United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge
Stephan Julian brings this § 1983 false arrest action
against Defendants Sergeant Franklin D. Paz, Maurice
Anderson, and the City of Chicago alleging violations of the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Currently before the Court
is Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment .
For the reasons that follow, the Court denies Plaintiff's
motion for partial summary judgment . This case is set
for further status hearing on March 21, 2017 at 9:00 a.m.
following facts are drawn primarily from the parties'
Local Rule 56.1 statements, , , , and . On
October 25, 2013, Defendants Paz and Anderson, police
officers employed by the City of Chicago, were assisting the
City of Chicago Department of Buildings with a
“blitz” operation. [50, at ¶ 18.] The
operation consisted of inspecting targeted properties on or
near the 7300 block of South Dorchester Avenue and serving
emergency vacate orders on certain houses deemed
uninhabitable or unsafe, including the house at 7329 South
Dorchester Avenue (“the 7329 House”).
[Id. at ¶ 19.] Defendants contend that the
operation took place in an extremely dangerous area of
Chicago, on a block that is known for public violence and
shootings, including shootings of police officers. [59, at
¶ 1.] Defendants further contend that the 7329 House was
a known gang and drug house where Defendants Paz and Anderson
had previously executed a search warrant for illegal guns and
that one resident of the house was a documented gang member
who had previously been arrested on gun charges. [59, at
¶¶ 2-3.] Defendant Paz's duties included
assisting and supervising the activities of the Chicago
Police Department's Auto Theft Unit and Animal Control.
[See 50, at ¶¶ 40-41; 58, at ¶¶ 40-41.]
Defendant Paz's was also in charge of informing other
police officers what work needed to be done. Defendant
Anderson testified that Defendant Paz was the team leader
that day and thus it was his responsibility to see to the
preservation of the scene and the safety of his team. [59, at
date of the incident, Plaintiff's friend/ex-girlfriend,
Carolyn Bridget, resided at 7329 South Dorchester Avenue.
[50, at ¶ 22.] Plaintiff received a call from Bridget,
who told him that the police were forcing her to gather her
possession and leave her house so that they could board it
up. [Id. at ¶ 23.] Plaintiff contends that when
he arrived at the scene and attempted to enter the gate
leading to the front yard of the 7329 House, an unidentified
police officer told him that he could not enter.
[Id. at ¶ 25.]
to Defendants, Plaintiff approached Defendant Paz at the 7329
House, identified himself as an attorney, and said he
represented Bridget. [59, at ¶ 9.] Defendant Paz
testified that Plaintiff refused to provide identification,
stood in Defendant Paz's way, and kept asking questions
and demanding information. [Id. at ¶¶
10-12.] Defendant Paz alleges that Plaintiff was preventing
him from doing his job and conducting the investigation, so
he asked Plaintiff to leave. [Id. at ¶¶
12-13.] According to Defendant Paz, he told Plaintiff to
“step away and allow us to continue the
investigation” somewhere between four and ten times,
but Plaintiff continued moving toward Defendant Paz and the
investigation, getting within one or two feet of Defendant
Paz, pointing at his face, and yelling. [See 58, at
¶¶ 60-61.] Finally, Defendant Paz warned Plaintiff
that if he did not move away, he would be arrested.
[Id. at ¶ 20.] Plaintiff still refused to
leave, so Defendant Paz ordered Defendant Anderson to arrest
him for obstructing his investigation, and Defendant Anderson
“denies that he engaged in any ‘obstructive
activities.'” [64, at ¶13.] The parties
disagree about how long the incident between Plaintiff and
Defendant Paz lasted, but it was somewhere between five and
fifteen minutes. [50, at ¶ 53.] The entire blitz
operation went on from about 8:30 a.m. until after 2:00 p.m.
[50, at ¶ 53.] Plaintiff asserts that he remained on the
public sideway during the incident, [50, at ¶ 26], but a
neighbor of Bridget testified in his deposition that he saw
Plaintiff coming out of the 7329 House. [59 Exhibit D, at
arrest report from the incident states that Plaintiff was
observed loitering in an area where the police were
conducting an investigation involving multiple gang houses.
[50, at ¶ 57.] The report indicates that Plaintiff was
asked to leave the area of the investigation but refused,
causing the investigation to be interrupted. [Id.]
The charges were terminated in Plaintiff's favor on
November 21, 2013. On September 15, 2014, Plaintiff brought
this § 1983 action against Defendants, alleging false
arrest and violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights. Defendants raised the affirmative defense of
qualified immunity, along with other affirmative defenses.
[26.] On April 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion for partial
summary judgment, which is currently before the Court. [48.]
judgment is proper where there is “no 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). The party seeking summary judgment has
the burden of establishing the lack of any genuine issue of
material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In evaluating a motion for summary
judgment, the Court will construe all facts in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Bell v.
Taylor, 827 F.3d 699, 704 (7th Cir. 2016). However,
“[c]onclusory allegations alone cannot defeat a motion
for summary judgment.” Thomas v. Christ Hosp. &
Med. Ctr., 328 F.3d 890, 892 (7th Cir. 2003).
argues that he is entitled to summary judgment because even
accepting Defendant's version of the facts and assuming
that he did ask Defendant Paz questions, yell, demand
information, and refuse to leave the scene when ordered to do
so, Defendants Paz and Anderson did not have probable cause
to arrest him for obstructing a police officer. Defendants
argue that a reasonable jury could conclude that Defendants
Paz and Anderson had probable cause justifying the arrest.
Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires an arrest
to be supported by probable cause. Henry v. United
States, 361 U.S. 98, 100 (1959). “Probable cause
exists if the facts and circumstances known to the officer
warrant a prudent man in believing that an offense has been
committed.” Id. at 102; Qian v.
Kautz, 168 F.3d 949, 953 (7th Cir. 1999). The existence
of probable cause is a mixed question of law and fact.
Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 696 (1996).
As long as the officer's belief is reasonable, it need
not be correct. Texas v. Brown, 460 U.S. 730, 742
offense at issue in this case is obstructing a peace officer.
Under Illinois law, “[a] person who knowingly resists
or obstructs the performance by one known to the person to be
a peace officer * * * of any authorized act within his or her
official capacity commits a Class A misdemeanor.” 720
ILCS 5/31-1(a). Illinois courts used to treat this statute as
not applying to mere arguments with an officer, but rather
only proscribing “some physical act which imposes an
obstacle which may impeded, hinder, interrupt, prevent or
delay the performance of the officer's duties, such as
going limp, forcefully resisting arrest or physically aiding
a third party to avoid arrest.” People v.
Raby, 240 N.E.2d 595, 599 (Ill. 1968). However, in
People v. Baskerville, the Illinois Supreme Court
clarified the meaning of “obstruct” in the
context of this statute. 963 N.E.2d 898, 902-906 (Ill. 2012).
The Court acknowledged that most cases specifically
addressing obstructing a peace officer involved a physical
act. However, the ...