "[W]hen a police officer receives information sufficient to raise a substantial chance of criminal activity from a person whose truthfulness he has no reason to doubt, that information is sufficient to establish probable cause." Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 685 (7th Cir. 2003).

In this case, the alleged crime was complete and Plaintiff already was handcuffed when Doyle and Hernandez arrived at the Jail. Doyle and Hernandez talked with Cook County Sheriff Sergeant James Moran ("Moran") and one or more additional Cook County Sheriff's officers. Although it is not clear which Sheriff's Officers spoke with Doyle and Hernandez, it is undisputed that Doyle and Hernandez were informed that Plaintiff had trespassed. Correctional Officer Jesse Lopez testified that he told Doyle and Hernandez that Plaintiff "had been standing in front of the Post 10 sally port and refused to move." Ex. B, pp. 39:23-40:2. Moran testified that he informed Doyle and Hernandez that Plaintiff "was standing in the middle of the driveway blocking all the traffic trying to get into the [jail] complex." Ex. C, p. 53:14-16. Doyle testified that Moran told her and Hernandez that Plaintiff had been trespassing. Ex. D, p. 22:6-7. Doyle also testified that Moran provided to her alone a more detailed description of Plaintiff's actions and ...


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