United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PATRICIA L. COHEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motion for summary judgment (ECF
No. 46) filed by Defendants Sergeant Joseph Mayberry,
Detective Blake Carrigan, Chief Aaron Jimenez, and the City
of St. Ann. Plaintiff opposes the motion. (ECF No. 57). For
the following reasons, Defendants' motion for summary
judgment is granted in part and denied in part.
filed a petition in the Circuit Court of the City of St.
Louis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 asserting claims of
unreasonable stop (Count I), unreasonable arrest (Count II),
and excessive force (Count III) against Mayberry and Carrigan
in their individual capacities. (ECF No. 5). Plaintiff
alleged that he was driving on Interstate 70 when a police
pursuit of a fleeing suspect caused his vehicle to crash.
Mayberry and Carrigan, who were assisting in the pursuit,
mistook Plaintiff for the fleeing suspect. According to the
petition, Mayberry pointed his gun at Plaintiff, ordered him
to the ground, pushed his face into the asphalt, punched him
in the back, and placed him in handcuffs.
and Carrigan removed the case to federal court pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1446. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff
subsequently filed a first amended complaint adding as
Defendants the City of St. Ann (“St. Ann”) and
Jimenez,  chief of St. Ann's police department.
(ECF No. 18). Plaintiff also added a claim against Jimenez in
his individual capacity for “failure to follow his own
policies” (Count IV) and a municipal liability claim
against St. Ann and Jimenez in his official capacity (Count
judgment is proper “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.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a); Hill v. Walker, 737 F.3d 1209, 1216 (8th Cir.
2013). The movant “bears the initial responsibility of
informing the district court of the basis for its
motion” and must identify “those portions of [the
record]...which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the movant does
so, the non-movant must respond by submitting evidentiary
materials that set out “specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id. at
324 (quotation marks omitted).
a motion for summary judgment, ‘facts must be viewed in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there
is a genuine dispute as to those facts.'” Ricci
v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 586 (2009) (quoting
Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007)). The
court's function is not to weigh the evidence but to
determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249
(1986). “Credibility determinations, the weighing of
the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from
the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge.”
Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042
(8th Cir. 2011) (en banc) (quoting Reeves v. Sanderson
Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000)).
Officers' pursuit of fleeing motorist and encounter with
afternoon of January 15, 2015, Plaintiff, was driving his
green Chevrolet eastbound on Interstate 70. He became aware
of a silver BMW, followed by a black police car with flashing
lights, traveling behind him at a high rate of speed. As the
silver BMW and police car passed, Plaintiff lost control of
his vehicle, which spun around, struck the median, and
stopped facing westward. Plaintiff exited his vehicle because he
observed what appeared to be smoke emanating from the engine.
driver of the silver BMW, Anton Simmons, was fleeing a
traffic stop. Officer Stephen Downs had stopped Simmons for
speeding, and a routine records check revealed that Simmons
had numerous warrants. Simmons fled the stop, and Downs
initiated pursuit. Downs announced over the radio that the
suspect was driving a silver BMW, and “ten or
more” other police cars, including those driven by
Mayberry, Carrigan, and officers from the Bridgeton Police
Department, joined the pursuit. Eventually, Simmons drove off
the road, and police officers arrested him.
did not hear the radio description of Simmons' vehicle.
Knowing only that Downs was in pursuit of a fleeing suspect,
Mayberry tried to “catch up” and assist Downs.
Shortly after hearing a radio transmission about a vehicle
accident in the area of I-70 and Cypress, which turned out to
be Simmons' accident, Mayberry came upon Plaintiff's
believing that Plaintiff was the fleeing suspect, Mayberry
pulled over and stopped in front of Plaintiff's car.
Mayberry exited his vehicle with his gun drawn and pointed at
Plaintiff. Carrigan arrived at the scene and exited
his vehicle to assist Mayberry.
point, the parties' versions of events diverge
significantly. According to Plaintiff's deposition
testimony, Plaintiff “immediately put [his] hands in
the air” when he saw Mayberry approaching with his gun
drawn. Plaintiff stated he did not hear any verbal commands,
but, keeping his hands up, he slowly lowered himself, first
to his knees, and then “completely flat on the
ground.” Plaintiff testified: “Within the matter
of seconds, I felt a knee up against my face . . . and he
began to basically press his knee harder and harder against
my face.” Plaintiff stated that he then felt four or
five “punches” in his mid-back.
testified that the first thing he remembered hearing was an
officer ordering him to “stop resisting.”
Plaintiff yelled back, “I'm not resisting; I'm
not resisting, ” and the officer ordered him to
on the other hand, stated in his deposition that, Plaintiff
“got out of his vehicle and fled from the
vehicle.” Mayberry stated that, as Plaintiff attempted
to run away from him, he used an “arm bar
technique” to take Plaintiff to the ground. According
to Mayberry, he placed his knee on Plaintiff's mid-back,
wrested Plaintiff's arms out from under him, and placed
Plaintiff in handcuffs.
Mayberry, Carrigan testified that Plaintiff resisted
Mayberry's efforts to apply the handcuffs, and Mayberry
“straddled” Plaintiff's back “to
restrict his movement.” Carrigan explained that, in an
effort to help Mayberry restrain Plaintiff, he “put
[his] left shin across . . . [Plaintiff's] back,
basically, in between his shoulder blades” so that he
and Mayberry were “face-to-face trying to . . . get
handcuffs on [Plaintiff].” Carrigan stated he also
placed his left hand “around the back of
[Plaintiff's] neck because he feared Plaintiff was
“going to bite [him].” Both Mayberry and Carrigan
denied using their body weight to push Plaintiff's face
into the asphalt and punching Plaintiff.
deposition, Jimenez testified that he arrived at the scene
and observed Mayberry pointing his gun at Plaintiff who
“was running towards the back of the car, ” and
away from Mayberry. By the time Jimenez exited his vehicle,
“two or three detectives were already detaining
parties do not dispute that, once Plaintiff was in handcuffs,
Mayberry returned to his vehicle and turned off the sirens.
At this point, he heard a radio broadcast communicating that
officers had arrested the fleeing suspect. Mayberry informed
the other officers that they “had the wrong guy,
” and they released Plaintiff. Plaintiff traveled by
ambulance to the emergency room at DePaul Hospital where
doctors removed debris that was embedded in the right side of
Plaintiff's face and stitched the area near his right
St. Ann's vehicular pursuit policy
Ann's vehicular pursuit policy in effect at the time of
the incident, provided: “The initiation or continuation
of a pursuit is authorized only when the necessity of an
immediate apprehension of a suspect outweighs the level of
risk associated with the pursuit.” The pursuit policy
therefore required officers to consider the specific
circumstances and conditions “before initiating a
pursuit and  continually reevaluate changing circumstances
during a pursuit to determine if the pursuit should
continue.” Factors for officers to consider before and
during a pursuit included, among others, the:
“seriousness of the original offense that led to the
pursuit”; “likelihood of identifying the suspect
at a later date”; “speeds of the suspect and law
enforcement vehicles”; “speed, direction(s), and
density of vehicular and pedestrian traffic”; and
“quality and reliability of communications between
involved officers and other affected agencies.” The
pursuit policy directed officers to “immediately
terminate the pursuit” if “[c]hanging
circumstances or conditions indicate the risk to public
safety associated with continued pursuit are greater than the
public safety benefit of making an immediate
to the pursuit policy, “[n]o more than a total of two
law enforcement vehicles should be in direct pursuit of a
fleeing vehicle” unless aggravating circumstances, such
as pursuits involving violent felons or multiple suspects,
justify additional patrol vehicles. “Involvement in a
pursuit with more than two law enforcement vehicles should be
approved by a supervising commander.”
pursuit policy set forth the responsibilities of the officers
involved in a pursuit. The officer initiating a pursuit must
“immediately notify dispatch” and report: the
reason for the pursuit; description and license information
of the fleeing vehicle; location, direction of travel, and
approximate speed of vehicle; description and number of
occupants; and other pertinent information, such as traffic,
weather, or road conditions. That initiating officer is the
“primary pursuit officer until another officer assumes
responsibility.” The primary officer “should
terminate the pursuit if the identity of the driver is known
and the apprehension of the driver is not immediately
necessary” and must communicate “complete,
accurate and timely information to communications personnel
throughout the pursuit.” The secondary pursuit officer
must notify communications personnel when joining the
regard to supervision of vehicular pursuits, the pursuit
policy provided: “On-duty supervisory personnel should
actively attempt to monitor and guide events associated with
the pursuit.” The supervisor's responsibilities
1. Making necessary inquir[i]es to immediately determine
relevant circumstances surrounding the pursuit.
2. Ordering the termination of the pursuit if it appears to
constitute an unreasonable risk to public safety, officer
safety or it is not being conducted [i]n accordance with this
3. Limiting type and number of patrol car[s] that are
directly or indirectly involved.
4. Approving or disapproving pursuit tactics, to include
forcible stopping techniques.
5. Continuously reevaluating the pursuit according to the
criteria stated in this order and ordering the termination of
the pursuit when the pursuit appears to constitute an
unreasonable risk to public safety.
a pursuit, the officer who was the primary officer for all or
most of the pursuit, must “submit a Pursuit
Report.” Each pursuit report must: “summarize the
circumstances surrounding the pursuit” and
“document all unusual situations or hazards and explain
how the need to immediately apprehend the suspect outweighed
the risks posed to the public.” The officer that
supervised the pursuit should review the pursuit report
“for completeness, accuracy and compliance with all
Officer communication and ...