United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Brock sued four Chicago police officers and the City of
Chicago, alleging that his rights under federal and state law
were violated when he was arrested and then prosecuted for
marijuana and weapons possession. Doc. 1. After Brock twice
amended his complaint, Docs. 16, 24, the court granted the
City's motion to dismiss his Monell claim, Doc.
38. Brock then voluntarily dismissed his claims against three
of the four officers. Docs. 63, 64; Doc. 75 at ¶ 2. The
remaining defendants-Officer Anthony Bruno and the City-move
for summary judgment. Doc. 65. The motion is granted.
following facts are stated as favorably to Brock as permitted
by the record and Local Rule 56.1. See Woods v. City of
Berwyn, 803 F.3d 865, 867 (7th Cir. 2015). In
considering Defendants' motion, the court must assume the
truth of those facts, but does not vouch for them. See
Arroyo v. Volvo Grp. N. Am., LLC, 805 F.3d 278, 281 (7th
Cir. 2015). Brock's Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) response,
Doc. 75, offers no response to several paragraphs of
Defendants' Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement, Doc. 66, so
the factual assertions in those paragraphs are deemed
admitted. See L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C) (“All
material facts set forth in the statement required of the
moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless
controverted by the statement of the opposing party.”).
2007 to 2010, Brock lived at 8759 South Loomis Street in
Chicago. Doc. 75 at ¶ 5; Doc. 79 at ¶ 3. In January
2010, Brock provided that address when applying for an
Illinois state ID card; the voter registration card he used
to apply for the state ID also listed 8759 South Loomis as
his address. Doc. 75 at ¶¶ 6-9; Doc. 79 at
¶¶ 9-10. Brock did not change the address on his
state ID card until 2016-after the events at issue in this
case. Doc. 75 at ¶ 12.
December 28, 2015, a confidential informant told Officer
Bruno that he purchased approximately 3.5 grams of marijuana
from “Lester” that day and on several previous
occasions. Id. at ¶¶ 13-14. The informant
told Bruno that the December 28 buy took place at 8759 South
Loomis and that “Lester” had gone into a bedroom
and returned with a duffle bag containing a large quantity of
the drug. Id. at ¶ 14. Using several different
databases, Bruno attempted to identify the seller.
Id. at ¶¶ 19-22.
Brock no longer lived at 8759 South Loomis at the time, Doc.
79 at ¶ 1, Bruno's searches revealed several
connections between Brock and that address. The address was
listed as Brock's residence in a database maintained by
the Illinois Secretary of State. Id. at ¶¶
26-27. It was listed in a criminal history database as
Brock's residence after an October 2012 arrest. Doc. 66-7
at 3; Doc. 75 at ¶ 25. And a separate database listed
Brock as having been the victim of a crime at that address.
Doc. 66-6 at 4; Doc. 75 at ¶ 22. After a search of the
Chicago police department's CLEAR database for
“8759 S. Loomis” yielded a photograph of Brock,
Bruno showed it to the informant, who confirmed it was the
same “Lester” from whom he bought marijuana. Doc.
75 at ¶¶ 29-30. Bruno drove the informant to the
South Loomis address, where he confirmed that that was where
he bought marijuana from “Lester.” Id.
at ¶ 30.
then prepared a Complaint for Search Warrant, identifying
both Brock and the first-floor unit of the 8759 South Loomis
address as targets. Id. at ¶¶ 34-35, 39.
To support the application, Bruno averred that he “had
a conversation” with the informant-referred to as
“J. Doe”-who “stated that on 28 Dec 2015
[he] met with an individual known as Lester in the first
floor unit of a brown brick two story, two unit building at
8759 S. Loomis.” Doc. 66-9 at 3. Bruno noted that the
informant purchased 3.5 grams of marijuana from
“Lester” during the encounter. Id. at 4.
Bruno further averred that when he and the informant drove by
the South Loomis address, the informant “positively
identified the first floor of this building as the residence
where [he] purchased the Cannabis from Lester.”
Ibid. Bruno added that, “using the information
given by J. Doe and the Chicago Police Department Database[,
he] was able to find a mug shot of Lester Brock, ” and
that the informant “identified the Lester Brock in the
mug shot as the individual J. Doe purchased the cannabis from
while inside the first floor unit of 8759 S. Loomis.”
Ibid. The informant testified before a Circuit Court
of Cook County judge, who issued the warrant. Doc. 75 at
¶¶ 36, 38.
December 29, 2015, a team of Chicago police officers executed
the search warrant. Id. at ¶¶ 40-41. One
officer observed an individual matching Brock's physical
description fleeing the area. Id. at ¶ 42. The
search of the first-floor unit yielded approximately half a
kilogram of marijuana, two firearms (a Rohm .22 caliber
revolver and a Glock .40 semiautomatic handgun), ammunition
for both weapons, and cash. Id. at ¶ 46. Bruno
issued an “investigative alert” for Brock, who
was ultimately arrested on March 13, 2016. Id. at
¶¶ 51-52. At the time of the arrest, Brock had been
convicted of at least one felony and did not have a Firearm
Owners Identification (“FOID”) card. Id.
at ¶¶ 58-59.
March 13, 2016, Brock was charged by criminal complaint with
one count of possession of cannabis with intent to deliver
under 720 ILCS 550/5(e) and two counts of unlawful possession
of a weapon by a felon under 720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a). Doc. 66-15
at 2-4; Doc. 75 at ¶ 54. A superseding indictment, filed
on April 7, 2016, charged Brock with four counts of unlawful
possession of a weapon by a felon under 720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(a)
(one count for each gun, and two counts for the corresponding
ammunition), two counts of possession of a firearm without a
valid FOID card under 430 ILCS 65/2(a)(1), and two counts of
possession of cannabis with intent to deliver under 720 ILCS
550/5(d). Doc. 66-15 at 5-14; Doc. 75 at ¶ 55. The
FOID-related charges were dropped, and Brock later was found
not guilty of the remaining charges after a jury trial. Doc.
75 at ¶ 56.
complaint has three counts. Count I and II allege false
arrest under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Illinois law, while
Count III alleges malicious prosecution under Illinois law.
Section 1983 False Arrest Claim Against Bruno
claim of false arrest is an allegation that a plaintiff was
arrested without probable cause, in violation of the Fourth
Amendment. Probable cause is an absolute defense to such a
claim.” Hurt v. Wise, 880 F.3d 831, 841 (7th
Cir. 2018) (citation omitted). “Probable cause exists
at the time of an arrest if the facts and circumstances
within the officer's knowledge are sufficient to warrant
a prudent person, or one of reasonable caution, in believing
that the suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to
commit an offense.” Ewell v. Toney, 853 F.3d
911, 919 (7th Cir. 2017) (alterations and internal quotation
marks omitted); see also D.Z. v. Buell, 796 F.3d
749, 755 (7th Cir. 2015) (same). Probable cause “is a
fluid concept that relies on the common-sense judgment of the
officers based on the totality of the circumstances.”
Williams v. City of Chicago, 733 F.3d 749, 756 (7th
Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“Probable cause is gauged from the vantage point of a
reasonable officer facing the same situation.”
Ewell, 853 F.3d at 919. “Probable cause does
not require an actual showing of ...