United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC.
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
U.S.C. § 1983 excessive force suit arises out of an
incident at a gas station in which Defendant Detroit Police
Officer Richard Billingslea allegedly removed Plaintiff
Damian Wheeler's semiautomatic pistol from his person,
slammed him against a door, and held his gun to Wheeler's
neck. Wheeler alleges that Defendant Detroit Police Officer
Hakeem J. Patterson watched the alleged assault with his
weapon drawn. Wheeler has also sued the City of Detroit and
two John Doe defendants. Now before the court is
Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons
set forth below, Defendants' motion shall be denied as to
the claims against the individual officers, but shall be
granted as to the Monell claim against the City.
court construes the facts in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party, here, Wheeler. On the evening of April 18,
2017, Wheeler and his friend, Rondale Miller, stopped at a
gas station at 17406 Harper in Detroit to purchase fuel.
Wheeler testified to the following at his deposition. When he
arrived at the service station, four Detroit police officers
were parked in a police cruiser sitting near the gas pumps.
(Doc. 25-3 at PgID 287-88). The officer sitting in the
driver's seat was a light skinned African American, and
the other three officers were white. Id. at PgID
288. After exiting his vehicle, Wheeler greeted the police
officers through the open windows of their vehicle.
Id. at PgID 304. Then, the police officer who had
been in the driver's seat, stormed out of the vehicle,
and forcefully removed Wheeler's semiautomatic pistol
breaking its holster, spun him around, drew his gun and
pressed the gun to Wheeler's neck. Id. at PgID
further testified that the officer said to him, “Mother
fucker, do you have a license for this? You think you fucking
tough? Nigger, get your ass up on this wall.”
Id. at PgID 316. Wheeler testified that the other
three officers exited the police vehicle with their weapons
drawn. Id. at PgID 314. At some point, Wheeler
presented the officer with a copy of his concealed pistol
license, and the officer told him to “get [his] ass off
the street, ” and Wheeler was able to leave the gas
station. Id. at PgID 322. Wheeler treated at the
hospital the next day for headaches, back pain, and a
sprained arm. Id. at PgID 325.
then brought this excessive force suit under § 1983
against Officers Billingslea and Patterson and two
unidentified John Doe Officers, and the City of Detroit.
Wheeler also brought supplemental state law claims of assault
and battery, gross negligence, and intentional infliction of
emotional distress. The parties stipulated to the dismissal
of the City of Detroit as to Count I only. The parties did
not stipulate to the dismissal of Wheeler's
Monell claim against the City of Detroit for
negligent supervision, training, and discipline as pled in
testified that he saw the name tag of the officer who
allegedly assaulted him which read,
“Billingslea.” Id. at PgID 293. Wheeler
also submitted an affidavit that he saw a photograph of
Defendant Billingslea and identified him as the officer who
pulled his gun on him and assaulted him. (Doc. 25-4, PgID 372
at ¶ 5). In his affidavit, he also identified a
photograph of Defendant Patterson as one of the officers
present during the incident. Id. at ¶ 6.
Wheeler's companion, Miller, also submitted an affidavit
that he recognized a photograph of Officer Billingslea as the
officer who pulled the gun on Wheeler, (Doc. 25-5, PgID 379
at ¶ 5), and recognized a photograph of Officer
Patterson as an officer who was present at the time of the
incident. Id. at ¶ 6.
Standard for Summary Judgment
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) empowers the court to render
summary judgment "forthwith if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." See Redding v. St. Eward, 241 F.3d 530,
532 (6th Cir. 2001). The Supreme Court has affirmed the
court's use of summary judgment as an integral part of
the fair and efficient administration of justice. The
procedure is not a disfavored procedural shortcut.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986);
see also Cox v. Kentucky Dep't of Transp., 53
F.3d 146, 149 (6th Cir. 1995).
standard for determining whether summary judgment is
appropriate is "'whether the evidence presents a
sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or
whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a
matter of law.'" Amway Distributors Benefits
Ass'n v. Northfield Ins. Co., 323 F.3d 386, 390 (6th
Cir. 2003) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986)). The evidence and all reasonable
inferences must be construed in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. Tolan v. Cotton, 572 U.S. 650,
660 (2014); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). "[T]he mere
existence of some alleged factual dispute between
the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported
motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be
no genuine issue of material fact."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original); see also National
Satellite Sports, Inc. v. Eliadis, Inc., 253 F.3d 900,
907 (6th Cir. 2001).
movant establishes by use of the material specified in Rule
56(c) that there is no genuine issue of material fact and
that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the
opposing party must come forward with "specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
First Nat'l Bank v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S.
253, 270 (1968); see also McLean v. 988011 Ontario,
Ltd., 224 F.3d 797, 800 (6th Cir. 2000). Mere
allegations or denials in the non-movant's pleadings will
not meet this burden, nor will a mere scintilla of evidence
supporting the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 248, 252. Rather, there must be evidence on which a jury
could reasonably find for the non-movant. McLean,
224 F.3d at 800 (citing Anderson, 477 U.S.
argue that the individual Defendants and the City of Detroit
are entitled to summary judgment. The court ...