United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. MILLER, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 10, 2014, Jason Hale was detained by the South Bend
Police Department based on a witness identification of Mr.
Hale as involved in a shooting that killed a two-year-old
child the day before. J.H., Mr. Hale's then
fourteen-year-old sister, was arrested due to an alleged
battery of an officer in connection with the detainment of
Mr. Hale and subsequent protective sweep of the residence.
Jason and J.H. now sues the police officers, St. Joseph
County and the City of South Bend for allegedly violating Mr.
Hale's state and federal constitutional rights. The
defendants move for summary judgment with respect to all
claims. The court heard argument on May 24 and now grants the
course of the investigation into the infant's killing, a
man named Tyre M. Bradbury was identified as a suspect and
arrested. While in police custody, Mr. Bradbury was
interviewed by Detective Cook with the St. Joseph County
Metro Homicide Unit. While being driven to the Metro Homicide
Unit's office, Mr. Bradbury identified a green Volkswagen
Beetle that Mr. Bradbury described as belonging to the
girlfriend of a man called "Ace"; Mr. Bradbury
identified "Ace" as the person he was shooting guns
with in a nearby park just before the infant was killed.
Detective Cook radioed officers with the South Bend Police
Department and asked that they stop the Volkswagen.
Taylor found the Volkswagen parked in front of 1342 E.
Chalfant Street. The Volkswagen was unoccupied, but a Kia
Optima with two white females in it was in front of the
Volkswagen. Officer Taylor stopped the Kia. Officer Drury
arrived shortly after for backup. While Officer Taylor was
speaking to the occupants of the Kia, Officer Drury saw a
female come out of 1342 E. Chalfant Street, and begin to
approach the Volkswagen. Officer Drury learned that the
boyfriend of the woman who had just exited 1342 E. Chalfant
was inside the home.
Drury drew his weapon and began to move toward the home, and
Officer Taylor followed suit. Other officers who had arrived
on scene assisted Officers Drury and Taylor and the house was
surrounded. Before the officers knocked on the door and
attempted making any kind of entry into the home, Mr. Hale
left the home through the front door. At the time Mr. Hale
came out of the home, the officers had information that the
Volkswagen's owner was the girlfriend of one of the
suspects in the murder, and the owner of the Volkswagen had
said that her boyfriend was inside the home.
officers ordered Mr. Hale to lie on the ground, and he
complied immediately without any confrontation or issue.
Officer Drury handcuffed Mr. Hale. Detective Cook arrived at
the scene with Mr. Bradbury, who was still in Detective
Cook's custody. Mr. Bradbury pointed to man being
detained and identified that person as "Ace," whom
police learned to be Mr. Hale. Upon receiving word that this
was "Ace," the officers placed Mr. Hale in a police
Hale argues that Detective Cook had the complete ability to
corroborate the information that he was being given about the
identity of “Ace” apart from what Tyre Bradbury
was relaying to him. Detective Cook interviewed multiple
non-involved eye witnesses to the shooting, and never asked
any of them for a physical description of the alleged
South Bend Police transported Mr. Hale to the Metro Homicide
Unit's office for questioning, and had no contact with
Mr. Hale after that, other than to take the handcuffs off Mr.
Hale. Once Mr. Hale was placed in the police vehicle, the
officers determined that they needed to perform a protective
sweep of 1342 E. Chalfant Street.
officers had been told at their roll call that
"Ace" might be with a second suspect, Cedric
Washington, who was potentially armed and dangerous. When Mr.
Hale was arrested, many officers and civilians were in the
area directly outside of the home. The officers also learned
that minor children-fourteen-year-old J.H. and a two year old
- were in the residence. The officers at the front door
called for J.H. and asked for her to get her two year old
brother and step outside the home. J.H. complied, and the
police entered the house with their guns drawn. Chelsea
Betts, Mr. Hale's girlfriend, told J.H. the police were
weren't supposed to go inside the home without a warrant,
so J.H. went back into the home.
told the police officer in the front room that they had to
get out of her house, and the officer told her to “shut
up.” Officer Napolitan then began to pull J.H. out of
the house while she held onto the couch and then the front
door frame. Officer Baker then threw J.H. to the ground,
handcuffed her and placed her in a police vehicle, where she
remained until Officer Baker took her first to the Metro
Homicide Unit, and then to the Juvenile Justice Center. J.H.
testified in her deposition that she was trying to stop the
police from removing her from the home after she had
second amended complaint filed on April 7, 2017 [Doc. No.
27], the Hales assert federal claims for unlawful search and
seizure, excessive force and false arrest, and claims under
Indiana law for assault and battery, excessive force,
intentional infliction of emotional distress, false arrest,
false imprisonment and trespass.
Hales also filed claims against St. Joseph County under
Section 1983 and Indiana common law for false arrest, false
imprisonment, and other intentional torts based upon the
"information and belief that Commander Corbett was
present at the Hale household to affect the arrest and that
Mr. Cotter and/or Commander Corbett commanded Mr. Hale's
detention. Because the plaintiffs no longer pursue an
excessive force case with respect to J.H., the court will
only address the claims with respect to Jason Hale.
Standard of Review Summary judgment is appropriate when
"the pleadings, depositions, answers to the
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue of
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). A
genuine issue of material fact exists whenever "there is
sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury
to return a verdict for that party." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). In
deciding whether a genuine issue of material fact exists,
"the evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and
all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his
favor." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at
255; Weigle v. SPX Corp., 729 F.3d 724, 730 (7th
Cir. 2013). The existence of an alleged factual dispute, by
itself, won't defeat a summary judgment motion;
"instead, the nonmovant must present definite, competent
evidence in rebuttal," Parent v. Home Depot U.S.A.,
Inc., 694 F.3d 919, 922 (7th Cir. 2012), and "must
affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations,
that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires
trial." Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476
F.3d 487, 490 (7th Cir. 2007); see also FED. R. CIV. P.
56(e)(2). "[S]ummary judgment is 'not a dress
rehearsal or ...