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Bradley v. Williams

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

September 9, 2019

Michael D. Bradley, Plaintiff,
v.
Randolph A. Williams, et al., Defendants.

          Mona K. Majzoub U.S. Magistrate Judge

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART THE CITY OF DETROIT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [41] AND GRANTING JOHN STOKES' AND GINO VILLAREAL'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [42]

          ARTHUR J. TARNOW SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case arises from the arrest of Michael Bradley, a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair, for disorderly conduct on March 2, 2015 at the Greektown Casino in Detroit, Michigan. Plaintiff, Michael Bradley, brings this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for excessive force and false arrest. Plaintiff also brings state law claims of assault and battery, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training and supervision. The City of Detroit Police Department, Officer Randolph Williams, Officer Timothy Flake, Officer Gary Posluszny, and Officer Terry Bonds have moved for Summary Judgment [41]. Greektown Casino and Security Supervisors John Stokes and Gino Villareal have also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [42].

         Factual Background

         Plaintiff, Michael Bradley, is paraplegic who is confined to a wheelchair. He was arrested on March 2, 2015 at the Greektown Casino in Detroit, Michigan for disorderly conduct. (Ex. B, page ID 448, ticket # U-240-881-15). The incident was captured on casino surveillance footage provided by Defendants. (Ex. L).

         At around 12:00 a.m. on March 2, 2015, Bradley left the casino gaming area to go to the food court located outside of the casino entrance. When he saw that the food court was closed, he went around the security ropes and attempted to reenter the casino. (Ex. E, Bradley Dep. 61, page ID 461). Terrence Dysard, a security guard at the entrance post, stopped Bradley and asked for identification. (Id.) Bradley refused, believing Dysard saw him exit. (Id.) “[Dysard] ke[pt] watching me come outside the casino, ” Bradley testified. “He was staring at me, that's why I don't understand how anything else happened, because he [was] looking directly at me.” (Id.). Bradley then requested to speak with a security manager. (Ex. F, Bradley Dep. 65, page ID 464).

         At 12:03 a.m. on March 2, 2015, Greektown Casino Security Supervisors John Stokes and Gino Villareal arrived. (Ex. L, 00:03:36, 00:03:50). Stokes asked Bradley what the issue was, and, according to Bradley, he told Stokes that Dysard wouldn't let him enter the casino even though he had already been inside. (Ex. F, Bradley Dep. 66-67, page ID 465-66). Stokes then proceeded to ask for Bradley's identification. (Id. at 466). Bradley complied. (Id.; Ex. L, 00:04:56).

         The video footage shows Bradley moving over to the side of the entrance to speak with Stokes. (Ex. L, 00:05:20). When Bradley repositions his wheelchair to face the gaming area, the video shows Stokes stepping out in front of Bradley, as if to block him from entering. (Ex. L, 00:05:49). Bradley says that he began entering the gaming area because he believed the supervisors cleared him. (Ex. F, Bradley Dep. 67, 76, page ID 466, 473). The supervisors claim they refused to let Bradley enter the casino because he called the original security guard a “fat mother fucker.” (Ex. B, page ID 442; Ex. C, page ID 454).

         Bradley was quarreling with Stokes and Villareal as he wheeled himself away from the gaming area towards the exit. (Ex. L, 00:06:15). When Bradley was almost completely out of the gaming area, he turned his wheelchair around (Id. at 00:06:25). Bradley recounts that one of the managers “stuck his foot down” in front of his wheelchair to stop him from entering the gaming area. (Ex. F, Bradley Dep. 68, page ID 467). The surveillance video reveals Villareal putting his foot down in front of Bradley's wheelchair. (Ex. L, 00:06:23). When Bradley threatened to file a police report, the supervisors informed him that the police were already on their way. (Id.) Officer Williams testified that he received a phone call from Stokes for a “disorderly person who refused to leave” (Ex. H, Williams Dep. 7, page ID 475). Bradley insisted on waiting for the officers' arrival. (Ex. F, Bradley Dep. 68, page ID 467).

         When Officers Randolph Williams and Timothy Flake arrived at the casino around 12:24 a.m. they found Bradley “cussing out the security staff at the entrance of the casino floor.” (Ex. B 5, page ID 440). The officers explained that Greektown wanted Bradley to leave the premises and then asked him to leave. (Ex. B 6, page ID 441; Ex. G, Bradley Dep. 76, page ID 473).

         Officer Flake told Bradley that “he needed to leave [for the day] or he would be arrested.” (Ex. B 2, page ID 437, 439-40; Ex. J, Flake Dep. 26, page ID 481). Flake later claimed that his de-escalation techniques were ineffective and that Bradley “got louder with profanity and threatening comments towards the police and security.” (Ex. B 5, page ID 440). “He threatened to come back to shoot me, my partner and the security staff, if we didn't let him enter the casino.” (Ex. M, Flake Dep. 10, page ID 489; Ex. B 5, page ID 440). The officers then initiated an arrest for disorderly conduct. (Ex. B, page ID 440; Ex. L, 00:27:19-00:29:04).

         Bradley testified that he “pulled up” when the officers grabbed his arms to handcuff him because he has a “bullet in one arm” which restricted his mobility. (Ex. K, Bradley Dep. 124-25, page ID 484-85). The officers eventually managed to handcuff Bradley, and Officer Williams then began wheeling him away from the podium. (Ex. B 2, page ID 445; Ex. M, Flake Dep. 10, page ID 489; Ex. L, 00:29:04).

         Officers Williams and Flake struggled to maneuver Bradley in his wheelchair. At first, Flake grabbed Bradley's arms while Williams tilted his wheelchair up, balancing it on its two back wheels. After a few feet of movement, Flake released Bradley's arms and held him by his shoulders. (Ex. L, 00:29:22-00:20:57). Flake grabbed Bradley by his hair several times in an attempt to “try to control him with the use of his dreadlocks.” (Ex. M, Flake Dep. 27, page ID 490; Ex. P, Flake Dep. 27, page ID 498; Ex. L, 00:30:44). After being held by or pushed by his shoulders, Bradley fell face first onto the casino floor from his wheelchair. (Id. at 00:33:01).

         Bradley remained on the casino floor for 40 minutes-from 12:33 a.m. to 1:13 a.m.- until emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene. (Compl. ¶ 33; Ex. L, 00:33:01-1:13:45). The officers and casino employees made no attempt to assist Bradley. According to the incident report filed by Williams, “there was a need to safely remove Bradley from the casino floor [and he] thought [waiting for EMS to arrive] was the best method to achieve this goal.” (Ex. B 4, page ID 439). Officer Williams testified that he was complying with Bradley's requests to not be touched (Ex. O, Williams Dep. 25, page ID 495). At 1:13 a.m., Bradley, still handcuffed, was lifted onto the stretcher by Defendant officers. (Ex. L, 1:13:45).

         Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed his complaint on March 3, 2017 [Dkt. #1]. On December 4, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to file his First Amended Complaint [28]. The Court granted that motion on May 25, 2018 [36]. Discovery closed on November 30, 2018, and, on December 31, 3018, the City of Detroit Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [41]. The Greektown Casino Defendants filed a Concurrence & Joinder to the City of Detroit's motion on January 2, 2019 [42]. Those motions are fully briefed and were the subject of a hearing on July 30, 2019.

         Legal Standard

         “The question on summary judgment is whether the moving party has demonstrated that the evidence available to the court establishes no genuine issue of material fact such that it is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Dobrowski v. Jay Dee Contractors, Inc., 571 F.3d 551, 554 (6th Cir. 2009). The moving party has the burden of establishing that there are no genuine issues of material fact, which may be accomplished by demonstrating that the nonmoving party lacks evidence to support an essential element of its case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact ...


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