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Hawks v. Gade

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

May 14, 2018



          John Z. Lee United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Maurice Hawks (“Hawks”) brings this pro se action against a number of individually named Chicago police officers (“Defendants”) in both their official and individual capacities. Hawks alleges that Defendants unlawfully arrested him, used excessive force, violated his First Amendment rights, and failed to intervene to prevent the deprivation of his constitutional rights, all in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He also brings state law claims for battery, false arrest imprisonment, and malicious prosecution. Defendants move to dismiss the complaint, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(b)(6). For the reasons given below, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion.

         Factual Background[1]

         Maurice Hawks, an African-American man, works as a collection agent for the United States Department of Education, as well as an ordained deacon and community activist. 2d Am. Compl. at 3, ECF no. 52. On August 21, 2014, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Hawks arrived at 1000 Rush Street in Chicago, together with his brother Anthony Hawks (“Anthony”) and another friend. Id. at 4. The three separated and Hawks began to talk with people there, as he had done many times before. Id.

         About twenty minutes later, Hawks noticed a man standing by his car. The man asked whose car it was, and Hawks walked over, expecting that the man was curious because Hawks's car was a “classic car.” Instead, the man asked Hawks to put his hands on the hood of the car. When Hawks laughed and asked why, the man brandished a badge, told Hawks to “put his fucking hands on the vehicle, ” and handcuffed and arrested him. Id.

         The man turned out to be Defendant Officer Lawrence Gade. Id. Gade handcuffed Hawks extremely tightly, but when Hawks requested that he loosen the handcuffs, Gade tightened them further, lacerating Hawks' arms. Id. Gade then grabbed the handcuffs and lifted his arms upward, causing Hawks contusions and abrasions. Id. Then, in the presence of Defendant Officer Thomas Goggin, who was also plainclothed, id. at 5, Gade struck Hawks on the head with a blunt object, severing his ear and immediately causing Hawks severe pain. Id. at 4. Hawks briefly lost consciousness. Id.

         Hawks recalls that Defendants Goggin and Gade pinned him down by his neck and face on the hood of the car, while uniformed officers stood nearby. Id. at 5. At that point, Anthony came from across the street to check on Hawks. Id. Hawks told Anthony to stay back, and Anthony-who was unaware that the plainclothes individuals were police officers-asked Defendant Goggin why Defendant Gade was hurting his brother. Id. Goggin asked if Anthony was with Hawks, to which Anthony responded that Hawks was his brother and asked that Gade stop hurting him. Id. Goggin then told Anthony that “he should have stayed where the fuck he was at, you piece of shit, ” handcuffed Anthony, and placed him under arrest. Id. Bystanders began videotaping the incident. Id.

         At that point, Defendant Gade handed Hawks over to Defendant Officers Rivera and John Doe, who drove Hawks to the 18th District Police Station. Id. On the way, Hawks asked why Rivera and Doe did not do anything when they had seen what had happened. Id. Neither officer responded. Id. When they arrived at the station, Hawks informed Rivera and Doe that if they did not take action, he would report them for police brutality as well. Id. at 5-6. Doe then asked Rivera what they should do. Id. at 6. In response, Rivera stated, “don't worry, he's just talking shit, he's not going to do anything.” Id. While Hawks was being fingerprinted, the fingerprinting technician asked him why he was bleeding and whether he needed medical attention. Id. Hawks explained that the police were responsible and that he needed to go to the hospital. Id. He was informed that transport would be taking him to the hospital, but instead he was brought to a holding cell. Id.

         While in the holding cell, Hawks could hear Anthony being beaten in a cell nearby. Id. The two brothers yelled back and forth, with Anthony shouting that they had broken his nose. Id. The officers nearby began laughing and joking with one another. Id. One officer, who Hawks thinks might be Officer Spruhill, shouted to Hawks that he would make sure that Hawks went away for a while and would never see his car again. Id.

         Hawks could then hear the officers as they discussed what to put in the police report. Id. Hawks asked several times if he could be taken to the hospital because he was still bleeding profusely. Id. Several hours later, he was escorted out of his cell to be transported to the hospital. Id. On the way, he saw Anthony, his lips swollen and “busted open, ” and his clothing drenched in blood. Id. at 7.

         Hawks was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital. Id. At the hospital, Hawks refused treatment because his father had passed away a year earlier due to negligent care at that very hospital. Id. The attending physician asked if he could at least treat the injury to stop the bleeding and prevent the wound from becoming infected, but Hawks continued to deny treatment. Id. He then became incoherent. Id. Hawks was transported back to the jail, and several hours later, brought to Illinois Masonic Hospital for treatment. Id. at 8.

         Hawks's first complaint was filed on August 2, 2016, against the City of Chicago Police, Larry Gade, and “John Does.” See Compl., ECF No. 7. Hawks filed an amended complaint on January 25, 2017, which included Anthony Hawks as an additional plaintiff, see Am. Compl. at 1, ECF No. 37; the Court struck that complaint on March 7, 2017, see ECF No. 46. Hawks filed a second amended complaint on March 27, 2017, naming, in addition to Larry Gade and John Does, the following additional defendants: Thomas Goggin, Sarlitto M E, B M Rivera, Officer Spruhill, John J. Jurek, and Nicolaus Orlando (“New Defendants”). 2d Am. Compl. at 1.

         Legal Standard

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Additionally, when considering motions to dismiss, the Court accepts “all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and view[s] them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Lavalais v. Vill. of Melrose Park, 734 F.3d 629, 632 (7th Cir. 2013) At the same time, “allegations in the form of legal conclusions are insufficient to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion.” McReynolds v. Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., 694 ...

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