247 F.3d 799 (8th Cir. 2001), 00-1015, Moran v. Clarke

Docket Nº:00-1015
Citation:247 F.3d 799
Party Name:THOMAS MORAN, APPELLANT, v. ANNE-MARIE CLARKE; ROBERT HAAR; WAYMAN F. SMITH, III; JEFFERY JAMISON; CLARENCE HARMON, COMPRISING THE BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS; RONALD HENDERSON; PAUL M. NOCCHIERO; GREGORY HAWKINS: AL KLEIN; WILLIE THIRDKILL; JACK HUELSMANN; WILLIAM KUSMEC; WILLIAM SWIDERSKI; RICHARD BOOKER, JR.; TERRENCE
Case Date:April 16, 2001
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 799

247 F.3d 799 (8th Cir. 2001)

THOMAS MORAN, APPELLANT,

v.

ANNE-MARIE CLARKE; ROBERT HAAR; WAYMAN F. SMITH, III; JEFFERY JAMISON; CLARENCE HARMON, COMPRISING THE BOARD OF POLICE COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF ST. LOUIS; RONALD HENDERSON; PAUL M. NOCCHIERO; GREGORY HAWKINS: AL KLEIN; WILLIE THIRDKILL; JACK HUELSMANN; WILLIAM KUSMEC; WILLIAM SWIDERSKI; RICHARD BOOKER, JR.; TERRENCE DUPREE; BARRY GREENE; STEVEN PETTY; HARVEY LAUX, APPELLEES.

No. 00-1015

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

April 16, 2001

Submitted: January 10, 2001

As amended May 1, 2001

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Page 800

Beam, Morris Sheppard Arnold, Circuit Judges, and Doty, District Judge. 1

Beam, Circuit Judge.

Thomas Moran, a St. Louis police officer, sued the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners ("the Board" or "Board") along with various police officials and officers, alleging malicious prosecution and violations of his substantive due process rights. He now appeals the district court's adverse grant of judgment as a matter of law, along with various evidentiary and discovery rulings and the district court's denial of his motion for recusal. We find the district court erred in awarding judgment as a matter of law. We reverse and

Page 801

remand for a new trial, and for reconsideration of the evidentiary, discovery and recusal rulings.

I.

This action represents the end product of a tragic series of events. On April 14, 1997, St. Louis police officers Richard Booker and Steven Petty responded to a report of a burglar alarm at a private residence. 2 Inside the apartment, the officers encountered Gregory Bell, a mentally-impaired teenager. Bell's impairment prevented him from providing the proper alarm code or explaining to the officers that he lived there. Thinking him a burglar, the officers attempted to place Bell under arrest, whereupon Bell resisted. During the ensuing fight, the officers repeatedly struck him with metal batons and sprayed him with mace. During the struggle, one of the officers placed an "officer in need of aid" call.

At that time, Sergeant Moran was on duty at a police substation. With him were EMS attendants Mark Rauss and Larry Campbell. When the "officer in need of aid" call came in, Moran immediately headed to the scene. Anticipating their own call, Rauss and Campbell also responded. When Moran reached the scene, ten to thirteen police cars already blocked the street. Moran had to park far down the street and walk back to the residence. Meanwhile, some combination of responding officers eventually subdued Bell. After he ceased resisting, Bell was brought from the house in handcuffs. Dispatcher and 911 tape recordings show that Moran did not arrive at the house until after Bell had been subdued. Moran alleges that after he arrived on the scene, he entered the house and encountered Bell in the kitchen as he was being removed from the house. Rauss and Campbell treated Bell from the moment he was brought outside until the time he was transported from the scene. According to Rauss, Moran did not use mace on Bell during that period. The incident left Bell with severe lacerations to the head and a broken ankle. It is undisputed that throughout this course of events, Moran neither struck nor used mace upon Gregory Bell.

Within seventy-two hours of the incident, Police Chief Ronald Henderson apologized publicly and committed himself to finding and punishing the responsible officers. On April 19th, the Saturday following the beating, Major Hawkins, the Inspector of Police, received an anonymous phone call informing him that Officer Barry Greene had been at the scene and wanted to make a statement. Ordinarily, internal investigations are handled by the Internal Affairs Division ("IAD") and Chiefs of Police are rarely involved. In this case, however, Major Hawkins, Chief Henderson and Captain Nocchiero, the IAD commander, met with Officer Greene that Saturday evening in Henderson's office, while the assigned IAD investigators, Sergeants Thirdkill and Klein, were never notified. Officer Greene gave a taped statement accusing Sergeant Moran of beating Bell. None of the participants asked Greene a single question. Greene later testified that in fact he gave two statements, the first of which did not implicate Moran, and which was not recorded.

In the wake of the beating, IAD began interviewing all those involved, and ultimately interviewed approximately fifteen officers. Among those interviewed were

Page 802

Officers Petty and Booker, both of whom waived their Miranda rights and gave statements. At trial, Moran established that officers in such a situation, facing potential criminal charges of their own, usually do not waive their rights. Booker testified that he would not have waived his Miranda rights had he not known at that point that he was not a target of any criminal investigation.

After the first round of interviews, no other officer had corroborated Officer Greene's allegation. IAD then began calling officers back for repeated rounds of additional interviews. Curious about IAD's conduct, Richard Barry and Andrew Leonard, the attorneys representing the various officers, inquired of Captain Nocchiero what IAD thought was "the truth." Nocchiero said that he could not answer the question, and then walked out of his office. He returned shortly, and ushered the two attorneys into Chief Henderson's office. In response to the same question, according to Richard Barry, Chief Henderson became animated and stated, "I want the sergeant . . . the white sergeant." Neither Barry nor Leonard had any doubt that Henderson meant Moran. Leonard was convinced that Chief Henderson was driving the internal investigation. Henderson made clear to the attorneys that officers changing their statements would not be prosecuted...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP