United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS, UND7ED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants Desree Dickerson and
Arethee Williams's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc.
19.) Plaintiff Terrell Porter did not respond.
morning of July 31, 2013, Dickerson, then a probationary
officer with the St. Louis County Police Department, was on
patrol with her field trainer, Officer Robert Wallace. Around
9 a.m., Dickerson and Wallace responded to a dispatch for a
burglary in progress at 1127 Laredo Avenue in the Spanish
Lake neighborhood of St. Louis. The dispatcher reported that
two black men had been seen trying to kick down the door.
When they arrived on Laredo Avenue, a St. Louis County Police
Sergeant told Dickerson and Wallace that he had seen two
black men in white t-shirts run out the back door of the
and Wallace began searching the area for the men, following
tips from several neighbors. The officers soon spotted a
black man wearing a white t-shirt hiding behind a tree. When
Dickerson approached, the man fled, ignoring the
officers' warnings to stop. The officers split up and
pursued the man.
resident on Reale Avenue signaled Wallace and pointed to his
backyard. Wallace entered the yard and saw the man they had
been chasing, standing on the concrete patio. Wallace ordered
the man to show his hands and noticed what appeared to be
"a cutting instrument" in the man's pocket.
Wallace slowly approached the man and ordered him to get on
the ground. The man did not comply. When he was close enough,
Wallace "used a single arm bar" technique to take
the man down onto the patio and then climbed on top of the
man in order to handcuff him. The man continued to resist,
refusing to offer his other arm.
Dickerson heard Wallace yelling, she ran to assist. When she
got to the yard, she saw Wallace on top of the man,
attempting to handcuff him. She noticed what appeared to be a
pocket knife clip in the man's pants pocket. Dickerson
ran to the patio, pulled the man's arm out from under
him, and held it behind his back while Wallace secured the
second handcuff. The man was eventually identified as Porter,
whom the Sergeant and neighbors recognized as one of the two
they had seen fleeing from Laredo Avenue.
was also on patrol the morning of July 31 and responded to
the dispatcher's report of a burglary in progress. She
was canvassing the area for suspects as Dickerson and Wallace
were pursuing and apprehending Porter. When Porter was in
custody, Williams was directed to transport a witness from
her home at 1126 Laredo-the house directly across the street
from the burglary-to Reale Avenue. Dickerson and Wallace
stood with Porter in the front yard. Williams stopped the car
and the witness identified Porter as one of the men she had
seen trying to kick in the door at 1127 Laredo. Williams then
drove the witness back to her home and left the area.
Louis County Police Sergeant Ray Rice drove to the Reale
Avenue house to perform a "use of force"
investigation. He spoke to a man whose back yard abutted the
patio where Porter had been apprehended. The man told Rice
that had seen police cars and heard yelling coming from
behind his house. When he went outside, he saw Porter
refusing to comply with Wallace's orders to get on the
ground. He watched Wallace "tackle" Porter and
attempt to handcuff him. The man said that he could see
Porter resisting until Dickerson arrived and helped secure
Porter's arms. He said he could hear Porter yelling,
"Stop kicking me!" but never saw either officer
then spoke to both Dickerson and Wallace and examined Porter
for injury. Medical personnel had placed a gauze bandage over
an abrasion on his swollen right cheek. Rice noted the
abrasion and swelling were consistent with Wallace's
description of using an arm bar to take Porter down on the
concrete patio. Rice observed no other injuries and nothing
consistent with having been kicked. Porter was transported to
the hospital for a "fit for confinement"
October 19, 2017, Porter filed this suit, alleging that
Dickerson and Williams had used excessive force on the night
of his arrest in violation of 28 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc.
1.) He sued both officers in their official and personal
capacities and also named St. Louis County as a defendant.
(Id.) Porter claimed that he had been kicked in the
face and that he had suffered "injuries to the face,
lacerations, scars, fractured cheek bone, fractured eye
socket[J concussion[, and] hospitalization."
(Id. at 5.) He alleged that the injuries resulted in
"loss of life," mental and emotional stress,
"loss of job funds etc.," and sought $250, 000 in
compensatory damages plus $750, 000 in punitive damages.
(Id. at 5-6.)
initial review, this Court dismissed Porter's claims
against St. Louis County and his official-capacity claims
against Dickerson and Williams. (Doc. 6.) The officers then
filed this Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that
Dickerson's use of force was reasonable and that Williams
never got out of her cruiser. (Doc. 20.)