United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the following motions directed
at the original Compliant (ECF No. 1): Motion to Dismiss
Count V by Defendant City of St. Louis (ECF No. 8); Motion to
Dismiss Count II by Defendant Bobby D. Baine (ECF No. 11);
Motion to Dismiss Count VIII by Baine (ECF No. 13); Motion to
Dismiss Count II by Defendants Ryan J. Linhorst, Matthew T.
Karnowski, and Matthew A. Shaw (ECF No. 23); and Motion to
Dismiss Count VIII by Defendant Linhorst (ECF No. 25). On
October 3, 2018, Plaintiff David Whitt filed a First Amended
Complaint. (ECF No. 38) Because the motions listed above (ECF
Nos. 8, 11, 13, 23, & 25) were directed at the original
Complaint and the First Amended Complaint is now the
operative complaint, the Court denies these motions to
dismiss as moot.
before the Court are the following motions directed at the
First Amended Complaint: Motion to Dismiss Count II by
Defendants Linhorst, Karnowski, Shaw, and Baine (ECF No. 43);
Motion to Dismiss Count V by the City of St. Louis (ECF No.
45); and Motion to Dismiss Count VIII by Defendants Linhorst
and Baine (ECF No. 47). These motions are fully briefed and
ready for disposition. After careful consideration, the Court
grants the motion to dismiss Count VIII and denies the
motions to dismiss Counts II and V.
David Whitt is a member of Cop Watch, which is a network of
community-based groups of individuals who purport to monitor
and document police activity. Plaintiff alleges he is a
well-known member of Cop Watch in the St. Louis area and
frequently records video of police activity on a camcorder.
August 2016, Plaintiff was riding his bicycle in the City of
St. Louis when he observed five police vehicles, multiple
police officers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police
Department ("SLMPD"), and one individual in custody
in a police cruiser. Plaintiff was recording video on his
camcorder and asserts he maintained a reasonable distance
away from the police officers and the man in custody.
Plaintiff alleges the following events transpired:
a. Defendant Linhorst drove a police cruiser toward Whitt,
placing the vehicle between Whitt and the other police
vehicles, pushing Whitt onto the sidewalk. At the same time,
Linhorst instructed Whitt to back up. Whitt complied.
b. Defendant Karnowski instructed Whitt to back up again.
Again, Whitt complied, coming to a stop approximately 50 feet
away from the police cruiser in which the individual was
c. Whitt then stated that he could see the individual
detained in backseat of a police vehicle, at which point
Defendant Karnowski looked off camera and remarked,
"Yeah." Defendants Karnowski, Linhorst, and Shaw
then moved forward to arrest Whitt.
(ECF No. 38, at ¶ 25) According to Plaintiff, video of
the encounter was recorded on his camcorder. Plaintiff was
taken into custody, booked, and detained for ten hours. He
was released on a $50 bond and issued a property receipt for
his camcorder and bicycle. Linhorst, with assistance of
Baine, executed an affidavit in support of a warrant
application to search the contents of camcorder, which was
issued. Plaintiff did not receive his camcorder until January
2017. He alleges the camcorder was damaged and police had
attempted to erase all video recordings from the memory card.
October 2016, Plaintiff was charged with violating section
15.10.010 of the St. Louis City Municipal Ordinance Code,
which makes it a misdemeanor to, among other things,
"hinder, obstruct, resist or otherwise interfere with
any City officer in the discharge of his official
duties." The City of St. Louis dropped the charge
against Plaintiff via nolle prosequi in May 2017.
brought this lawsuit against the City of St. Louis, SLMPD
officers Linhorst, Karnowski, Shaw, and Baine (collectively
referred to as "SLMPD Defendants"), and three
unidentified police officers ("Doe Defendants") who
assisted in his August 2016 arrest. Specifically, the First
Amended Complaint (ECF No. 38) asserts the following counts
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983: Unlawful Seizure/False
Arrest against Defendants Linhorst, Karnowski, Shaw, and Doe
Defendants (Count I); Malicious Prosecution against SLMPD
Defendants (Count II); Retaliation for Exercise of First
Amendment Rights in Violation of First and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution against
Defendants Linhorst, Karnowski, Shaw, and Does (Count III);
Unlawful Search against Defendants Linhorst and Baine (Count
IV); and a claim for municipal liability pursuant to
Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S.
658, 685 (1978), for violations of the First, Fourth, and
Fourteenth Amendments against the City of St. Louis (Count
V). Plaintiff also bring the following claims pursuant to the
Missouri Constitution: False Arrest against Defendants
Linhorst, Karnowski, Shaw, and Doe Defendants (Count VI);
Malicious Prosecution against SLMPD Defendants (Count VII);
and Unlawful Search in Violation of Article I, Section 15 of
the Missouri Constitution against Defendants Linhorst and
Baine (Count VIII).
Defendants have moved to dismiss Count II (ECF No. 43), the
City of St. Louis has moved to dismiss Count V (ECF No. 45),
and Defendants Linhorst and Baine have moved to dismiss Count
VIII (ECF No. 47). Plaintiff has filed a single Opposition to
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Counts II and V. (ECF No.
49) In his memorandum, Plaintiff notes he did not respond to
Defendants Linhorst and Baine's Motion to Dismiss Count
VIII and seeks leave to dismiss Count VIII without prejudice.
(ECF No. 49, at 2 n.1) Accordingly, the Court grants the
Motion to Dismiss Count VIII and dismisses that claim without