United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. Wood United States District Judge
James Anderson, Dorothy Whitfield-Anderson, Terrell
Whitfield, Janice King, Toyothy Whitfield, and Semaj
Henderson-Funchess have sued Defendants City of Chicago and
Police Officers Joseph R. Papke, Durand E. Lee, and Brian T.
Schnier alleging that Defendants used excessive
force, committed battery, and unlawfully seized property by
killing a family dog, all while executing a search warrant
for the residence located at 6540 South Drexel (“Drexel
Residence”). Now before the Court is Defendants'
motion for summary judgment on Count VII.(Dkt. No. 50.) For
the reasons discussed below, the motion is denied.
September 4, 2015, police officers executed a search warrant
for the Drexel Residence. (Pls.' Resp. to Defs.'
Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. of Undisputed Facts
(“PRDSUF”) ¶ 6, Dkt. No. 67.) The warrant
targeted an individual by the name of Jeremi Edinborough and
authorized a search for crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia.
(Id. ¶ 7.) That evening, when police officers
arrived at the Drexel Residence to execute the warrant,
Anderson was sitting on the front porch. (Defs.' Resp. to
Pls.' Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Additional Stmt. of Facts
(“DRPASOF”) ¶ 5, Dkt. No. 73.) According to
Anderson, he shouted at the officers that no one was inside
except for two young girls (King and Henderson-Funchess) and
his dog. (Id. ¶ 7.) Defendants admit that
Anderson told the officers about the two girls but deny that
they were told about the dog. (Id.)
officers did not ask Anderson to open the doors to the Drexel
Residence; instead, the officers were able to open the
exterior door without using force and then used a ram to
enter the home through the interior door. (PRDSUF
¶¶ 9-13.) Once inside, with Schnier going first and
Papke following behind him, Papke faced a 50 to 60-pound,
muscular “pit bull.” (Id. ¶¶
13-15.) Defendants claim that the dog was about to attack the
officers-that the dog had lips curled and teeth exposed, was
charging, and was in the air going in Schnier's direction
while Papke was also walking into the dog's path.
(Id. ¶¶ 14, 16-18.) Papke then shot the
dog, aiming at the dog's vital organs. (Id.
¶ 14; DRPASOF ¶ 13.)
King and Henderson-Funchess were inside the Drexel Residence
when the officers entered. (PRDSUF ¶ 21.) The two
teenaged girls did not see what occurred to cause Papke to
shoot the dog. (Id. ¶ 23.) But
Henderson-Funchess claims that she heard the police knocking,
yelling, and gunshots-all within seconds. (Id.
¶ 22.) And King claims that she heard the dog's
nails on the floor as the officers were coming into the
residence. (Id. ¶ 25.) Neither the officers nor
King and Henderson-Funchess heard the dog bark, growl, or
snarl at any of the officers. (DRPASOF ¶ 3.)
dog's name was Gucci King. (Id. ¶ 1.)
According to Plaintiffs, he was a gentle and peaceful family
dog known to the entire neighborhood. (Id.)
Plaintiffs claim that Gucci King had no history of aggression
and did not require a choke collar, as he was very
obedient. (Id.) When visitors entered the
Drexel Residence, Gucci King would approach the front door to
see who was arriving. (Id. ¶ 2.) And during a
previous police raid at the Drexel Residence, Plaintiffs were
permitted to place Gucci King in his cage before the search
was conducted. (Id. ¶ 4.) The parties dispute
whether Defendants knew about the presence of a dog at the
Drexel Residence prior to entering it. (PRDSUF ¶ 8.)
to Plaintiffs, after the officers entered the Drexel
Residence, King and Henderson-Funchess were handcuffed, even
though they were teenagers at that time and were not trying
to attack or hurt the officers. (DRPASOF ¶¶ 14, 16;
Ex. E to Defs.' Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. of Material
Facts ¶ 6, Dkt. No. 52-6; Ex. F to Defs.' Local Rule
56.1(a)(3) Stmt. of Material Facts ¶ 6, Dkt. No. 52-7.)
While being handcuffed, Henderson-Funchess was subjected to
offensive comments and also was pulled up and then slammed to
the ground face-down (her lip split open when her face hit
the floor). (DRPASOF ¶ 17.) She was also asked about her
name and then threatened with harm to her family.
(Id. ¶ 20.) Meanwhile, King was pulled upright
by her hair, leaving a bald spot on her head. (Id.
¶ 18.). At some point during the raid, King and
Henderson-Funchess both had guns pointed at them.
(Id. ¶ 23.) For their part, Defendants deny
placing King in handcuffs and assert that Henderson-Funchess
was handcuffed due to being verbally combative. (Id.
¶¶ 14, 16.) Defendants also deny taking the other
actions attributed to them in Plaintiffs' version of
events, other than that Lee took down general demographic
information for King and Henderson-Funchess. (Id.
¶¶ 17, 18, 20, 23.)
to Plaintiffs, once handcuffed, King and Henderson-Funchess
were seated on the couch in such a way that King could see
Gucci King's dead body and called various offensive
names. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 27.) King tried to talk
to Papke about why he shot Gucci King, but Papke responded
sarcastically, giving mocking commands to the dead dog and
telling King to “go play with him.” (Id.
¶¶ 24-26.) Defendants deny that any name-calling or
mocking took place but admit that Papke might have spoken to
King (although he cannot recall what was said between them).
(Id. ¶¶ 19, 24, 25, 27.)
assert that as a result of what happened during the raid,
King and Henderson-Funchess suffered bruising on their wrists
and Henderson-Funchess was taken to a hospital to receive
treatment for her split lip. (Id. ¶¶ 28,
29.) Both of them reacted emotionally to the events with
screaming and crying. (Id. ¶¶ 27, 30.)
Henderson-Funchess was scared to leave home and missed school
for a week; she was later treated by a psychiatrist due to
the incident. (Id. ¶¶ 31, 32.) King also
saw a counselor and was prescribed medication, but she claims
that nothing helped “because Gucci [King] was not
coming back.” (Id. ¶¶ 34, 35.) In
addition, according to Plaintiffs, the officers who raided
the Drexel Residence left the home “torn up” and
with several items missing. (Id. ¶¶
lawsuit, Plaintiffs have brought the following claims against
the police officer Defendants: claims for use of excessive
force in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United
States Constitution by King against Schnier (Count I) and
Henderson-Funchess against Lee (Count III), claims for common
law battery by King against Schnier (Count II) and
Henderson-Funchess against Lee (Count IV), and claims for the
unconstitutional seizure of Gucci King in violation of the
Fourth Amendment by Anderson, Whitfield-Anderson,
both Whitfields, and King against Papke (Count VII).
Plaintiffs have also named the City of Chicago as a Defendant
in counts for indemnification (Count IX) and for
respondeat superior responsibility (Count X). The
present motion challenges the unconstitutional seizure claim
judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party, reveals that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a); Smith v. Hope School, 560 F.3d 694, 699 (7th
Cir. 2009). A genuine issue of material fact exists if a
reasonable jury could find in favor of the nonmoving party.
Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599
(7th Cir. 2000). In deciding a summary judgment motion, the
court must consider the record as a whole, in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Bay v.
Cassens Transp. Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).
well-established that police officers are entitled to
qualified immunity from liability for civil damages under
§ 1983 unless the officers violated a federal statutory
or constitutional right and their conduct's unlawfulness
was clearly established at that time. See D.C. v.
Wesby, 1385. Ct. 577, 589 (2018). “Qualified
immunity balances two important interests-the need to hold
public officials accountable when they exercise power
irresponsibly and the need to shield officers from
harassment, distraction, and liability when they perform
their duties reasonably.” Pearson v.
Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231 (2009); accord Green v.
Newport, 868 F.3d 629, 632-33 (7th Cir. 2017). Although
qualified immunity is an affirmative defense, once a
defendant evokes the doctrine, the plaintiff bears the burden
of defeating it. Purvis v. Oest, 614 F.3d 713, 717
(7th Cir. 2010). To overcome qualified immunity, a plaintiff
must demonstrate that (1) the facts, taken in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, show that the officers violated a
constitutional right, and (2) the right was clearly
established at the time of the conduct at issue. Id.
at 720. ...