TAYLOR v. CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS et al
ORDER granting Defendant's 83 Motion for Summary Judgment; denying 98 Motion for Summary Judgment. Ms. Taylor's federal claims against Officer Bath remain pending for trial, which is scheduled for January 22, 2018. The parties are reminded of their pretrial preparation deadlines contained in Docket No. 34 in advance of the December 15, 2017, final pretrial conference. Signed by Judge William T. Lawrence on 11/15/2017. (JDC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
JA’MILLE C. TAYLOR,
CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS, et al.,
) Cause No. 1:16-cv-198-WTL-MJD
ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
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.
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).
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
Bath’s version of events differs dramatically from the version here.
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.
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, enforced, encouraged, and sanctioned by the City. Each
claim is discussed in further detail below.
A. Unreasonable Seizure Claims Against Defendant Bath
Officer Bath has moved for summary judgment on the unreasonable seizure claim on two
grounds: (1) his actions were objectively reasonable in light of the circumstances and therefore
did not violate the Fourth Amendment; and (2) he is entitled to qualified immunity from liability
for these claims, because even if he committed the actions alleged by Ms. Taylor, those actions
would not have violated any clearly established Fourth Amendment right.
In order to establish a violation of the Fourth Amendment, a plaintiff must show that the
defendant’s conduct constituted a “seizure” and that the seizure was unreasonable. Belcher v.
Norton, 497 F.3d 742, 747 (7th Cir. 2007). Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Ms.
Taylor, a reasonable jury could find that Officer Bath’s seizure of Ms. Taylor was unreasonable.
Looking at the facts as alleged by Ms. Taylor, a reasonable jury could find that there was no
probable cause or reasonable suspicion to investigate her for a noise ordinance, given that no
music was coming from her car. Likewise, a reasonable jury could find that Officer Bath did not
have probable cause to arrest Ms. Taylor for criminal trespass (or anything else) when she began
to walk away from him.
Next, Officer Bath argues that he is entitled to qualified immunity with respect to Ms.
Taylor’s federal claims. Qualified immunity “is ‘an immunity from suit rather than a mere
defense to liability; and . . . it is effectively lost if a case is erroneously permitted to go to trial.’”
Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 200-201 (2001) (quotation omitted). The Court must engage in a
two-part inquiry in determining the applicability of qualified immunity. First, the Court must ask
whether, “[t]aken in the light most favorable to the party asserting the injury, . . . the facts
alleged show the officer’s conduct violated a constitutional right.” Saucier, 533 U.S. at 201.
Second, the Court must determine “whether the right was clearly established.” Id. This inquiry
must be undertaken “in light of the specific context of the case, not as a broad general
Viewed in the light most favorable to Ms. Taylor, the facts demonstrate that Officer Bath
unreasonably seized and detained her. Officer Bath’s alleged conduct, therefore, would violate
Ms. Taylor’s constitutional right to be free from unlawful search and seizure. Likewise, the right
that Ms. Taylor claims was violated was clearly established at the time of the violation.
Specifically, police officers may not arrest a person without probable cause to do so. Ker v. State
of Cal., 374 U.S. 23, 34-35 (1963) (“The lawfulness of the arrest without warrant . . . must be
based upon probable cause.”). Therefore, Officer Bath is not entitled to qualified immunity on
the federal illegal seizure claims.
Viewing the facts of record in the light most favorable to Ms. Taylor, the Court is unable
to find as a matter of law that Officer Bath did not illegally seize Ms. Taylor. Nor is Officer Bath
entitled to qualified immunity on the federal illegal seizure claims. As such, Officer Bath’s
motion for summary judgment is DENIED as to the illegal seizure claims against him.
B. Excessive Force Claims Against Officer Bath
Officer Bath also has moved for summary judgment on Ms. Taylor’s excessive force
claims on two grounds: (1) his actions were objectively reasonable in light of the circumstances
and therefore did not violate the Fourth Amendment; and (2) he is entitled to qualified immunity
from liability for these claims, because even if he committed the actions alleged by Ms. Taylor,
those actions would not have violated any clearly established Fourth Amendment right.
The Fourth Amendment guarantees citizens the right “to be secure in their persons . . .
against unreasonable . . . seizures” of the person. U.S. Const. Am. IV. This includes the right to
be free from an unreasonable seizure conducted through the use of excessive force. Whether the
force employed by an officer during seizure is constitutionally excessive depends on its
“objective reasonableness,” which is judged “from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the
scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight” and is considered in light of the specific
facts and circumstances of that particular case. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396-97
(1989) (citing Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 20-22 (1968)); see also Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S.
1, 8 (1985) (noting that the question is “whether the totality of the circumstances justifie[s] a
particular sort of seizure”). Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Ms. Taylor, a
reasonable jury could find that Officer Bath did use excessive force by throwing Ms. Taylor to
the ground, sitting on her, and roughly handcuffing her.
Turning to whether Officer Bath is entitled to qualified immunity, viewing the facts in the
light most favorable to Ms. Taylor, she sufficiently alleges that Officer Bath used excessive
force. Officer Bath’s alleged conduct, therefore, would violate Ms. Taylor’s constitutional right
to be free from excessive force. Likewise, the right that Ms. Taylor claims was violated was
clearly established at the time of the violation. Specifically, “an officer’s use of force is
unreasonable from a constitutional point of view if, judging from the totality of the
circumstances at the time of the arrest, the officer used greater force than was reasonably
necessary to make the arrest.” Gonzalez v. City of Elgin, 578 F.3d 526, 539 (7th Cir. 2009)
(quotation and citation omitted). Therefore, Officer Bath is not entitled to qualified immunity on
the federal excessive force claims.
Viewing the facts of record in the light most favorable to Ms. Taylor, the Court is unable
to find as a matter of law that Officer Bath did not use excessive force against Ms. Taylor. Nor is
Officer Bath entitled to qualified immunity on the federal excessive force claims. As such,
Officer Bath’s motion for summary judgment is DENIED as to the excessive force claims
C. Claims Against the City
1. Monell Claims
The City argues that it is entitled to summary judgment on Ms. Taylor’s Monell claims. A
municipality may be liable under § 1983 “if the unconstitutional act complained of is caused by:
(1) an official policy adopted and promulgated by its officers; (2) a governmental practice or
custom that, although not officially authorized, is widespread and well settled; or (3) an official
with final policy-making authority.” Thomas v. Cook Cnty. Sheriff’s Dep’t, 604 F.3d 293, 303
(7th Cir. 2010) (citing Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978)). “‘Proof of a
single incident of unconstitutional activity is not sufficient to impose liability under Monell
unless proof of the incident includes proof that it was caused by an existing, unconstitutional
municipal policy which policy can be attributed to a municipal policymaker.’” Roach v. City of
Evansville, 111 F.3d 544, 548 (7th Cir. 1997) (quoting City of Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S.
808, 823-24 (1985)).
Ms. Taylor characterizes her Monell argument as follows:
[T]he defendant City failed to adequately supervise and train Officer Bath and its
patrol officers regarding the use of force, the use of deadly force, and anti-bias
and anti-racial profiling training which was the “moving force” behind the
deprivation of her constitutional rights to free [sic] from an unreasonable seizure
and to free[sic] from use of unreasonable and excessive force by Officer Bath
regarding her July 23, 2014 arrest.
Despite the training Officer Bath received in his capacity as a patrol officer with
IMPD, defendant City was deliberately indifferent to the need to provide further
training after learning of a pattern of constitutional violations involving the
exercise of police discretion. Robles v. City of Fort Wayne, 113 F.3d 732, 735
(7th Cir. 1997). In at least three (3) reported cases, defendant City had actual
notice of deficiencies in its police training regimen regarding the excessive force
claims and/or unlawful arrest claims against its police officers. See Tibbett v.
McPherson, 5 F.Supp.3d 989 (S.D. Ind. 2014) (Summary judgment denied on
Section 1983 plaintiff’s unlawful arrest claim against IMPD officers); Guttieriez
v. City of Indianapolis, 886 F.Supp.2d 984, 1001 (S.D. Ind. 2012) (Summary
judgment denied on Section 1983 plaintiff’s unlawful arrest and excessive force
claims against IMPD officers); Fidler v. City of Indianapolis, 428 F.Supp.2d 857,
869 (S.D. Ind. 2006) (Summary judgment denied on Section 1983 plaintiff’s
excessive force claim against IMPD officers). Based on these reported cases, the
defendant City was clearly on notice to [sic] deficiency in its training regimen for
its police officers was deficient and further training of its police officers was
necessary to avoid future constitutional violation . However, defendant City’s
deliberately [sic] indifference to the need to provide further training to its police
officer including Officer Bath led to tragic consequences regarding the illegal
arrest of Ms. Taylor and the use of grossly excessive force against her in the July
23, 2014 arrest.
Dkt. No. 102-1 at 11.
The Seventh Circuit has explained that “there are only limited circumstances in which a
failure to train will be characterized as a municipal policy under section 1983.” Robles v. City of
Ft. Wayne, 113 F.3d 732, 735 (7th Cir. 1997) (quotations and citations omitted). In City of
Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388 (1989), the Supreme Court held that “the inadequacy of
police training may serve as the basis for [section] 1983 liability only where the failure to train
amounts to deliberate indifference to the rights of persons with whom the police come into
contact.” That standard is met where, “in light of the duties assigned to specific officers or
employees[,] the need for more or different training is . . . obvious,” and the existing inadequacy
is “likely to result in the violation of constitutional rights.” Id. at 390.
A municipality would demonstrate a deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of
its citizens by failing to train its employees “with respect to a clear constitutional duty implicated
in recurrent situations that a particular employee is certain to face.” Cornfield v. Consolidated
High School Dist. 230, 991 F.2d 1316, 1327 (7th Cir. 1993). Likewise, it would be deliberately
indifferent if it failed to provide further training after learning of a pattern of constitutional
violations involving the exercise of police discretion. City of Canton, 489 U.S. at 390 n.10.
Under either scenario, the finding of “deliberate indifference” would be derived from the City’s
failure to act in the face of “actual or constructive notice” that such a failure is likely to result in
constitutional deprivations. Cornfield, 991 F.2d at 1327.
Here, Ms. Taylor points to three lawsuits that she argues put the City on notice that its
training regimen for police officers was deficient and that further training was necessary. As the
City notes, Ms. Taylor fails to explain how these cases provided the City with such notice. 2 Nor
does Ms. Taylor point to evidence that would allow a jury to find that the City had notice of any
prior bad acts by Officer Bath. Further, the City points to evidence showing that IMPD
officers undergo extensive training before and during service. Accordingly, Ms. Taylor has not
pointed to any evidence upon which a reasonable jury could find the city liable under Monell,
and the City’s motion for summary judgment is GRANTED as to the federal claims against it.
2. State Law Claims
The City also moves for summary judgment on Ms. Taylor’s state law claims against it.
Indiana’s courts have not recognized a civil damages remedy for alleged violations of Article I of
the Indiana Constitution. See, e.g., Cantrell v. Morris, 849 N.E.2d 488, 499 (Ind. 2006). In
addition, Ms. Taylor failed to address these claims at all in her response. Accordingly, the Court
finds that she has abandoned these claims, and GRANTS summary judgment as to the state law
claims against the Cirty. See Palmer v. Marion Cnty., 327 F.3d 588, 597 (7th Cir. 2003)
(“[B]ecause Palmer failed to delineate his negligence claim in his district court brief in
opposition to summary judgment or in his brief to this Court, his negligence claim is deemed
the City points out, Tibbett v. McPherson, 5 F. Supp. 3d 989 (S.D. Ind. 2014), one of
the cases cited by Ms. Taylor, did not involve the City of Indianapolis or IMPD; rather, the
police officers involved worked for the Seymour Police Department. Another case cited by Ms.
Taylor, Fidler v. City of Indianapolis, 428 F. Supp. 2d 857 (S. D. Ind. 2006), resulted in a jury
verdict for the defendant IMPD officers. The third case cited by Ms. Taylor, Gutierrez v. City of
Indianapolis, 886 F. Supp. 2d 984 (S. D. Ind. 2012), was simply an order denying summary
judgment, not evidence that IMPD officers violated anyone’s constitutional rights.
abandoned.”); Bombard v. Fort Wayne Newspapers, Inc., 92 F.3d 560, 562, n.2 (7th Cir. 1996)
(“Bombard abandoned his FMLA claim after failing to respond to the FMLA arguments in
FWN’s motion for summary judgment.”).
Defendant Bath’s Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED (Dkt. No. 98). Defendant
City of Indianapolis’ Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED (Dkt. No. 83). Ms. Taylor’s
federal claims against Officer Bath remain pending for trial, which is scheduled for January 22,
2018. The parties are reminded of their pretrial preparation deadlines contained in Docket
No. 34 in advance of the December 15, 2017, final pretrial conference.
SO ORDERED: 11/15/17
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
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