United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
CHARLES P. KOCORAS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are three motions to dismiss Plaintiff Ezra
Hill's (“Hill”) complaint pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) by Defendants City of Harvey
(“Harvey”), Officer Gregory Thomas
(“Thomas”), Harvey Deputy Police Chief Jason
Banks (“Banks”), Cook County, Assistant
State's Attorney Liam Reardon (“Reardon”)
(collectively, “Defendants”). For the following
reasons, the motions to dismiss are denied.
following facts are taken from Hill's complaint and are
assumed to be true for purposes of this motion to dismiss.
Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995).
The Court draws all reasonable inferences in favor of Hill.
Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir.
March 12, 2014, at approximately 10:31 a.m., Eric Bond
(“Bond”) was driving a stolen Honda Civic
(“the Civic”) on Center Avenue, just north of
East 146th Street in Harvey, Illinois when he spotted a black
Oldsmobile Intrigue (“the Intrigue”) behind him.
Though Hill owned the Intrigue, he was not inside the car at
the time, as he had lent it to Andrew White
(“White”) and Antonio Johnson
(“Johnson”) earlier that morning. Also in the
Civic with Bond were Alquan McReynolds
(“McReynolds”) and Ahmad Thornton
(“Thornton”). Due to a pre-existing conflict
between the parties, White and Johnson emerged from the
Intrigue and opened fire on the Civic. According to the
complaint, White fired 6 bullets from a .38 Smith and Wesson
Long Nose Revolver and Johnson fired 6 times from a .38
caliber Snub Nose Revolver.
sped off in the stolen Civic after the melee, ultimately
colliding with a Ford Mustang at the intersection of East
147th Street and Center Avenue. Bond, McReynolds and Thornton
then separately fled the scene of the collision on foot and
were each subsequently apprehended by Harvey Police Officers.
White and Johnson drove away from the scene and parked in the
driveway of White's residence in Harvey. Officers Banks
and Thomas arrived at the White residence roughly 20 minutes
after the shooting, where they encountered White and Johnson
sitting in the Intrigue.
arresting White and Johnson, Thomas searched the Intrigue and
discovered a Benelli M4 semi-automatic shotgun (“the
shotgun”) in the trunk. Thomas inventoried the shotgun
as having six live rounds in it, which is the capacity for
that particular weapon. After officers completed a search of
the Intrigue, White and Johnson were transported to the
Harvey police station. Upon arriving at the police station,
White and Johnson participated in an identification lineup
and then were subsequently separated - Johnson was placed in
a cell, White in an interrogation room. According to the
complaint, it is at this moment that Thomas, Banks and
Reardon concocted their scheme to fabricate a case against
was the first person to be questioned by Thomas and Reardon
at approximately 5:03 p.m. on the evening of March 12.
Following the interview with McReynolds, Thomas created a
Police Continuation Report (“McReynolds report”)
that stated that McReynolds identified Johnson and White, but
that “he did not see very clearly” another
passenger in the Intrigue. However, the McReynolds report
noted that McReynolds stated that the third person
“appeared to be” Hill.
their interview with McReynolds, Thomas and Reardon
questioned Thornton at 5:17 p.m. According to another report
prepared by Thomas, Thornton observed White driving the
Intrigue, with Hill in the back seat and Johnson
“standing next to the black Oldsmobile on the
passenger's side…and pointing a black handgun
toward the vehicle [sic] was occupied by him, Bond and
McReynolds, Alquan.” Thornton's report contradicted
the McReynolds' report, the latter allegedly claiming
that three individuals were outside of the car firing guns at
their interviews with McReynolds and Thornton, Thomas and
Reardon questioned Bond. Bond admitted to Thomas that on the
morning of March 12, 2014, he gave a fake name to the
arresting officer, Officer Jeffery Tibbs
(“Tibbs”), because he had an outstanding warrant.
Following his interview with Bond, Thomas created a report to
memorialize their discussion. In the report, Bond allegedly
claimed that he observed White exit from the driver's
seat of the Intrigue, Hill exit from the driver's-side
back seat and Johnson exit the front passenger door. The
report further stated that Bond saw all three men with
weapons and all three fired at the Civic. The report
specifically stated that Bond observed Hill with a
interviewing Bond, Thomas and Reardon questioned White.
Present with White during the discussion was his mother
Elizabeth Kellogg (“Kellogg”). During the
questioning Hill alleged that Thomas and Reardon threatened
White to agree to their version of events or risk being
charged with multiple counts of attempted murder. Thomas and
Reardon pressured then fifteen-year-old White to state that
“Hill was in the car and fired the shotgun four
times.” Banks, also in the room for part of the
questioning, told White that they intended to tie the alleged
crime to Hill. Banks implored White to call Hill on his
cellular phone in an effort to entrap him. The complaint is
unclear as to whether White ever placed the call to Hill.
However, the complaint alleges that Thomas and Reardon
threatened White that he could be tried and sentenced as an
adult on multiple counts of attempted murder if he did not
support their version of events.
and Reardon prepared a statement for White to sign at 12:22
a.m., on Thursday, March 13, 2014, that implicated Hill.
White did not read the statement before signing it. However,
Hill contends that White repeatedly told Thomas, Banks, and
Reardon that Hill was not with them.
alleges that “at no point did the [Harvey policed
department] identify or produce any physical evidence that
could link Hill to the crime.” The complaint is
imprecise as to what evidence was presented to the grand jury
that indicted Hill. The complaint does make clear that both
McReynolds and Thornton testified before the grand jury, but
both delivered testimony that Hill argues contradicted the
official reports prepared by Thomas. Specifically, Hill
alleges that McReynolds testified that only White and Johnson
emerged from the Intrigue and fired on the Civic. Moreover,
McReynolds also testified that after identifying White and
Johnson in a lineup, he was instructed by Thomas and Banks to
pick Hill out of a photo composite with pictures of Hill and
five other men. McReynolds admitted to not knowing Hill well,
but picked Hill from the photo composite only because he was
instructed to do so. On the grand jury witness stand, when
asked directly if he saw Hill shooting at him, McReynolds
responded “no.” When asked if he saw Hill in the
car, he responded “I don't think I saw him in the
also admitted to the grand jury that he could only recall
“about like 10, 11” shots fired from the
Intrigue, and relayed that to Thomas. According to Hill,
Thomas insisted in his report, that
16 shots were fired - 12 from the revolvers, four from the
shotgun. At no point in Thornton's grand jury testimony
did he identify Hill as a participant in the crime. Instead,
Thornton's only testimony about Hill was merely that he
knew who Hill was, through a mutual acquaintance. At some
point, which is unclear from the complaint, the grand jury
returned an indictment for Hill's ...