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Rogers v. Ryan

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

July 31, 2019

D. RODNEY ROGERS, Plaintiff,

          Linda V. Parker, Judge



         Pro se plaintiff Rodney Rogers (“Rogers”) is a State of Michigan prisoner, who is currently confined at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan. He brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Matthew Ryan, Serina Kelley, Jeffrey Morin, Ray Saati, and Michael Brown[1] (collectively “Defendants”), all of whom are or were members of the Detroit Police Department (“DPD”), alleging, inter alia, excessive force, unlawful detention, and deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. On August 19, 2016, this case was referred to the undersigned for all pretrial purposes. (Doc. #9).

         On August 31, 2018, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. (Doc. #115). Rogers filed responses in opposition to Defendants' motion on October 2 and 11, 2018. (Docs. #123, #124). No. reply was filed.

         Generally, the Court will not hold a hearing on a motion in a civil case in which a party is in custody. See E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(f). Having reviewed the pleadings and other papers on file, the Court finds that the facts and legal issues are adequately presented in the parties' briefs and on the record, and it declines to order a hearing at this time.

         I. REPORT

         A. Factual Background[2]

         The instant case centers around events which took place on July 19, 2013, at 8181 House, in Detroit. At the time, Rogers was on parole and had been living with Yvette Taylor and several children. (Doc. #115-6 at 23). On the evening in question, Rogers left his home at night with a friend to go to a “strip club.” (Id. at 51). When he returned home, Taylor asked him “what did you do with the money” they had saved to pay bills. (Id. at 54). He told her, “I took the money and I went out and had me a good time.”[3] (Id. at 54). Taylor became upset and asked Rogers to leave the home. He refused to leave, at least immediately, and instead attempted to “get [his] things.” (Id. at 56-57). Rogers claims that Taylor prevented him from doing so, so he called the police and told them that Taylor “wouldn't let me get my things and I needed assistance[.]” (Id. at 57). Officers Serina Kelley and Michael Conley arrived at some point thereafter and, with Rogers and Taylor both still inside, approached the house. The front door was closed at that time.

         Other than Rogers' sobriety on the night in question, Defendants do not seem to dispute any of the foregoing. What happened next, however, is heavily disputed. The Court will begin with Rogers' version of the facts.

         1. Rogers' Version of the Facts

         Rogers testified that he heard walkie-talkies on the porch and told Taylor that police had arrived, and that she needed to give him his things or she would be going to jail. (Id. at 59-60). He went to the front door, opened it, and told the officers that he “was in the process of getting my things, and [] closed the door.” (Id. at 60). According to Rogers, he then retreated into the home “to try to convince [Taylor] to give me my things.” (Id. at 61). Rogers testified that Taylor then stabbed him with an 8-inch long steak knife in the shoulder and forearm. (Id. at 62). He grabbed her hands to try to keep her from further stabbing him, and ultimately was able to get her to drop the knife. (Id. at 62, 66, 68). Rogers claims that he was “screaming for help” and that Taylor was screaming “let me go, let me go.” (Id. at 67). Rogers further claims that Officer Kelley had been able to peer into the living room through a window and observe the situation. (Id. at 66-67). Rogers claims that he yelled to Kelley, “Officer, she just stabbed me. She has a knife.” (Id. at 67).

         Rogers testified that he then “exited out of the house as quickly as possible out of the front door” and came into contact with Officers Conley and Kelley either on the front porch (as Rogers first testified) or around the area of the driveway (as he later testified). (Id. at 68, 70-76). He told them he had been stabbed, which they acknowledged, and they told him to wait in the driveway. (Id. at 72-73). Rogers claims that Kelley then went to talk to Taylor and other officers arrived on the scene. (Id. at 76). According to Rogers, he stood there in the driveway, surrounded by officers, “[s]creaming for help” and “trying to explain [] what was going on.” (Id.). He told them he had been stabbed, had lost a lot of blood, and was having trouble breathing. (Id.).

         Rogers claims that one of the officers said he was going to find out what was going on, and another said “there were no medics in the area” and that “[n]o medics were coming[, ] period.” (Id. at 77). Rogers claims that he asked the officers if he was under arrest, and that they told him “no.” (Id. at 79). Rogers testified that, “[a]t that point, [he] made an attempt to go toward [his] neighbor's home” “and have them call for medics.”[4] (Id. at 77-78). Rogers claims, “that's when [] Sergeant Ryan grabbed me from behind and threw me to the ground.” (Id. at 77).[5]

         Rogers testified that the officers on scene then began “screaming and hollering” at him, telling him to “lay face down on the ground” and to put his hands behind his back. (Id. at 79, 94). Rogers claims he then told the officers that he had been stabbed and had rods in his right ankle that prevented him from laying face down on the ground. (Id. at 81). Rogers claims that Lieutenant Morin, Officer Conley, and Sergeant Ryan then began punching and kicking him in his side, legs, and head. (Id. at 82, 94). He claims the officers eventually secured his hands behind his back through the use of “pain compliance techniques” and handcuffed him. (Id. at 92). Rogers claims that after he was handcuffed, Sergeant Ryan mashed his face into the ground, and that “[y]ou could see all the way down to my - all the skin was gone off from my face.” (Id. at 93).

         Rogers was then placed under arrest and transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital (“DRH”) by Defendants Morin and Brown, where he received medical treatment for his injuries. He claims that, during that period of time, Sergeant Saati was dispatched to the crime scene to conduct an investigation. Rogers alleges, however, that Sergeant Saati “failed to collect exculpatory evidence of the brutal assault against [Rogers] such as the butcher's knife Taylor stabbed [him] with” and otherwise failed to investigate the situation so as to prove that Rogers “was a victim of a violent assault and NOT the perpetrator” - information he claims was “critical to [his] innocence[.]” (Doc. #137 at ¶¶ 13-15 (emphasis in original)).

         On July 20, 2013, Rogers was transported by two unidentified officers from DRH to DPD's 11th Precinct, where he was booked on charges of aggravated/felonious assault and resisting an officer. Rogers appears to allege that, the same day, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office dismissed these charges for lack of probable cause. Nevertheless, Rogers apparently remained in DPD custody until July 22, 2013, when he was turned over to the Michigan Department of Corrections on charges that his conduct on the night in question violated his parole. Rogers further alleges that Defendants Kelley, Morin, and Ryan submitted false incident reports to his parole officer, Edward Parker; failed to disclose to Mr. Parker that he was “a victim of a violent assault”; and then offered perjured testimony at his November 2013 parole revocation hearing, resulting in the revocation of his parole and his reincarceration.

         2. Defendants' Version of the Facts

         Both Officer Kelley and Sergeant Ryan prepared Arrest Reports detailing the events in question, though they cover slightly different aspects of the incident. In her Arrest Report, Officer Kelley wrote:

[Officers] made location and observed the front door opened as writers stepped onto the front porch and announced our presence[.] [Taylor] appeared[.] [Officers] asked if she called the police. As [Taylor] began to talk [Rogers] appeared pushing [Taylor] out of the view of [officers] at which time he shut and locked the front door deadbolts. [Kelley] then heard [Rogers] yelling in the house that they were coming to kill him and that he had been smoking crack cocaine. [Taylor] was able to open the front door and began to tell [officers] that [Rogers] had arrived at the location acting strange and telling her that demons were after him[.] As she continued to speak with [officers, ] [Rogers] then appeared again grabbing [Taylor] by the shoulders and proceeded to slam the front door again. [Officers] could hear the loud disturbance from outside and immediately called for additional units and the Patrol Supervisor. [Kelley] began to push on the front door but was unable to gain entry[.] [Kelley] then heard [Taylor] yelling and screaming[.] Observing the front French glass doors [] suddenly break [officers] could see through the window [Rogers] holding [Taylor] in what appeared to be a bear hug. [Kelley] made several attempts to get inside but was unable[.] [Kelley] could hear [Taylor] yelling at [Rogers] to release her. [Rogers] was then heard yelling that he was stabbed appearing at the front door with the security door still locked and blood observed on his shirt. [Rogers] still had [Taylor] in his grasp dragging her towards the side door [where] [sic] both individuals fell from inside the home onto the ground in the driveway. [Taylor] was able to free herself and run back into the home securing herself. [Rogers] began to run toward the rear of the location in the backyard at which time he jumped the fence into the yard of 8175 House. [Officer Conley] gave chase and proceeded behind [Rogers] along with the additional [officers] that made location. [Kelley] ran back to 8181 House to check on [Taylor] . . . As [Kelley] stood with [Taylor] [Kelley] observed [Rogers] standing in the driveway of 8127 House surrounded by [Conley and the other officers]. [Rogers] was bleeding from his left forearm appearing to be disorientated and confused yelling at [the officers] not to shoot him. [An officer] made several attempts to calm [Rogers] down assuring him that he wasn't going to be harmed. [Kelley] then observed [Rogers] run west on House as Officers followed behind giving loud verbal commands to stop. Medics were requested several times but no units were available . . . [Rogers] was later detained and conveyed to [Detroit Receiving Hospital] . . . [Taylor] refused treatment[.]

         (Doc. #115-3 at 1).

         In his Arrest Report, Sergeant Ryan describes the events that transpired as follows:

On Friday, July 19, 2013 at approximately 3:50 a.m., I, Sergeant Matthew Ryan … responded to 8181 House. [Officers Serina Kelley and Michael Conley] had responded to a domestic assault person armed with a gun and was requesting cars for back up. I arrived at scene and observed a black male (Rodney Rogers) standing in the driveway of 8127 House surrounded by several officers. Mr. Rogers had a severe cut on his left forearm that was bleeding profusely and appeared to be disorientated. Officer Conley informed me of the situation and I attempted to calm Mr. Rogers down by asking him to calm down and assuring him that no one was going to hurt him. Mr. Rogers explained that he had been smoking crack and had gotten too high. After several more minutes of trying to calm Mr. Rogers down, he ran west bound on House. I followed and gave Mr. Rogers several orders to stop[.] Mr. Rogers continued to run yelling they are going to kill me. Mr. Rogers then ran south in the driveway of 8140 House. As Mr. Rogers reached the rear of the yard he slowed, while he was trying to get through an opening in the broken fence. I gave Mr. Rogers a loud verbal command to stop, but he continued to break through the fence. I grabbed the back of Mr. Rogers tank top as he went into the alley. Mr. Rogers then turned with a balled fist swinging and trying to strike me in the face, I moved back and was struck in the left shoulder. I then pushed Mr. Rogers in the right shoulder causing him to fall to the ground. I grabbed his right wrist and attempted to pull it behind his back but was unable to. I then placed one knee in the center of Mr. Rogers back and continued to pull on his arm trying to place it behind his back. Officer Morin was also pulling on his arm and was able to place a cuff on his right wrist and pull it behind his back. I gave Mr. Rogers several verbal commands to place his other hand behind his back but he did not comply[.] Mr. Rogers continued to struggle by trying to stand and pulling his left arm up under his bodO. Officer Conley was able to pull Mr. Rogers left arm out from under him and he was placed in cuffs. Mr. Rogers had sustained a severe stab wound to his left arm prior to the use of force incident and was bleeding badly[.] Due to Mr. Rogers wound and his mental state I ordered [him] convey[ed] directly to [Detroit Receiving Hospital].

(Doc. #115-1 at 1).

         In this civil action, Rogers appears to plead several claims against Defendants, including excessive force, unlawful detention, false arrest, deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, failure to investigate, filing of false police reports, providing false testimony at an administrative hearing, assault and battery, conspiracy, gross negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Docs. #1, #28, #137). Defendants now move for summary judgment.

         B. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the Court will grant summary judgment if “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the case under governing law. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the Court assumes the truth of the non-moving party's evidence and construes all reasonable inferences from that evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Ciminillo v. Streicher, 434 F.3d 461, 464 (6th Cir. 2006).

         The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing the Court of the basis for its motion, and must identify particular portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute as to any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986); Alexander v. CareSource, 576 F.3d 551, 558 (6th Cir. 2009). “Once the moving party satisfies its burden, ‘the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to set forth specific facts showing a triable issue.'” Wrench LLC v. Taco Bell Corp.,256 F.3d 446, 453 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). In response to a summary judgment motion, the opposing party may not rest on its pleadings, nor ‚Äúrely on the hope that the trier of fact ...

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