United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT, DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT, AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
PATRICK HANLON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Christopher Michael Johnson brought this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He named as defendants
Officers Arthur Sibley, Robert Stradling, Robert Muller, Mark
Rand, and Lee Rabensteine. During execution of a search
warrant, Mr. Johnson shot at the officers and was shot at by
the officers in return. Mr. Johnson alleges that the search
and the search warrant were invalid and unconstitutional. He
further alleges that the IMPD officers’ shooting at him
the Court are cross-motions for summary judgment filed by Mr.
Johnson, dkt. 48, and the defendants, dkt. 61. For the
reasons explained below, Mr. Johnson’s motion for
summary judgment, dkt. , is DENIED, and
the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, dkt. ,
defendants’ motion to strike Mr. Johnson’s reply,
dkt. , is DENIED and Mr. Johnson’s
motion to not strike his reply brief,  dkt. , is
GRANTED. While Mr. Johnson did not seek
leave for the untimely filing, the Court exercises its
discretion to permit Mr. Johnson to file a late-filed reply.
United States v. Brown, 133 F.3d 993, 997 (7th Cir.
Summary Judgment Legal Standard
motion for summary judgment asks the court to find that a
trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and, instead, the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a). On summary judgment, a party must show the court what
evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept
its version of the events. Gekas v. Vasilades, 814
F.3d 890, 896 (7th Cir. 2016). The moving party is entitled
to summary judgment if no reasonable fact-finder could return
a verdict for the non-moving party. Nelson v.
Miller, 570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009). To survive a
motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must set
forth specific, admissible evidence showing that there is a
material issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The court views the record in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all
reasonable inferences in that party’s favor. Skiba
v. Ill. Cent. R.R. Co., 884 F.3d 708, 717 (7th Cir.
2018). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility
determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are
left to the fact-finder. Miller v. Gonzalez, 761
F.3d 822, 827 (7th Cir. 2014).
court need only consider the cited materials and is not
required to “scour every inch of the record” for
evidence that is potentially relevant to the summary judgment
motion before them. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3); Grant v. Trs.
of Ind. Univ., 870 F.3d 562, 573–74 (7th Cir.
2017). The non-moving party bears the burden of specifically
identifying the relevant evidence of record. D.Z. v.
Buell, 796 F.3d 749, 756 (7th Cir. 2015).
reviewing cross-motions for summary judgment, all reasonable
inferences are drawn in favor of the party against whom the
motion at issue was made. Valenti v. Lawson, 889
F.3d 427, 429 (7th Cir. 2018) (citing Tripp v.
Scholz, 872 F.3d 857, 862 (7th Cir. 2017)).
Cross-motions for summary judgment does not imply that
there are no genuine issues of material fact. R.J. Corman
Derailment Servs., LLC v. Int’l Union, Local Union 150,
AFL-CIO, 335 F.3d 643, 647 (7th Cir. 2003).
following facts are undisputed for purposes of the motion for
summary judgment. To the extent they were not disputed by Mr.
Johnson, the Court adopts portions of defendants’
statement of undisputed material facts.
Mr. Johnson’s Presence at 2122 Spann Avenue on December
12 and 13, 2017
December 12, 2017, Mr. Johnson went to a friend’s house
at 2122 Spann Avenue. Mr. Johnson does not own the property,
nor did he live there. Mr. Johnson states that he paid
certain utilities at 2122 Spann Avenue, such as the lights,
water, internet, and phone line, but acknowledges he did not
pay rent. Dkt. 66 at 3. According to Mr. Johnson, he was only
at 2122 Spann Avenue “to hang out over there.” He
was just “visiting” a friend’s aunt named
Jenny. Mr. Johnson did not have the authority to determine
who could or could not visit or reside there.
point after Jenny left, Mr. Johnson remained in the home
watching television and consuming cocaine. Later that
evening, Jenny’s niece, Jasmine Miller, her brother,
Hiro, and her brother’s girlfriend, Bree, came to the
house. Mr. Johnson was still in the home at that time. Hiro
and Bree slept in the living room and Mr. Johnson and Jasmine
slept in the bedroom. The group spent the night there and
remained there through the afternoon of December 13, 2017.
point on December 13, 2017, Mr. Johnson’s friend, Jesse
Hamler, came to 2122 Spann Avenue to discuss the purchase of
a dog. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Hamler talked in the kitchen.
Jasmine was still in the bedroom and Bree and Hiro were in
the living room at the front of the house.
IMPD Obtains a No Knock Warrant on the Morning of December
December 2017, an IMPD Narcotics/Vice Unit investigation
revealed that a man known as “Baby Boy” was
selling narcotics out of a dwelling at 2122 Spann Avenue. The
detectives were able to identify “Baby Boy” as
Christopher Johnson. At the time of this investigation, Mr.
Johnson was on federal probation for dealing and possession
of narcotics, and two counts of being a felon in possession
of a firearm.
December 12, 2017, IMPD SWAT Officer Lee Rabensteine was the
assistant team leader for a search warrant that was going to
be executed the following day at 2122 Spann Avenue.
Lieutenant Robert Stradling, Sergeant Mark Rand, and Officers
Arthur Sibley, Robert Muller, and William Amberger were also
assigned to assist with the execution of the warrant. Officer
Rabensteine performed a drive by of the location, where he
observed “a good camera system on the house.”
These cameras appeared to have “visibility on both
Spann Avenue and the alley behind the target location.”
Based on his observations, Officer Rabensteine believed that
the team executing the warrant would be
“compromised” as soon as they exited the vans at
the target location.
investigation revealed that Mr. Johnson had a lengthy
criminal history and was on federal parole for a serious
violent felony, guns were present at the residence, the doors
to the home were barricaded and there was a large, aggressive
dog at the house. The officers had reason to believe that
there was surveillance outside of the home. Based on these
facts, the Narcotics Unit requested a no-knock search
warrant for 2122 Spann Avenue. The request was
granted, and the court issued the no-knock warrant at 9:51:25
a.m. on December 13, 2017.
IMPD’s Service of the Warrant at ...