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Taylor v. City of Chicago

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

February 19, 2015

DANIEL TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, CHICAGO POLICE Judge John Z. Lee OFFICERS ANTHONY VILLARDITA, THOMAS JOHNSON, BRIAN KILLACKY, TERRY O'CONNOR, RICK ABREU, ROBERT DELANEY, SEAN GLINSKI, MICHAEL BERTI, and UNIDENTIFIED EMPLOYEES OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Daniel Taylor, Plaintiff: David Benjamin Owens, LEAD ATTORNEY, Loevy & Loevy Attorneys At Law, Chicago, IL; Jonathan I. Loevy, LEAD ATTORNEY, Gayle M. Horn, Loevy & Loevy, Chicago, IL; Locke E. Bowman, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, MacArthur Justice Center, Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, IL; Alexa Van Brunt, Roderick Macarthur Justice Center, Northwestern University School Of Law, Chicago, IL; David M. Shapiro, Roderick Macarthur Justice Center/Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; J. Samuel Tenenbaum, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Chicago, IL.

For City Of Chicago, Defendant: Terrence Michael Burns, LEAD ATTORNEY, Courtney Marie Ofosu, Daniel Matthew Noland, Derek B. Payette, Harry N. Arger, Molly E. Thompson, Paul A. Michalik, Dykema Gossett PLLC, Chicago, IL.

For Anthony Villardita, Brian Killacky, Thomas Johnson, Rick Abreu, Robert Delaney, Sean Glinski, Michael Berti, Terry O'Connor, Defendants: Steven Blair Borkan, LEAD ATTORNEY, Graham P. Miller, Misha Itchhaporia, Timothy P Scahill, Whitney Newton Hutchinson, Borkan & Scahill, Ltd., Chicago, IL.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

John Z. Lee, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Daniel Taylor (" Taylor" ) has sued the City of Chicago (the " City" ) and Chicago Police Officers Anthony Villardita (" Villardita" ), Thomas Johnson (" Johnson" ), Brian Killacky (" Killacky" ), Terry O'Connor (" O'Connor" ), Rick Abreu (" Abreu" ), Robert Delaney (" Delaney" ), Sean Glinski (" Glinski" ), Michael Berti (" Berti" ), as well as unidentified employees of the City of Chicago pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Taylor alleges Defendants violated his constitutional rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and brings additional claims for malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy pursuant to Illinois law. Defendants have moved to dismiss Taylor's Complaint in its entirety. For the reasons provided herein, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motions.

Factual Background[1]

On November 16, 1992, Jeffrey Lassiter and Sharon Haugabook were shot and killed in Lassiter's apartment at 910 W. Agatite in Chicago, Illinois. Compl. ¶ 10. The property manager, who lived upstairs, called 911 at 8:43 p.m., immediately after he heard the gunshots. Id. ¶ 11. Police arrived at the scene within three minutes. Id.

At the scene of the murders, the Defendant Officers learned that there was one witness, Faye McCoy, who lived in the building and was an active member of the community. Id. ¶ 17. McCoy had seen four men leaving Lassiter's apartment building shortly after the shooting and told the Defendant Officers that they were men from the West Side of Chicago, who recently had been selling drugs in the community, including someone named " Goldie." Id. ¶ ¶ 17, 19. None of the persons she saw was Plaintiff or any of the other young men that she knew from her neighborhood. Id. The Defendant Officers had McCoy look through an array of seven photographs of potential suspects, and she identified the photograph of Dennis " Goldie" Mixon as one of the four men she saw leaving the murder scene. Id. ¶ 20.

During the initial investigation, several other witnesses identified Mixon as a drug dealer, who recently had engaged in a physical altercation with Lassiter. Id. ¶ 21. The Defendant Officers were also aware that, prior to Lassiter's murder, Mixon had taken over Lassiter's apartment building to sell crack. Id. As a result of these statements, Mixon became the prime suspect in the killings. Id. ¶ 22. Unfortunately, the Defendant Officers were unable to find Mixon, and the case went cold for several weeks; that is, until

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Lewis Gardner was arrested on unrelated charges. Id.

Gardner was a fifteen-year-old juvenile with a 70 IQ score, who lived with his family near the victim's apartment. Id. ¶ 23. The Defendant Officers interrogated him for over fifteen hours, during which time they kept Gardner's mother out of the interrogation room, psychologically abused Gardner, and told him he could go home if he would provide a statement parroting what the Defendant Officers told him. Id. ¶ 24. As a result of the Defendant Officers' coercion, Gardner falsely implicated himself, Taylor, and five other innocent young men in the murders. Id.

Once the Defendant Officers obtained Gardner's false confession, they arrested Taylor and the five other men identified by Gardner--Akia Phillips, Paul Phillips, Joseph Brown, Deon Patrick, and Rodney Matthews--and coerced all of them into making false confessions. Id. ¶ 25. Neither Taylor nor any of the other men had any involvement in the murders. Id.

When the Defendant Officers arrested Taylor on December 3, 1992, he was seventeen years old and sleeping at a shelter. Id. ¶ 28. The Defendant Officers brought Taylor in for questioning at what was then Area 6 police headquarters. Id. When questioned, Taylor denied having any knowledge of the crime. Id. ¶ 29. He told the Defendant Officers that on the date of the murders he was actually in police custody on an unrelated offense and thus had an airtight alibi. Id. ¶ ¶ 13, 30. In fact, at 6:45 p.m. on November 16, 1992, around two hours before the murders took place, Chicago Police officers in the 23rd District had arrested Taylor on a disorderly conduct charge. Id. ¶ 13. According to the Department's own records, Taylor was received by the 23rd District lockup at 7:25 p.m., and his fingerprints were sent to the Department Headquarters at 7:35 p.m. Id. ¶ 14. Taylor eventually bonded out at 10:00 p.m., more than an hour after the murders. Id. ¶ 15. Because Taylor was in police custody during the commission of the murders, it stands to reason that he could not have participated in them. Id. ¶ 16.

Despite having this information, the Defendant Officers arrested Taylor anyway and allegedly punched and hit Taylor with a flashlight while he was in custody. Id. ¶ 29. The Defendant Officers threatened Taylor that if he did not give them information about the murders, they would continue the beating. Id. On the other hand, if he confessed, the Defendant Officers told Taylor, they would allow him to go home. Id. Believing the Defendant Officers' statements that he would be released, Taylor confessed to the murders even though he had not committed them. Id.

Within days of Taylor's arrest, the Defendant Officers obtained a copy of an arrest report that confirmed that Taylor had been in jail at the time of the shootings. Id. ¶ 31. They also received a copy of Taylor's bond slip confirming he had not been released from the 23rd District lockup until 10:00 p.m. that night. Id.

Notwithstanding the evidence of Taylor's innocence, the Defendant Officers allegedly proceeded to frame Taylor for the murders. Id. ¶ 32. For example, the Defendant Officers fabricated an encounter between police officers and Taylor on the street near Lassiter's apartment around 9:30 p.m. on the night of the murders. Id. ¶ 33. This fictional encounter was memorialized in a fraudulent police report that was created weeks after the purported encounter and well after the Defendant Officers had learned that Taylor was in police custody at the time in question. Id. The Defendant Officers never disclosed their fabrication to the prosecutor, the court, or Taylor. Id.

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In addition, the Defendant Officers allegedly coerced a witness named Adrian Grimes, by means of threats and a promise of leniency on unrelated charges, into falsely stating that he remembered seeing Taylor at a park near Lassiter's apartment just prior to the murders. Id. ΒΆ 34. Grimes would later recant this statement, and the Defendant Officers never disclosed to the trial ...


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