Perry v. City of Indianapolis, 1:11-cv-0172-RLY-TAB

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Southern District of Indiana)
Writing for the CourtRICHARD L. YOUNG
PartiesCANDI PERRY, Plaintiff, v. CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS, Defendant.
Decision Date23 April 2013
Docket Number1:11-cv-0172-RLY-TAB

CANDI PERRY, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS, Defendant.

1:11-cv-0172-RLY-TAB

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA INDIANAPOLIS DIVISION

SO ORDERED: April 23, 2013


ENTRY ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Plaintiff, Candi Perry, is a police officer for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department ("IMPD"). Officer Perry alleges that the Defendant, City of Indianapolis, violated her constitutional and state law rights when she was investigated and subsequently indicted by a grand jury for acts of official misconduct and filing a false crime report. Defendant now moves for summary judgment. The court, having read and reviewed the supporting and opposing briefs, the designated evidence, and the applicable law, now GRANTS Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

I. Background

On June 25, 2009, IMPD officers were dispatched to the northwest side of Indianapolis where they discovered the body of Herman A. Clark, the victim of an apparent fatal gunshot wound to the chest. (Affidavit of Douglas L. Cook ("Cook Aff.") ¶ 3). A criminal homicide investigation was initiated, and Douglas Cook was designated as the lead detective on the case. (Id. at ¶ 4).

On June 26, 2009, Perry was approached in her squad car by a man ("Informant") who claimed to have information, which Perry later discovered, related to Clark's

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murder. (Affidavit of Candi Perry ("Perry Aff.") ¶ 6). Perry is an African-American female who has worked as a police officer since 1995 and been employed by the IMPD since January 2007. (Id. at ¶ 4; Second Amended Compl. ("Compl.") ¶ 7). Perry claims she neither knew the identity of the Informant nor had him in her custody, and he did not immediately indicate he had knowledge about the murder, other than an offhand comment that "it didn't happen in the car." (Perry Aff. ¶ 7).

Upon hearing that a homicide had occurred in her area the prior day, Perry requested the contact information for Detective Cook. (Id. at ¶¶ 8-9). Cook received a page from Perry that day to contact her regarding the homicide investigation. (Cook Aff. ¶ 5). Perry told Cook that while on duty near 3700 North Clifton Street, a man flagged her down because he wanted to provide information concerning the prior evening's homicide. (Id. at ¶ 6). Perry relayed the details the man provided to Cook, including the description of the scene of the shooting. (Id.). At that time, Perry maintained that she did not know the identity of the Informant or where he lived and could not provide any additional information. (Perry Aff. ¶¶ 11, 14). Cook instructed Perry to bring the Informant down to the Homicide Branch Office immediately, but Perry stated she had already released the man. (Cook Aff. ¶¶ 7-8). Cook requested Perry to provide the Informant's pertinent identifying information while conveying the critical importance of the man as a potential witness to the homicide. (Id. at ¶ 9). Perry claimed she never exchanged any information with the Informant, nor ever told anyone that she knew him or exchanged information with him. (Perry Aff. ¶ 20). Perry did, however, later admit

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that she may have been in the Informant's vicinity when she interacted with his young nephew on several occasions. (Id.).

Despite Perry's promise to update Cook with information, Cook called Perry that night to discover whether she obtained the Informant's contact information and to again convey how critically important the man was to the homicide investigation. (Cook Aff. ¶¶ 11, 13). Perry responded that she was off-duty Saturday and Sunday but would resume her search for the witness when she returned on Monday. (Id. at ¶ 14). Although Cook told Perry to leave her cell phone on and await further instructions, numerous follow-up calls were not answered between 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. that night. (Id. at ¶¶ 14-15).

Cook then met with Detective Catherine Cummings, who agreed to follow up with Perry. (Id. at ¶ 16). Cummings called Perry and asked her about her contact with the Informant and any other information she may have about him. (Affidavit of Catherine Cummings ¶¶ 3-5). Again, Perry maintained she did not personally know the Informant and had no way of identifying him. (Id. at ¶ 6).

Between 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m on June 26th, Perry called Detective Steven Scott and asked for assistance in locating the Informant in the neighborhood where she currently worked. (Affidavit of Steven A. Scott ("Scott Aff.") ¶¶ 4-5). Scott had not been assigned as a detective to the homicide case at that time. (Id. at ¶ 6). Perry had Scott drive her to the area of Clifton Street and 37th Street. (Id. at ¶ 7). Perry canvased the neighborhood in search of the Informant and left her contact information with one of the houses. (Perry Aff. ¶ 15). Perry returned to Scott's car and alerted him that a woman

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at one of the houses may be a relative of the Informant. (Id. at ¶ 19). Scott suggested they visit the relative's home a second time in order to get the Informant's phone number. (Scott Aff. ¶ 10). Perry visited the home a second time, but did not get the Informant's number; instead, she left a number for him to call her. (Id. at ¶ 11).

On June 27, 2009, around 12:00 a.m., Perry contacted Cook and alerted him that her search for the Informant's residence was being terminated and she did not find any names, addresses, telephone numbers, and/or vehicle descriptions for the man. (Cook Aff. ¶ 17). Cook alerted his supervisor, IMPD Homicide Lieutenant Kevin Kelly, about Perry's actions, and Kelly ordered Cook to ask Perry to come down to the Homicide Branch Office to look at a photo imaging machine to identify the man. (Id. at ¶¶ 18-19). Perry agreed and arrived at approximately 1:00 a.m. to answer questions in a conference room. (Id. at ¶¶ 19-20). Cook asked questions about identifying the Informant, but at the time of the interview, Perry was not a possible suspect to any criminal investigation. (Id. at ¶¶ 21-22). Perry denied personal knowledge of the Informant, but admitted she knew who he was from the neighborhood. (Id. at ¶ 23). Perry was shown approximately 250 photos but could not identify any of them as the Informant. (Id. at ¶ 24). Perry was then ordered to drive around the neighborhood in an attempt to locate the Informant and, if she did, notify the Communications Branch and immediately take the witness to the homicide office for questioning; further, if the Informant were unwilling to cooperate, Perry was ordered to immediately notify Kelly so that Kelly or Cook could speak to the Informant in person. (Id. at ¶¶ 25-26).

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On the morning of June 27th, the Informant called Perry's cell phone and agreed to meet Perry at the crime scene to give her information. (Perry Aff. ¶ 17). The Informant initially refused to go to the homicide office despite Perry's requests. (Id. at ¶ 18). Perry met the Informant in the area of 33rd Street and Rader, and the Informant proceeded to describe the events surrounding the shooting by walking Perry through the crime scene. (Def.'s Ex. F at 19-25). During this time, one of the suspected shooters pulled up to Perry and the Informant and started talking with the Informant. (Id. at 26-27).

Between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., Perry called Scott and told him she had been at the homicide crime scene with the Informant and had been spotted by one of the suspected shooters in the homicide. (Scott Aff. ¶ 12). After the call, Scott picked up Perry and took her to her car. (Id. at ¶ 13). Perry admitted to Scott that the Informant's first name was Dave and that she had his phone number. (Id. at ¶ 14). Perry paged Kelly and informed him that she had made contact with the Informant and obtained full details and descriptions for the homicide investigation including a walkthrough of the crime scene; however, she alerted him that she had already released the witness before contacting him. (Cook Aff. ¶ 30).

At approximately 4:00 p.m. that day, Perry returned to the IMPD Homicide Branch. (Id. at ¶ 31). Perry provided a statement to homicide Detectives James Vaughn and Cook as part of the ongoing homicide investigation. (Id. at ¶ 32). Perry stated that she discovered that the Informant may go by the name "Dave," but she did not otherwise know the Informant or the Informant's address. (Id. at ¶¶ 33, 35). Similarly, Perry also

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denied knowing the suspected shooter that approached her that day and claimed the Informant did not provide such information. (Id. at ¶ 34). Perry provided a phone number for the Informant and, as a result, was able to arrange a meeting with him. (Id. at ¶ 36). Later that same day, Perry and Scott met the Informant and brought him in to the Homicide Office for an interview. (Id. at ¶¶ 37-38).

After Perry gave Vaughn and Cook a statement, Deputy Chief William Benjamin, Kelly, and Lieutenant Darryl Pierce also entered the room. (Perry Aff. ¶ 27). Perry repeatedly asked to leave but was not permitted. (Id. at ¶ 26).

Sergeant Brian Churchill of Internal Affairs then conducted a separate interview with just Perry concerning her knowledge of the Informant. (Id. at ¶¶ 28-29; Affidavit of Brian Churchill ("Churchill Aff.") ¶¶ 5-6). Perry again maintained she did not know the Informant, had not gathered any pertinent identification information during her prior encounters with him, and did not know the suspected shooter she encountered at the crime scene. (Churchill Aff. ¶¶ 7-8). Perry claims Churchill asked questions such as "why are you dressed that way?"; "do you date the confidential informant, or the criminal...

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