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Green v. City of Chicago

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

May 7, 2015

DEBRA GREEN, ANTHONY FISHER, AND TANEAL JONES, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, et. al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHARLES P. KOCORAS, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on the motion of Defendant Officer Benny Williams ("Officer Williams") for summary judgement and the motion of Defendant City of Chicago (the "City") for partial summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 56. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Officer Williams' motion for summary judgment and grants the City's motion for partial summary judgment.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are derived from the parties' respective statements and exhibits filed pursuant to Northern District of Illinois Rule 56.1 ("Local Rule 56.1"). The Court reviews each Local Rule 56.1 statement and disregards any argument, conclusion, or assertion unsupported by the evidence in the record.

On March 19, 2010 Plaintiffs Debra Green ("Green"), Anthony Fisher ("Fisher"), and Taneal Jones ("Jones") (collectively the "Plaintiffs") were driving on the City's south side in a funeral procession for Green's sister, Michelle Green. The cars travelling in the funeral procession each had their hazard lights flashing and bore bright florescent stickers indicating the nature of the procession. Green and Fisher were driving a Pontiac Grand Prix in the middle of the procession. Jones was driving separately, and her maroon Range Rover was also positioned in the middle of the procession. While proceeding to the cemetery, the Plaintiffs observed a white Lexus weaving in and out of the funeral procession. The white Lexus was driven by Defendant, Chicago Police Officer Sylshina London ("Officer London") driving her personal car while wearing her police uniform. At some juncture, London used her cellular phone and dialed 911 and reported a "10-1, " a police code for an officer in need of immediate assistance. Officer London reported that individuals driving in the funeral procession had thrown things at her car when she passed them.

Officer Williams, while on patrol in his marked police car in the general vicinity of the funeral procession, received a call from the Chicago Police dispatcher relaying Officer London's call for assistance. At the time of the call, the circumstances surrounding the call were vague. Officer Williams and his partner drove their patrol car to the vicinity of the call for assistance. When Officer Williams arrived in the area of the call, they observed Officer London in the street, pointing in the direction that the funeral procession was moving. Officer London told Officer Williams about a "red or maroon Range Rover" that she was involved in an incident with.

Officer Williams drove down the street and found Jones' maroon Range Rover and proceeded to pull the car over. Other police units dispatched to the area also pulled over other cars in the funeral procession. Green and Fisher were pulled over by other Chicago Police Officers, and did not encounter Officer Williams. The Plaintiffs were detained until several Chicago Police supervisors arrived to the scene and began to sort through the details of what transpired.

Chicago Police Lieutenant Glenn Evans ("Lieutenant Evans") arrived contemporaneously with the other Chicago police officers and observed the removal of Green from her vehicle. Lieutenant Evans, was the supervisor of Officer London and Officer Williams. When Lieutenant Evans found out that Green's sister had passed away and they were going to the cemetery, he allowed the Plaintiffs to leave if they agreed to turn themselves into police at a later time. The police officers kept Fisher's identification card. As a result of the incident, the Plaintiffs missed the burial of Michelle Green.

During the evening of March 19, 2010, Fisher went to the Chicago Police Station to retrieve his identification card that was taken during the March 10, 2010 funeral incident. At the police station Officer London identified Fisher as one of the individuals that she had a confrontation with. Several unknown Chicago Police officers handcuffed Fisher and placed him in a holding cell and he was not released until the following day. After several weeks Fisher and Jones were charged with assault while Green was charged with battery.

In mid-May 2010, Green contacted the Independent Police Review Authority ("IPRA") to report what had transpired with Officer London. On March 23, 2010, IPRA Investigator Vincent Jones called Green and told her he would determine if there was a street camera that may have recorded the encounter with Officer London.

On September 21, 2010, the Plaintiffs were tried of their respective charges in Cook County, Illinois. Officer Williams testified in the trial of Green and gave a brief explanation of how he was called to the scene of Officer London's call for assistance and how he pulled over Jones' maroon Range Rover. Officer London provided extensive testimony about the March 2010 incident. She testified that while her vehicle was sitting parallel to Green's vehicle, Green threw a bottle through Officer London's window and hit her in the face. Based on Officer London's testimony, Green was found guilty of battery; however, Fisher and Jones were found not guilty.

After Green's conviction, the IPRA turned over a street camera video which recorded the March 2010 incident. The recording showed that Green did not throw a bottle at Officer London's vehicle or hit her in the face. Officer London was charged with a single count of perjury for knowingly testifying falsely during the September 21, 2010 trial of the Plaintiffs. As a result of the video, Green's conviction was vacated on August 17, 2011. On January 18, 2013, Officer London was found guilty of perjury following a bench trial.

On January 27, 2015, the Plaintiffs filed their nine-count First Amended Complaint ("FAC") against the Defendants Officer Williams, Officer London, the City and multiple unknown Chicago Police Officers (collectively the "Defendants"). The Plaintiffs assert: (1) that Officer Williams and Officer London unlawfully detained/arrested the Plaintiffs in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("§ 1983"); (2) that Officer Williams failed to intervene in violation of § 1983; (3) the Defendants' failure to turn over the street video of the March 2010 encountered constitutes a Brady violation under § 1983; (4) the City is liable for the actions of its police officers under Monell; (5) Officer Williams and Officer London falsely imprisoned and arrested the Plaintiffs in violation of Illinois law; (6) that Officer Williams failed to intervene in violation of Illinois law; (7) Officer Williams and Officer London maliciously prosecuted the Plaintiffs in violation of Illinois law; (8) Officer Williams and Officer London intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the Plaintiffs in violation of Illinois law; and (9) an Illinois law claim for indemnification. On January 27, 2015, the City moved for partial summary judgment on Count IV of the Plaintiffs' FAC which asserts a Monell claim against the City. The City also moved for summary judgment on all claims relating to the Defendant unknown or unnamed officers. On March 3, 2015, the Plaintiffs voluntarily moved to dismiss all unknown officers from their FAC, which mooted the City's request for summary judgment on their behalf. On March 10, 2015, Officer Williams moved for summary judgment on all counts levied against him.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when the pleadings, discovery, disclosures, and affidavits establish that there is no genuine issue of material fact, such that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Winsley v. Cook Cnty., 563 F.3d 598, 602-03 (7th Cir. 2009). A genuine issue of material fact exists when, based on the evidence, a reasonable jury could find in favor of the nonmoving party. Trinity Homes LLC v. Ohio Cas. Ins. Co., 629 F.3d 653, 656 (7th Cir. 2010). The moving party must identify the specific portions of the record which it believes establishes the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A genuine issue in the context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving ...


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