United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
S. Shah United States District Judge.
Aaron Blocker, proceeding pro se, asserts several civil
rights claims against the City of Chicago, city officials,
and police officers. The defendants move to dismiss all
claims against them. Blocker responded with a motion for
summary judgment. For the following reasons, defendants'
motion to dismiss is granted and Blocker's motion for
summary judgment is denied.
must construe pro se complaints liberally and hold them to a
less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers. Arnett v. Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 751 (7th
Cir. 2011). The essence of liberal construction is to give a
pro se plaintiff a break when, although he stumbles on a
technicality, his pleading is otherwise understandable.
Hudson v. McHugh, 148 F.3d 859, 864 (7th Cir. 1998).
But to survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain factual
allegations that plausibly suggest a right to relief.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009). The
court must accept all factual allegations as true and draw
all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, but
the court need not accept legal conclusions or conclusory
allegations. Id. at 678-79. Blocker's affidavit
(and exhibits) submitted with his complaint are considered
part of his complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c).
Aaron Blocker alleges that shortly after he arrived at his
mother's home on the evening of August 8, 2014, Chicago
police officers Scott Digrazia, Thomas Fennell, and others
entered (without knocking) to execute a search warrant. When
the officers entered the residence, Blocker was coming out of
the bathroom. An officer detained Blocker, slammed him to the
ground, put handcuffs on him, and then dragged Blocker from
the hallway to the living room to search him. A few minutes
later, Officers Digrazia and Fennell escorted Blocker to a
rear room of the residence. Once there, Officer Fennell asked
Blocker if there was anything illegal in the house, and
Blocker responded “No, not to my knowledge.”
Officer Digrazia then threatened that if Blocker did not
cooperate, they would “tear his mothers' residence
apart from top to bottom” and whatever they found would
be charged to Blocker. Officer Fennell then escorted Blocker
to the backyard while Officer Digrazia and others searched
the home, recovering several “illegal items”
throughout the residence and causing destruction to the
structure of the residence and personal property located
within it. Officer Fennell told Blocker that he would be
charged for these illegal items and attempted to coerce
Blocker into providing information about any known illegal
activity that would lead to an arrest, in exchange for
was then transported to District 005 and placed in a cold
holding cell for several hours without heat, a blanket, or
proper clothing. Before being fingerprinted, Blocker demanded
to be informed of the charges against him, to place a call to
his attorney or family, and to be taken to the nearest judge
before being fingerprinted, but Officer Digrazia became
frustrated with Blocker and placed him in a colder holding
cell for twelve additional hours for “refusal to be
processed.” Blocker finally agreed to be fingerprinted
and processed in exchange for two phone calls, adequate
clothing, and a warmer cell. Blocker was fingerprinted and
transported to Cook County Jail, where he remained until his
release on December 1, 2015, after a Cook County Judge ruled
that there was no probable cause for the issuance of the
search warrant and that the good faith exception did not
apply. Blocker's motion for a Certificate of Innocence
under 735 ILCS 5/2-702 was denied in March 2016.
September 2014, Blocker sent a complaint to the Independent
Police Review Authority about Officers Digrazia and Fennell.
Two months later, Blocker filed a complaint with the Chicago
Police Department Internal Affairs Division, alleging that
Officers Digrazia and Fennell engaged in
misconduct. Sergeant Mark Lamberg was responsible for
investigating Blocker's complaint. Over the next two
years, Blocker and his family repeatedly and unsuccessfully
attempted to contact Sergeant Lamberg about the status of the
investigation, with Blocker making a final attempt in
2016, Blocker sent Anna Valencia, the Chicago City Clerk, a
claim seeking $600, 000 in compensation due for the police
officers' alleged acts in August 2014. A few days later,
Blocker received a letter from Patrick Harmon, a City claims
adjuster, stating that his claim could not be processed.
Blocker alleges that Harmon said his claim could not be
processed because the statute of limitations had passed. 
¶ 42. However, the letter (attached to Blocker's
complaint) stated that the Claims Unit received Blocker's
claim but that it did not fall within the three types of
claims accepted by the Claims Unit, which were: (1) motor
vehicle accidents involving personal injury or property
damage; (2) general liability claims involving property
damage, such as vehicle damage from a road condition; and (3)
general liability claims involving personal injury, such as a
fall on public property.  at 73. On Blocker's summary
of events submitted with his claim, a post-it note stated
“1 year statue [sic] of limitation.”  at 77;
 at 24.
brought suit in January 2017, , and later amended his
complaint, , bringing claims against Officers Digrazia
and Fennell for his treatment during the search, his arrest,
and detention (Counts I and II); a Monell claim
against the City of Chicago and Chicago Police Superintendent
Eddie Johnson (Count III); a Fourteenth Amendment due process
claim against Sergeant Lamberg, Anna Valencia, and Patrick
Harmon (Count IV); and a tort claim under Illinois law
consisting of multiple causes of action against all
defendants (Count V). Blocker also submitted an affidavit in
support of his amended complaint. . Defendants move to
dismiss all claims against them. .
Motion to Strike
responded to the defendants' motion by moving for summary
judgment and submitting several exhibits, , as well as a
statement of undisputed facts. . Because discovery has
not yet commenced, summary judgment is premature, and I deny
Blocker's motion for summary judgment. Instead, his
motion for summary judgment and supporting materials are
construed as his opposition brief to the defendants'
motion to dismiss. Although the defendants seek to strike
Blocker's submission as unresponsive to their motion, I
decline to strike it because Blocker addresses several of the
defendants' arguments for dismissal.
Claims Against Officers ...