981 F.2d 1537 (8th Cir. 1992), 90-2961, Angarita v. St. Louis County

Docket Nº:90-2961.
Citation:981 F.2d 1537
Party Name:Richard ANGARITA, Edward Kyle, and Thomas Patrick Murphy, Appellees, v. ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Col. Gilbert Kleinknecht, Mjr. Ronald Battelle, Sgt. John McCrady, Capt. Vincent Manning, Sgt. Donald Hasseldiek, and Sgt. Hugh Hodges, Appellants.
Case Date:December 09, 1992
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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981 F.2d 1537 (8th Cir. 1992)

Richard ANGARITA, Edward Kyle, and Thomas Patrick Murphy, Appellees,

v.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Col. Gilbert Kleinknecht, Mjr. Ronald

Battelle, Sgt. John McCrady, Capt. Vincent

Manning, Sgt. Donald Hasseldiek, and

Sgt. Hugh Hodges, Appellants.

No. 90-2961.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

December 9, 1992

Submitted Nov. 13, 1991.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Gerre Langton (argued), Steven K. Jones, and Mary Anne Lindsey, St. Louis, MO, on the brief, for appellants.

Jess W. Ullom (argued), and Randall B. Kahn, St. Louis, MO, on the brief, for appellees.

Before McMILLIAN and JOHN R. GIBSON, Circuit Judges and HUNTER, [*] Senior District Judge.

ELMO B. HUNTER, Senior District Judge.

I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

This is an appeal from a jury verdict entered May 11, 1990, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. 1 Jurisdiction of the district court was invoked under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343. Jurisdiction of this Court is invoked under 28 U.S.C. § 1291.

II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On November 21, 1986, Richard Angarita, Edward L. Kyle, Jr., and Thomas Patrick Murphy (hereinafter "appellees") filed a complaint seeking damages and equitable relief against Gilbert Kleinknecht, Ronald Battelle, Vincent Manning, Donald Hasseldiek, Hugh Hodges, John McCrady and St. Louis County (hereinafter "appellants"). Appellees alleged that appellants deprived them of their property rights in continued employment by coercing them into resigning their positions with the St. Louis County Police Department.

On October 23, 1989, a trial by jury commenced, and on October 30, 1989, the jury found in favor of Angarita on his due process claims and assessed actual damages against St. Louis County, Kleinknecht, Battelle, Hasseldiek, Hodges and McCrady, and assessed punitive damages against Kleinknecht, Battelle, Hasseldiek, Hodges, and McCrady. The jury found in favor of Kyle on his due process claims and assessed actual damages against St. Louis County, Kleinknecht, Battelle, Manning, Hodges and McCrady, and assessed punitive damages against Kleinknecht, Battelle, Manning, Hodges and McCrady. The jury found in favor of Murphy on his due process claims and assessed actual damages against St. Louis County, Kleinknecht, Battelle and McCrady, and assessed punitive

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damages against Kleinknecht, Battelle and McCrady. On May 11, 1990, the district court entered its judgment in favor of appellees and against appellants and awarded appellees actual and punitive damages in accordance with the jury verdict. On October 15, 1990, the Court entered its judgment, awarding appellees attorneys' fees and expenses. On November 13, 1990, appellants filed the instant notice of appeal.

III. STATEMENT OF FACTS

Although there are as many versions of the facts as there are witnesses to the incidents, this Court has attempted to set forth the facts objectively and accurately. 2

III.A. Background

In March of 1984, drug enforcement agency officers informed Colonel Gilbert Kleinknecht, Superintendent of Police, that Debbie Rogers had information concerning officers appropriating and using drugs seized in their investigations and engaging in sexual misconduct. Appellees were not specifically mentioned by name to Kleinknecht. Kleinknecht immediately conveyed this information to Major Ronald Battelle, Executive Director of the Division of Auxiliary Services. Battelle assigned Donald Hasseldiek to assist in this investigation. Battelle and Hasseldiek met with Debbie Rogers in March of 1984, wherein Rogers stated that she first met Angarita, Kyle and Steve Rogers 3 at a party in Creve Coeur Park in early 1981. She met Murphy in her relations with the Frontenac Police Department. Debbie Rogers further stated she had sexual intercourse with these officers, that drugs were used in her presence, and that she attended parties where appellees were drinking, using drugs and having sex. She indicated that transportation was conducted in a police car and that Steve Rogers was skimming money provided to narcotics officers for drug buys. Debbie Rogers was interviewed two additional times prior to April 4, 1984. Battelle and Hasseldiek also interviewed Officer Bilyk, inasmuch as his name was mentioned by Debbie Rogers. Officer Bilyk told them about drinking parties where sexual activity occurred and about the "White Castle" incident. 4

On April 3, 1984, Major Battelle met with Sergeant Hasseldiek, Captain Manning, Sergeant McCrady, Sergeant Hodges and Sergeant Sullivan to inform them of the misconduct allegations. Battelle indicated that interviews of the appellees would be conducted on April 4, 1984. 5

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On April 3, 1984, Angarita, 6 Kyle, 7 and Murphy 8 were contacted, misrepresentations were made to them and they were instructed to appear at the station on April 4, 1984.

III.B. Angarita, Kyle and Murphy Directed to the Same Room

and then Split Up

When Angarita, Kyle and Murphy were all in the room at Internal Affairs, Battelle told Hasseldiek to take their guns, badges and I.D. cards. Battelle then motioned toward Cook and Holmes and told them to "book" Rogers and "as a matter of fact, book them all." Appellees were then handed a complaint and interview notification form to sign. When Murphy asked for an explanation, he was told by McCrady to "just sign it, shut up and sign it, you don't have no choice in the matter, you don't have any rights." Appellees were then split up and taken into separate rooms.

III.C. Murphy's Interrogation

Murphy was initially interviewed by McCrady and told that, "You are not leaving with your job, nobody's going nowhere with their jobs." A few minutes later, Battelle came into the room and told Murphy that if he is caught in any lies, he "can be terminated." When Battelle left the room, McCrady handed Murphy a copy of the "White Castle" complaint. Murphy admitted to being present but stated that he was off duty and not intoxicated. Murphy further stated that Angarita was not at the "White Castle" incident and was not in the narcotics unit at that time. At this point, McCrady began discussing the allegations regarding parties at Creve Coeur Park, sexual misconduct, discharging weapons and skimming money. Murphy advised McCrady that there must be a formal written complaint pursuant to St. Louis County Police Department policy if these discussions were to continue. Murphy's requests to see his supervisor and an attorney were repeatedly denied. On one occasion, McCrady told Murphy that he had no rights, inasmuch as this was an administrative hearing.

After thirty minutes of questioning, McCrady turned on the tape recorder and began discussing the "White Castle" complaint and allegations of misconduct. Murphy admitted that he and other officers from the drug enforcement unit would go to Creve Coeur Park and have a few beers on their way home from work. Murphy admitted to engaging in sexual relations with Debbie Rogers and having oral sex with a woman at Steve Rogers' house, while Murphy was off duty. 9 Murphy denied any and all allegations of drug use, supplying informants with drugs, stealing property, discharging firearms and skimming money. McCrady indicated to Murphy that the press was involved and "it could be very embarrassing to the department." Murphy was interviewed by Battelle, Hasseldiek and McCrady and on more than one occasion was asked questions by more than one officer at a time. Murphy was threatened with dismissal, termination, and criminal prosecution. The tape recorder was turned off at approximately 6:45 p.m. and for some time thereafter, Battelle and Hasseldiek questioned Murphy. Shortly thereafter, Murphy resigned. After his

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resignation, Murphy asked to see Kyle and Angarita.

III.D. Kyle's Interrogation

Kyle was initially interrogated by Manning. Manning presented Kyle with a Bureau of Internal Affairs Employee Complaint Interview Notification Form, which he signed at 3:45 p.m. Manning gave Kyle the "White Castle" complaint, at which point, Kyle asked Manning if he could have his supervisor present, and Manning stated that no one could be present at that time. Battelle walked into the interrogation room and told Kyle, "You're going to answer all of the questions we pose to you in no uncertain terms. You're not going to have the right to talk to anybody." Manning then turned the tape recorder on and went about the initial formalities of the interrogation regarding the "White Castle" incident. Kyle admitted to being present at the "White Castle" incident and to drinking, but stated that both he and Murphy were off duty. 10

Manning questioned Kyle about allegations of drinking, parties, sexual misconduct and skimming money. Kyle admitted taking a police car to Creve Coeur Park while off duty, but denied being intoxicated or having sexual relations while on duty. Kyle denied discharging his firearm at Creve Coeur Park, using drugs, and skimming money. Kyle admitted to having sex with a woman other than his wife at a hotel while off duty. During the interrogation, Battelle and Manning also accused Kyle of taking narcotics money and using it to build additions onto his home. Kyle denied these charges and offered to provide documents to prove that the money came from his mother and father. He was not permitted to contact his wife so as to secure the documents.

Kyle's interrogation started at 3:50 p.m. and lasted until 9:30 p.m. The tape recorder was permanently turned off around 6:30 p.m. while Kyle continued to be interrogated by Manning, Battelle, Hodges and McCrady. On a number of occasions, Battelle told Kyle that Colonel Kleinknecht had indicated that Kyle would not leave with his job and that "before you leave here, you no longer will be a policeman." Battelle and Manning told Kyle that all of the allegations would...

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