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Martin v. City of Fort Wayne

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

January 12, 2017

MARQUAYLE MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF FORT WAYNE, BARRY PRUSER, MICHAEL LONG, MARTIN P. GROOMS, DERRICK DEMOREST, and TODD HUGHES, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM C. LEE, JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment. The Defendants, including the City of Fort Wayne and five Fort Wayne police officers, filed a motion for summary judgment (Docket Entry 26), Plaintiff Marquayle Martin filed a response in opposition (DE 28), and the Defendants filed a reply (DE 29) and a sur-reply (DE 35). Martin then filed his own motion for partial summary judgment (DE 40), the Defendants filed a response in opposition (DE 45), and Martin filed a reply brief (DE 55). For the reasons discussed below, the Defendants' motion for summary judgment (DE 26) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part; and the Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment (DE 40) is DENIED. The Defendants' motion is: GRANTED as to Plaintiff's claims against the individual Defendants for excessive force, failure to intervene, and battery; and GRANTED as to the Plaintiff's claims against the City of Fort Wayne under Monell v. Dept of Soc. Svcs. and under respondeat superior (based on the same allegations of excessive force and battery). The Defendants' motion is DENIED as to the issue of qualified immunity and DENIED as to the Plaintiff's claim for punitive damages. Both the Defendants' motion for summary judgment and the Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment are DENIED as to the Plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims against all Defendants for the alleged illegal search and seizure of his vehicle and those claims remain pending.

         BACKGROUND

         On June 27, 2014, Martin was driving in Fort Wayne with four passengers-two adult females, one adult male, and a five-year-old girl. Je'Carri Martin and Taylor Carswell, the adult women, are the Plaintiff's cousins and the young girl is his daughter. Both women had valid driver's licenses at the time (an important fact, as discussed later). The adult male, who first identified himself to officers as William Causey, eventually admitted his real name was Teron Walker. Since Walker had outstanding active warrants he was arrested at the scene. Moments before Martin was stopped, as he was driving in the vicinity of St. Mary's and Sherman streets just north of downtown, he got involved in a sort of “road rage” incident. While the phrase “road rage” implies some sort of heated, if not violent, dispute between drivers, this encounter ended before it escalated to that point, since Defendant police officer Michael Long appeared on the scene and pulled Martin over. According to Martin and his passengers, another vehicle, identified only as a “green vehicle, ” was in front of Martin's car and the driver of that other vehicle was allegedly hitting his brakes, causing Martin to have to brake hard to avoid a collision. This made Martin angry and he tailgated the green vehicle for a short time before he was stopped by police. The driver of the green vehicle drove off and was not stopped. At one point during this encounter, Martin threw coins out of the sunroof of his vehicle, striking the green vehicle. Officer Long was patrolling in the area, saw part of the confrontation between the two vehicles, and pursued them for a short time before Martin pulled his car into a parking lot. Long, who was in full police uniform and driving an unmarked police car, followed Martin into the lot, drew his sidearm and pointed it at Martin's vehicle, and waited for backup officers to arrive. Defendant officer Barry Pruser was the next police officer to arrive on the scene-just moments after Long-and Demorest, Grooms, and Hughes arrived moments after Pruser. The officers ordered everyone out of Martin's vehicle. Long and Pruser contend that Martin was uncooperative at first, ignoring their commands to keep his hands up, walking around casually and refusing to stand still, and demonstrating what the officers contend was “continual intentional disobeying of commands.” Defendants' Designation of Evidence, Pruser Supplemental Narrative (DE 26-1), p. 5. In short, the Defendant officers contend that Martin was uncooperative and refused to obey their commands during the stop, necessitating what they maintain was a reasonable use of force to effectuate his arrest on a charge of aggressive driving. Martin maintains that there was nothing at all reasonable about the amount of force used against him, and that it was excessive to the point of being unconstitutional. Martin insists that “at all times, he attempted to comply with the commands of officers.” Plaintiff's Response in Opposition (DE 28), p. 4 (citing Plaintiff's Affidavit, Exh. A). Despite his alleged compliance, Martin contends that “officers on the scene repeatedly yelled at him, and had him raise his hands above his head continuously for more than several minutes so that, at times, the officers' commands were confusing and . . . his arms sagged due to the difficulty and pain he suffered in trying to keep them raised for an extended period of time.” Id., pp. 4-5. Martin states that “[d]uring the traffic stop . . . Defendant Pruser ordered him to kneel in gravel . . .” and that he “was handcuffed by Defendant Pruser after kneeling in the gravel as instructed.” Id., p. 5. Martin also alleges that Pruser “bent [Martin's] arms in a painful manner, then stepped on Plaintiff's calf, then, after Plaintiff complained of the battery, Defendant Pruser choked him.” Id. Finally, Martin contends that “after this encounter with Defendant Pruser, Defendant Long slammed [Martin] while handcuffed against a police vehicle.” Id. Martin contends that the actions of Long and Pruser were excessive under the circumstances, especially given that the officers do not “claim that [Martin] posed a danger to officers or others[, ]” . . . or that “he had a firearm or weapon[, ]” . . . or that “he tried to attack or injure officers.” Id., p. 11. Consequently, argues Martin, the officers' use of force to arrest him was unreasonable under the circumstances and therefore unconstitutional.[1]

         Once Martin was arrested and secured, Long called a wrecker service and had Martin's vehicle towed from the scene. Long states that he did so “because [Martin] was arrested for aggressive driving and the vehicle was involved in the offense. I was also concerned because the green vehicle involved in the incident had not been stopped and the aggressive driving could have resumed had Mr. Martin's vehicle been driven from the scene.” Defendants' Designation of Evidence (DE 26-2), Long Affidavit, p. 4. Once again, Martin has a different take on this, alleging that the Defendant officers violated his constitutional rights by searching his car without probable cause or a warrant, and by seizing his car even though the officers knew that a licensed driver was present and able to remove the vehicle after Martin's arrest. This matter of the search and seizure of Martin's vehicle is also the subject of the Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment, and will be discussed in more detail later.

         Based on those facts, Martin filed his complaint in this case asserting the following claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983:

1) Fourth Amendment excessive force claims against Long and Pruser and failure to intervene claims against all of the Defendant officers in their individual capacities;
2) a claim against the City of Fort Wayne under Monell v. Dept of Soc. Svcs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978) for alleged unconstitutional policies or customs “which lead to the arrest, detention, and use of excessive force upon the Plaintiff”;
3) Indiana state law battery claims against the officers “for which the City of Fort Wayne, as their employer, is liable based upon the doctrine of respondeat superior”; and
4) Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure claims against all Defendants (the officers in their individual capacities and the City in its official capacity, again under Monell) for the alleged illegal search and seizure of his vehicle.

         Second Amended Complaint, pp. 1-2. Martin seeks compensatory and punitive damages, attorney's fees, and costs. Id., p. 5. The Defendants seek summary judgment on all of Martin's claims and Martin seeks partial summary judgment on the issue of the search and seizure of his vehicle.

         SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the record shows that there is “no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Disputes concerning material facts are genuine where the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In deciding whether genuine issues of material fact exist, the court construes all facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See Id. at 255. However, neither the “mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties, ” id., 477 U.S. at 247, nor the existence of “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), will defeat a motion for summary judgment. Michas v. Health Cost Controls of Ill., Inc., 209 F.3d 687, 692 (7th Cir. 2000).

         Summary judgment is not a substitute for a trial on the merits nor is it a vehicle for resolving factual disputes. Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994). Therefore, after drawing all reasonable inferences from the facts in favor of the non-movant, if genuine doubts remain and a reasonable fact-finder could find for the party opposing the motion, summary judgment is inappropriate. See Shields Enterprises, Inc. v. First Chicago Corp., 975 F.2d 1290, 1294 (7th Cir. 1992); Wolf v. City of Fitchburg, 870 F.2d 1327, 1330 (7th Cir. 1989). If it is clear that a plaintiff will be unable to satisfy the legal requirements necessary to establish his or her case, summary judgment is not only appropriate, but mandated. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322; Ziliak v. AstraZeneca LP, 324 F.3d 518, 520 (7th Cir. 2003). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, “[t]he court must not weigh the evidence presented or determine credibility of witnesses; the Seventh Circuit instructs that ‘we leave those tasks to factfinders.'” Winston v. Sauvey, 2016 WL 7480393, at *1 (E.D. Wis. Dec. 29, 2016) (quoting Berry v. Chicago Transit Auth., 618 F.3d 688, 691 (7th Cir. 2010)).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Excessive force claims and battery claims.

         The Defendants argue that the amount of force used against Martin on the day of his arrest was reasonable under the circumstances, and they submitted a DVD of “Officer Michael Long's in-car video for [the] incident . . . on June 27, 2014, ” that they claim supports (and in fact proves) their position. Defendants' Exh. H (DE 25).[2] In fact, the Defendants contend that the videotapes refute Martin's version of events: “Officer Long's in-car video . . . contradicts Martin's claim that he was slammed against the back of Officer Long's car after he was handcuffed.” Defendants' Sur-Reply (DE 35), p. 1.

         The question in Fourth Amendment excessive force claims is “whether the officers' actions are ‘objectively reasonable' in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to their underlying intent or motivation.” Graham v. Conner, 490 U.S. 386, 397 (1989). “The test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is not capable of precise definition or mechanical application.” Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 559 (1979). The question is “whether the totality of the circumstances” justifies the officers' actions. Graham, 490 U.S. at 396. The “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” Id. “‘Not every push or shove, even if it may later seem unnecessary in the peace of a judge's chambers, ' violates the Fourth Amendment.” Id. (quoting Johnson v. Glick, 481 F.2d 1028, 1033 (2d Cir. 1973)).

         Martin's contentions notwithstanding, this traffic stop was textbook. The officers and citizens remained calm (with the exception of Martin, who became somewhat verbally combative after his arrest). Police ordered each person in Martin's vehicle to exit, one person at a time starting with Martin, separated them, and questioned them. Carswell was handcuffed and seated in the back of Long's patrol car for several minutes and she can be heard talking to an officer about the incident. All the individuals were cooperative (with the exception of Walker's initial attempt to lie about his identity). The officers were polite in their interactions with Martin's daughter, helping her out of the vehicle and offering calming words. Carswell explained to officers what happened-that the driver of the green car was repeatedly “hitting” his or her breaks, which angered Martin-and Martin's daughter told police that her father threw coins out of his sunroof at the other vehicle. This information confirmed what Long observed before he stopped Martin, which brings us to the videotapes.

         The videotape from Long's patrol clearly shows Martin driving dangerously close behind a green sedan. Defendant's Exh. H, Long video. At several points, Martin can be seen breaking hard and suddenly as the driver of the green car presumably does the same thing. While both drivers hit their brakes several times, they were not as apt to do so when they encountered stop signs. Long pursues both vehicles as they drive recklessly through busy city streets (even forcing one car to stop in the middle of an intersection to avoid colliding with the two renegade vehicles). The two vehicles run a stop sign before Martin pulls over into a parking lot, with Long right behind him. The green vehicle drives off. All of that takes place in the first minute and 45 seconds or so of the video. Long orders the people in Martin's vehicle to put their hands out the window and Martin raises his hands through his sunroof.[3] He lowers his arms several times and then raises them again when ordered to do so. It is undisputed that Long had his gun unholstered at this point, and apparently trained on Martin's vehicle, although that is not visible in this video. The videotape from Long's car is a “split screen.” One camera records everything taking place in front of Long's car while a second camera-which is aimed in the opposite direction-records everything taking place inside the vehicle and outside the rear window. At approximately the five minute and 40 second mark, Martin can be seen near the back of the patrol car, i.e., in view of the inside camera, as he is leaned (certainly not “slammed, ” as he claims) over the rear of Long's vehicle after being handcuffed. At about the six minute and 55 second mark, Martin's cousin Taylor Carswell, who is handcuffed, is placed in the back seat of Long's car, where she sits calmly and quietly for several minutes. Carswell is released from the patrol car after about 12 minutes or so and the handcuffs are removed. At about the 29 minute and 30 second mark, Martin is placed in the back of Long's patrol car. He has no visible injuries and sits quietly for several minutes. At the 36 minute mark, the officers can be seen opening the back “hatch” door of Martin's SUV and searching the vehicle. It is undisputed that no contraband was found. Just after the 42 minute mark, officers (mostly Long), Martin and Carswell have a conversation about certain logistical matters, such as which of Martin's keys on his key chain should be turned over to his cousins and whether Martin wanted to give his cousins ten dollars out of his wallet before he is taken to jail. Martin tells Long that he wants all of his keys (with the exception of his car keys since his vehicle was going to be towed) and the money given to his cousins. Officers also allowed Martin's daughter to approach the patrol car to speak with her father before he is taken to jail. Martin can also be heard telling Carswell to get the officers' names and badge numbers and to call a man named “Ricky” and tell him about this incident. At about the 43 minute and 35 second mark, Martin begins to complain to Long about being arrested even though police hadn't “talked to the other guy, ” meaning the driver of the green car. Long explains the obvious-that he could not stop two vehicles simultaneously-and Martin continues to protest being arrested while the other driver was not stopped or questioned. A few minutes later Martin, still sitting handcuffed in the back of Long's patrol car, talks for several minutes with his cousins and says something to Carswell (or perhaps Ms. Martin) about recording. The woman can be heard responding that her phone was almost “dead” so she could not record anything. Martin is heard talking about recordings being made by police but asserts at one point that the police videos “won't show” everything, implying that whatever recordings were being made at the time of the encounter would somehow not accurately reflect what occurred. Several times Martin can be heard stating that he “ain't nothing but a hard-working man, ” and complaining that police can “mess with” anyone they please. As Martin is transported to the jail, he complains several times about his treatment during his arrest, claiming that he was forced to kneel in gravel, that Pruser hurt his wrists by yanking on Martin's handcuffs, and that Pruser “choked” him when Martin complained about what he thought was rough treatment. Before Long leaves to take Martin to jail, Martin's SUV can be seen on the back of a wrecker, which is preparing to leave the scene with the impounded vehicle. The videotape ends as Long pulls into the sally port of the Allen County Jail. The second videotape, from Demorest's vehicle, also captures most of what occurred at the scene and, fortunately, contains much more audio. Plaintiff's Exh. E (DE 42). This videotape also confirms the Defendant officers' version of events.

         The evidence is conclusive, and no reasonable juror could find in favor of Martin on this claim, even when all reasonable inferences are drawn in his favor. As the Defendants correctly state, “[i]t is well settled that ‘an officer who has the right to arrest an individual also has the right to use some degree of physical force or threat to effectuate the arrest.'” Defendants' Memorandum (DE 27), p. 14 (quoting Stainback v. Dixon, 569 F.3d 767, 772 (7th Cir. 2009)).

         Martin argues that the degree of force used on him was more than was necessary to effectuate his arrest. He claims that “Defendant Pruser ordered him to kneel in gravel and, though Plaintiff did complain about this instruction, he complied and, though he does not know the exact time it happened, Plaintiff was handcuffed by Defendant Pruser after kneeling in the gravel as instructed. . . . Plaintiff states that during the course of the encounter which he was complying with [sic], Defendant Pruser bent his arms in a painful manner, then stepped on Plaintiff's calf, then, after Plaintiff complained of the battery, Defendant Pruser choked him.” Plaintiff's Response (DE 28), p. 5. Martin summarizes his position by stating that he “was held at gunpoint following a stop for traffic violations, forced to hold his hands above his head for a painfully long period of time, made to kneel in gravel, choked and stepped on, battered, handcuffed in a painful manner, and slammed against a police vehicle while in handcuffs.” Id., p. 10. Read in isolation, this language paints a troublesome picture. After all, even if Martin was not strictly complying with every order police gave him, it would be difficult to imagine that he should be subjected to such extreme force during his arrest. The problem is that the evidence does not support Martin's version of events and, more importantly, establishes that the amount of force used against him was reasonable under the circumstances, even if he believed it to be uncomfortable or painful at times.

         Martin doesn't back down, though, and points out that even “‘one violent push and poke' will constitute excessive force when there is no provocation.'” Id., p. 17 (quoting DuFour-Dowell v. Cogger, 969 F.Supp. 1107, 1120 (N.D.Ill. 1997) (quoting, in turn, Lanigan v. Vill. of East Hazel Crest, 110 F.3d 467, 475-76 (7th Cir. 1997)). Martin argues that “[u]nder this standard, Defendant Officers' actions of slamming Plaintiff, stepping on Plaintiff, and bending his arms were not justified . . .; nor was their over-tightening of handcuffs . . .; nor was holding Plaintiff at gunpoint for an extended period of time, including while he was kneeling on gravel in front of an officer, when Plaintiff posed no danger and had been detained merely for traffic violations[.]” Id. (internal citations omitted). Once again, though, the language Martin uses to characterize the force used against him exaggerates what happened. More importantly, Martin's version of the encounter, as he presents it in his briefs, is mostly a subjective one. As the Defendants correctly note, “[t]he Fourth Amendment's ‘objective reasonableness' standard examines actions ‘from the perspective of a reasonable officer at the scene.' . . . It is the officers' perspective, not Martin's perspective, that is relevant in determining reasonableness.” Defendants' Reply (DE 29), p. 4 (quoting Graham v. Conner, 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989)) (italics added). This is so because the Court's duty is to examine “whether the officers' actions are ‘objectively reasonable' in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them . . . .” Id. at 397 (italics added).

         The facts and circumstances the Defendant officers confronted in this case, all of which are captured on the recordings (and recounted in Long's and Pruser's affidavits), go something like this. Long personally observes two vehicles engaging in very dangerous and aggressive driving; he chases the vehicles until one of them (Martin, of course) turns into a parking lot; he observes that there are at least four people in the vehicle, so he trains his firearm on the vehicle for a short time until back-up officers arrive; he instructs Martin to raise his hands outside his vehicle and while Martin eventually complies, he lowers his hands back into vehicle several times and has to be ordered again to raise them; neither Long nor the other officers knew what spurred the dangerous encounter between Martin and the green sedan; Walker lies to the officers about his identity; and Martin, while mostly compliant with officers' instructions, lowers his arms after being ordered to hold them up (even after he exited his vehicle) and turns toward the officers a couple times after being instructed to keep his back to them. This was a tense situation, initiated by Martin's dangerous, aggressive driving and his failure to comply with all of the officers' commands.[4] Martin's contention that he was stopped for a “mere” traffic violation and that the Defendant officers overreacted under those circumstances is his own subjective interpretation of the facts. Looked at objectively, however, this “mere” traffic violation occurred because two people were driving recklessly and aggressively, endangering themselves, their passengers (including, as it turned out, Martin's five-year-old daughter) and other drivers or pedestrians. This is not the Court's opinion, nor does it require a weighing of evidence-the first two minutes of Long's in-car video prove this fact. After he is stopped, Martin fails to keep his hands visible outside of his vehicle, lowering them back inside the vehicle several times. Minutes after all this, the officers learn that one of Martin's passengers was lying about his identity. This was more than a “mere” traffic stop-it was a tense situation for many reasons, and the Defendant officers acted reasonably under the circumstances, even if Martin believes otherwise.[5]

         As stated above, Martin cites several cases holding that sometimes even a seemingly minor amount of force can be unconstitutionally excessive under certain circumstances, such as “‘one violent push or poke'” inflicted “‘when there is no provocation.'” Plaintiff's Response, p. 17 (quoting Lanigan, 110 F.3d at 475-76). But these cases are not factually analogous to the present situation.

         “‘In order to establish an excessive force claim under § 1983, plaintiffs must demonstrate that a state actor's use of force was ‘objectively unreasonable' under the circumstances.'” Jones v. Philips, et al., 2016 WL 3255022, at *3 (E.D. Wis. June 13, 2016) (quoting Thomas v. City of Chicago, 472 F.3d 444, 454 (7th Cir. 2006). . . . “An officer's use of force is unreasonable from a constitutional point of view only if, ‘judging from the totality of the circumstances at the time of the arrest, the officer used force greater than necessary to make the arrest.'” Id. (quoting Gonzalez v. City of Elgin, 578 F.3d 526, 539 (7th Cir. 2009)). The analytical framework the Court uses to assess such claims is as follows:

Where, as here, an excessive force claim “arises in the context of an arrest or investigatory stop of a free citizen, it is most properly characterized as one invoking the protections of the Fourth Amendment . . . ” Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 394, 109 S.Ct. 1865, 1871, 104 L.Ed.2d 443 (1989). Determining whether force used to effect a seizure is “reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment[:]
requires a careful balancing of “‘the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individual's Fourth Amendment interests'” against the countervailing governmental interests at stake . . . Our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence has long recognized that the right to make an arrest or an investigatory stop necessarily carries with it the right to use some degree of physical coercion or threat thereof to effect it.
Graham, 490 U.S. at 396, 109 S.Ct. at 1871 (citations omitted). The test, in short, is one of “objective reasonableness, ” to be determined from the totality of the circumstances. O'Toole v. Kalmar, 1990 WL 19542 . . . (N.D.Ill. 1990).

Smith v. City of Joliet, 809 F.Supp. 48, 49-50 (N.D. Ill. 1991), aff'd, 965 F.2d 235 (7th Cir. 1992). The Supreme Court explained in Graham that “[t]he calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments-in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving-about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.” Graham, 490 U.S. at 396. This means that police can, assuming the circumstances warrant it, point their firearms at citizens and use physical force against them to complete an arrest, all without running afoul of the Fourth Amendment.

         The Fourth Amendment provides us all protection from objectively unreasonable force, not subjectively unreasonable discomfort. The Court doesn't doubt that Martin experienced discomfort when he was forced to hold his arms up for several minutes (although his statement that it was “a painfully long period of time” is a stretch-it was a couple minutes or so-and his assertion that “he suffered [pain] in trying to keep them raised” smacks of dramatization) or when Pruser stepped on his foot or put his arm around Martin's neck so he could handcuff him, or when he had to kneel in gravel, or when the handcuffs hurt his wrists. And if officers had no justification for any of this, Martin might have a case. But the amount and degree of force used in this instance was reasonable in light of the totality of the circumstances the Defendant officers confronted at the time.

         For example, Martin argues that officers used excessive force by pointing their firearms at his car while ordering him and his passengers to exit the vehicle. It is true that “[p]ointing a loaded gun at [a citizen] is a display of deadly force because it creates more than a remote possibility of death.” Schall v. Vazquez, 322 F.Supp.2d 594, 600 (E.D. Pa. 2004). But it is equally well established that “while police are not entitled to point their guns at citizens when there is no hint of danger, they are allowed to do so when there is reason to fear danger.” Baird v. Renbarger, 576 F.3d 340, 346 (7th Cir. 2009) (emphasis in original); see also Wilkins v. May, 872 F.2d 190, 194 (7th Cir. 1989) (“[T]he action of a police officer in pointing a gun at a person is not, in and of itself, actionable . . . Where the officer merely points a gun at a suspect in the course of arresting him, the suspect would have no basis for claiming that he had been seized with excessive force in violation of the Constitution”); Williams v. City of Champaign, 524 F.3d 826, 828 (7th Cir. 2008) (when police officer believes occupant of vehicle might be armed, he must “approach with utmost caution, which may include pointing a gun at the occupants.”); Foote v. Dunagan, 33 F.3d 445, 448 (4th Cir. 1994) (an officer is “‘authorized to take such steps as [are] reasonably necessary to protect [his] personal safety and to maintain the status quo during the course of [a Terry ] stop.'”) (quoting United States v. Hensley, 469 U.S. 221, 235 (1985)); United States v. Sinclair, 983 F.2d 598, 602-03 (4th Cir. 1993) (reasonable to draw weapons when stopping suspected drug traffickers even though officers had no reason to believe were armed and dangerous); United States v. Seni, 662 F.2d 277, 283 (4th Cir. 1981) (drawing gun reasonable safety precaution where officers have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity), cert. denied sub nom. Minton v. United States, 455 U.S. 950 (1982). In this case, Long witnessed Martin's dangerous and aggressive driving, saw that there were four people in Martin's vehicle after it was stopped, and held his firearm at the ready while waiting for back-up officers to arrive-an eminently reasonable action under the circumstances. Once all the occupants were removed from Martin's vehicle, save for his daughter, the Defendant officers holstered their weapons.

         Martin also argues that he suffered pain because the handcuffs placed on him were too tight, and cites the case of Tibbs v. City of Chicago, 469 F.3d 661 (7th Cir. 2006) in support of his argument. Plaintiff's Response, p. 17. While it is true the court in Tibbs noted that an overtightening of handcuffs can constitute excessive force, the argument is not supported by the facts of this case; and, in fact, it wasn't even a good enough argument for Mr. Tibbs. A closer and more thorough reading of the Tibbs case reveals that it actually works against Martin rather than supporting his argument. The Seventh Circuit explained as follows:

We have on occasion recognized valid excessive force claims based on overly tight handcuffs. In Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767 (7th Cir. 2003), there was evidence that the arresting officers handcuffed the plaintiff so tightly she lost feeling in her hands and refused to loosen the cuffs when she told them of the numbness. Id. at 774-75, 781. The plaintiff later underwent two carpal tunnel surgeries she said were necessitated by the ...

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