United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
F. Cox United States District Judge.
driving drunk and hitting another vehicle, Plaintiff fled the
scene of the accident. When approached by police officers, he
fled from them too. In the midst of the chase, however, he
gave up and decided to surrender. This suit arises from what
followed: a knee strike to Plaintiff's legs followed by
two to seven punches to his face during his arrest and the
deprivation of water and medical care during his detention at
the police station. Plaintiff has sued two City of Warren
police officers under § 1983, alleging excessive force
and deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Discovery
has concluded and Defendants have moved for summary judgment,
asserting qualified immunity.
reasons below, the Court shall grant Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment in part and deny it in part. The Court
shall grant the motion as to the deliberate indifference
claim because Plaintiff cannot show that Defendants knew of
and disregarded a serious risk to his health and safety. The
Court shall also grant the motion as to the excessive force
claim against Defendant Reid because Plaintiff cannot show
that she was personally involved in the use of force. But the
Court shall deny the motion as to the excessive force claim
against Defendant Moran because there is a genuine issue of
fact on whether Moran was present and personally involved in
the use of excessive force during Plaintiff's arrest.
August 2014, Plaintiff Nikos Kidis spent the day in Hamtramck
at a Labor Day festival. Pl. Dep., p. 33-34. Over the course
of the day, Plaintiff drank about ten to twelve beers.
Id. at 34. Then, he got behind the wheel to drive
home. Def. Stmt. of Undisputed Facts, ¶ c. Around 10:00
or 10:30 p.m., while Plaintiff was driving, the front wheel
on the driver's side of his vehicle blew out, causing
Plaintiff to collide with a vehicle next to him. Pl. Dep., p.
32; Christine Dep., p. 13. Plaintiff pulled over to the side
of the road, after which he panicked and fled the scene on
foot. Pl. Dep., p. 33. The driver of the other vehicle,
Daniel Christine, called 911 to report the accident and
informed the dispatcher that Plaintiff was leaving the scene.
Christine Dep., p. 15-16.
from the Warren Police Department responded to the 911 call.
Reid Dep., p. 18. While responding to the call, one officer,
Defendant Jean Reid, encountered Plaintiff about a mile from
the accident, walking briskly in the opposite direction from
the scene. Id. at 21-22. Reid activated her
emergency lights and, when Plaintiff continued walking, asked
him to stop over the PA. Id. at 23. Plaintiff
complied and went to speak with Reid, who had exited her
vehicle. Pl. Dep., p. 36. When Plaintiff reached her, Reid
smelled a strong odor of alcohol. Reid Dep., p. 24. She asked
Plaintiff if he had been driving, which he denied. Pl. Dep.,
p. 38. Reid then told him to turn around and to place his
hands behind his back, which he did. Reid Dep., p. 26. Once
Reid put one handcuff on Plaintiff's left wrist,
Plaintiff yanked his arm away, ripping the other handcuff out
of Reid's hand. Id.; Pl. Dep., p. 36. Apparently
disoriented, Plaintiff spun around a couple times, lost his
footing, and then took off running. Pl. Dep., p. 37-39; Reid
Dep., p. 29-31.
began pursuing Plaintiff on foot. Reid Dep., p. 32. Plaintiff
ran until he reached a factory, upon which he jumped over a
barbed wire fence to enter into the factory's yard. Def.
Stmt., ¶ y. Reid did not follow Plaintiff over the fence
but instead radioed for assistance. Reid Dep., p 34. Several
officers, including Defendant John Moran, responded to the
request and headed towards the area. Def. Stmt., ¶ w, x.
Meanwhile, Reid returned to her squad car. Reid Dep., p. 36.
From this point, the parties' stories diverge
to Plaintiff, he ran through the factory yard and jumped over
another fence, after which he entered a deep wooded area. Pl.
Dep., p. 42-43. At this point, Plaintiff gave up and decided
to surrender. Id. at 42, 44. He laid down on his
stomach with his arms out in front of him. Id.
Before he laid down, Plaintiff did not see any police
officers pursuing him. Id. at 44.
he laid down, Plaintiff heard two male officers cutting
through the nearby fence. Id. at 45. He did not,
however, see Officer Reid. Id. The officers
approached Plaintiff and one of them thrust his knee into the
back of Plaintiff's legs. Id. at 49-50. The
officers then flipped Plaintiff onto his back and punched him
about two to seven times in the head. Id. at 50-52.
While hitting him, the officers said: “We'll teach
you to f***ing run.” Id. at 54. As he was
being punched, Plaintiff kept his hands on the ground and did
not attempt to fight back. Id. at 53. Nor did he
attempt to prevent the officers from handcuffing him.
Id. at 144. When the officers finished, they
handcuffed Plaintiff's hands behind his back, hoisted him
up, and, because his legs hurt too bad to walk, dragged him
to a squad car. Id. at 55-56, 136-37. While he was
being taken to the car, Plaintiff saw two other male officers
nearby. Id. at 57-58. Again, he did not see Officer
Reid. Id. at 57.
Defendants' account is quite different. According to
them, Officer Moran responded to Reid's call for
assistance and headed towards the area. Moran Dep., p. 17.
After pulling into a parking lot, he observed Plaintiff climb
over a fence. Id. at 19-20. Moran, who was alone,
exited his car and began chasing Plaintiff through an open
field and into a dense wooden area. Id. at 22-24.
Because the woods were pitch black, Moran had to use a
flashlight. Id. at 45. Eventually, Moran caught up
to Plaintiff and grabbed him, upon which Plaintiff attempted
to break free. Id. at 25-26. In response, Moran
delivered a knee strike to Plaintiff's common peroneal (a
nerve in the lower leg), causing the two of them to fall to
the ground. Id. at 27. While they were on the
ground, Plaintiff tucked his hands underneath his body and
kept them there, despite Moran's commands for Plaintiff
to provide his hands. Id. at 28. So, to subdue
Plaintiff, Moran pressed on his mandibular angle pressure
point (this is a distractionary pain compliance technique
involving pushing a digit underneath the ear). Id.
at 29-30. Finally, Moran forced Plaintiff's hands behind
his back and handcuffed him. Id. at 30. Moran did
not see any other officers during the arrest and denies
punching Plaintiff in the face. Id. at 30-31.
Moran apprehended Plaintiff, several other officers arrived.
Id. at 32. These officers, who were all male, did
not include Officer Reid. Id. Two of these officers
took Plaintiff out of the woods and placed him in a squad
car, carrying him upright because he refused to walk.
Id. at 36; Adkins Dep., p. 34. Moran did not have
any further contact with Plaintiff, at the scene or at the
station. Moran Dep., p. 38-39. During the arrest, Plaintiff
never requested medical attention. Id. at 40.
who had returned to her squad car and drove to the location,
saw Plaintiff being escorted out of the woods by an officer.
Reid Dep., p. 37-40; Sedlak Dep., p. 26. But the exact timing
of Reid's arrival, and her location relative to Plaintiff
and the other officers, is unclear. Reid testified that she
was in the parking lot while the officers exited the woods
with Plaintiff. Reid Dep., p. 38; see also Sedlak
Dep., p. 26. But another officer testified that he saw Reid
among the group of officers that was leading Plaintiff out of
the woods, though he did not know when she had arrived or
where she was relative to Plaintiff. Adkins Dep., p. 31-32.
Plaintiff does not recall seeing Reid after their initial
encounter, Reid testified that at some point after
Plaintiff's arrest she spoke with him again, either at
the scene or at the jail. Reid Dep., p. 40-41. Because Reid
observed that Plaintiff had scratches and abrasions
throughout his upper body and a swollen right eye, she
requested that photographs be taken of his injuries.
Id. at 43-44. Per Reid, Plaintiff never complained
about any medical issues or requested medical attention.
Id. at 41.
was brought out of the woods, two officers transported
Plaintiff to the Warren Police Department. Id. at
61; Def. Stmt., ¶ zz. According to Plaintiff, when he
arrived, various officers belittled him and made derogatory
remarks. Pl. Dep., p. 61-62. Although he cannot identify the
officers that made the comments, Plaintiff believes that the
officers that beat him and the officers that transported him
to the station were present. Id. at 62. While he was
at the station, Plaintiff asked for water, but was refused.
Id. at 63; Burgess Dep., p. 17. He also asked for
medical attention because he could not walk and felt
light-headed, but was again refused. Pl. Dep., p. 64; Burgess
Dep., p. 16. At one point during his booking, Plaintiff
almost fainted and was caught by another prisoner. Pl. Dep.,
p. 81; Burgess Dep., p. 18. Despite an officer observing
this, and despite his requests for aid, Plaintiff never
received medical attention when he was at the station. Pl.
Dep., p. 107. He does not know, however, which officers he
asked for water or medical treatment. Id. at 64-65.
Nor has he identified the officers that were present for
those requests or when he almost collapsed.
incident, Plaintiff was charged with several crimes and
eventually pleaded guilty to attempted assaulting, resisting
and/or obstructing a police officer, operating with a high
blood alcohol ...