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Irvin v. Richardson

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Cedar Rapids Division

April 1, 2019

LARENZO IRVIN, Plaintiff,
v.
TYLER RICHARDSON, in his individual and official capacities; et. al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          C.J. Williams United States District Judge

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         I. BACKGROUND ............................................................................ 2

         II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD ............................................... 8

         III. DISCUSSION ............................................................................... 10

         A. Federal Claims ...................................................................... 10

         1. Reasonable Suspicion ..................................................... 14

         2. Terry Stop Versus Arrest ................................................. 20

         3. Whether Plaintiff was Interrogated or Compelled to Waive His Right to Remain Silent .................................................... 26

         4. Liability of Chief Jerman and the City of Cedar Rapids ............ 27

         B. State Law Claims ................................................................... 30

         1. Negligence .......................................................................... 30

         2. False Arrest ......................................................................... 31

         IV. CONCLUSION ............................................................................. 34

         This matter is before the Court on defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 40). Plaintiff timely filed his resistance (Docs. 46-49), and defendants timely filed a reply. (Doc. 54). In response to defendants' motion for summary judgment, plaintiff moved to voluntarily dismiss claims against defendants Heidi Northland and Michael Kern and to dismiss claims against defendants Tyler Richardson and Jared Jupin in their official capacities. (Doc. 55). That motion is granted. For the following reasons, defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted as to the defendants who are not dismissed by this Order, and denied as moot as to the defendants who are dismissed by this Order.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On April 24, 2016, at approximately 3:21 P.M., Cedar Rapids, Iowa police officers responded to a 911 report of a disturbance. The dispatcher informed the officers that “a disturbance with a weapon” occurred and referred the officers to “Higley Avenue and Wellington Street.”[1] (Doc. 47, at 1-2; see also Doc. 40-2, at 3). The dispatcher further informed officers that “three black males” were involved in the disturbance, one of whom was reported to have displayed a gun. (Doc. 40-2, at 3; Doc. 47, at 2). The dispatcher informed officers that the man who allegedly displayed a gun wore a white t-shirt and was “heavier set, ” and that a second male was “in all blue.” (Doc. 47, at 2). The dispatcher did not provide a description of the third male. Finally, the dispatcher informed officers that the citizen who had called 911 reported that the three males involved in the disturbance “live[d] at the corner house by the alley, ” but were “outside arguing.”[2] (Id.; see also Doc. 47-1, at 4).

         Dashcam footage from Officer Tyler Richardson's squad car shows that as he neared the corner of Higley Avenue and Wellington Street, he stopped to speak with a woman who flagged him down. The woman told Officer Richardson that one of the males involved in the alleged gun disturbance went around the corner-presumably the corner at Higley Avenue and Wellington Street-and was wearing either white and black clothing or white and blue clothing. Officer Richardson then continued driving along Higley Avenue and turned right onto Wellington Street. As Officer Richardson turned onto Wellington Street, two black males walking along the left side of Wellington Street came into view. The video shows one male-later identified as Derrick Bates-wearing a red shirt and dark pants and shows the other male-later identified as plaintiff-wearing dark clothing. At the time of the encounter, plaintiff was sixteen years of age. (See Doc. 47-1, at 11).

         Officer Richardson stopped his vehicle, got out, and called out “Stop! Stop!” The males turned their heads in response to Officer Richardson, but kept walking. Officer Richardson then yelled “You, you guys!” The two males then initially stopped and turned toward Officer Richardson, at which point the video shows that Bates' pants had a white stripe down the side and that plaintiff's shirt had a white stripe down the right arm. After initially stopping, however, the two males turned away from Officer Richardson and continued walking in the same direction toward an intersection. Plaintiff and Bates began turning left at the intersection down the next street. A fence and a tree began to partially block plaintiff and Bates from Officer Richardson's view as the pair turned left at the intersection.

         Once plaintiff and Bates began walking away from Officer Richardson after having stopped, Officer Richardson began unholstering his gun and continued shouting commands for plaintiff and Bates to get on the ground. As Officer Richardson was doing so, Officer Jared Jupin's squad car, which had approached the scene from the opposite direction, came into view of Officer Richardson's dashcam. By the time Officer Jupin got out of his car, Officer Richardson had unholstered his gun and had it in hand, all the while walking toward plaintiff and Bates, who were still walking away from the officers despite Officer Richardson's commands to stop. Officer Jupin unholstered his weapon as well, and the two officers began closing in on plaintiff and Bates.

         Plaintiff and Bates turned left at the intersection and disappeared from the view of Officer Richardson's dashcam. Officer Jupin's squad car, however, was positioned such that his dashcam captured the events that transpired following Officer Jupin's arrival on the scene.

         The following facts are taken from the recording of events that were captured by Officer Jupin's dashcam. Officer Jupin left his car and began walking in front of his car, within the camera frame. As Officer Jupin did so, Officer Richardson repeatedly yelled “Get on the ground! Get on the ground now!” Plaintiff and Bates, although no longer walking, did not immediately get on the ground. Eventually, the two males kneeled on the ground and once they were kneeling, a male voice shouted “Face down!, ” “Get on the ground now!, ” “Face down right now!, ” and “All the way down!” Plaintiff and Bates did not immediately get on the ground, and the commands for plaintiff and Bates to lay “Face down!” and to “Get on the ground now!” were repeated until plaintiff and Bates finally laid on the ground face down.

         Once plaintiff and Bates were lying on the ground, Officer Richardson began handcuffing plaintiff while Jupin kept his gun trained on Bates, who was shouting at the officers. Plaintiff remained quiet throughout the encounter. Officer Jupin then handcuffed Bates. Just before starting to handcuff plaintiff and Bates, Officers Richardson and Jupin, respectively, each reholstered their firearms. The firearms then remained holstered throughout the duration of the encounter.

         Once both males were handcuffed, Officer Richardson ran back to his squad car and drove down the street in pursuit of a black male wearing a white shirt that Officer Richardson had spotted walking down the street a block or so away. Officer Richardson stopped his car, got out, and called to the male to stop. The male stopped. Officer Richardson instructed the male to put his hands on a stone wall next to the sidewalk. The male complied. Officer Richardson then approached the male and performed a pat down search. Finding no weapon, Officer Richardson told the male he could stand up and turn around. Officer Richardson then spoke with the male to determine whether he was involved in the disturbance with the firearm. In his interactions with the male in the white shirt, Officer Richardson did not draw his firearm or handcuff the male.

         Meanwhile, Officer Jupin, remained alone with plaintiff and Bates. Plaintiff continued to remain quiet and made only minor movements. Bates, even with his hands cuffed behind his back, shouted and moved about almost the entire time Officer Jupin was alone with the males. At some point, Officers Heidi Northland and Michael Kern arrived at the scene where Officer Jupin was supervising plaintiff and Bates. Eventually, the officers assisted plaintiff in moving into seated (and eventually a standing) position so that plaintiff would not fall by attempting to do so himself without full use of his arms.

         Officer Jupin began interviewing a witness. At approximately 3:35 P.M., the witness informed Officer Jupin that plaintiff and Bates were not involved in the alleged gun disturbance that was the subject of the 911 call. The interview concluded at 3:37:42 P.M. Within one minute, officers unhandcuffed the males.[3] Once officers uncuffed them, plaintiff and Bates wandered freely in the immediate vicinity, remaining within the camera's view. An officer told the males “You're free to go.” Both plaintiff and Bates chose to remain at the scene and continued to move freely and converse with each other, a third bystander, and the officers.

         As measured from the point at which the process of handcuffing began through the point at which the process of unhandcuffing began, plaintiff spent a total of 11 minutes and 32 second in handcuffs, and Bates spent a total of 11 minutes and 51 seconds in handcuffs. Plaintiff began the process of getting on the ground 18 seconds before he was handcuffed, and Bates began taking the same action 29 seconds before he was handcuffed. As such, the total time from when plaintiff began the process of getting on the ground through the point at which the handcuffs were removed was 11 minutes and 50 seconds. For Bates, the total time from beginning the process of getting on the ground through the point at which the handcuffs were removed was 12 minutes and 20 seconds.

         Plaintiff filed a personnel complaint with the Cedar Rapids Police Department alleging that he “was restrained as a juvenile without probable cause.” (Doc. 47-1, at 13). Bates, similarly, filed a personnel complaint regarding the April 24, 2016 incident. (Doc. 40-3, at 29-31). Captain Craig Furnish,[4] as head of the Professional Standards Unit, was tasked with investigating plaintiff's and Bates' complaints. (Id., at 25-28). In connection with Bates' complaint, Captain Furnish interviewed Bates, two private citizens who witnessed at least part of the April 24, 2016 incident, and each of five Cedar Rapids Police Department personnel who were present for at least a portion of the incident. (Id., at 25-26). Captain Furnish also viewed the dashcam footage of the incident. (Id., at 26). In investigating plaintiff's complaint, Captain Furnish reviewed the investigation that he had conducted into Bates' complaint, and also interviewed plaintiff. (Id., at 27). In taking these steps, Captain Furnish concluded that he “had already gathered all evidence concerning the incident forming the basis of [plaintiff's] complaint.” (Id.).

         Plaintiff subsequently brought a three-count complaint in this Court. (See Doc. 22). Count One, which was brought against all defendants, was brought under Title 42, United States Code, Section 1983, and alleges that defendants violated plaintiff's rights to be free from illegal searches and seizures, to remain silent, and “to due process and equal protection of the law, including the right to be free from arrest without probable cause or to be the subject of custodial interrogation without Miranda[-]styled warnings.” (Id., at 10-11). Count Two asserts a state law negligence claim, in relevant part, against Officers Richardson and Jupin, and against the City of Cedar Rapids on a respondeat superior theory. (Id., at 12-13). Count Three asserts a false arrest common law claim, in relevant part, against Officers Richardson and Jupin, and against the City of Cedar Rapids on a respondeat superior theory. (Id., at 13). Defendants now seek complete summary judgment, arguing that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on a number of bases, including qualified immunity with respect to the federal claims, and statutory immunity as to the state law claims. (See Docs. 40; 40-1).

         II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows 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(a). When asserting that a fact is undisputed or is genuinely disputed, a party must support the assertion by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . ., admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Alternatively, a party may “show[ ] that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). More specifically, “[a] party may object that the material cited to support or dispute a fact cannot be presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2).

         A fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law . . ..” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986) (citation omitted). “An issue of material fact is genuine if it has a real basis in the record, ” Hartnagel v. Norman, 953 F.2d 394, 395 (8th Cir. 1992) (citation omitted), or “when a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party on the question, ” Wood v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 409 F.3d 984, 990 (8th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Evidence that presents only “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), or evidence that is “merely colorable” or “not significantly probative, ” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50, does not make an issue of fact genuine. In sum, a genuine issue of material fact requires “sufficient evidence supporting the claimed factual dispute” that it “require[s] a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial.” Id. at 249 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         The party moving for summary judgment bears “the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record which show a lack of a genuine issue.” Hartnagel, 953 F.2d at 395 (citation omitted). Once the moving party has met this burden, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and by depositions, affidavits, or other evidence designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See Mosley v. City of Northwoods, Mo., 415 F.3d 908, 910 (8th Cir. 2005).

         In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, courts must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, giving that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the facts. Tolan v. Cotton, 572 U.S. 650, 651 (2014); Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587-88 (citation omitted); see also Reed v. City of St. Charles, Mo., 561 F.3d 788, 790 (8th Cir. 2009) (stating that in ruling on a motion for summary judgment, a court must view the facts “in a light most favorable to the non-moving party-as long as those facts are not so ‘blatantly contradicted by the record . . . that no reasonable jury could believe' them” (alteration in original) (quoting Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007)). A court does “not weigh the evidence or attempt to determine the credibility of the witnesses.” Kammueller v. Loomis, Fargo & Co., 383 ...


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