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Gallmore v. York

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

April 11, 2018


          Stephanie Dawkins Davis Magistrate Judge



         Excessive-force cases often involve two competing accounts of what happened: one by the arresting officers and the other by the plaintiff. This excessive-force case is rare. Like the typical case, it involves two competing accounts of what happened. But unlike the typical case, it is the plaintiff who has provided competing accounts.

         In the hours and days after Dearborn police arrested him for robbery, Plaintiff Roscoe Gallmore said that when he was fleeing the crime scene, he fell down a hill, hit his shoulder on a tree stump, and then fell into a river at the bottom of the hill. But nearly two years later, Gallmore filed this lawsuit asserting that Dearborn police officer Matthew York struck him with a nightstick in the arm, kicked him in the same arm, used a racial slur, dragged him to the water, and threw him in, all while officer Christie Mlynarczyk watched. Gallmore additionally claims that at the police station, Dearborn detective Melissa Krot denied him medical care for his broken arm.

         The three defendants seek summary judgment. In deciding that motion, the Court is not permitted to assess Gallmore's credibility. But the Court is tasked with deciding whether any rational jury could find for Gallmore. As will be explained, the Court does not believe that a reasonable jury, considering the record now before the Court, could find York struck Gallmore with a nightstick and threw him the water while Mlynarczyk looked on. The Court additionally finds that while perhaps Krot should have realized that Gallmore needed more prompt medical attention for his broken arm, she, personally, did not come to that realization. So no reasonable jury could find she was deliberately indifferent to Gallmore's serious medical needs.


         When, as here, a defendant moves for summary judgment, the Court typically presents the plaintiff's account of what happened along with what the defendant says occurred if it is consistent with the plaintiff's account. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). But given the atypical summary-judgment record, the Court begins with the story told by two videos and Defendants' other evidence.



         At 6:25 p.m. on November 21, 2013, Dearborn dispatch received a 911 call from a Red Roof Inn (the one at Telegraph Road and Michigan Avenue, to be precise). (R. 32, PID 253, 350.) Jim (to preserve anonymity) told the police that he had been robbed of around $200 just five to ten minutes earlier. (R. 32, PID 351-52.) Jim described the suspect and the dispatcher broadcasted the description to “units making the Red Roof.” (R. 32, PID 352-53.)

         Before the call was even over, two Dearborn police officers had arrived at the hotel. (See R. 32, PID 254, 354.) One officer, according to his police report, “went in the direction the [suspect] was last seen running.” (R. 32, PID 254.) As he walked across the parking lot, he reportedly found “an opening into a wooded area.” (Id.) The area “ha[d] a steep slope and drop[ped] directly into the Rouge River.” (Id.) The officer radioed that the suspect may have exited onto Telegraph Road. (Id.)

         Just after 6:35 p.m., two other Dearborn police officers-Defendants York and Mlynarczyk-saw someone matching the broadcasted description walking on Telegraph just north of Michigan. (See R. 32, PID 254, 256; York Video at 6:35:50 p.m.) The man was later identified as Gallmore.

         According to York's police report, as the two officers exited their vehicle, York could see that Gallmore's clothes were “soaking wet.” (R. 32, PID 256.) York wrote in his report, “Although it was raining, the wetness of the clothing was more consistent with someone that was submerged in water.” (R. 32, PID 256.) A video from York and Mlynarczyk's vehicle shows that Gallmore's pants were soaked through. (York Video at 6:35:50 p.m.) According to York's report, York asked Gallmore where he had been coming from and Gallmore said “‘I am coming from, ' . . . ‘I'm the one that did it.'” (Id.) After York asked what Gallmore had done, Gallmore reportedly said “I'm the one you're looking for. I robbed those people.” (Id.) York “immediately placed Gallmore in handcuffs.” (Id.)

         Within six minutes of locating Gallmore, York had secured Gallmore in the back of his police car. (See York Video at 6:41:25 p.m.) Gallmore told York, “I think I broke my arm[.]” (R. 32, PID 267; York Video at 6:43 p.m.) York responded, “Seriously?” (Id.) Gallmore: “Yeah, I think. I don't know. . . It might just be swollen or something. I don't know.” (Id.)

         A few minutes later, York drove Gallmore to the Dearborn police station. During the drive, York asked about the robbery. Gallmore stated, “I just said, ‘I need the money.' . . . The guy gave it to me and I ran.” (R. 32, PID 267; York Video at 6:50 p.m.) As their conversation continued, York asked, “What happened when you took off running?” Gallmore responded, “I fell down in that damn water.” (R. 32, PID 269; York Video at 6:51 p.m.)


         At the Dearborn police station, Gallmore was interviewed by a Dearborn detective, Defendant Krot. The interview was captured on video.

         Near the start of the interview, Krot asked Gallmore if he was “ok.” (R. 32, PID 279; Krot Video at 8:44 p.m.) After Gallmore said, “Yeah, ” Krot asked, “What's going on?” (Id.) Gallmore stated, “I think my arm is broke” and Krot asked to look at Gallmore's arm. (Id.) Having briefly examined Gallmore's arm, Krot opined, “It looks okay. But if you're still having some more problems in a little bit, we'll see about getting an ambulance here to look at you.” (Id.)

         Krot then began to question Gallmore about the robbery. Gallmore explained that he was told that if he got a night job, he would not be able to stay at his homeless shelter. (R. 32, PID 289.) This really “frustrated” Gallmore and made him feel like he “wanted to go back to jail.” (R. 32, PID 289-90.) Gallmore went to downtown Detroit and “d[id] some crack.” (R. 32, PID 290.) Gallmore explained that because “they won't do nothing for me, ” he “[m]ight as well start back using drugs.” (R. 32, PID 290-91.)

         Gallmore told Krot that he then took a bus from Detroit to Dearborn, going past Telegraph a “couple miles” so that he could walk and “cool . . . down.” (R. 32, PID 291.) Gallmore continued, “I went up in that Red Roof-I didn't go up in there to rob anybody. I was just-just walking.” (R. 32, PID 291.) Gallmore explained that he approached an older couple parked in the hotel's lot and insisted that the man give him money: “I said, ‘Sir, I can't be asking too many more times. I need some money because I'm on drugs and I need some drugs to support my habit.' And he said-he reached in his pocket and said, ‘Here, that's all I got.' And it was Canadian money.” (R.32, PID 293; see also PID 292, 296-97.)

         Gallmore explained to Krot that after he got the money, the man started the car and pulled out. (R. 32, PID 295.) Gallmore told Krot: “I was just like riding on the side of the car. He started and I jumped off and ran.” (R. 32, PID 295; Krot Video at 8:59 p.m.) Gallmore ran toward the river. (R. 32, PID 304; Krot Video at 9:08 p.m.) Gallmore explained, “I fell down the hill. I fell down the hill. I fell into the river.” (R. 32, PID 305; Krot Video at 9:08 p.m.)

         At the end of the interview, Gallmore again referenced his arm: “Ow.” (R. 32, PID 332.) Krot stated, “You probably twisted it pretty damn good.” (Id.) Gallmore agreed: “Yeah. It's not broke. It's probably just twisted.” (Id.) Krot opined, “Yeah. It doesn't really look broke, no.” (Id.)

         As it turned out, both Gallmore and Krot were wrong about the arm. The next day, November 22, 2013, Gallmore was brought to the hospital. (R. 32, PID 377.) Whether intentional or not, Defendants have only supplied the Court with limited hospital records. But from what the Court has, it is plain enough that Gallmore underwent surgery to repair a fractured left arm. (See R. 26, PID 156; R. 28, PID 185; R. 34, PID 368.) Indeed, an x-ray labeled “L ...

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