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McCray v. St. Louis City Police Dept.

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

May 22, 2018

REGINALD PATRICK MCCRAY, Plaintiff,
v.
ST. LOUIS CITY POLICE DEPT., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JEAN C. HAMILTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff, Reginald Patrick McCray, an inmate at the St. Louis City Justice Center, for leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.00. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court will stay and administratively close this action pursuant to the Supreme Court case of Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384 (2007), based on the pendency of an underlying criminal case against plaintiff arising out of the same facts.

         Background

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting violations of his Fourth Amendment rights against defendant's unlawful seizure and purported failure to read him his Miranda rights prior to his arrest and detention at the St. Louis City Justice Center.

         Plaintiff states that on January 9, 2017[1], he was detained by an unnamed Jennings Police Officer around 9:30 a.m. after he was found sleeping in a friend's vehicle. Plaintiff states that he was told by the officer that he “wasn't under arrest” but that “St. Louis Police Detectives” wanted to talk to him. Plaintiff claims that the Jennings Police Officer took him to the Jennings station and he waited on St. Louis City Police Officers David King and Joseph Steiger to arrive and taken him to another station.

         Plaintiff claims that Officer King arrived with an unnamed assisting officer around 1:00 p.m. He claims he was taken to Jefferson Avenue Patrol Station to an interview room, but that Officer Steiger and Officer King failed to read him his Miranda rights, because they told him they “just wanted to talk.” Plaintiff asserts that after the officers asked him a few questions he found out he was a suspect for a robbery and when the officers did not believe his alibi, he asked for a lawyer. Purportedly, Officer King got upset at plaintiff and slammed his fist on the table and acted as though he would “rough plaintiff up” by using tough verbal threats of how long plaintiff might go to jail.

         Plaintiff claims that after the two officers angrily left the room, they came back about twenty minutes later with a camera, took pictures of plaintiff and took him to a cell. Plaintiff was told he would be placed on a 24-hour hold and taken to the St. Louis City Justice Center. The next day, plaintiff was told over the loud speaker at the Justice Center that he was charged with 1st Degree Robbery and would see the Judge on the following day and be given bond.

         Plaintiff claims that the unnamed Jennings Police Officer did not have probable cause to detain him on behalf of the two St. Louis City Police Officers. He also claims that St. Louis City Police Officers Steiger and King unlawfully detained him at the police station and failed to read him his Miranda rights prior to arresting him and detaining him at the St. Louis City Justice Center.

         Thus, plaintiff asserts that there was a lack of probable cause to arrest him and he is being held in violation of the Fourth Amendment.[2]

         A review of the state criminal action on Missouri.Case.Net shows that a probable cause statement was filed in support of a criminal complaint on January 11, 2017, the date that plaintiff states he was formally arrested for 1st degree robbery. The probable cause statement was signed by Officer David King, and in the statement, Officer King attests:

I am a detective with the St. Louis Police Department. I have been a police officer for nearly twenty-six years. I am one of the officers assigned to the investigation of the robbery of the Imo's pizza restaurant at 1828 Washington Avenue in St. Louis, MO, on January 2, 2017. I have spoken to the clerk who was robbed. She says the robber displayed a black handgun and demanded money. She bagged up money and gave it to him and he left.
The robbery was captured on video surveillance. I have watched the video. It is good quality. The robber was not wearing a mask, and his face is clearly visible. We made a still photo from the video and put it out on the media. Afterward we received an anonymous Crimestoppers tip identifying the robber as this defendant.
I obtained a photograph of the defendant from Tennessee driving records. We showed a photo of the lineup to the Imo's clerk who was robbed and she picked the photo of this defendant from the photo lineup.
This defendant was found sleeping in a stolen car by St. Louis County officers on January 10, 2017. At that time, he had in his possession a black air pistol, that ...

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