457 F.3d 721 (7th Cir. 2006), 04-4292, Acevedo v. Canterbury

Docket Nº:04-4292.
Citation:457 F.3d 721
Party Name:Edward ACEVEDO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Dennis CANTERBURY, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:August 10, 2006
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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457 F.3d 721 (7th Cir. 2006)

Edward ACEVEDO, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Dennis CANTERBURY, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 04-4292.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

August 10, 2006

        Argued Nov. 7, 2005.

        Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 03 C 0073—John Corbett O'Meara, Judge.[**]

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        Gregory E. Kulis, Shehnaz I. Mansuri (argued), Kulis & Associates, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

        Kerrie Maloney Laytin (argued), Office of the Corporation Counsel, Appeals Division, Chicago, IL, for Defendant-Appellee.

        Before Posner, Easterbrook, and Wood, Circuit Judges.

        Wood, Circuit Judge.

        During a late-night confrontation at a lot for towed cars, Chicago Police Officer Dennis Canterbury punched Edward Acevedo in the face, knocking him to the ground. Officer Canterbury then filed an assault charge against Acevedo, leading to his arrest. Acevedo, who is both a Chicago police officer and an Illinois state representative, filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, charging Canterbury with the use of excessive force and with false arrest. At the close of Acevedo's case, the district court entered judgment as a matter of law for Canterbury. We now reverse that judgment.


        Many of the pertinent facts are disputed. Since the district court granted Canterbury judgment as a matter of law, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to Acevedo, the nonmoving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in his favor. See Zimmerman v. Chicago Bd. of Trade, 360 F.3d 612, 623 (7th Cir. 2004).

        On August 22, 2001, Acevedo went to a political fundraiser for another state legislator at a bar in Chicago. Late in the evening, two of Acevedo's employees who had also attended the event, Denise Alcantar and Sylvia Idrovo, decided to leave. Once outside of the bar, they realized that the borrowed car they had arrived in was missing and probably had been towed. After telling Acevedo about the problem, Alcantar, Idrovo, Acevedo, and Acevedo's friend and fellow police officer, Aaron DelValle, got into Acevedo's car and drove to a nearby auto pound where they believed the car might be found.

        Upon arriving at the pound, Idrovo and DelValle entered an office trailer to inquire about the missing car while Acevedo and Alcantar waited in Acevedo's vehicle. Pound employees informed Idrovo and DelValle that the car had in fact been brought to the lot but that it could not be released to Idrovo because she was not the legal owner. The employees did, however, allow Idrovo to recover some personal items from the car. While Idrovo did so, DelValle stepped outside of the trailer to explain the situation to Acevedo.

        Soon thereafter, a police car arrived, apparently summoned by a call from the auto pound supervisor. (The supervisor

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testified that DelValle and Acevedo's aggressive efforts to retrieve the car caused him to call the police. DelValle and Acevedo denied that they created any disturbance.) Two officers, including Officer Canterbury, got out of the squad car and approached DelValle, who was still standing outside the trailer. At this point, Acevedo stepped out of his own car and approached the three men. After asking DelValle whether he had been inside the trailer, Canterbury said to Acevedo and DelValle: "I'm sick of yours [sic] people doing this shit every night." Acevedo retorted that he was a Chicago police officer and showed Canterbury his badge. At this point matters degenerated, as Canterbury and Acevedo swore at each other. After a few minutes, Canterbury turned away to walk toward the trailer. For his part, Acevedo turned to see if Idrovo had returned yet. As Acevedo continued to look away, Canterbury changed course and rushed toward him, striking Acevedo hard in the side of the head with his fist and causing him, as Canterbury...

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