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Taylor v. City of Indianapolis

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

November 15, 2017

JA'MILLE C. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS, et al., Defendants.

          ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court.

         This cause is before the Court on Defendant City of Indianapolis' (“the City”) Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 83) and Defendant Anthony Bath's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 98). The motions are fully briefed, and the Court, being duly advised, GRANTS the City's motion and DENIES Officer Bath's motion for the reasons set forth below.

         I. STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the admissible evidence presented by the non-moving party must be believed, and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-movant's favor. Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”). However, a party who bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must show what evidence it has that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires trial. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., Inc., 325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2003). Finally, the non-moving party bears the burden of specifically identifying the relevant evidence of record, and “the court is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001).

         II. SUMMARY OF FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

         The properly supported facts of record, viewed in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, Ja'mille C. Taylor, are as follow.[1] On July 23, 2014, at approximately 10:45 p.m., Ms. Taylor, an African-American female, arrived at The Woods of Eagle Creek (“the Woods”), an apartment community. Ms. Taylor, who previously had lived in the apartment complex, was going to visit with a friend, Hudson Bowers III, an African-American male who still lived at the Woods.

         Ms. Taylor was sitting in her vehicle in a parking area outside of Mr. Bowers' residence talking with Mr. Bowers when Anthony Bath, who was dressed in a t-shirt and boxer shorts, rushed at Ms. Taylor's vehicle, shouting, “You dope-dealing motherfuckers woke up my . . . baby with your loud music!” Dkt No. 84-1 at 6. Officer Bath was not in a police uniform and did not have any police identification. In fact, neither Ms. Taylor nor Mr. Bowers was dealing drugs or playing loud using; they were not engaged in any unlawful activity.

         Officer Bath was armed with his personally owned Mossberg 590 shotgun, which he pointed at both Ms. Taylor and Mr. Bowers during the confrontation. After Officer Bath forced Mr. Bowers to lie on his back on the ground, Officer Bath stuck the barrel of his shotgun into Mr. Bowers' chest. Ms. Taylor then told Officer Bath that she was calling the police. Officer Bath pointed to a parked police vehicle nearby and told Ms. Taylor, “I am the police.” Dkt. No. 84-1 at 6. Ms. Taylor explained to Officer Bath that because he was not in uniform, did not have a badge on, and had not identified himself as a police officer, she would still call the police. Ms. Taylor called 911 and reported that there was a man “with a gun to my friend's chest . . . claiming he's the police, ” and she requested police assistance. Dkt. No. 84-1 at 6.

         Officer Bath then instructed Ms. Taylor to leave, and Ms. Taylor started to walk away. She tried to use her phone to take video footage but was unable to do so. Officer Bath karate chopped her hand, making her drop her phone, grabbed the braids in her hair, and “snatched back” her neck. Dkt. No. 84-1 at 6. Officer Bath threw Ms. Taylor to the ground face first, knocking the wind out of her. He jumped onto her and sat on her lower back, placing his full body weight on her. Officer Bath then pulled Ms. Taylor's arms as far as he could behind her back and held her arms there.

         Officer Bath then yelled for his wife, who was outside and present at the time of the incident, to get his handcuffs from inside their residence. Officer Bath remained on top of Ms. Taylor, still tugging on her arms to hold them behind her back, until Officer Bath's wife returned with his handcuffs. Officer Bath continued pulling on Ms. Taylor's arms to tightly place handcuffs on both of Ms. Taylor's wrists. Officer Bath left Ms. Taylor lying face down on the ground in the dirt for another five to ten minutes until other Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (“IMPD”) officers arrived on the scene. Ms. Taylor was restrained in handcuffs for another thirty to forty minutes before the other IMPD officers removed them.

         When other police officers arrived at the scene, Ms. Taylor gave them permission to search her car. No illegal drugs, firearms, or other contraband were found in Ms. Taylor's vehicle or nearby. Ms. Taylor was then released. Officer Bath was ordered by the supervising IMPD officer at the scene to apologize to Ms. Taylor. Neither Ms. Taylor nor Mr. Bowers was charged with any crime or ordinance violation of any kind as a result of the confrontation with Officer Bath. As a result of the Citizens Police Complaints that Ms. Taylor and Mr. Bowers filed with the City of Indianapolis Citizens Police Complaint Office and the IMPD investigation that followed, then IMPD Chief of Police Richard Hite found that Officer Bath had violated several IMPD policies. Specifically, Officer Bath was disciplined for conduct unbecoming an officer for using demeaning and affronting gestures towards Ms. Taylor and Mr. Bowers; failing to have his law enforcement identification when taking a police action; causing a negative response from a citizen who challenged his authority and called 911; improperly involving a citizen in a police action; failing to control his weapon; and failing to obtain a valid work permit, putting his courtesy officer status in question.

         Ms. Taylor has filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of her rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, and the laws and Constitution of the State of Indiana.

         III. DISCUSSION

         The claims that remain at issue in Ms. Taylor's complaint are against Officer Anthony Bath and the City. Ms. Taylor alleges that (1) Officer Bath unreasonably seized her; (2) Officer Bath used excessive force against her; and (3) these violations were caused by policies, practices, or customs developed, implemented, ...


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