Arrington ex rel. Arrington v. City of Davenport, No. CIV3.-.301-CV-30058.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
Writing for the CourtWalters
Citation240 F.Supp.2d 984
PartiesZachariah ARRINGTON, A Minor By Rose ARRINGTON, Plaintiff, v. CITY OF DAVENPORT, Davenport Police Department and Officer Greg Behning, Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. CIV3.-.301-CV-30058.
Decision Date06 January 2003
240 F.Supp.2d 984
Zachariah ARRINGTON, A Minor By Rose ARRINGTON, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF DAVENPORT, Davenport Police Department and Officer Greg Behning, Defendants.
No. CIV3.-.301-CV-30058.
United States District Court, S.D. Iowa, Davenport Division.
January 6, 2003.

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Kathleen Bailey, Coyle Gilman & Stengel, Rock Island, IL, for Plaintiff.

Thomas D. Warner, Davenport City Attorney, Christopher S. Jackson, Davenport, IA, for Defendants.

RULING ON DEFENDANTS* MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

WALTERS, Chief United States Magistrate Judge.


This matter is before the Court on defendants' motion for summary judgment (#19), filed August 29, 2002. Plaintiff Rose Arlington, on behalf of her minor son Zachariah Arrington ("Arlington"), filed a complaint on May 15, 2001. The complaint stems from an investigatory stop of Arrington on June 26, 2000 by Davenport, Iowa police officer Greg Behning ("Behning"). The complaint states five causes of action: a federal civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 for racially discriminatory conduct in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and related Iowa constitutional provision (First Claim for Relief); a federal civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for unlawful search and seizure in violation of Arrington's rights under the Fourth Amendment

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to the United States Constitution and related Iowa constitutional provision (Second Claim for Relief); a federal civil rights claim for violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment1 to the United States Constitution and related Iowa constitutional provision (Third Claim for Relief); a state law claim for assault in violation of the Iowa hate crimes statutes (Fourth Claim for Relief); and a state law claim for false arrest (Fifth Claim for Relief). With respect to each of these counts, plaintiff claims the City of Davenport and the Davenport Police Department (hereinafter collectively referred to as "the City") are liable for Behning's conduct based on the customs and practices of the City and failure to train or supervise Behning.

Federal question jurisdiction is asserted. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343(a)(3). The Court has supplemental jurisdiction of the state law claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1367. The parties consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge and the case was referred to the undersigned for all further proceedings on October 10, 2001. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

I.

Defendants' motion for summary judgment is subject to the following well-established standards. A party is entitled to summary judgment only when the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Helm Financial Corp. v. MNVA Railroad, Inc., 212 F.3d 1076, 1080 (8th Cir.2000)(citing Fed. R.Civ.P. 56(c)); accord Bailey v. USPS, 208 F.3d 652, 654 (8th Cir.2000). An issue of material fact is genuine if it has a real basis in the record. Hartnagel v. Norman, 953 F.2d 394, 395 (8th Cir.1992)(citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986)). A genuine issue of fact is material if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law." Hartnagel, 953 F.2d at 395 (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)); see Rouse v. Benson, 193 F.3d 936, 939 (8th Cir.1999).

In assessing a motion for summary judgment a court must determine whether a fair-minded trier of fact could reasonably find for the nonmoving party based on the evidence presented. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505; Herring v. Canada Life Assurance Co., 207 F.3d 1026, 1030 (8th Cir.2000). The court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and give that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences which can be drawn from them. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348; accord Lambert v. City of Dumas, 187 F.3d 931, 934 (8th Cir.1999); Kopp v. Samaritan Health System, Inc., 13 F.3d 264, 269 (8th Cir. 1993).

II.

The following facts are undisputed or as viewed in the light favorable to plaintiff.2 On June 26, 2000 around 10:00 p.m. plaintiff Zachariah Arrington, an African-American juvenile, was with five friends in the vicinity of Vanderveer Park in Davenport, Iowa. As they walked through a yard the property owner became angry and swore at them, resulting in a disturbance which led a neighbor to call the police.

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(Def.App. at 1). Except for Arlington and another who was part African-American, all in the group were white. (Def.App. at 6). Defendant Behning responded to the call with another officer. (Id. at 1). He stopped Arlington and his friends for questioning concerning the disturbance. (Id. at 4). Behning obtained the names of all the individuals in the group and called them in to the police dispatcher to check for outstanding warrants. Although none of the individuals matched any warrants, the dispatcher reminded Behning that plaintiffs last name was the same as that of a suspect in a bank robbery which had occurred that day in nearby Moline, Illinois. Officer Behning then asked the group which one of them was named Arlington. Zachariah stepped forward and identified himself. (Id. at 1, 2; Pltf.App. at 4).

At this point the versions diverge. Behning claims he asked Arlington to sit in the back seat of his squad car so he could ask some questions about the robbery. (Def.App. at 4). In his police report, Behning wrote he "lightly took hold of Arlington's right shirt sleeve" as he walked him to the squad car, whereupon he did a patdown for weapons, before placing him in the car. (Pltf.App. at 2). One of the individuals with Arlington, Jason DeVrieze, has provided an affidavit stating an officer (presumably Behning) "grabbed Zachariah by the back of his shirt and took him, by force, toward the unmarked car" where Arlington "was thrown up against the car and the officer kicked his feet apart and patted him down." (Plt.fApp. at 4).

Once Arlington was in the car, Behning explained to him why he had been stopped and told him he had to wait until Behning received information concerning the suspect. (Pltf.App. at 3; Def.App. at 4-5). That information (received by radio or computer printout) excluded Arlington as the suspect and Behning released him. (Pltf.App. at 3; Def.App. at 5). Arrington was detained for not more than 10 to 15 minutes. (Def.App. at 2).

Arrington was in "disbelief and shock" over the event and complained to his mother the next day of back pain. His mother observed bruises and a few scratches on Arlington's back. (Pltf.App. at 7). Arrington has not provided an affidavit.

III.

Defendants' motion challenges the sufficiency of the evidence on plaintiffs municipal liability claims against the City, raises the defense of qualified immunity to the federal constitutional claims against Behning and seeks dismissal of the state law claims on legal and factual grounds. The Court will consider the federal constitutional claims first and then the state law claims.

A. The Federal Claims

1. Qualified Immunity

Behning raises the defense of qualified immunity. The Eighth Circuit has just recently again summarized the qualified immunity analysis:

... A state actor is entitled to qualified immunity when his "`conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.'" [Sexton v. Martin, 210 F.3d 905, 909 (8th Cir.2000)] (quoting Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 73 L.Ed.2d 396 (1982)). To determine whether qualified immunity is appropriate, we first ask whether the plaintiff alleges facts demonstrating that the state actor violated the plaintiffs constitutional or statutory rights. See Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730, ___, 122 S.Ct. 2508, 2513, 153 L.Ed.2d 666 (2002); Washington v. Normandy Fire Prot.

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Dist., 272 F.3d 522, 526 (8th Cir.2001). In doing so at the summary judgment stage, we "take as true those facts asserted by [a] plaintiff that are properly supported in the record." Tlamka v. Serrell, 244 F.3d 628, 632 (8th Cir.2001). If those facts would establish a constitutional violation if proven at trial, our next inquiry is whether the right violated was clearly established at the time of the state actor's conduct. Washington, 272 F.3d at 526. The law is clearly established if the law was sufficiently developed to give the official "fair warning" that his alleged conduct violated the plaintiffs rights. Hope, 536 U.S. at __, 122 S.Ct. at 2516.

Shade v. City of Farmington, 309 F.3d 1054, 1058-59 (8th Cir.2002). See Kukla v. Hulm, 310 F.3d 1046, 1048-49 (8th Cir. 2002).

2. Equal Protection Claim

Arrington's first claim is that Officer Behning's conduct in singling him out of the group, asking him to step to the patrol car, conducting a pat down, manhandling him and asking him questions was based on his race in violation of his rights under the Equal Protection Clause and the parallel Iowa constitutional provision.3

Arrington must prove that Behning's conduct was motivated by his race. See Village of Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 265, 97 S.Ct. 555, 50 L.Ed.2d 450 (1977)("[p]roof of racially discriminatory intent or purpose is required to show a violation of the Equal Protection Clause"); Ellebracht v. Police Bd. of Metropolitan Police Dep't of City of St. Louis, 137 F.3d 563, 565 (8th Cir.1998)(impermissible purpose or motive required); Batra v. Board of Regents, 79 F.3d 717, 721 (8th Cir.1996)(plaintiff must establish "an unlawful intent to discriminate against plaintiff for an invalid reason").

The only evidence on the equal protection claim is that Behning forcibly detained...

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1 practice notes
  • Hemphill v. Hale, Case No. 4:09-CV-2123 (CEJ)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • September 9, 2011
    ...would know that use of force unjustified by any legitimate need would be unlawful. Arrington ex rel. Arrington v. City of Davenport, 240 F. Supp. 2d 984, 992 (S.D. Iowa 2003). Accordingly,Page 9 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion of defendant Andrew J. Hale for partial summary judgment [D......
1 cases
  • Hemphill v. Hale, Case No. 4:09-CV-2123 (CEJ)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
    • September 9, 2011
    ...would know that use of force unjustified by any legitimate need would be unlawful. Arrington ex rel. Arrington v. City of Davenport, 240 F. Supp. 2d 984, 992 (S.D. Iowa 2003). Accordingly,Page 9 IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion of defendant Andrew J. Hale for partial summary judgment [D......

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