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Moore v. Dotson

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

January 26, 2017

YUNEK MOORE, Plaintiff,
OFFICER AMY DOTSON, a City of Peoria, Illinois Police Officer, in Her Individual Capacity, OFFICER CRAIG WILLIAMS, a City of Peoria, Illinois Police Officer, in His Individual Capacity, OFFICER THOMAS BOND, a City of Peoria, Illinois Police Officer, in His Individual Capacity, and the CITY OF PEORIA, ILLINOIS, a Local Governmental Entity, Defendants.


          James E. Shadid Chief United States District Judge

         Now before the Court is the Defendants' Rule 56(a) Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons stated herein, the Defendants' Motion [19] is DENIED.

         Procedural History

         In 2013, Yunek Moore was charged as a juvenile with Resisting a Peace Officer in violation of 720 ILCD 5/31-1. (Doc. 20-7). Moore was placed on twelve months of court supervision after a judge found that the State had met its burden during a stipulated bench trial. (Doc. 20-8, 20-9). A year later, on June 4, 2014, Moore filed the instant case against Defendants, Officers Dotson, Williams, and Bond, stating a §1983 excessive force claim and a state law battery claim. The Plaintiff also states a respondeat superior claim against the City of Peoria. The Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages from all Defendants, collectively, and punitive damages from each Defendant Officer individually. Defendants filed their instant Motion for Summary Judgment on September 17, 2016.

         Statement of Facts

         On June 4, 2013, Plaintiff Yunek Moore, who was then seventeen years old, was at a bonfire party with several other recent high school graduates. The partygoers, around fifty individuals and most under the age of twenty-one, were celebrating the departure of two of their friends into training for the Army National Guard. One of these individuals, Cipriana Monteddeoca, lived at the residence where the party was held. At some point during the party, a neighbor called the police. Police were dispatched to the residence, 3819 N. Lynwood Place, Peoria, Illinois, to investigate possible underage drinking and loud music.

         Around 10:30 p.m., Officers Dotson, Bond, and Williams, all City of Peoria Police Officers, arrived and began their investigation. (Doc. 24-2, p. 11). After obtaining permission from the homeowner the officers travelled to the back yard of the residence where the party was taking place. Officer Dotson used a bright flashlight to navigate through the yard. Officer Dotson stated that the flashlight was shining at the ground, but was several hundred lumens. (Doc. 24-2, p. 22).

         The light from the flashlight caught Yunek Moore's eyes. Moore expressed some annoyance at the bright light, saying something along the lines of “This light it bright” or “Get that light out of my face!” (Doc. 24-1, p. 7, at 24-25; Doc. 24-2, p. 26, 31; Doc. 20-11, p. 40-41). It is disputed what Moore said or how much she said after that. What is not disputed is that Officer Dotson then approached Moore and asked for identification, but Moore did not comply. Next, Moore was either asked to stand or taken by the wrist and forced to stand. Moore resisted.

         Officers Bond and Williams became involved in this interaction, each taking hold of both her arm and wrist. (Doc. 24-2, p. 46). After Moore was forced into a standing position, the Defendant Officers escorted Moore to the front yard using a pain compliance technique, and Officer Dotson handcuffed her while she was on top of the hood of the police car. After the officers brought her to the front yard and eventually placed her into a squad car, she was transported to the Peoria County Jail.

         I. Disputed Facts

         According to Officer Dotson, she was in her full police uniform at the time of the incident. (Doc. 24-2, p. 29). Conversely, the Plaintiff stated that she could not see the uniforms and could not see due to the bright light in her eyes. (Doc. 24-1, p. 8, at 26). Dotson had asked to see identification because of Moore's loud behavior and because Moore was holding a red cup, although Officer Dotson never asked to see what was in the cup. (Doc. 24-2, p. 29, 33). Dotson remembers Moore yelling and using language; and that Moore continued to express annoyance even when told by someone in the crowd to quiet down because it was the police. (Doc. 24-2, p. 29, 34, 42). Dotson stated that she arrested Moore because after several requests to get Moore to provide her identification, Moore was obstructing the police investigation. (Doc. 24-2, p. 30, 69). Dotson intended to escort Moore to the front yard because she was inciting the crowd of partygoers. (Doc. 24-2, p. 40). The officers testified that that when Moore resisted, they brought her to a standing position. The officers admit that they used a standard handshake control involving applying pain compliance. (Doc. 20-3, p. 51-52, 81). According to Officer Williams, he was the officer who told Moore she was under arrest. (Doc. 24-2, p. 30).

         Importantly, on the way to the police car, Moore claims that she was slammed into the side of the house, and was soon after slammed into the hood of the squad car before she was handcuffed. Moore claims that as a result of these maneuvers, she required surgery for her shoulder and two surgeries for her resulting wrist problems. According to Officer Williams, however, Moore did not make contact with the house. (Doc. 20-3, p. 64). Rather, Officer Bond struck his elbow on the side of the house while walking Moore to the front. Officer Williams further stated that Moore was leaned over the hood of the squad car in order for the officers to get more leverage to handcuff her. (Doc. 20-3, p. 67-68).

         Cipriana Montesdeoca stated that the officers dragged Moore, pushed her up against the side of the house while taking her through the pathway to the front of the house. (Doc. 20-12, p. 52). According to Cipriana, the more Moore tried to get away from the officers, the more the officers pushed her against the side of the house. (Doc. 20-12, p. 55). Moore told them to stop, and explained that they were hurting her. (Doc. 20-13, p. 74-75). Cipriana also testified that she saw the police slam Moore against the passenger door of the police car. (Doc. 20-12, p. 57-58). Another deposed witness, Ezra Murray, testified that the slam against the house resulted as a natural consequence of Moore's resistance. (20-17, p. 41-42).

         In their Motion for Summary Judgment, the Defendants claim that the ...

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