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Bonner v. Haynes

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 22, 2017

BRIAN BONNER, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER HAYNES, OFFICER PERKINS, Defendants.

          ORDER REGARDING MOTIONS IN LIMINE [#136; #137]

          HON. DENISE PAGE HOOD JUDGE

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 8, 2014, Plaintiff Brian Bonner (“Bonner”) filed a pro se civil rights Complaint against various government entities and officials and a private citizen. (Doc # 1) All claims were dismissed without prejudice except the allegations against Defendants Romulus Police Department Officers Haynes (“Haynes”) and Perkins (“Perkins”). (Doc # 53) The Court appointed counsel to represent Bonner on March 23, 3016. (Doc # 103) On April 20, 2016, Bonner filed a First Amended Complaint against Haynes and Perkins alleging violations of his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc # 108) A jury trial is scheduled for April 4, 2017. This matter is now before the Court on several Motions in Limine filed by Defendants and Bonner. (Doc # 136; Doc # 157) The Motions have been fully briefed.

         Bonner asserts Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 arising out of his arrest and subsequent detention on March 3, 2013. According to Bonner, he arrived home that evening and saw assailants who looked like they would cause him bodily harm. He fled and dove into a nearby house through an open window to avoid being shot by his assailants. Officers Haynes and Perkins reported to the scene and arrested Bonner instead of arresting Bonner's assailants, allowing them to escape. The officers handcuffed Bonner, and Bonner complied with their commands. Nevertheless, Haynes and Perkins repeatedly stomped, kicked, and assaulted Bonner.

         According to Bonner, the officers then took him to the police department and denied him water and medical attention even though Bonner had hyperventilated. Bonner claims that Haynes and Perkins were deliberately indifferent to Bonner's serious medical need despite his plea to go to the hospital, sense that he was about to have a seizure, and actually having a seizure. Haynes and Perkins shoved Bonner into a filthy cell where he was denied medical care and required to lie down in his own urine, feces, and blood. Haynes and Perkins recommended that Bonner be charged with a “Burglary-Forced Entry” misdemeanor. The following day, Bonner was taken to an arraignment hearing in a pink gown and in a wheelchair. After the hearing, he was transferred to Clinton County Jail where he was kept until March 20, 2013 when he was released on his own recognizance. The misdemeanor charge was dropped.

         Bonner alleges that, as a result of Defendants' use of excessive force and their failure to summon medical assistance when requested by Bonner, Bonner now suffers from Lumbago spine pain, sciatica pain, chronic back pain, pinched nerves, muscle spasms, arthritis, mood disorder, paranoia, and emotional distress.

         Defendants stipulate to the fact that Haynes and Perkins arrested Bonner on March 3, 2013 and were acting under color of state law when they did so. Otherwise, Defendants deny all of Bonner's claims and allegations.

         Through the instant Motions in Limine, Defendants seek to exclude evidence of Defendants' past alleged misconduct or disciplinary actions, as well as evidence of Romulus Police Department's general orders, polices or procedures. Bonner seeks to exclude reference to the name of Bonner's past felony conviction.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Defendants' Motion to Exclude Evidence of Defendants' Past Alleged Misconduct or Disciplinary Actions

         Defendants seek to exclude evidence of Defendants' past alleged misconduct or disciplinary actions because such evidence is not relevant and would be more prejudicial than probative.

         Bonner responds that he does not intend to offer such evidence as exhibits but reserves the right to use such evidence for impeachment at trial based on the testimony of each Defendant.

         Rule 401 of the Rules of Evidence defines relevant evidence as evidence having “any tendency” to make a fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action “more or less probable than it would be without the evidence.” The standard set forth in Rule 401 is a liberal one. Churchwell v. Bluegrass Marine, Inc., 444 F.3d 898, 905 (6th Cir. 2006). “[E]ven if a district court believes the evidence is insufficient to prove the ultimate point for which it is offered, it may not exclude the evidence if it has the slightest probative worth.” United States v. Whittington, 455 F.3d 736, 738-39 (6th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted).

         Rule 404(b)(1) states that “[e]vidence of a crime, wrong, or other act is not admissible to prove a person's character in order to show that on a particular occasion the person acted in accordance with the character.” Rule 404(b)(2) states that this “evidence may be admissible for another purpose, such as proving motive, opportunity, intent, ...


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