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Hill v. City of Chicago

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

November 21, 2016



          James B. Zagel United States District Judge

         Plaintiffs Antwoine Hill and Clyde Jackson allege that they were deprived of certain rights secured by the U.S. Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. They allege that Defendant Chicago Police Detectives, Roger Murphy and Thomas Carr, falsely arrested them, conducted an unlawful search, conspired to violate their constitutional rights, violated their right to due process under the law, and maliciously prosecuted them. They allege that the City of Chicago is also liable for these constitutional deprivations. In their Second Amended Complaint, the Plaintiffs also allege that the City of Chicago is liable for maintaining a policy of permitting police misconduct. Before me is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, filed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is granted on all counts except the policy claim against the City of Chicago.


         This case arises out of a murder, the Chicago Police Department's investigation of that murder, and the subsequent trial of the accused.

         I. New Year's Day Shooting and Initial Investigation

         On January 1, 2013, Kelvin Jemison was fatally shot outside a Chicago Housing Authority Apartment Complex in Chicago. At the time of the shooting, Jemison was accompanied by his friend Dwayne Rolle.

         Two Chicago homicide detectives for the Chicago Police Department, Detectives Roger Murphy and Thomas Carr (“the detectives”) were assigned to the case and arrived at the murder scene late in the afternoon the day of the shooting. They contacted CHA video analyst Jon Hall to obtain access to the security camera footage of the shooting incident and asked to see all footage related to the event. Two different security videos showed a man with a handgun chasing Jemison and Rolle and firing at Jemison and Rolle. The videos showed the shooter running back towards a parked car after firing the handgun. A third video showed a dark sedan driving away from the area of the parked car. None of the video footage showed a lookout standing next to the shooter's vehicle.

         The detectives spoke to the uniformed officers on location and interviewed several witnesses. Two witnesses, Miranda and Franshaun Delaney, provided the detectives with the names of three suspects.

         Among those suspects named by Miranda and Franshaun Delaney are the two plaintiffs in this case, Clyde Jackson and Antwoine Hill. The third suspect identified by the witnesses, Anthony Robinson, was eventually found guilty of murdering Jemison. The detectives obtained photographs of all three suspects and used the photos to create three photo arrays. One witness, Tikiea Poe, identified Anthony Robinson as the driver of a vehicle around the apartment complex prior to the shooting.

         Franshaun Delaney told detectives that Jemison had slept over at her home the night prior to the shooting with his friend Dwayne Rolle. Delaney also told the detectives that after she heard the gunshots, she saw Rolle running away from the gunshots towards her apartment. When Rolle reached the apartment, he told Delaney that that “B-A” and “Twan” were the offenders. “B-A” is Anthony Robinson's nickname and “Twan” is Plaintiff Antwoine Hill's nickname. Delaney also testified that she knew Jemison was having issues with a rival gang and that Robinson and Hill were members of that gang.

         Franshaun's mother, Miranda Delaney, confirmed that Rolle ran back to the house after the shooting, and she recalled Rolle saying that Robinson, Hill and Plaintiff Clyde Jackson were responsible for the shooting.

         II. Dwayne Rolle's Participation in the Investigation

         Based on the testimony of these witnesses, the detectives sought out Rolle for questioning. The detectives brought Rolle to the Area Central police headquarters on January 8, 2013 to ask him about the shooting. At the time of questioning, Rolle was 17 years old and had an active juvenile warrant for his arrest. The detectives did not arrest Rolle, and Rolle confirmed that he was free to leave throughout this questioning. The police had Rolle view the three photo arrays and sign a form acknowledging that the suspect may not be in the photo spread, that he was not required to identify anybody, and that he need not assume the person administering the form knows which person is a suspect. Rolle then marked an X over the photographs of Robinson, Hill, and Jackson on three photo arrays.

         What Rolle meant by marking these three photos with an X is now the subject of dispute. During subsequent questioning by Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Marina Parra, Rolle acknowledged that he marked an X over the photos of people he thought were involved in the January 1 shooting. But when the case was brought to trial, Rolle testified that he was marking an X over people he knew, regardless of their involvement in the crime. Even with this contradicting testimony, it is undisputed that at the time Rolle marked the photos with an X, he had just signed the photo array acknowledgment which specifically mentions that the photos might involve “suspects.” Rolle did not communicate any confusion about the meaning of his markings to the police at the time he made the marks.

         Following the photo identifications, an Assistant State's Attorney interviewed Rolle. During this interview, Rolle confirmed his identifications of the three suspects.

         On February 12, 2013, the detectives sought and obtained felony charges for first degree murder against Clyde Jackson. Following the arrest, the detectives picked up Rolle, had him sign the lineup advisory form again, and he identified Jackson in a lineup. Again, the parties dispute the precise meaning of this identification, whether Rolle was identifying Jackson as a suspect in the January 1 shooting or just pointing out that he knew Jackson. On February 14, 2013, Rolle again filled out a spread advisory form and identified Robinson in a line-up as the individual who shot his friend Jemison.

         Also on February 14, Rolle sat down for questioning with Cook County ASA Parra. In this videotaped interview, with the detectives present, Rolle confirmed the following by responding “yes” or “no” to the ASA's questions. On January 1, 2013, Rolle and his friend Jemison were going shopping for shoes. He saw a car and could see Robinson in the front passenger seat, and the two plaintiffs, Hill and Jackson, in the back seat. During the videotaped interview, he identified each individual in a photo array, identified Robinson as the shooter, and identified Plaintiffs as passengers of the car that he saw just prior to the shooting. Rolle testified that while running away from the shooting, he glanced back to see Robinson shooting. Furthermore, Rolle acknowledged that he intended the markings on the photo arrays to identify the three suspects as being involved in the shooting. Rolle told the ASA that the police treated him well during the interview process, confirmed that they had not made any threats or promises, and confirmed he was making his statements freely and voluntarily.

         Antwoine Hill was arrested on February 23, 2013, and the detectives sought and obtained felony charges for first degree murder against Hill. On February 24, 2013, the detectives conducted yet another photo line-up. Rolle signed the spread advisory form and again identified Hill as one of the individuals in the car on the day of the shooting.

         III. Other Evidence

         The detectives point to corroborating evidence to bolster their argument that they had probable cause to arrest Hill and Jackson. Plaintiffs point to evidence that contradicted the story that Rolle told at the time he told it.

         After arresting Plaintiff Jackson, the detectives conducted a polygraph exam with Jackson, and he showed deception on the test when he denied knowledge or involvement in the homicide. Jackson also offered an alibi for the day of the shooting. When Detective Murphy contacted both alibi witnesses, they could not corroborate the story. In his interrogation with police officers, Jackson admitted to knowing the victim, said that the victim had beat him up previously, and that Jackson had been shot by members of the victim's gang. Detectives suggest that this evidence gave them further proof that Rolle's account was credible.

         Plaintiffs point to the surveillance video to argue that the detectives unreasonably relied on the version of the story that Rolle first provided to them. The video shows Rolle and Jamison running down a parking area away from the shooter and then shows the shooter running back to a car, but the video does not show anybody standing by the car as a lookout. Rolle's account of the events placed Hill and Jackson by the car as lookouts. Defendants explain this discrepancy by noting that the video analyst Hall told the detectives that the video was motion activated and thus might not ...

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