Fanor v. Alvarado, 091310 FED3, 08-2907

Docket Nº:08-2907
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Party Name:EVANS FANOR, Appellant v. OFFICER CARLOS ALVARADO, individually and in his capacity as an officer with the Newark Police Department; NEWARK POLICE DEPARTMENT; CITY OF NEWARK
Judge Panel:Before: RENDELL, HARDIMAN and ALDISERT, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:September 13, 2010
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

EVANS FANOR, Appellant

v.

OFFICER CARLOS ALVARADO, individually and in his capacity as an officer with the Newark Police Department; NEWARK POLICE DEPARTMENT; CITY OF NEWARK

No. 08-2907

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

September 13, 2010

NOT PRECEDENTIAL

Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1 August 13, 2010.

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (D.N.J. Civil No. 05-cv-05536) District Judge: Honorable Peter G. Sheridan.

Before: RENDELL, HARDIMAN and ALDISERT, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

PER CURIAM

Evans Fanor, proceeding pro se, appeals a judgment of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in favor of Officer Carlos Alvarado, the City of Newark, New Jersey, and the Newark Police Department in his civil rights action. We will affirm.

Fanor was employed as a patient advocate in a hospital emergency room. In March 2004, a nurse asked Officer Alvarado, who brought prisoner-patients to the hospital, to move away while she treated a patient. Officer Alvarado would not do so and his superior was contacted. According to Fanor, Officer Alvarado became belligerent. Fanor claimed that, after this incident, Officer Alvarado belittled him when he brought prisoners to the hospital. Officer Alvarado denies harassing Fanor.

On May 8, 2004, Fanor told Officer Alvarado, who was talking on his cell phone, to get off of his phone because Fanor believed that cell phones were prohibited in the area where Officer Alvarado was talking. The parties dispute what happened next. Fanor alleged that Officer Alvarado poked him, grabbed him and pinched his skin, and twisted his arm in order to handcuff him. Officer Alvarado stated that Fanor approached him in a hostile, threatening manner and would not stop yelling after he warned Fanor to stop. Officer Alvarado arrested Fanor on charges of terroristic threats, obstruction of administration of the law, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. The disorderly conduct charge was dismissed in municipal court. Fanor was not indicted on the other charges.

Fanor filed a pro se complaint against Officer Alvarado pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, raising claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and use of excessive force. He also claimed that the City of Newark and the Newark Police Department had a policy or custom of supporting any action taken by its officers, that the City and Police Department had knowledge of prior similar incidents involving Officer Alvarado, and that the City and Police Department failed to train, discipline, or control its personnel.

The District Court granted summary judgment in favor of Officer Alvarado on Fanor's excessive force claim, explaining that the pokes and pinch Fanor allegedly suffered did not constitute excessive force. The District Court also ruled that the City of Newark and the Newark Police Department were entitled to summary judgment on Fanor's municipal liability claims. The District Court explained that Fanor had not identified a policy of deliberate indifference to constitutional rights and that the evidence established that complaints against police officers for excessive force are investigated. The District Court further found that whether Officer Alvarado had probable cause to arrest Fanor was a question for the jury. Fanor's remaining claims proceeded to trial and the jury returned a verdict in favor of Officer Alvarado. This appeal followed.1

Although Fanor has not included in his brief a statement of issues for our review, he primarily argues that the District Court improperly excluded evidence at trial. The District Court granted Officer Alvarado's motions in limine to exclude certain evidence and we review these rulings for abuse of discretion. Forrest v. Beloit Corp., 424 F.3d 344, 349 (3d Cir. 2005).

Fanor contends that Officer Alvarado's Internal Affairs file, which purportedly contained evidence showing his prior use of excessive force, was improperly excluded at trial. The use of excessive force, however, was not at issue at trial as the District Court granted summary judgment in favor of Officer Alvarado on this claim. Fanor also does not dispute the District Court's finding that Officer Alvarado was exonerated in the alleged prior incidents. Because the Internal Affairs file was not relevant to the issues before the jury, the District Court did...

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