United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
R. Grand, United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANTS MICHAEL HENIGE,
SEAN COE, AND NIKOLAS WHITE'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
D. Borman, United States District Court Judge
David Henry and Heather Williams (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”) are residents of the City of Flint,
Michigan. On the night of November 23, 2016, Henry was
arrested by Defendant City of Flint Police Officers Sean Coe,
Michael Henige, and Nikolas White (“Officers”)
and charged with “Disorderly Conduct and Disorderly
Persons” in violation of Flint Ordinance Section 31-12
and “Resisting Arrest” pursuant to Section
filed the instant lawsuit asserting the following federal
civil rights violations:
Count I: Violation of Civil Rights under 42 USC §1983
(Fourth Amendment - Unlawful Arrest) Against the Individual
Count II: Violation of Civil Rights under 42 USC §1983
(Fourth Amendment - Excessive Force) Against the Individual
Count III: Violation of Civil Rights under 42 USC §1983
(First Amendment - Retaliatory Arrest) Against the Individual
Count IV: Violation of Civil Rights under 42 USC §1983
(Municipal Liability) Against the City of Flint
the Court is the Officers' Motion for Summary Judgment.
(ECF #88.) On December 20, 2018, the Officers filed the
instant Motion. On January 25, 2019, Plaintiffs filed their
Response (ECF #104). On January 31, 2019, the Officers filed
their Reply. (ECF #105.) The Court held a hearing on May 3,
around one a.m. on the night of November 23, 2016, while on
patrol, Officers Coe and Henige stopped to question a woman
who provided information regarding the location of an
individual with an outstanding felony warrant. (Dep. of
Michael Henige, Mar. 6, 2018, ECF #88-1, 65:5-70:5, PgID
1612-17.) She stated that the individual was possibly located
at 1706 Colorado Avenue. (Id.) The Officers then
placed her in the rear seat of the patrol car and proceeded
to that address in search of the warrant suspect.
home was located directly next to 1706 Colorado Avenue, at
1714 Colorado Avenue. (Dep. of Sean Coe, Mar. 7, 2018, ECF
#88-3, 111:3, PgID1831.) Upon arrival, Officers Coe and
Henige stepped out of their patrol car to investigate 1706
Colorado Avenue using flashlights. Plaintiff Henry, who, at
the time was awake and in his living room with his
girlfriend, Plaintiff Heather Williams, noticed the lights
shining into the windows of his home. (Dep. of David Henry,
Oct. 10, 2017, ECF #88-8, 61:9-12, PgID 1978.) This prompted
Henry to begin recording with his mobile phone (which he does
“everywhere I go”), and Henry and Williams went
outside to investigate. (Id. at 61:17-23, 67:3-11.)
Henry had installed multiple outdoor security cameras and
monitor banks that surveil the perimeter of his home.
(Id. at 55:4-24; 59:12-22.) Henry testified that he
purposely did not set the front camera to record when he went
outside that night because he was recording with his mobile
phone. (Id.) Williams testified that she immediately
understood that the lights had come from the Officers because
she saw marked law enforcement vehicles when she and Henry
stepped out on their porch. (Dep. of Heather Williams, Oct.
10, 2017, ECF #88-15, 40:13-15, 42:3-10, PgID 2449, 2451.)
Henry testified that upon going outside, he asked what was
going on, and one of the Officers informed him that they were
the police. (Henry Dep., Oct. 10, 2017, ECF #88-8, 63:23-24,
PgID 1980.) At that point, this “conversation”
between Henry and Officers Henige and Coe commenced:
Henry: I don't know why they all flashing up in my yard
and stuff… Why you all up in the yard and stuff.
Officer Henige: What's up?
Henry: Why you all up in my yard flashing the lights
Officer Henige: This is not your yard. This - Do you own this
Henry: Somebody was just on the side over there.
Officer Henige: That's the back yard of that house.
Henry: Okay, but I just - I - I seen lights on - I seen
lights on the side of my house.
Officer Henige: Well, it's a light.
Unknown Officer: What's going on?
Officer Henige: He told me we were on his property. I said do
you own that house? No, no he doesn't.
(Defs.' Mot., ECF #88-7, Cell Video at 0:19-1:05.)
point, the exchange's tone and volume began to escalate:
Henry: You ain't gotta be an asshole. I just asked a
Officer Henige: You asked it like an asshole, man.
Henry: I ain't acting like an asshole. I asked what you
was doing on the side of my house.
Officer Henige: Is that any of your business right now?
Henry: Yeah, it is my business.
Officer Henige: Tell me how?
Henry: But it is my business.
(Defs.' Mot., ECF #88-7, Cell Video at 1:05-1:20).
debate continues as to whether the Officers' activity was
Henry's “business, ” and Henry's volume
remained elevated. At this point, Officer Coe made a comment
to Officer Henige, with the apparent intent that Henry hear
it, that, “I think we just got a new project
house.” (Defs.' Mot., ECF #88-7, Cell Video at
1:05-1:20). The “project house” comment prompted
Henry to “threaten” the Officers that they would
“find out who I am downtown.” (Id.)
White then unsuccessfully attempted to de-escalate the
situation, while Officer Coe interjected requests that Henry
approach the police vehicle to speak with the
Henry: You got a new project house? Really. Don't come on
Officer White: I'm just asking you a question.
Officer White: So, I understand your concerns, bro.
Henry: No. No, I just asked him a simple question on why, why
is lights on the side of my house, and you want to be an
Officer White: Okay, I'm not being an asshole.
Henry: I know you're not, but both of them, talking about
he gonna make my house a new project, you gonna run up and
find out who I am downtown and stuff - make my house a
Officer Coe: Why don't you just come over here, and
we'll talk about it.
Henry: You know something, I got freedom of speech. I can
walk anywhere I want to. I haven't committed no crime.