United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
JOHNNY D. BUTTS, Plaintiff,
JOSEPH SMILES III, Individually, Defendant.
ORDER AND OPINION
E. Shadid Chief United States District Judge
before the Court is Defendant Smiles' Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. 39). For the reasons set forth below,
Defendant's Motion (Doc. 39) is DENIED.
December 4, 2015, Johnny Butts broke a glass windowpane in
the course of burgling his friend's residence and
stealing a firearm. In doing so, Butts sustained large
lacerations to both forearms. He sought treatment at
Methodist Hospital in Peoria. While he was being treated at
the hospital, Butts told nursing staff conflicting stories as
to how he sustained the injuries, leading the staff to notify
the Peoria Police Department of their concerns. Officer
Joseph Smiles arrived to investigate while Butts was being
treated, and took photographs of Butts' wounds before
they were sutured. After Butts' initial story did not
check out, Officer Smiles returned to the hospital and spoke
with the nursing staff about Butts' conflicting stories.
He was then dispatched to a residence at 400 W. Armstrong to
investigate a report of residential burglary. At the
residence Smiles observed a broken window and blood, and the
complainant informed Smiles that Butts had been living with
him occasionally and a gun was missing from the residence.
Smiles was investigating, Butts received morphine and over 80
sutures. When his treatment was completed, hospital staff
discharged him into the custody of Smiles, who placed him
under arrest for filing a false police report and residential
burglary. Butts said as he was exiting his hospital room,
Smiles grabbed him, pushed him up against a wall, and
handcuffed Butts with his arms behind his back. Officer
Smiles then walked Butts to a police vehicle so that he could
be transported to the Peoria Police Department for booking.
According to Butts, Smiles held onto the handcuffs while he
escorted Butts out of the Hospital and pushed his arms upward
despite Butts' protestations of pain. Smiles provided an
affidavit in support of his motion for summary judgment, but
his affidavit does not address the details of the arrest.
judgment is appropriate where the movant shows, through
“materials in the record, including depositions,
documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations … admissions, interrogatory
answers, or other materials” that “there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56. In resolving a motion for summary judgment, “[t]he
court has one task and one task only: to decide, based on the
evidence of record, whether there is any material dispute of
fact that requires a trial.” Waldridge v. Am.
Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994).
order to withstand a motion for summary judgment, the
nonmovant must “set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). When
presented with a motion for summary judgment, the Court must
construe the record “in the light most favorable to the
nonmovant and avoid the temptation to decide which
party's version of the facts is more likely true.”
Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 770 (7th Cir. 2003).
If the evidence, however, is “merely colorable, or is
not significantly probative or merely raises ‘some
metaphysical doubt as the material facts, ' summary
judgment may be granted.” Liberty Lobby, 477
U.S. at 249-50. Thus, in order to overcome the undisputed
facts set forth in a defendant's motion for summary
judgment, a plaintiff cannot rest on the allegations in his
complaint but must point to affidavits, depositions or other
evidence of an admissible sort that a genuine dispute of
material fact exists between the parties. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e)(2); Behrens v. Pelletier, 516 U.S. 299, 309
initial matter, Defendant's reply brief points out that
Plaintiff's response to the motion for summary judgment
failed to comply with the federal and local rules regarding
responses to motions for summary judgment because Butts did
not respond to each numbered factual statement in
Defendant's motion. Doc. 48. Indeed, Butts' response
fails to state whether any of Defendant's numbered
factual statements are in dispute and whether those
statements are material. See Local Rule 7.1 (D)(2)(b).
Therefore, the statements of fact in Defendant's motion
are deemed admitted. Id. at 7.1 (D)(2)(b)(6).
However, as discussed below, even if all of Defendant's
statements of fact are admitted, a dispute of fact remains as
to whether Officer Smiles used excessive force in arresting
Butts. Accordingly, summary judgment on the present record is
Whether Officer Smiles Used Excessive Force
that law enforcement officials used excessive force in the
course of making an arrest “are properly analyzed under
the Fourth Amendment's ‘objective
reasonableness' standard[.]” Graham v.
Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 388 (1989). The reasonableness of
an officer's actions is evaluated under the totality of
the circumstances. Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767,
778 (7th Cir. 2003). Accordingly, “[t] he nature and
extent of the force that may be used depends upon the
circumstances surrounding an arrest, including ‘the
severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an
immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and
whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to
evade arrest by flight.' ” Howell v.
Smith, 853 F.3d 892, 898 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting
Stainback v. Dixon, 569 F.3d 767, 772 (7th Cir.
2009)). In evaluating these circumstances, courts must view
the officer's conduct through “the perspective of a
reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20
vision of hindsight.” Id. (quoting
Graham, 490 U.S. at 396-97).
time Officer Smiles arrested Butts, he had probable cause to
believe that he committed the offense of residential
burglary, and may have also absconded with a firearm. Thus,
the Court agrees with Defendant that the severity of
Butts' crime was one factor weighing in favor of the use
of force. See People v. Bales, 108 Ill.2d 182, 196,
483 N.E.2d 517, 523 (1985) (finding residential burglary to
be as serious of an offense as aggravated kidnapping or
indecent liberties with a child).
certainly committed a serious crime, but that consideration
must be viewed in the together with the remaining
circumstances surrounding his arrest. Butts' version of
the facts are fairly ...