United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey United States District Judge.
matter concerns the detention and treatment of Plaintiff
George Charles during a police search of his neighbor's
home. Plaintiff initiated this action against Defendant
Officers and the City of Chicago in January 2016 and asserts
the following claims: (I) Excessive Force and Failure to
Intervene, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (II)
Battery; (III) False Arrest and Failure to Intervene, in
violation of § 1983; (IV) False Imprisonment; (V)
Supervisory Liability under § 1983; (VI) liability for
the City of Chicago under state indemnification law; and
(VII) respondeat superior liability for the City. .
Defendants seek summary judgment with respect to Defendants
Lieutenant Wiberg and Officers Uldrych and Barango on Counts
I and II; summary judgment for all defendants on Counts III
and IV; summary judgment for Lieutenant Wiberg on Count V;
and summary judgment for the City of Chicago on Counts VI and
VII to the extent that any underlying claims are disposed of.
. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is
granted in part and denied in part.
19, 2014, Defendants Lieutenant Wiberg and Officers Ortiz,
Skarupinski, Barango, and Uldrych (Defendant Officers)
executed a search warrant in Chicago, Illinois. DSOF ¶
Plaintiff resided next door to the target address.
Id. ¶ 13. The two homes form one structure with
a shared front porch; two concrete walkways lead up to the
two front doors across the otherwise undivided front yard,
and separate driveways lead past each side of the building
toward a backyard. [44-2]; [38-5] at 19. When Defendant
Officers arrived to execute the search warrant, Plaintiff was
on his property, working on his car. DSOF ¶ 13.
Plaintiff was either in his backyard or in his driveway, but
in any event Plaintiff was underneath his car and unaware of
the search until Defendant Officer Skarupinski approached
him. See Id. ¶ 13, 15; [38-5] at 20.
Skarupinski was establishing a security perimeter around the
target of the search warrant. DSOF ¶¶ 11, 12, 14.
Police officers executing a search warrant establish a
perimeter for the safety of the officers and any bystanders.
Id. ¶ 11; [38-4] at 5. The perimeter includes
at least “the four corners” of the target
location, and in this case such perimeter covered the front
yard, both driveways, and the back of the building. DSOF
¶ 12; [38-4] at 5-6. Skarupinski knew that the building
contained two residences but he considered Plaintiff's
property to be within the perimeter because the two homes
were within one structure. DSOF ¶ 12; R. PSAF ¶ 3.
The parties agree that when Skarupinski arrived, Plaintiff
was not violating any laws. R. PSAF ¶ 4. From this point
forward, the majority of material facts are disputed.
asserts that-with his head under the car-he asked who was in
his yard and received no response. R. DSOF ¶ 15. He says
he then looked out from under the car and saw Officer
Skarupinski with his gun already drawn. Id. The
parties agree that Skarupinski told Plaintiff about the
search warrant, and that Plaintiff replied that his home was
not the target address. R. PSAF ¶¶ 7-8. Plaintiff
claims that Skarupinski then grabbed him by the collar,
pulled him to his feet, and handcuffed him tightly; when
Plaintiff complained of his discomfort, Skarupinski told him
to “shut the fuck up” and tightened the cuffs
further. PSAF ¶¶ 10-14; R. DSOF ¶ 15.
Defendants admit that Skarupinski “may have been the
officer to handcuff Plaintiff, ” R. PSAF ¶ 11, but
otherwise deny any roughness. According to Defendants,
Plaintiff became angry and profane with Officer Skarupinski,
which presented a safety risk in the context of establishing
a security perimeter and executing a search warrant. DSOF
¶¶ 10, 16, 18, 19.
Skarupinski next brought Plaintiff around to the front of the
house, at which point Plaintiff admits raising his voice at
Skarupinski. PSAF ¶ 18. Out front, Plaintiff's
next-door neighbors had also been detained and a “large
crowd of people was gathering.” Id. ¶ 20;
DSOF ¶ 21. Plaintiff was left handcuffed in the front
yard for between 20 and 45 minutes. R. PSAF ¶ 22.
Plaintiff states that he was in pain from the handcuffs
throughout this period. PSAF ¶¶ 20-25.
point, another disputed altercation occurred. Officer Ortiz
had been searching the target home, but went out to the front
yard where Officer Barango had apparently called for
assistance. DSOF ¶ 23. Around this time, Lieutenant
Wiberg also approached Plaintiff, who admits that he shouted
at Wiberg and “told him shut the F up and that he
wanted his handcuffs removed and the officers to get off his
property.” R. DSOF ¶ 30. Plaintiff states that the
officers were profane in response. PSAF ¶ 30. Wiberg
then ordered the officers to put Plaintiff in a squad car. R.
DSOF ¶ 31. Plaintiff admits that he refused to go and
resisted being taken to the car. R. DSOF ¶¶ 34, 36.
According to Plaintiff, Officers Ortiz, Uldrych, and
Skarupinski then choked, punched, and kicked him before
dragging him to the squad car. PSAF ¶¶ 31, 34-40.
claim that when Lieutenant Wiberg ordered the officers to put
Plaintiff in the squad car, Plaintiff was not yet under
arrest; the officers were trying to prevent Plaintiff
“from further agitating the crowd that was becoming
hostile and potentially dangerous.” DSOF ¶¶
31-32. Defendants deny any physical abuse. R. PSAF
¶¶ 31, 34-40. Defendants also dispute
Plaintiff's identification of Officer Uldrych as one of
the officers involved in his detention and alleged abuse on
the front lawn; they assert that Uldrych was the transport
officer, and point to Plaintiff's own testimony that he
did not interact with the transport officers at this time.
Id. ¶¶ 31-32; [38-5] at 15.
parties agree that Officer Barango helped pull Plaintiff into
the squad car. R. DSOF ¶ 38. The parties also agree that
Lieutenant Wiberg never touched Plaintiff and that the
officers at least believed they had probable cause to arrest
Plaintiff for resisting and obstructing peace officers when
they attempted to put him in the squad car. Id.
¶¶ 42-43. Finally, Plaintiff admits that he
identified the officers that used force against him as having
“dark hair, brown hair, sandy brown hair, or blonde
hair, ” and that Officer Barango, by contrast, was
bald. Id. ¶¶ 40-41.
the squad car, Plaintiff was driven to the police station.
Id. ¶ 47. At the station, Plaintiff was not
processed; instead, Lieutenant Wiberg spoke with Plaintiff
and ultimately decided that he should be released without
charge. See id. ¶¶ 49-51. Plaintiff was at
the station for about an hour, after which two officers drove
him home. Id. ¶ 52.
brought this action in January 2016 against the City of
Chicago, Lieutenant Wiberg, and Officers Ortiz, Skarupinski,
Love, Ewing, Puszkiewicz, Soraghan, Pierce, Baker, Altenbach,
Arrellano, Barango, Figus, Uldrych, and Casales. . The
claims against Officers Ewing, Puszkiewicz, Pierce, Baker,
Arrellano, Figus, Casales, and Love have been dismissed by
stipulation. [27, 35]. This Court also granted
Defendant's motion to dismiss claims for punitive damages
against Officer Barango, who died in September 2016. [32, 34]
Still before the Court are Plaintiff's claims against the
City, Lieutenant Wiberg, and Officers Ortiz, Skarupinski,
Uldrych, and Barango.
motion for summary judgment can be granted only when there
are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). A genuine dispute of material fact exists where
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The
party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact.
See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). The motion will be granted only if, viewing the
record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, no
jury could reasonably find in the nonmoving party's
favor. McDonald v. Hardy, 821 F.3d 882, 888 (7th
number of disputed material facts in this case requires this
Court to deny Defendants' motion for summary judgment
with respect to many of Plaintiff's claims. See
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Specifically, when resolving
Plaintiff's claims requires a credibility determination
between conflicting accounts, that determination properly
belongs to the factfinder. See Id. at 255; Payne
v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 770 (7th Cir. 2003).
Plaintiff's admissions, however, have eliminated disputes
about certain facts, and this Court grants summary judgment
where those admissions leave “no genuine issue for
trial.” A&M Records, Inc. v. A.L.W., Ltd.,
855 F.2d 368, 372 (7th Cir. 1988).
Court addresses each of Plaintiff's claims in turn.
Defendants raise a qualified immunity defense for their
actions relating to Plaintiff's initial detention and
arrest; this Court considers that defense within its
discussion of Plaintiff's claims for excessive force,
false arrest, and false imprisonment.
Excessive Force and Failure to Intervene
that law enforcement used excessive force when “making
an arrest, investigatory stop, or other seizure” are
analyzed under the Fourth Amendment. Graham v.
Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 388 (1989). Whether the force used
in connection with a specific seizure is permitted under the
Fourth Amendment turns on whether the officer's actions
were “objectively reasonable in light of the facts and
circumstances” as they appeared at the time.
Id. at 396. A police officer who fails to intervene
when he has reason to know that excessive force is being used
may be liable under § 1983. Yang v. Hardin, 37
F.3d 282, 285 (7th Cir. 1994).
excessive force claim incorporates all the events described
above. Construed in Plaintiff's favor, his Complaint thus
alleges excessive force during his initial detention as well
as during the alleged subsequent beating. Defendants seek
summary judgment on Plaintiff's excessive force and
failure to intervene claim (I) with respect to Defendants
Wiberg, Barango, and Uldrych.
Officer Skarupinski initially detained Plaintiff, it is
undisputed that Plaintiff was within the security perimeter
around the target of the search. DSOF ¶ 12. Police
officers executing a search warrant “may take
reasonable action to secure the premises and to ensure their
own safety and the efficacy of the search.” L.A.
Cnty., Cal. v. Rettele, 550 U.S. 609, 614 (2007). That
can include detaining persons entering the security perimeter
around the target location. United States v.
Jennings, 544 F.3d 815, 818 (7th Cir. 2008). The right
to detain someone “necessarily carries with it the
right to use some degree of physical coercion or threat
thereof to effect it, ” but the Fourth Amendment
demands that such force be reasonable under the
circumstances, balancing the citizen's interest against
government intrusion with the “countervailing
government interests.” Jacobs v. City of
Chicago, 215 F.3d 758, 773 (7th Cir. 2000) (internal
quotation marks omitted). To strike that balance, courts
consider “the severity of the crime at issue”;