530 F.3d 407 (6th Cir. 2008), 07-3133, El Bey v. Roop

Docket Nº:07-3133.
Citation:530 F.3d 407
Party Name:Raahkiim EL BEY, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Tim ROOP, Matt Miller, Darrin Barlow, Diane L. Bryan, and William F. Schenck, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:July 01, 2008
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

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530 F.3d 407 (6th Cir. 2008)

Raahkiim EL BEY, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Tim ROOP, Matt Miller, Darrin Barlow, Diane L. Bryan, and William F. Schenck, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 07-3133.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

July 1, 2008

Submitted: June 3, 2008.

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Lynnette Ballato Dinkler, Subashi, Wildermuth & Dinkler, Dayton, Ohio, Jeffrey C. Turner , Surdyk, Dowd & Turner Co., L.P.A., Dayton, Ohio, for Appellees. Raahkiim El Bey, Xenia, Ohio, pro se.

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Before: MERRITT , CLAY , and GILMAN , Circuit Judges.


RONALD LEE GILMAN , Circuit Judge.

This case arises out of the events surrounding the entry into, and search of, a residence in Xenia, Ohio, and the subsequent arrest of Raahkiim El Bey by Xenia police officers. El Bey claims that the officers unlawfully entered his residence, handcuffed him, and illegally searched his belongings in an effort to verify his identity. The officers, on the other hand, contend that the primary leaseholder of the residence consented to their entry into the home and that El Bey was initially detained only until the officers could determine whether he was the suspect for whom they had a valid arrest warrant. Upon discovering that there was an outstanding arrest warrant from New Jersey for a person named Billie Greene, whose Social Security number matched the one found in El Bey's residence, and after confirming that El Bey had changed his name from Billie Greene, the officers arrested El Bey.

El Bey subsequently filed a pro se complaint against the police officers pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Ohio state law. The officers moved for summary judgment, arguing, among other things, that they were entitled to qualified immunity. Their motion for summary judgment was granted by the magistrate judge designated to decide El Bey's case. For the reasons set forth below, we AFFIRM in part and REVERSE in part the judgment of the district court, and REMAND the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.


A. Factual background

On a weekday afternoon in April of 2005, Deputy United States Marshals Andrea Frisby and Anthony Keffer, accompanied by Xenia police officers Matt Miller and Tim Roop, went to a residence located at 1580 Greenlake Drive. The marshals were there, with backup assistance from Miller and Roop, because of an outstanding federal arrest warrant for a man named Donald Ray. Ray was a fugitive who had previously given law enforcement officers the 1580 Greenlake Drive address as his primary residence.

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) in the Southern District of New York, which forwarded the request for assistance in apprehending Ray to the USMS in the Southern District of Ohio, also informed the Ohio USMS that Ray had a former girlfriend named Shakena Goode. After Deputy Marshal Frisby discovered that Goode resided at 1580 Greenlake Drive, Frisby called the Xenia Police Department to request backup assistance from local authorities before going to the residence. When the four law enforcement officials arrived at 1580 Greenlake Drive, Deputy Marshal Frisby and Officer Roop went to the front door, while Deputy Marshal Keffer and Officer Miller went to the back door. Frisby described this as a “standard procedure utilized to secure a property."

The parties' versions of the events that followed differ radically. According to the affidavits of Deputy Marshal Frisby and Officer Roop, Goode answered Frisby's knock on the door and, after Frisby displayed her badge and explained that she had a federal arrest warrant for Ray, Goode permitted Frisby and Roop to enter. Frisby subsequently encountered El Bey, whom both marshals described in their affidavits as bearing a “striking" resemblance

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to the photograph of Ray that they had received from the New York USMS. Frisby stated that El Bey identified himself as Raahkiim El Bey and that, “[c]onsistent with routine practice," she instructed Roop “to detain and handcuff Mr. El Bey until his identity was confirmed and while [Frisby] secured the house." Roop complied.

According to Deputy Marshal Frisby, she then accompanied Goode upstairs to find El Bey's identification and to get him some clothes (he was only half dressed at the time). Frisby said that she spoke to Goode twice about Ray outside the presence of El Bey, once while upstairs and once in the kitchen. Goode confirmed that Ray had recently been in Xenia and indicated that she wanted to help the marshals find him. Frisby also acknowledged that Goode told her that El Bey was not Ray.

Deputy Marshal Keffer and Officer Miller eventually came around from the back of the residence and entered through the front door. Keffer's affidavit indicates that Goode “was cooperative with" both marshals. In contrast, he said that El Bey “was defiant throughout his detention and attempted to stop Shakena Goode from speaking to the officers. As a result, Shakena Goode was taken outside of his presence so that the [marshals] could speak to her without his interference." Miller stated that after “look[ing] around to ensure that the house was secure," he accompanied Deputy Marshal Frisby and Goode upstairs “so that they could talk about the fugitive." He likewise recalled that Goode was “cooperative at all times."

Meanwhile, Officer Roop called El Bey's name into dispatch, but no information came up. His affidavit states as follows:

As I paced the room, I noticed paperwork near the computer in plain view, with a sequence of numbers that appeared to be a social security number. I was not searching the premises and came upon these numbers by chance. I called the numbers into dispatch.


Dispatch confirmed that the social security number belonged to Billie Greene, who had an outstanding warrant in New Jersey [that] ... was still valid.

The only other statement from the officers regarding how El Bey's Social Security number was obtained came from Deputy Marshal Keffer, who simply said that El Bey's “social security number was located and a check of his social security number revealed that his legal name was Billie Greene and that he was wanted on a New Jersey arrest warrant."

El Bey, in stark contrast, claimed in his verified complaint that he-not Goode-answered the knock on the front door. According to El Bey, as soon as he unlocked and began to open the door, “the door was suddenly pushed open and [my] wrists were instantly grabbed and placed in handcuffs" by Officer Roop. El Bey further stated that Deputy Marshal Keffer and Officer Miller appeared instantaneously, and that Officer Roop “instructed Officer Miller to search the first floor of plaintiff's home, including such spaces as the living room closet, the bathroom, the kitchen area, and the padio [sic] area." The complaint also alleged that El Bey “continued to issue objections while informing all four intruders that they were trespassing and that all four should leave."

El Bey contends that after he identified himself to the officers and some combative words were exchanged between himself and Officer Roop (including El Bey's refusal to disclose to Roop his Social Security number), Deputy Marshal Frisby showed El Bey a “Wanted" poster of Ray. At that point, El Bey told Frisby that he was not Ray, that he did not know Ray,

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and that “any legal situation involving the alleged suspect did not pertain" to him in any way. He also noticed that “the physical profile of the alleged suspect ... told of, at the least, a two inch difference in height (lesser), a fifteen pound difference in weight (greater), and a darker complexion (greater) when compared to plaintiff."

Under El Bey's version of the facts, Goode then emerged from upstairs and asked what was going on. Deputy Marshal Frisby told Goode that the officers were looking for Ray and showed her the “Wanted" poster, at which point Goode “responded that the suspect they sought did not live there, and that they should release plaintiff, and leave." Goode, after being informed that El Bey would not be released until the officers were satisfied that he was not the suspect, asked to speak to Deputy Marshal Frisby alone in the kitchen. El Bey further contends that when Frisby and Goode returned from the kitchen, Frisby spoke to Deputy Marshal Keffer, who then told El Bey that the marshals were “satisfied" that El Bey was not the suspect, “and that they were going to leave the matter at the discretion of Officer Roop and Officer Miller."

When El Bey again refused to give Officer Roop his Social Security number, El Bey claims that Officers Miller and Roop “looked toward the desk in the living room where plaintiff's computer sat and began to search it." El Bey stated that this was done without his consent, and claims that Roop opened a number of closed manila file folders “stacked on top of a green binder titled ‘Charter Financial,’ and began sifting through the documents inside." During the course of this unauthorized search, El Bey contends that Roop found a “plastic protector, which was not in plain view, from its place between a number of papers inside" one of the folders. Roop pulled out one of two envelopes (which had a Social Security Administration heading on it) inside the plastic protector, opened the envelope, and found a photocopy of El Bey's Social Security card.

The parties appear to agree that, at this point, the officers learned from dispatch that there was an outstanding arrest warrant in New Jersey for a man with the legal name of Billie Greene, whose Social Security number matched that of El Bey's. El Bey then confirmed that he had changed his name from Billie Greene, but contended that he was no...

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