United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
Eddie L. Bolden, Plaintiff,
City of Chicago, Michael Baker, Joseph Barnes, Edward Hicks, Michael Kill, James Oliver, Angelo Pesavento, Michael Rowan, Edward Siwek, and Barbara Temple, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
S. SHAH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Eddie L. Bolden had served 22 years of a life sentence when
his murder conviction was reversed, charges against him were
dismissed, and he received a certificate of innocence. Bolden
now brings claims against several Chicago police officers and
the City of Chicago. The defendant officers and city move to
dismiss the complaint in part. For the following reasons, the
officers’ motion is granted in part and denied in part.
The city’s motion is denied.
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 construe 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
spent 22 years in prison for crimes he did not commit-the
murders of Derrick Frazier and Ledell Clayton, and the
attempted murder of Clifford Frazier.  ¶¶ 1,
In January of 1994, the Fraziers and Ledell Clayton attempted
to sell multi-kilograms of cocaine. Id. ¶ 12.
Clifford Frazier kept lookout while the other two entered a
nearby J&J Fish Restaurant. Id. ¶ 13. All
three men were heavily armed. Id. ¶ 12. When
the prospective drug purchaser arrived, he, Derrick Frazier,
and Clayton, drove off in Derrick Frazier’s car.
Id. ¶ 13. While in the backseat, the buyer shot
and killed both Derrick Frazier and Clayton. Id.
¶ 15. He then returned to the original scene and
exchanged gunfire with Clifford Frazier, shooting Frazier in
the back. Id. At all relevant times, Bolden was
inside J&J Fish playing a video game. Id. ¶
16. He was there when Clifford Frazier ran into the
restaurant for help, and Bolden called 911 from the phone
inside the restaurant to report Frazier’s injuries.
Id. ¶ 16.
the defendant officers arrived, they interviewed several
witnesses, including Bolden. Id. ¶
None of the witnesses identified Bolden, or anyone matching
Bolden’s description, as the man who shot Frazier.
Id. ¶ 17. Tenesha Gatson, who worked at J&J
Fish, told the defendant officers that Bolden had remained at
the restaurant throughout the evening and was there when
Frazier entered after being shot. Id. ¶ 18. The
officers failed to investigate Gatson’s statements or
conduct follow-up interviews with any of the witnesses who
could have corroborated Bolden’s alibi. Id.
¶ 41. Officers also interviewed Vondell Goins, who had
been inside J&J Fish at the time of the shooting, but did
not ask her about Bolden. Id. ¶ 42. Had she
been asked, Goins would have explained that she was speaking
with Bolden inside the restaurant both when she heard the
shooting outside and when Frazier entered the restaurant.
Id. Officers took down the name of Todd Henderson,
who witnessed the fight between Frazier and his attacker and
who, at the time, could have described the attacker.
Id. ¶ 44. The officers never questioned or
followed up with him. Id. The defendant officers
also interviewed, but never attempted to contact, at least
one other witness and failed to interview another owner of
J&J Fish who could have corroborated Bolden’s
story. Id. ¶¶ 43, 45.
Frazier told defendant officers that he had gotten a good
look at the shooter, who he described as between 5 foot 10
inches and 6 feet tall, clean-shaven, with a light
complexion, low-cut hair, and a medium build. Id.
¶ 19. Bolden was 6 feet 2 inches tall, very thin, and
bald, with a dark complexion and a moustache. Id.
Frazier met with a sketch artist, and the resulting picture
looked nothing like Bolden. Id. ¶ 20. The
defendant officers showed Frazier a photo array, which
included a photo of Bolden, and Frazier did not recognize
anyone in any of the photos. Id. ¶ 24. Around
the same time of the photo array, defendants Higgins and
Rowan signed a police report indicating that they learned
from Derrick Frazier that a man named Anthony Williams had
been involved in the murders and that “Lanier”
(Lynier is Bolden’s middle name) was with Williams
prior to the incident. Id. ¶ 23. Derrick
Frazier, of course, was dead at this time; this evidence was
fabricated to frame Bolden. Id.
learning he was wanted for questioning, Bolden hired an
attorney to represent him during his encounter with the
police. Id. ¶ 26. The lawyer accompanied Bolden
to the Area 2 Violent Crimes Unit, where the defendant
officers instructed them to wait in the waiting room.
Id. ¶¶ 26–27. While there, defendant
Oliver walked Frazier directly past Bolden and his lawyer so
Frazier could see Bolden. Id. ¶ 27. The
defendant officers then asked Bolden to participate in a
lineup, and he agreed on the condition that his lawyer could
be present. Id. ¶ 28. Defendant officers said
they would allow the attorney to be present, but when he
attempted to enter the viewing room alongside Bolden,
defendant Pesavento physically blocked his path. Id.
¶¶ 28, 30. Twice during the lineup, officer Karl
asked Bolden, “you, Eddie Bolden, right?”
Id. ¶ 31. Defendants Barnes, Pesavento, and at
least one other defendant officer witnessed Karl’s
actions and allowed the lineup to proceed. Id.
¶ 31. Frazier identified Bolden, who was subsequently
arrested and charged. Id. ¶ 32.
Bolden was held in a room prior to be being sent to the
lockup, defendant Kill entered, looked at Bolden, and
laughed, noting that Bolden was bald-presumably because
Frazier had previously described the shooter as having hair.
Id. ¶ 33. Around the same time, Bolden asked
Karl to bring defendant Oliver into the room because Oliver
had seen Bolden inside J&J Fish after the shootings and
could corroborate his alibi. Id. ¶ 34. Karl
responded, “he doesn’t remember” and kicked
the door to the room shut. Id.
recovered two firearms during the investigation, Clifford
Frazier’s .40 caliber pistol recovered from inside the
J&J Fish and a nine millimeter pistol from
Frazier’s Cadillac nearby. Id. ¶ 35. The
state’s ballistic expert concluded that the recovered
firearms did not fire the deadly shots.  at 16 n.
After Bolden’s attorney requested production of these
weapons, the defendant officers destroyed them.  ¶
36. The .40 caliber pistol recovered from J&J Fish was
the firearm Frazier had with him while he was chased by the
true perpetrator.  at 17 n. 10. At trial, Frazier
testified that the perpetrator grabbed the firearm from him
and hit him over the head with it, meaning the firearm could
have contained the perpetrator’s fingerprints.
defendant officers destroyed defendant Temple’s notes
from interviews she conducted inside J&J Fish on the
night of the murders, including interviews with Bolden and
with Frazier before he went to the hospital.  ¶ 37.
And although Bolden’s attorney informed the defendant
officers that Bolden had made a 911 call on the night of the
murders, and that there would be a recording of that call,
the defendants intentionally failed to act on that
information. Id. ¶ 38. The recording was
destroyed pursuant to the City of Chicago’s policy at
the time, which called for destruction of 911 recordings
after 30 days absent a request for preservation. Id.
October of 1996, Bolden was tried before a jury. Id.
¶ 46. The only evidence directly implicating him was
fabricated by the defendant officers, including Clifford
Frazier’s false identification in a tainted lineup-no
physical or forensic evidence linked Bolden to the crimes.
Id. ¶ 2. Despite Clifford Frazier’s
confession to his involvement in a large drug deal, and to
being part of a larger drug conspiracy, he was never charged
with any crime. Id. ¶ 47. Instead, the
defendant officers overlooked Frazier’s illegal conduct
in exchange for his false testimony against Bolden.
Id. The defendant officers intentionally withheld
information about this benefit and other benefits-such as the
personal protection Frazier received-from Bolden.
Id. The defendant officers also offered perjured
testimony about the propriety of the lineup. Id.
was found guilty, and in December 1996, was sentenced to a
natural life term for the murders, to run consecutively to a
thirty-year sentence for the attempted murder. Id.
¶ 48. The convictions remained in place, and Bolden was
in custody until the charges were dismissed in April 2016.
Id. ¶ 51.
Due Process (Count I)
alleges that the defendant officers destroyed exculpatory
evidence in bad faith, fabricated a false identification
through a faulty lineup, and failed to ...