United States District Court, D. Arizona
HONORABLE DAVID C. BURY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
reasons explained below, the Court grants in part and denies
in part the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
Court grants summary judgment to the extent the Plaintiff
alleges an illegal seizure or false arrest. The Court denies
summary judgment on Plaintiff's claim of excessive use of
party seeks oral argument on the motion. The parties
submitted memoranda thoroughly discussing the law and
evidence in support of their positions, and oral argument
will not aid the court's decision-making process which is
entirely based on questions of law. See Mahon v. Credit
Bur. of Placer County, Inc., 171 F.3d 1197, 1200 (9th
Cir. 1999) (explaining that if the parties provided the
district court with complete memoranda of the law and
evidence in support of their positions, ordinarily oral
argument would not be required). The Court rules without
alleges that Defendants violated the Fourth Amendment which
prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures when she refused
to produce her identification. Defendants arrested her for
violating A.R.S. § 13-2412(A) which provides:
It is unlawful for a person, after being advised that the
person's refusal to answer is unlawful, to fail or refuse
to state the person's true full name on request of a
peace officer who has lawfully detained the person based on
reasonable suspicion that the person has committed, is
committing or is about to commit a crime. A person detained
under this section shall state the person's true full
name but shall not be compelled to answer any other inquiry
of a peace officer.
to comply with this statute is a class two misdemeanor and
probable cause for arrest. A.R.S. § 13-2412(B). See
also State v. Fittz, 2018 WL 3730953, at *2
(Ariz.Ct.App. July 26, 2018).
Court turns to the Defendants' assertion of qualified
immunity, which protects police officers from individual
liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for an abuse of
discretion violating civil rights unless the legal right was
“clearly established” at the time, and a
reasonable person in the same position would have known that
what he did violated that right. Behrens v.
Pelletier, 516 U.S. 299, 304 (1996); Collins v.
Jordan, 110 F.3d 1363, 1369 (9th Cir. 1996); Trevino
v. Gates, 99 F.3d 911, 916 (9th Cir. 1996); Act
Up/Portland v. Bagley, 988 F.2d 868, 871 (9th Cir.
1993). Qualified immunity is designed to protect an officer
who, reasonably, but mistakenly, acts in violation of some
constitutional right. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194,
205 (2001). The doctrine bars the suit; it is not a defense
to liability. Act Up/Portland, 988 F.2d at 872-73.
Qualified immunity is “an entitlement not to stand
trial or face the other burdens of litigation.”
Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526 (1985).
Qualified immunity is a legal question, and it is addressed
by the Court at the earliest possible point in the
litigation. Act Up/Portland, 988 F.2d at 872-73.
determining whether an officer is entitled to qualified
immunity, the Court considers (1) whether there has been a
violation of a constitutional right, and (2) whether that
right was clearly established at the time of the
officer's alleged misconduct. Lal v. California,
746 F.3d 1112, 1116 (9th Cir. 2014). At summary judgment, an
officer may be denied qualified immunity in a Section 1983
action “only if (1) the facts alleged, taken in the
light most favorable to the party asserting injury, show that
the officer's conduct violated a constitutional right,
and (2) the right at issue was clearly established at the
time of the incident such that a reasonable officer would
have understood [his] conduct to be unlawful in that
situation.” Torres v. City of Madera, 648 F.3d
1119, 1123 (9th Cir. 2011).
question of whether there has been a constitutional violation
involves disputed facts which, when viewed most favorably to
the Plaintiff, could support a rational jury finding in her
favor, this Court must move to the second question: whether
the right at issue was clearly established such that a
reasonable officer would have understood his actions were
unlawful. Then, the law does not “require a case
directly on point, but existing precedent must have placed
the ... constitutional question beyond debate.”
Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 563 U.S. 731, 740 (2011). There
must be precedent involving similar facts to provide an
officer notice that a specific use of force is unlawful.
Kisela v. Hughes, 138 S.Ct. 1148, 1153 (2018)
Court turns to the facts of the case as alleged by the
Plaintiff. She submits that she and her boyfriend had left a
bar where they had played pool and drank two small pitchers
of beer. It was around midnight and they were walking along
Speedway. They were “speaking in raised voices, ”
i.e., arguing about whether she was cheating on him. They
crossed the street at the Swan intersection and at the
median, her boyfriend stopped on the center median. It is
undisputed that police officers, Defendants Pettey and
Massie, heard them from where the officers were parked in a
Chase Bank parking lot on Swan and Speedway. Defendants
Pettey and Massie drove, with their emergency lights on, to
the intersection to investigate what was going on. According
to the Plaintiff, her boyfriend was crying, and he told
police that she was cheating on him. According to the
Plaintiff, the Defendants asked her for her identification
and DID NOT ask her for her name. (Ps' SOF (Doc. 31)
¶¶2, 4-11, 14-23)
to the Plaintiff when the Defendants asked her to produce her
identification, she started to open her wallet and asked,
“what we did wrong, ” and they wouldn't
answer her, which caused her to stop getting her
identification from her wallet. (Ds' SOF, Ex. Mena Depo.
at 25 (Doc. 29-2 at 11)). According to her, very quickly, 3
minutes or less, without any warning that they were going to
arrest her, the male officer, Defendant Massie grabbed her
and jerked her around to handcuff her. Id. at 26-27.
According to the Plaintiff, as she was jerked around the
handcuffs must have pinched the officer's
and he shoved her against a palm tree. Id. at 27.
Her face and shoulders were severely scratched. Id.
undisputed that she was arrested, pursuant to a citation for
violating A.R.S. § 13-2412(A), which makes it a crime to
refuse to give a person's true full name upon a request
from a peace officer while being lawfully detained based on
reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or
about to be committed. She submits she was not advised that
her refusal to give her full true name was unlawful. Failure
to comply with this statute is probable cause for arrest.
on the facts as alleged by the Plaintiff, the Court finds
that Plaintiff's constitutional rights were not violated
when Officer Robert Massie and Police Sergeant Pettey drove
from the Chase Bank parking lot and approached her and her
boyfriend because they were arguing with raised voices in the
median of the street. Police may approach and ask questions
without violating the Fourth Amendment, “[a]s long as
the person to whom questions are put remains free to
disregard the questions and walk away, there has been no
intrusion upon that person's liberty or privacy as would
under the Constitution require some particularized and
objective justification.” United States v.
Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 554 (1980). Defendants
correctly assert that police officers may briefly detain an
individual if there is reasonable suspicion that criminal
activity may be afoot. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1
(1968), see also United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S.,
at 417 (1981) (“An investigatory stop must be justified
by some objective manifestation that the person stopped is,
or is about to be, engaged in criminal activity”).
Reasonable suspicion determinations must consider the
“totality of the circumstances” of each case to
see whether a police officer has a “particularized ...