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Davis v. City of Indianapolis

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

May 26, 2017

MAJOR P. DAVIS, II, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS, OFFICER NICHOLAS GALLICO, ESTATE OF OFFICER PERRY RENN, Defendants.

          ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR GUIDANCE

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Defendants' City of Indianapolis, Officer Nicholas Gallico, and the Estate of Officer Perry Renn's (collectively the “Defendants”) Notice of Final Judgment in the Underlying Criminal Case and Motion for Guidance. (Filing No. 55.) For the reasons stated below the Court grants the motion for guidance and finds that Plaintiff Major P. Davis, III (“Davis”) shall be granted an opportunity to file a Second Amended Complaint and Davis is directed to show cause why this action should not be dismissed.

         DISCUSSION

         In this action, Davis filed a Complaint which alleges a violation of his Fourth Amendment rights and several state law claims. Specifically, Davis alleges the following:

July 5, 2014, at 9:23 p.m., Officers Renn and Gallico were dispatched to investigate shots fired near 34th Street and Forest Manor Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana. When the officers arrived, Davis was with two women who were his acquaintances. The women told Officer Gallico that everything was okay and they could leave. Officer Gallico allowed Davis and the two females to proceed in walking to his vehicle. While walking, the sounds of popping fireworks were present at a nearby party. As Davis proceeded to his vehicle he was shot in the back, torso, and head by Officer Renn or Officer Gallico. During the time of this incident Davis did not possess or control a deadly weapon. He asserts that he made no verbal threats and his body language did not suggest a threat to the lives of Officers Gallico and Renn. Davis sustained critical injuries and was not given medical treatment for approximately 45 minutes. Davis alleges that the defendants Officer Gallico and Officer Renn are liable to him for violating his Fourth Amendment rights and that the City is liable to him for intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent hiring.

See Filing No. 29 (screening Amended Complaint).

         The action was stayed and administratively closed pending the resolution of the criminal proceedings against Davis, which were based on the same facts alleged in the Complaints. Those proceedings concluded after Davis plead guilty to the murder of Officer Renn on April 21, 2017. (Filing No. 55-1.) Davis was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment and final judgment was entered on April 27, 2017. (Filing No. 55-2.) This Court now takes judicial notice of Davis' underlying criminal proceedings filed in dockets 55-1 through 55-4 (state court records); see Adkins v. VIM Recycling, Inc., 644 F.3d 483, 493 (7th Cir. 2011), Green v. Warden, U.S. Penitentiary, 699 F.2d 364, 369 (7th Cir. 1983). (“federal courts may also take notice of proceedings in other courts, both within and outside of the federal judicial system, if the proceedings have a direct relation to matters at issue”).

         The criminal record reflects that Davis specifically admitted to the intentional killing of Officer Renn, while Officer Renn was acting in the course of his official duty and that the killing was motivated by the fact that Officer Renn was responding to a report of shots fired. Davis agreed with the following statement:

M.D. That the aggravating circumstances alleged in the Request for Death Sentence exist beyond a reasonable doubt as follows: (1) on or about July 5, 2014, Major Davis II did intentionally kill Perry Wayne Renn, a law enforcement officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, while Perry Wayne Reno was acting in course of duty; and (2) on or about My 5, 2014, Major Davis II did intentionally kill Perry Wayne Ream, a law enforcement officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and further the murder was motivated by an act Officer Perry Wayne Renn performed while acting in the course of duty, to-wit; the murder was motivated by the fact that Officer Perry Wayne Renn was responding to a report of shots fired and at that location encountered Major Davis II;

Filing No. 55-1 at p. 3.

         Because the criminal trial is now over, the clerk is directed to reopen this action on the docket.

         II. Opportunity to File a Second Amended Complaint

         Because Davis has been convicted of Officer Renn's murder his claims in this case appear to be barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). That case “forbids a prisoner in his civil rights case to challenge a finding in his criminal or prison-discipline case that was essential to the decision in that case; if he insists on doing that, the civil rights case must be dismissed.” Moore v. Mahone, 2011 WL 2739771, *1 (7th Cir. 2011) (citing Okoro v. Callaghan, 324 F.3d 488, 490 (7th Cir. 2003)). A plaintiffs § 1983 suit must be dismissed if “a judgment in favor of the plaintiff would necessarily imply the invalidity of his conviction or sentence.” Heck, 512 U.S. at 487; see McCann v. Neilsen, 466 F.3d 619, 621 (7th Cir.2006).

         In the abstract, some constitutional violations can coexist with a valid conviction. Hoeft v. Anderson, 409 F. App'x 15, 18 (7th Cir. 2011). But in this case, no such claims could be identified by this Court. To the contrary, the violations alleged by Davis appear both frivolous and malicious given the facts surrounding Davis' guilty plea. Heck “forbids a prisoner in his civil rights case to challenge a finding in his criminal or prison-discipline case that was essential to the decision in that case; if he insists on doing that, the civil rights case must be dismissed.” Moore v. Mahone, 2011 WL 2739771, *1 (7th Cir. 2011) (citing Okoro v. Callaghan, 324 F.3d 488, 490 (7th Cir. 2003)). For example, Davis can no longer claim that he was unarmed or that he was not responsible for Officer Renn's death. Not only would such statements be barred by Heck, they are directly contracted by Davis' admissions in his criminal proceedings. Further having shot and killed an officer ...


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