United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
DAVID E. SEARCY, Plaintiff,
GARRETT LYNCH, et. al, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
civil rights action arises from Plaintiff David Searcy's
allegations that Kansas City, Missouri Police Department
Officer Garrett Lynch and Sergeant Jonathan Rivers
(collectively, “Defendants”) arrested him without
probable cause. Count I, the sole remaining count,
asserts a wrongful arrest claim in violation of 42 U.S.C.
before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. 20) on the remaining claim. The motion is
GRANTED for two reasons: (1) Plaintiff sued Defendants in
their official capacities only, and police officers sued in
their official capacities are not “persons”
capable of being sued under § 1983; and (2) qualified
immunity bars Plaintiff's claim.
November 7, 2015, Defendants, along with Officer Bryce Rains,
responded to a single-vehicle accident at East 43rd Street
and Blue Ridge Cutoff in Kansas City, Missouri. Officer Rains
parked his patrol car at the top of the hill and stayed there
to block traffic, while Defendants were at the bottom of the
hill investigating the accident scene.
from the investigating officers, the accident scene involved
three people: the driver, the car owner, and the Plaintiff.
involved in the accident was suspected to have been driven by
Myron Berry (“the driver”), who was not the
car's owner. Soon after the officers arrived, an
individual claiming to be the car's owner arrived and
confirmed that Berry had been driving. While Officer Lynch
and Sergeant Rivers were interviewing the car's owner,
the Plaintiff walked into the accident scene. At this time,
Sergeant Rivers did not see Plaintiff walking around the
that same time, the driver admitted to Officer Rains that he
had been driving the car when it crashed. Officer Rains,
still located at the top of the hill out of sight from
Defendant, radioed Sergeant Rivers that the driver was
walking down the hill towards him. Sergeant Rivers relayed to
Officer Lynch that the driver was on the scene. Then,
Sergeant Rivers left the scene to tend to another, unrelated
the time Sergeant Rivers left the scene, the driver
approached Officer Lynch's location. It is disputed
whether Officer Lynch talked to the driver at this time.
Regardless, at some point during Officer Lynch's
investigation, the driver walked up the hill and away from
the accident scene with Plaintiff. Plaintiff returned after a
few minutes, but the driver never did.
Lynch then requested that Sergeant Rivers return to the scene
to assist in the investigation. Upon Sergeant Rivers'
arrival, Officer Lynch told Sergeant Rivers that he saw
Plaintiff run up to the driver during the investigation,
heard Plaintiff tell the driver he needed to talk to him, and
then watched Plaintiff and the driver walk away from the
scene. Officer Lynch further informed Sergeant Rivers that he
tried to get them to stop walking away but was unsuccessful,
and that the driver had not returned.
on this information, Sergeant Rivers questioned Plaintiff
about what had happened. Sergeant Rivers' patrol car
video recorded the following exchange between them:
Plaintiff: There seems to be some confusion here.
This officer started yelling at me. First, I asked why
he's yelling at me. He said, “Well, you let this
gentleman go up the street.” I said, “This
gentleman seemed to be confused. I asked him what the problem
was, and he didn't know where he was at.” I said,
“Were you driving the car?” He said,
“No.” So I said, “Come with me up the
street.” I came back down here and was talking to this
young lady. I don't know whose name she gave that was
driving the car. She said, “No, I didn't.”
This officer tried to make her say that she said somebody was
driving her car. I said, “Officer, that's not what
he said...she said.” He said, “Step
behind.” I backed up. He said, “No, I said
‘Step behind me.'” I said, “Officer, I
am behind you.” And then he told me to go away. So I
went away. (Unintelligible). I came over here. I said,
“Are you finished with your investigation?” He
told me, I was impeding the investigation. So I said,
“Okay.” I was, “Are you through with the
investigation?” “Yes.” He said, “Do
you want a city tow?” She said, “No.”
Sgt. Rivers: Okay. Who did you take away from this
Plaintiff: Some gentleman…I didn't take
anyone…okay, wait a minute, first of all, I didn't
take anybody away. I just started walking.
Sgt. Rivers: Okay. Who did you walk away?
Plaintiff: I have no idea who this gentleman was.
Sgt. Rivers: Okay.
Plaintiff: He never said he was a suspect. He never
accused him of being a ...