502 F.3d 557 (6th Cir. 2007), 05-1371, Peet v. City of Detroit

Docket Nº:05-1371, 05-1373.
Citation:502 F.3d 557
Party Name:Dennis PEET; Jeemell Spencer, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. CITY OF DETROIT; Dwight Pearson; Lovier, Sergeant; Sullivan, Sergeant; Howard Phillips; Petersen, Sergeant; Deborah Nix; Jackson, Lieutenant; J. Fisher; Barbara Simon; William Rice; Charles Howard; Mark Amos; Ed Rudoni; Visbara, Sergeant; Catherine Adams, Jointly and Severally, Defendants-Appe
Case Date:September 25, 2007
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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Page 557

502 F.3d 557 (6th Cir. 2007)

Dennis PEET; Jeemell Spencer, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

CITY OF DETROIT; Dwight Pearson; Lovier, Sergeant; Sullivan, Sergeant; Howard Phillips; Petersen, Sergeant; Deborah Nix; Jackson, Lieutenant; J. Fisher; Barbara Simon; William Rice; Charles Howard; Mark Amos; Ed Rudoni; Visbara, Sergeant; Catherine Adams, Jointly and Severally, Defendants-Appellees.

Nos. 05-1371, 05-1373.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

Sept. 25, 2007

Argued: August 1, 2006

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit. Nos. 03-72480; 03-71470-John Corbett O'Meara, District Judge.

Page 558

ARGUED:

Christopher J. Trainor, Law Offices of Christopher Trainor & Associates, White Lake, Michigan, for Appellants.

Linda D. Fegins, City of Detroit Law Department, Detroit, Michigan, for Appellees.

ON BRIEF:

Christopher J. Trainor, Law Offices of Christopher Trainor & Associates, White Lake, Michigan, Kevin L. Laidler, Law Offices of Kevin Laidler, Pontiac, Michigan, for Appellants.

Linda D. Fegins, City of Detroit Law Department, Detroit, Michigan, for Appellees.

Before: GIBBONS and ROGERS, Circuit Judges; HOLSCHUH, District Judge.[*]

ROGERS, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which GIBBONS, J., joined. HOLSCHUH, D.J. (pp. 568-85), delivered a separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.

OPINION

ROGERS, Circuit Judge.

This appeal is composed of two related cases. Both cases are actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking damages from individual Detroit police officers for their alleged unconstitutional seizure and malicious prosecution of the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs, Dennis Peet and Jeemell Spencer, further seek to hold the City of Detroit liable for the officers' alleged constitutional violations. On appeal, the plaintiffs seek to overturn the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Dwight Pearson and the City of Detroit. For the reasons given below, we affirm.

I.

On the night of April 27, 2000, Detroit police officers Robert Petersen and Charles Howard responded to a call reporting shots fired in progress at the Coney Island restaurant located at 12521 Mack Avenue in Detroit. When they arrived, the officers discovered Reed Byrd

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suffering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Paramedics arrived and transported Byrd to the hospital, where he died at 11:31 p.m. The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Byrd's death a homicide. When the officers arrived at the scene of the shooting, they also discovered Leonard McGlory, who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his legs. McGlory was transported to the hospital for treatment.

Investigator Pearson of the Detroit police conducted an investigation to determine the identity of the shooter and any accomplices. Investigator Pearson identified the plaintiffs, Dennis Peet and Jeemell Spencer, as suspected accomplices by relying, primarily, on Spencer's pager number, which an eyewitness, Feanda Wilson, provided. The day after the shooting, on April 28, 2000, the police took Peet and Spencer into custody for questioning and put them in a live line-up to see whether witnesses could identify Peet and Spencer. Wilson identified them as accomplices of the murderer. Peet and Spencer remained in jail from April 28, 2000, until their acquittal of all charges on March 28, 2001.

A. Information That Police Had Prior To Taking Peet and Spencer Into Custody

The record contains the following evidence as to what the police knew prior to taking Peet and Spencer into custody. John Anderson, who was robbed by the gunman and his accomplices on the night of the shooting, gave a statement to the Detroit police early the next morning at 12:55 a.m. Anderson was "at the gas station" near the Coney Island restaurant "waiting [in line] to pay for my gas" when three men walked in and acted like "they going to buy something." Two of the men stood near Anderson. One of the men yelled at Anderson, "Get that thing." Then, "the other guy that was standing next to me pulled out a gun. I looked at the other guy then the guy said, 'B[***] you know what I mean.' " Anderson then gave the man his money, a total of $125. Anderson subsequently opened the gas station door and ran to his car. As he pulled away in his car, he "heard a gunshot." In total, Anderson heard two gunshots between 10:15 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on April 27, 2000.

When asked for a description of the men in the gas station who stood near him, Anderson described the first as a black male aged 20 to 25, who was 5'9" tall and weighed 165 to 170 pounds. The man wore a gray pullover jacket with a hood and gray jogging pants. Anderson described the second man as a black male, aged 18 to 25, who was 5'7" to 5'8" tall and weighed 160 pounds. He wore a red pullover jacket. Anderson did not provide a description of the third person allegedly involved.

Jmo Bracey, who was robbed by the same three men that victimized Anderson on the night of the shooting, gave a statement to the Detroit police early the next morning at 3:05 a.m. Bracey recounted what he saw and heard the previous night. Bracey and his friend Leonard McGlory drove to the Coney Island restaurant and ordered food. Bracey walked to the nearby gas station to buy a cigar. McGlory waited for the food at the restaurant. "When I walked out of the Coney Island," Bracey told the police, "3 guys walked up behind me, like from around the corner of the building." Bracey "saw one guy reach up inside his coat like he was getting a gun out, and I figured I was about to get robbed." Bracey told the police:

Just then a crackhead called out to the guy and got his attention, and I got inside the gas station before he got his

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gun out. I told the guy behind the counter that I was about to get robbed, and I took my gold chain off and put it in my sock. Then the 3 guys came in and the one guy took his gun out and put it up to my neck. He says, "Give me your chain and your jacket." I told him that I gave my chain to the guy behind the counter, so the guy with the gun just took my coat .... One of the other guys took my money $100 (5-$20's) out of my pocket. The third guy was waiting by the door, like watching out. The guy behind the counter locked the door where they was inside, but after they robbed me, they snatched the door loose and got out.

...

I saw 2 of them, I think, run up into the Coney Island, and I heard some shots while they were inside, that had to be when they shot Leonard [McGlory]. Then they ran out and the one with the gun shot 3 times into the front windshield of the red car [in front of the Coney Island], and shot the guy inside the car. Then they took off and ran around the corner of the Coney Island back toward the car wash and Anderson Street. I didn't see them any more after that. I checked on Leonard [McGlory], and he was laying on the floor under the chair back of the video game in the Coney Island, and he was shot in the legs.

Bracey transported McGlory to Riverview Hospital for treatment. McGlory told Bracey that the men had robbed him.

Bracey told the police that he had never seen the men before. Bracey described the gunman as a black male aged 22, who was 5'6" to 5'7" tall, weighed 160 pounds, and had light brown skin and a short-trimmed beard. The gunman wore his hair in braids and was wearing a gray "sweater-jacket, like a spring jacket, and black pants."

Bracey described the man who took his $100 as a black male aged 20 to 25, who was 5'6" tall, weighed 150 pounds, and had "dark skin." Bracey described the third man, the one who stood watch, as a black male of the same age as the man who took his money. The third man stood six feet tall, was thin, and had "brown skin." Bracey said that only the first man had a gun.

Bracey also said that the "girl who worked in the Coney Island," presumably Feanda Wilson, told him that the men had been in the restaurant prior to the shooting and that a friend of the shooter's had given her his number.

Feanda Wilson gave a statement to Detroit police in the early morning after the shooting. Wilson described the events that led up to the shooting. A little before 10:00 p.m., Wilson was at the Coney Island restaurant sitting in her friend Reed Byrd's car, a red Ford Escort parked just outside the restaurant's door. While conversing with Byrd in his car, Wilson saw "a black guy wearing a light gray jogging suit" walk past and head toward the nearby gas station. Wilson then went to work behind the counter at the restaurant. Moments later, the man in the gray jogging suit entered the restaurant. The man in the jogging suit looked out the window. Wilson then saw two men outside "next to [Byrd's] car, one on each side of it." Wilson

saw one of the guys open the driver's door and grab my friend and grabbed his black jacket and his red/white/blue shirt off [of] him. My friend was trying to back up and while this was taking place, this guy inside the restaurant with the gray jogging suit went over to a customer who was sitting next to the video game. He told the customer, "What the f[***] are you looking at"?

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The customer said, "I ain't seen nothing". The guy said, "Naw n[***]a, you saw something," then he just started shooting. Then the guy with the jogging suit [went] outside and over to my friend's car where the other guys are trying to grab my friend out of his car. The guy at the driver's door said, "Get this mother f[***]r too." Then, the guy with the jogging suit just starts shooting at my friend. Then he runs around by the garbage cans. The two other guys who were at the car got into a dark blue Ford F150 pickup, late 80's...

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