661 Fed.Appx. 234 (3rd Cir. 2016), 16-1234, Wilson v. Jean

Docket Nº:16-1234
Citation:661 Fed.Appx. 234
Opinion Judge:SMITH, Circuit Judge
Party Name:NUMAH BARKUE WILSON, Appellant v. OFFICER JOEL JEAN, Badge Number 5320; OFFICER KYLE SMITH, Badge Number 1782; OFFICER WILLIAM FITZGERALD, Badge Number 1134, individually and as police officers for the City of Philadelphia; OFFICER JOHN DOE(S), individually and as police officers for the City of Philadelphia
Attorney:For NUMAH BARKUE WILSON, Plaintiff - Appellant: Arthur L. Bugay, Esq., Galfand Berger, Philadelphia, PA; Paul M. Messing, Esq., Kairys Rudovsky Messing & Feinberg, Philadelphia, PA. For OFFICER JOEL JEAN, Badge Number 5320, OFFICER KYLE SMITH, Badge Number 1782, OFFICER WILLIAM FITZGERALD, Badge ...
Judge Panel:Before: AMBRO, SMITH and FISHER, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:September 29, 2016
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
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Page 234

661 Fed.Appx. 234 (3rd Cir. 2016)

NUMAH BARKUE WILSON, Appellant

v.

OFFICER JOEL JEAN, Badge Number 5320; OFFICER KYLE SMITH, Badge Number 1782; OFFICER WILLIAM FITZGERALD, Badge Number 1134, individually and as police officers for the City of Philadelphia; OFFICER JOHN DOE(S), individually and as police officers for the City of Philadelphia

No. 16-1234

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

September 29, 2016

Submitted Under Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) September 27, 2016.

NOT PRECEDENTIAL

Editorial Note:

This opinion is not regarded as Precedents which bind the court under Third Circuit Internal Operating Procedure Rule 5.7. (See Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure Rule 32.1)

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA. (D.C. Civil No. 2-15-cv-01793). District Judge: Honorable Mark A. Kearney.

For NUMAH BARKUE WILSON, Plaintiff - Appellant: Arthur L. Bugay, Esq., Galfand Berger, Philadelphia, PA; Paul M. Messing, Esq., Kairys Rudovsky Messing & Feinberg, Philadelphia, PA.

For OFFICER JOEL JEAN, Badge Number 5320, OFFICER KYLE SMITH, Badge Number 1782, OFFICER WILLIAM FITZGERALD, Badge Number 1134, individually and as police officers for the City of Philadelphia, Defendants - Appellees: Elise M. Bruhl, Esq., Law Department, Philadelphia, PA.

Before: AMBRO, SMITH and FISHER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

[*]

SMITH, Circuit Judge

Numah Barkue Wilson filed this civil rights action after Philadelphia Police officers arrested him at a protest. Having failed to prevail at trial, he now appeals the order of the District Court granting partial summary judgment in favor of defendant police officers on his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for false arrest, the order of the Court denying his motion for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial, and the Court's denial of his request for a particular jury instruction. For the reasons that follow, we will affirm.

I.

On July 7, 2014, Wilson participated in a protest in which he and others from his community gathered in front of a Philadelphia Fire Department station to express dissatisfaction with the manner in which the Department had responded to a nearby fire that claimed the lives of several children, including two of Wilson's nieces. Wilson was arrested for disorderly conduct, briefly detained, and then released. He was not charged with an offense. In April 2015, Wilson filed this action against Philadelphia Police Officers Joel Jean, Kyle Smith, and William Fitzgerald (hereinafter, " the officers" ) alleging § 1983 claims for retaliation in violation of his First Amendment right to free speech and assembly, excessive force, and false arrest. He also alleged state law claims for excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment, assault, and battery.

Conceding that certain of Wilson's claims would need to be resolved by a jury, the officers sought summary judgment as to Wilson's federal claims for retaliation and false arrest, and his state law claims for false arrest and false imprisonment. In response to the officers' motion, Wilson dropped his retaliation claim. In an opinion and order dated October 30, 2015, the District Court granted the officers' motion with respect to the § 1983 false arrest claim because it determined that the officers were entitled to qualified immunity, but denied the motion with respect to the related state law claims.

The case proceeded to a two-day jury trial in November 2015. Video of the protest, culled from news footage, featured prominently at trial, and various excerpts were played during opening statements, closing arguments, and during the testimony of several witnesses. The video contained general depictions of the protest and depicted some of Wilson's conduct. At one point, the video shows Wilson gesturing and yelling at police officers, while, in another excerpt, he can be seen gesturing and yelling at a police officer standing in front of the fire station before moving away from the doors to the fire station. Although there is no video of his actual arrest, the video shows Wilson being led away by the defendants, as he struggles and screams " murderers."

Three friends and acquaintances of Wilson, who had also attended the protest, testified that Wilson had given the...

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