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Simmons v. The City of Chicago

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

February 7, 2017




         Plaintiff Robert Simmons's Motion for Summary Judgment on his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 unlawful detention claim (“the Motion”) [ECF No. 78] is granted in part and denied in part.

         The Court denies the Motion except as to Defendant Piechocki's liability for unlawfully and unreasonably ordering Plaintiff's arrest without probable cause. However, genuine disputes of material fact remain as to whether any Defendant Officers could reasonably have foreseen Plaintiff's protracted and unreasonable detention following his arrest. Before summarizing the undisputed facts, the Court briefly addresses the nature of the parties' briefing and why it will decide Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment separately.

         Plaintiff filed the Motion along with a Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Uncontested Material Facts [ECF No. 79] (the “Plaintiff's Statement”). Defendants responded to Plaintiff's Statement [ECF No. 84] and submitted a “Response in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support of Defendants' Cross Motion for Summary Judgment” [ECF No. 85] (the “Response”]. This filing was accompanied by a Local Rule 56.1(b)(3) Statement of Uncontested Additional Facts [ECF No. 86] (the “Defendants' Statement”), but no Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Uncontested Material Facts. Plaintiff then submitted a Reply Brief in support of Plaintiff's Motion [ECF No. 91] and responded to Defendants' Statement [ECF No. 92].

         It was only after these filings, which consummated the briefing on Plaintiff's Motion, that Defendants filed their “Joint Partial Motion for Summary Judgment” [ECF No. 93], incorporating their Response filed almost two weeks prior and attaching a Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement [ECF No. 94]. Plaintiff then responded, contesting some facts and admitting others. These filings introduced a host of facts surplus to those forming the basis of Plaintiff's Motion on his unlawful detention claim and the associated briefing.

         Local Rule 56.1 provides inter alia that a moving party shall serve and file “[w]ith each motion for summary judgment” a statement of uncontested material facts. N.D.Ill. L.R. 56.1(a) (emphasis added). A district court has broad discretion to require strict compliance with the rule. See, e.g., Koszola v. Bd. of Educ. of the City of Chicago, 385 F.3d 1104, 1109 (7th Cir. 2004). As such, the Court treats the relevant portions of Defendants' Response as a brief in opposition to Plaintiff's Motion. In a separate opinion, it decides Defendants' “Joint Partial Motion for Summary Judgment” with full consideration of any relevant arguments in the Response as well as the briefs and fact statements filed after Plaintiff's Motion was fully briefed.


         For purposes of this Motion, the following facts are viewed in the light most favorable to Defendants (the non-movants), and all reasonable inferences are drawn in their favor. See, Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

         On March 9, 2014, Defendant D'Amato obtained a search warrant for a single-family residence located at 2725 East 92nd Street in Chicago, Illinois (“the residence”). (ECF No. 84 ¶ 5.) Its target was an African-American male nicknamed “Sunny, ” approximately 45-50 years in age, 5'5”-5'8” in height, weighing 140-160 pounds, and with brown eyes, a dark complexion, and black hair worn long and wavy. (Id. ¶ 6.) The warrant was procured with the assistance of a confidential informant, who claimed to have purchased narcotics from “Sunny” out of the basement door of the residence. (ECF No. 92 ¶ 4.)

         Plaintiff Simmons is an African-American male of medium-brown complexion. (ECF No. 92, Ex. F (“Arrest Rep.”), p.1.) On March 9, 2014, he was 67 years old, 5'11” tall, 165 pounds, with brown eyes and short hair - either “buzzed or bald.” (ECF No. 84 ¶ 7; MacFarlane Tr. 42:17-22; Arrest Rep. at p.1.) He lived at 222 West 106th Place in Chicago, Illinois. (Id.) Simmons has never lived at 2725 East 92nd Street but was visiting that address on March 9, 2014, because it is the home of his brother, James Garland. (Id. ¶ 9.) Simmons suffers from cerebral palsy and has a noticeable speech disorder. (Id. ¶ 8; ECF. No. 84 ¶ 8; see generally Defs.' St., Ex. A.)

         At approximately 8:45 p.m. on March 9, 2014, Defendants D'Amato, Otten, MacFarlane, and Piechocki (the “Defendant Officers”) arrived at the residence to execute the search warrant, accompanied by Officer Thomas Derouin. (ECF No. 84 ¶ 11.) Defendant Officers forced open the rear door of the house and entered the basement one at a time, finding Simmons sitting at a table in the basement kitchen. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13.) Simmons complied with directives to put his hands up and did not do anything perceived as threatening or dangerous. (Id. ¶¶ 14-16.) D'Amato initially detained Simmons on the floor, where he lay face down, at about the same time that Piechocki entered the basement. (Id. ¶ 20.)

         While Simmons was detained and lying on the floor, Officer Derouin proceeded to the stairwell and began to shout at an individual located upstairs. (ECF No. 84 ¶¶ 21, 23; see also, e.g., D'Amato Tr. 63:12-66:4.) Someone from upstairs then shot Officer Derouin, who fell into the basement kitchen wounded and collapsed near Simmons. (ECF No. 84 ¶¶ 23, 24.) Defendants Otten and MacFarlane had moved into a separate room in the basement, albeit within several steps of Simmons, when they heard the shot. (ECF No. 92 ¶¶ 6-10.) Otten assisted Derouin out of the house and into a police vehicle in the alley; he had no further involvement in Simmons's detention or arrest. (Id. ¶¶ 14-17.)

         Within a minute of hearing the gunshot, MacFarlane handcuffed Simmons, who was still lying on the floor. (ECF No. 84 ¶ 25; see, Pl.'s St., Ex. H, 55:8-10.) D'Amato played no further role in Simmons's detention or arrest. (ECF No. 92 ¶¶ 22, 23.) At his deposition, MacFarlane offered the following justifications for handcuffing Simmons: Simmons might have been involved in firing a gun at Officer Derouin; Simmons could have been “Sunny, ” the target of the search warrant; and Simmons was then within reach of Officer Derouin's sidearm. (See, ECF No. 84 ¶ 26; MacFarlane Tr. 83:19-84:11; ECF No. 92 ¶ 13.)

         MacFarlane admitted that he never saw Simmons on the basement stairwell, on the first floor, or with James Garland, who was ultimately charged with shooting Officer Derouin. (ECF No. 84 ¶¶ 28-29, 40.) At no point did MacFarlane see anything, including weapons, in Simmons's hands. (Id. ¶ 30.) Simmons did not disobey any police commands prior to being handcuffed, nor did he resist or fail to cooperate at any time. (Id. ¶ 32.) When Simmons was lying on the basement floor in handcuffs, MacFarlane asked him whether he knew who shot the gun; Simmons replied that he did not. (Id. ¶ 31.) Prior to handcuffing Simmons, MacFarlane did not check his identification, ask his name, or inquire whether he lived at that address, went by the name “Sunny, ” or knew “Sunny.” (ECF No. 84 ¶ 34.)

         Officers unknown subsequently removed Simmons from the residence and transported him to the Fifth District police station. (ECF No. 84 ¶ 44.) MacFarlane played no role in that decision or in executing it. (ECF No. 92 ¶¶ 18-21.) Rather, Defendant Piechocki ordered that Simmons, along with five other civilians found at the residence, be taken to the police station because they were “potential suspects to the attempted murder, aggravated battery, possession of the handgun [found in the upstairs living room], and narcotics sales from the home.” (Defs.' St., Ex. H, ¶ 14; ECF No. 92 ¶ 32; Arrest Rep. at p.1.) Specifically, he testified that Simmons could have been “Sunny, ” the target of the search warrant. (Piechocki Tr. 62:9-14.) Piechocki testified that Simmons, “[w]hen he was being escorted to one of the transport cars, ” directly informed Piechocki that he had defecated on himself. (Piechocki Tr. 62:15-22.)

         Defendant Piechocki is the only Defendant who saw narcotics at the scene, and he noticed the small bag of crack cocaine (street value of about $10) after deciding to transport all the civilians to the police station. (ECF No. 84 ¶¶ 39, 41, 43; Pl.'s St., Ex. G, 77:10-78:12; Pl.'s St., Ex. H, 89:15-22.) Piechocki had no further contact with the civilians, including Simmons. (ECF No. 92 ¶¶ 33-35.) An outside unit completed the search pursuant to the warrant at approximately 3:00 a.m. on March 10, 2014. (Id. ¶ 36.)

         Simmons remained at the police station for approximately seventeen (17) hours until his release at 1:45 p.m. on March 10, 2014. (ECF No. 84 ¶ 47; ECF No. 92 ¶ 36.) Simmons's arrest report recites a charge of possession of a controlled substance, but no criminal complaints were ever filed against him. (ECF No. 84 ¶ 37; ECF No. 92 ¶ 37.) The arrest report was created for administrative purposes, with Otten and D'Amato listed as arresting officers only because they were affiants of the warrant. (ECF No. 92 ¶¶ 38-39.) None of the Defendant Officers physically detained Simmons at the police station. (Id. ¶ 40.) Jurisdiction over Simmons's custody eventually passed from Piechocki to the detectives investigating the shooting of Officer Derouin. (Id. ¶¶ 34-35.)

         Just before his release, at around 11:45 a.m. on March 10, Simmons gave a voluntary statement to Detective Pat Ford and ASA George Cannellis. (ECF No. 92 ¶ 1.) At some point prior to giving his statement, Simmons was informed that he was free to leave. (Id. ¶¶ 2, 3.) However, he was in “lockup, ” meaning “in a cell” and “under arrest, ” for approximately 14 hours - until at least 10:36 a.m. on March 10 when he was transferred “Out Of Lockup for A/S Interviews.” (Ford Tr. 42:15-43:1; Pl.'s St., Ex. D, at FCRL 000355.) At his deposition, Detective Ford claimed that Simmons remained under arrest because of possession of a controlled substance and because his role in the shooting of Officer Derouin was unclear. (Ford Tr. 43:2-17.) The General Progress Report, which Chicago police detectives prepared sometime on March 9, reported Simmons's address as 222 West 106th Place. (ECF No. 84 ¶ 45 & Ex. I.) The record before the Court is silent on when, if ever, Simmons was read Miranda warnings.


         Summary judgment must be granted “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). A genuine issue of material fact exists if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In evaluating summary judgment motions, courts must view the facts and draw reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). The Court does not make credibility determinations as to whose story is more believable. Omnicare, Inc. v. UnitedHealth Grp., Inc., 629 F.3d 697, 704 (7th Cir. 2011). It must consider only evidence that can be “presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2).

         The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of showing that there is no genuine dispute and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Carmichael v. Vill. of Palatine, 605 F.3d 451, 460 (7th Cir. 2010); see also, Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If this burden is met, then the adverse party must “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256.

         III. ANALYSIS

         Simmons argues that Defendants violated his civil rights, first, when Officer D'Amato detained him at the residence; second, when Officer MacFarlane handcuffed him there; and third, when he was removed from the residence in handcuffs, transported to the police station, and held behind bars overnight for more than fourteen (14) hours. To the extent any of the individual Defendants did not physically detain or arrest Simmons or order his overnight stint behind bars, Plaintiff claims they are liable on ordinary tort principles of foreseeability. (See, e.g., Pl.'s Reply at 10-12.)

         In response, Defendants argue that Simmons's unlawful detention claim fails for the following reasons: first, Defendant Officers Otten, D'Amato, and MacFarlane had no personal involvement in the decision to remove Simmons from the residence or to hold him at the police station; second, Defendant Piechocki had no involvement in the decision to hold Simmons at the police station for so long; and third, Plaintiff's arrest and entire detention were reasonable. Alternatively, Defendant Officers argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity.

         A. Plaintiff's Initial Detention at the Residence

         Whether Simmons is entitled to summary judgment on his unlawful detention claim with respect to his initial detention at the residence depends on whether Defendant D'Amato acted within constitutional strictures in approaching Simmons with his gun drawn, demanding that he raise his hands, and detaining him on the floor of the basement. If there was no constitutional violation, then none of the other Defendant Officers can be liable (and neither can Defendant City of Chicago).

         Officers executing a search warrant are permitted, while a proper search is conducted, to detain occupants of the premises without probable cause or particular suspicion that an individual is involved in criminal activity or poses a specific danger to the officers. Michigan v. Summers, 452 U.S. 692, 702-705 (1981); Muehler v. Mena, 544 U.S. 93, 98 (2005). An individual subjected to a Summers detention need not own or even reside at the premises; it is enough that he or she is present as a visitor when officers execute the warrant at a residence “that a neutral magistrate had found probable cause to believe contained evidence of illegal . . . activities.” See, U.S. v. Pace, 898 F.2d 1218, 1239 (7th Cir. 1990) (reasoning that the defendants' connections as visitors “to the condominium gave the officers ‘an easily identifiable and certain basis'” for detaining them during the search) (quoting Summers, 452 U.S. at 703-04); cf. Bailey v. U.S., 133 S.Ct. 1031, 1043 (2013) (Scalia, J., concurring) (defining “occupants” as “persons within ‘the immediate vicinity of the premises to be searched'”).

         Therefore, there is ample evidence supporting a jury finding that Officer D'Amato's initial detention of Simmons in the basement of the residence was reasonable. As such, the Court denies Plaintiff's Motion as to his initial detention.

         B. The Handcuffing and Further Detention Of Plaintiff at the Residence

         Whether Simmons is entitled to summary judgment on his unlawful detention claim with respect to his handcuffing and further detention at the residence turns on the reasonableness of, first, D'Amato's brief continued detention of Simmons after Officer Derouin was shot; and second, MacFarlane's subsequent decision to handcuff and then continue detaining Simmons for several minutes. If both officers acted reasonably, then neither they nor the other Defendants can be liable.

         The facts presented to the Court indicate that, within a minute or so of the shooting of Officer Derouin, Defendant MacFarlane assumed custody of Simmons from Defendant D'Amato and handcuffed him for, among other reasons, officer safety. MacFarlane continued to detain Simmons for several minutes until the scene was secure and unknown officers relieved him, and Piechocki later ordered Simmons's removal in handcuffs to the police station. Analyzing the reasonableness of Simmons's continued detention at the residence might proceed down two paths.

         The first extends the Summers rationale to authorize his detention (by D'Amato and then MacFarlane) even after the shooting of Officer Derouin. The Court notes that use of handcuffs is reasonable to effectuate a Summers seizure when “the governmental interest in minimizing the risk of harm to both officers and occupants [is] at its maximum.” Muehler, 544 U.S. at 93-94. Such was the government's interest immediately after the shooting of Officer Derouin. Further, the Seventh Circuit has analogized a detention under Summers to a Terry stop. See, U.S. v. Burns, 37 F.3d 276, 281 (7th Cir. 1995). As such, the latitude afforded officers conducting a Terry stop “to take such steps as [are] reasonably necessary to protect their personal safety and to maintain the status quo during the course of the stop, ” U.S. v. Hensley, 469 U.S. 221, 235 (1985), would seem to apply to the situation here. See, Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989) (permitting “some degree of physical coercion” in making an investigatory stop). Thus, to the extent the search warrant was still being executed despite the shooting and during Simmons's handcuffing and continued detention at the residence, he was reasonably detained under Summers without triggering the legal framework governing arrests.

         Under the second reading, the shooting of Officer Derouin immediately suspended the search pursuant to the warrant, and the residence instead became an active crime scene such that Summers cannot bless Simmons's continued detention there. The Court harbors doubts about keying reasonableness to such an artificial on/off switch where police are presented with the kind of dangerous, fluid scenario that confronted Defendant Officers at the residence during the chaos immediately following the shooting. But it nonetheless undertakes a non-Summers analysis in light of certain undisputed facts presented to the Court that suggest suspension of the search (i.e., a different group of officers had to complete the search around 3:00 a.m. on March 10, 2014, while Simmons was in lockup). Suspending the categorical Summers rule, the Court must determine whether it was reasonable for D'Amato to detain Simmons after the shooting and for MacFarlane then to handcuff and continue detaining him, and whether the force used to conduct Simmons's seizure transformed it into an arrest for which probable cause was required.

         The officers could have had individualized suspicion under Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968), to detain and handcuff Simmons immediately after the shooting. The touchstone of reasonable suspicion supporting a soi-disant Terry stop is whether “a reasonably prudent man in the circumstances would be warranted in the belief that his safety or that of others was in danger.” Terry, 392 U.S. at 27 (citations omitted). Here, immediately after Officer Derouin's shooting, his gun came to rest within a few feet of Simmons. Although no one disputes that Simmons had theretofore posed no threat to police, a jury could certainly find it reasonable in these circumstances to believe that anyone found in the house was potentially dangerous to police and that leaving them unrestrained near weapons posed a threat to officer safety. And, of course, Defendant MacFarlane did not need probable cause to handcuff Simmons, because handcuffing alone does not ipso facto signify an arrest. Particularly in the Seventh Circuit, the permissible scope of a Terry stop may include the use of handcuffs. See, Jewett v. Anders, 521 F.3d 818, 826-827 (7th Cir. 2008); U.S. v. Stewart, 388 F.3d 1079, 1084 (citing U.S. v. Vega, 72 F.3d 507, 515 (7th Cir. 1995)).

         Alternatively, the officers might rely on Illinois v. Lidster, 540 U.S. 419 (2004), to justify a suspicionless detention of Simmons. In judging the reasonableness of a suspicionless seizure, courts must “look to ‘the gravity of the public concerns served by the seizure, the degree to which the seizure advances the public interest, and the severity of the interference with individual liberty.'” Lidster, 540 U.S. at 426-27 (quoting Brown v. Texas,443 U.S. 47, 50 (1979)). First, the public concerns served by Simmons's seizure were grave. Officer Derouin had just been shot while executing the search warrant for the residence, and testimony (undisputed for the purposes of this Motion) establishes that Derouin's sidearm came to rest ...

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