United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' SUMMARY JUDGMENT
KAYS, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
case arises out of Plaintiff Tyree Bell's arrest and
detention for a crime he did not commit. Plaintiff is suing
members of the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department
(“KCPD”) involved in his arrest, as well as KCPD
Police Chief Richard Smith and the individual members of the
Missouri Board of Police Commissioners (“the
Board”), for violating his Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights. He claims these violations occurred because
of the KCPD's policies, procedures, or customs and its
negligent training and supervision of its officers. Now
before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary
judgment (Doc. 56). Because the officers are entitled to
qualified immunity, the motion is GRANTED.
4:10 p.m. on June 8, 2016, KCPD Officers Peter Neukirch and
Jonathan Munyan were dispatched to the corner of James A.
Reed and 91st Terrace. A homeowner in the area (“the
calling party”) had reported three black juvenile males
on the corner were playing with guns.
minutes later, Munyan and Neukirch arrived near the street
corner and saw three black male juveniles talking to a few
teenage girls in the front yard of a residence. As the
officers got closer, the three males turned away from the
patrol car and quickly went around the street corner. Seconds
later, as the officers turned the street corner, they stopped
their patrol car next to the juveniles, who were-at this
as the officers exited their patrol car, one of the
juveniles, who was wearing a white shirt and black shorts,
turned toward the officers, grabbed his waist, and began
running in the opposite direction. While running away, he
pulled a gun from his shorts and tossed it over a fence.
Munyan chased after him, yelling, “Come here! Drop the
gun! Drop it! Drop it!”
in pursuit, Munyan gave updated locations on dispatch radio.
But by 4:19 p.m., Munyan had completely lost sight of the
suspect, though he guessed on dispatch radio that the suspect
had run north. Munyan described the suspect as a
“juvenile, black male, 17-18, about 5'10”,
skinny, blue shorts, white t-shirt, shoulder-length dreads.
He was taking his shoes off. I'm not sure what kind of
shoes he had on.”
couple of minutes later, Munyan set up a perimeter around
James A. Reed and 91st Terrace and requested that other
officers respond to assist in locating the fleeing suspect.
Five other officers, including Officer Chris Viesselman,
responded to the area. None saw anyone fitting the
description of the fleeing suspect until 4:26
p.m.-approximately seven minutes after Munyan started chasing
the suspect-when Viesselman saw a black juvenile male with
dreads, a white t-shirt, and black and white-striped shorts
walking near 87th Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard. The
juvenile would later be identified as Plaintiff Tyree Bell.
first, because Plaintiff had his shoes on, Viesselman
questioned Munyan on dispatch radio about the suspect taking
off his shoes. Munyan responded that he did not see the
suspect take his shoes off and could not find any shoes, so
it was possible the fleeing suspect “held them and put
them back on.” Munyan told Viesselman to conduct a
pedestrian check of Plaintiff. Viesselman got out of his car,
summoned Plaintiff, and conducted a pedestrian check.
who told the officer he was 6'3” and 155 pounds,
fully complied with Viesselman's requests. When asked
what he was doing in the area, Plaintiff told Viesselman he
was walking back to his house from his cousin's.
Plaintiff also gave Viesselman his home address and his
mother's name, address, and phone number.
explained to Plaintiff why he had detained him, noting,
“You don't seem like you're really out of
breath after a foot chase or anything, so I don't imagine
it's you, but you match what he's wearing so
that's why I gotta stop you until we check, okay? And
you're the right age, too. He was a juvenile.”
Plaintiff nevertheless remained handcuffed in front of the
patrol car while he and Viesselman waited for Officer Munyan
to arrive and identify if Plaintiff and the fleeing suspect
were the same person.
Plaintiff and Viesselman were waiting for Munyan, another
officer recovered the gun at the original scene and asked the
dispatcher to run its serial number. The dispatcher found no
records for the gun.
p.m., Munyan arrived at 87th Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard,
parked on the opposite side of the two-lane street, within
seconds identified Plaintiff as the fleeing suspect, and
radioed, “We have our party down here at 87th.” A
minute later, Munyan got out of his vehicle and walked across
the street to where Plaintiff and Viesselman were waiting.
Munyan told Viesselman that he “noticed the red on his
shoes when he was running and started to take them
agreeing that the officers should transport Plaintiff back to
the original scene, Viesselman put Plaintiff in his patrol
car and headed back to the of corner James A. Reed and 91st
Terrace. While in route, Plaintiff told Viesselman that he
was not the fleeing suspect.
4:46 p.m., Viesselman and Plaintiff arrived back at the
original scene, where Neukirch and the two other juveniles
were waiting. Unlike the fleeing suspect, the two other
juveniles had not tried to run, and Neukirch had quickly
detained them. They remained handcuffed and sat along a
fence, while Plaintiff remained in the patrol car.
exited the patrol car to talk with another officer at the
scene. At the same time, Munyan and Neukirch, along with
Sergeant Luis Ortiz, reviewed patrol car video of the fleeing
suspect to “double-verify” the identification.
The log file on the patrol car reported that the officers
played the video at least twice.
4:50 p.m., Neukirch called and discussed the case with
Detective John Mattivi, reporting that he and Munyan saw a
juvenile suspect flee from them with a gun, Munyan chased him
on foot, lost sight of him, minutes later another officer
found Plaintiff who fit the fleeing suspect's
description, and Munyan identified Plaintiff as the fleeing
suspect. Neukirch also reported to Mattivi that he, Munyan,
and Ortiz reviewed the patrol car video to confirm that
Plaintiff was indeed the fleeing suspect. Based on this
information, Mattivi told Neukirch to put Plaintiff on a
twenty-four-hour investigative hold and to take him to the
Juvenile Justice Center (“JJC”). He also told
Neukirch to release the two other juveniles.
4:54 p.m. to 4:56 p.m., Munyan asked the other juveniles for
information about Plaintiff. On the patrol car video, Munyan
is heard asking the juveniles, “So you don't know
where he lives?” And then, “Jay? What's his
real name?” Though the juveniles' response cannot
be heard, Munyan reported back to Ortiz that Plaintiff's
street name was “Jay.” He also reported that when
he asked the juveniles, “You know we got him,
right?” (referring to the fleeing suspect), one of the
juveniles responded, “Yeah, I seen you when you pulled
up.” No. one directly asked either of the juveniles
whether Plaintiff was the fleeing suspect. The officers also
did not ask the calling party, who lived three houses away,
to confirm whether Plaintiff was the person he saw with the
gun. Around 5:00 p.m., Ortiz left the scene. He did not
return or go to JJC.
Neukirch went to the calling party's house but decided
against having him come to the scene because earlier, while
waiting for Plaintiff to return to the scene, the calling
party yelled at the two juveniles and threatened them.
Neukirch arrived back at the scene around 5:10 p.m. and took
Plaintiff's photograph just outside the patrol car. At
5:22 p.m., Munyan played back the patrol car video two more
minutes later, Neukirch and Munyan, with Plaintiff, left the
original scene and went to JJC. During the approximately
twenty-minute ride to JJC, Plaintiff had a calm demeanor and
indicated he knew one of the two other juveniles involved.
JJC, Munyan took Plaintiff inside. Neukirch watched the
patrol video again in his car. The file log indicates the
video was played back four times. Munyan and Neukirch again
assured Mattivi they had reviewed the video footage and
identified Plaintiff. The officers then wrote a report
regarding Plaintiff's arrest, and, once they were done
with the report, left. They had no further involvement with
interviewed Plaintiff after reading him his Miranda rights.
Plaintiff's mother and aunt, along with Deputy Juvenile
Officer Michael Grimes, were also present. Plaintiff told
Mattivi he walked home from school by himself, realized he
had locked himself out of the house, and therefore walked to
his cousin's house. When he arrived, no one was home, so
he started walking back to his house by himself. That is when
Viesselman stopped him.
denied any involvement in the crime, and his mother also
insisted he was not involved. Therefore, with Plaintiff's
consent, Mattivi took a DNA sample to compare to the DNA
found on the gun. Mattivi did not make any further
investigation that night. He did not call the other two
juveniles or their parents, did not call ...