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Kuri v. City of Chikago

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

October 30, 2017

ANTHONY KURI a.k.a. Ramsey Qurash, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          AMY J. ST. EVE, DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         On March 12, 2013, Plaintiff Anthony Kuri filed a First Amended Complaint alleging violations of his constitutional rights, along with supplemental state law claims, against Defendants City of Chicago and individual Chicago Police Officers.[1] After the parties conducted fact discovery and briefed the individual Defendant Officers' motion for summary judgment, the Executive Committee for the Northern District of Illinois reassigned this lawsuit to the Court on October 16, 2017. Before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a).

         For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion. The Court grants Defendants' motion in relation to Defendant Officers Thomas Kolman, Noe Sanchez, and Carmen Lopez due to their lack of involvement in the alleged constitutional violations and malicious prosecution. Otherwise, the Court denies the remainder of Defendants' summary judgment motion. As such, the remaining individual Defendant Officers in this lawsuit are Defendant Officers John Folino, Jr. and Timothy McDermott.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Anthony Kuri's present lawsuit stems from his arrest and prosecution for a shooting that occurred in July 2009 on the 4600 block of North Central Park Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. More specifically, just before midnight on July 23, 2009, a group of friends in their teens and twenties - some of whom were Latin Kings - were driving around in Tony Fernandez's mini-van. (R. 169, Defs.' Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 4; R. 181, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 2, 3.)[2] In the early hours of July 24, 2009, the driver of the mini-van, Guarav Patel, drove the vehicle to the 4600 block of North Central Park Avenue to drop off passenger Zay Russell at his home. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 5.) At that time, there were only three individuals left in the mini-van, namely, Patel, Russell, and Fernandez. (Id. ¶¶ 5, 8; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 25.) As Russell began to exit the mini-van, someone started shooting at the vehicle hitting Patel in the neck and Fernandez in the leg. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 6; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 6, 7.) Fernandez then took control of the mini-van and drove to Wilson Avenue, after which he and Russell got out and summoned help. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 7, Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 7, 8.) An ambulance took Patel and Fernandez to Illinois Masonic Hospital where Patel was pronounced dead. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 8; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 8.) Both Fernandez and Russell survived the shooting. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 8.)

         Chicago police detectives processed the crime scene where they found a Huffy brand bicycle. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 20.) The bicycle was processed for fingerprints and DNA testing, which excluded Plaintiff as having contributed to the DNA on the bike. (Id. ¶¶ 20, 49.) It is undisputed that no forensic evidence collected at the crime scene implicated Plaintiff in any respect. (Id. ¶ 49.)

         On either July 24 or 25, 2009, Defendant Detectives Timothy McDermott and John Folino were assigned to investigate the shooting. (Id. ¶ 13.) Initially, they reviewed the paperwork of the shooting, including General Progress Reports (“GPRs”) and other case reports. (Id.) According to the July 24 GPR (and August 4 Supplementary Report), on the night of the shooting, Russell told Defendants McDermott and Folino that he had been driving around in a van with Fernandez, Patel, and two Latin Kings. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 14.) Russell further stated that about a half an hour before the shooting, two Spanish Cobra gang members, nicknamed Chino and Funk, tried to start a fight with the individuals in the mini-van. (Id.) The police reports further indicate that after the shooting, Russell told the police officers that two unknown male Hispanics riding bikes approached the mini-van and yelled “King Killer.” (Id. ¶ 15.) The August 4, 2009 Supplemental Report about Russell's initial interview stated that “Russell may be able to recognize the offenders in the future, ” but he “could not add any additional information at this time.” (Id. ¶ 27.) There is also evidence in the record that Russell knew Plaintiff since they were young and that Fernandez “knew of” Plaintiff prior to the shooting. (Id. ¶ 11.) Both Russell and Fernandez saw the shooter on July 24, 2009 and initially told the police that they did not know who the shooter was. (Id. ¶ 9.)

         Meanwhile, Defendant Officers McDermott and Folino gathered information indicating that Spanish Cobras were a problem in the area of the shooting, and, in an attempt to identify the perpetrators, the detectives generated photo arrays to show witnesses. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 13.) On August 1, 2009, Defendants McDermott and Folino went to the hospital to interview Fernandez. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 14; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 17.) At that time, Defendant Officers brought photo arrays of Spanish Cobra gang members, after which Fernandez told the officers that the offenders were not in the photo arrays. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 14; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 17.) According to police reports, Fernandez told the detectives that he would be able to identify the two offenders and that he was willing to cooperate with the investigation. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts. ¶ 14; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 17, 27, 29.)

         On August 2, 2009, Defendants McDermott and Folino went to Russell's home to re-interview him about the shooting. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 15.) Defendants maintain that Russell told them “Little David” and “Rowdy” were the offenders. (Id.) Defendant Officers then learned that “Little David” was David Gomez and “Rowdy” was Plaintiff Anthony Kuri. (Id. ¶ 16.) According to Russell's testimony at Plaintiff's criminal trial, however, when Defendant Detectives were interviewing him, the detectives told him they already knew who committed the crime. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 34, 35.)[3] Russell further testified that he picked out Gomez and Kuri from photo arrays because the officers said “if I was to say that it was them then that they was going to give Tony Fernandez money for being a victim of a crime. So they told me to really just help Tony out.” (Id. ¶¶ 34, 35; R. 182-3, Russell Trial Tr., at 45; Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 48.) Also at Plaintiff's criminal trial, Russell testified that he did not make an identification of the offenders from the photo arrays because the “police officer already told me who they were.” (Russell Trial Tr., at 30.)

         Officers McDermott and Folino returned to the hospital to interview Fernandez on August 2, 2009. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 17.) Defendants maintain that at that time Fernandez picked Kuri from a photo array as being involved in the shooting. (Id.) At Kuri's criminal trial, however, Fernandez testified that he did not tell the police that Kuri was at the scene of the shooting. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 40.) In addition, Fernandez testified at his deposition in this lawsuit that the Defendant Officers showed him photographs of Kuri and Gomez and that these photos were already circled. (Id.; R. 182-2, Fernandez Dep., at 120-21.)

         According to a handwritten police report that was later entered into the CPD system on August 3, 2009, Chicago police officers received information from an individual in custody named Abdul Wachaa. (Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 19.) The handwritten report indicated that Wachaa told police Russell had called him after the shooting and told him that Kuri and Gomez were the offenders involved in the shooting. (Id.; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 32.) Wachaa's “tip” was memorialized as follows:

Offender [Wachaa] related 20 minutes before he arrived on scene he was on the cell phone with Zay Russell who was yelling and scared and told offender, Abdul, Abdul [Wachaa], Joe these niggas are trying to kill me, Lil David [Gomez] and Rowdy [Kuri] are in front of my house. They killed Indian Dude [Patel], and they shot TC [Fernandez] and dude in the neck three times, Rowdy was on the bike and Lil David was on the pegs, and Lil David jumped off the pegs and started shooting.” Offender [Wachaa] further related that he heard Zay Russell yelling at Indian Dude drive off or I'm going to slap you.

(Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 32.) At his deposition in this lawsuit, Defendant Folino testified that when he later interviewed Wachaa, he learned that the information Wachaa had provided was not firsthand information, but information Wachaa had heard on the street. (Id. ¶ 51; 182-14, Folino Dep., at 96; Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 24.) There was no indication in any police report that Defendants corroborated Wachaa's story. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 47; Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 24.)

         After August 3, 2009, Defendants McDermott and Folino issued investigative alerts for both Kuri and Gomez, and, on August 5, 2009, Chicago police arrested Kuri. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 21; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 52.) Defendants McDermott and Folino then interviewed Kuri at which time he denied knowledge or involvement in the shooting. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 21; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 52.) Also on August 5, 2009, Kuri voluntarily took a polygraph test. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 22; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 53.) The police officer who administered the polygraph test stated at her deposition that Kuri was not deceptive when answering certain questions, but that the test indicated Kuri was deceptive when answering question number 5. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 22; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 53; R. 169-2, Figueroa-Mitchell Dep, at 47; R. 182-32, Figueroa-Mitchell Dep., at 100-01.) Question number 5 asked - “Did you ride a bike to that van that the Indian kid was sitting in?” (Figueroa-Mitchell Dep, at 75.)

         After Kuri completed the polygraph examination on August 5, 2009, the police officers allowed him to go home. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 54.) On August 8, 2009, Russell went to the police station and viewed a lineup, after which he gave a statement implicating Kuri and Gomez. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 26.) On September 11, 2009, Kuri was charged with First Degree Murder based on an accountability theory. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 55; Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 31.) On September 25, 2009, Defendant Folino testified in front of the grand jury that eyewitnesses in this case told the police that (1) Kuri was riding a bike and Gomez was riding on the back pegs of the bike; and (2) when Kuri stopped, Gomez pointed a gun and fired at the mini-van. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 56; R. 182-26, Grand Jury Tr., at 5-6.) Evidence in the record, however, shows that the Huffy bike recovered from the scene of the shooting did not have back pegs. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 48.)

         Further, Fernandez testified in front of the grand jury stating that he identified both Gomez and Kuri from photo arrays. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 55, 56.) Moreover, although Russell also testified in the grand jury that he identified Gomez and Kuri from photo arrays, at the 2012 criminal trial, Russell stated that he lied to the grand jury to help Fernandez get money for being the victim of a crime. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 43, 49.) On October 2, 2009, a grand jury indictment charged Gomez and Kuri with First Degree Murder. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 32.) Police then took Kuri into custody, after which ...


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