United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
VERTULIE LAPRE, Administrator of the Estate of Okoi Ofem, Plaintiff,
CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Virginia M. Kendall United States District Court Judge.
Vertulie Lapre, Estate Administrator, through her counsel
brought this suit against Defendant City of Chicago and
Defendant Officers pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 after
her son Okoi Ofem committed suicide while detained after his
arrest at the City's District 4 Lockup. The Parties
stipulated and dismissed with prejudice all claims against
the individual officers. (Dkt. 115.) The City now moves for
summary judgment on the remaining claim: Count III of the
First Amended Complaint alleging a Monell claim
against the City. For the following reasons, the Court grants
the City's Motion for Summary Judgment against Lapre.
parties do not dispute the following facts unless otherwise
Ofem's Arrest and Suicide
September 12, 2013 around 1:37 PM, Chicago Police Officers
arrested Okoi Ofem (“Ofem.”) (Dkt. 122, ¶
8.) Ofem was taken to the District 4 Lockup for processing.
(Dkt. 122, ¶ 9.) Per policy, lockup personnel took
Ofem's shoelaces, belt, and keys and placed them into
inventory. (Dkt. 122, ¶ 14.) Ofem's Processing
Report states that he did not appear to be despondent or
irrational. (Dkt. 120-6, at 5.) The Report also states that
Ofem reported that he had not attempted suicide or serious
harm to himself, and he did not have any serious medical or
mental problems. (Id.) He was placed in Cell A-3, a
one person cell. (Id.) At no point from his arrival
to his criminal court visit did Ofem inform any Chicago
Police personnel that he was contemplating self-harm or
suicide. (Dkt. 122, ¶ 19.) Early the next
morning, on September 13, Ofem left the Lockup to visit the
criminal court. (Id. ¶ 16.) On his ride back,
he did not indicate any change in suicidal or self-harm
ideation. (Id. ¶ 22.) However, he returned from
court around 10:00 AM “surprised” according to
Officer James Carrillo. Ofem asked what was happening, and
Carrillo told him that to the best of his knowledge Ofem had
been sent to the wrong court. (Dkt. 124-18, 10:3-15:11.) Ofem
had been charged with a misdemeanor, not a felony. Carrillo
told Ofem that Ofem would have to go to court at 26th and
California. (Dkt. 122, ¶ 38.) Carrillo asked Ofem if he
wanted anything to eat, and Ofem declined. (Id.
¶ 26.) Ofem still did not inform Carrillo or any officer
that he was contemplating suicide or self-harm. (Id.
Lockup's logs from that day show that someone visually
inspected Ofem every 15 minutes between 10:00 AM and 12:45
At least some of these visual checks happened in person. Mary
Grobarcik, District Station Supervisor, conducted a
walk-through of the Lockup at 11:30 AM. (Id.
¶¶ 31, 35-36.) During each in-person check, Ofem
was asked if he would like something to eat. Each time, Ofem
refused. (Id. ¶ 37.) At 12:45 PM, Carrillo
checked on Ofem in person, along with Detention Aide Dennis
Graham. Ofem stood off to the side, fully-clothed. (Dkt.
120-6, 102:9-103:8.) At 1:00 PM, Carrillo again checked on
Ofem, this time through the livestream video monitor.
(Id., 101:13-23.) At that time, only one of the
eight video monitors at the Lock-up personnel desk worked.
The monitor's camera did not depict a clear picture.
(Dkt. 133, ¶ 12.) At approximately 1:10 PM, Graham
looked at the video monitor. He noticed Ofem hanging from his
cell. (Dkt. 122, ¶ 49.)
and Graham went to Ofem's cell. They discovered that Ofem
had used his jeans to tie a noose around his neck. Ofem tied
the other end to the horizontal bar in his cell such that the
cell door could not easily open. (Id. ¶¶
50-51.) Officer Carrillo yanked the cell door several times
to open it. Graham took a pocket knife and cut the jeans from
Ofem's neck. Officer James Mangan ran to call for medical
assistance. (Id. ¶¶ 52-54.) The suicide
occurred less than ten minutes but “probably less than
five minutes” before they found him. (Id.
¶¶ 70, 73.)
the jeans were removed from his neck, Ofem let out a groan.
Carrillo administered chest compressions. (Id.
¶ 55.) The paramedics arrived, and Ofem still had a
pulse. (Id. ¶ 57.) He was transported to
Trinity Hospital but died from the injuries he sustained.
(Id. ¶ 58.)
September 12 and 13 of 2013, Chicago detention facilities
operated under Special Order S06-01-02, issued by the Chicago
Police Department, governing the facilities' procedures
and responsibilities (“Special Order”). (Dkt.
120-25.) Among other responsibilities, the Special Order
provides that lockup personnel will:
7. [P]rior to accepting any arrestee, conduct an initial
inspection of the subject following the Guidelines for
Arrestee Screening and Monitoring
8. [I]f screening process indicates that the arrestee is
perceived to be mentally/chemically impaired or suicidal, the
station supervisor will be notified immediately.
9. [N]ot accept any arrestee…who has
injuries…that may require hospitalization or the
immediate attention of a healthcare professional…
13. [C]omplete the intake screening questions process
following the Guidelines for Arrestee Screening and
(Dkt. 120-125, at 2.) Further, the Special Order notes that,
in instances where an arrestee responds “yes” to
the arrestee questions of “attempted suicide/serious
harm, ” or the visual check determines the arrestee to
be despondent, the lockup personnel will check the
corresponding box. When the arrestee was a “present or
prior” danger to themselves “i.e. attempt
suicide, caused harm to self, despondent, ” lockup
personnel was to place the arrestee in a cell closest to the
lockup keeper. (Id., at 3, ¶¶ 16-18.) The
Special Order also provides that personnel will:
23. [C]omplete a visual check of every arrestee
every 15 minutes following the Guidelines
for Arrestee Screening and Monitoring chart and record the
time of each inspection, a concise statement of conditions
found, notable occurrences, actions take [sic], if any, and
the initials and employee identification number on the
(Id.) (emphasis in original). Finally, the Order
requires the Station Supervisor to ensure the above and
“at a minimum, independently conduct thorough
inspections of the lockups and arrestees at least four (4)
times per tour….” (Id., at 4.) At the