behavior toward them subjected them to the "badges and incidents" of slavery in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment. See Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law at 20. In support of this contention, plaintiffs argue that "none of the defendant officers ever stopped or questioned [them] about any particular conduct in the retail store. Instead, based solely on the color of their skin, defendants [sic] police officers unquestioningly accepted the alleged association of the Robinsons with an earlier shoplifter." See id. (citing Mesick statement [Exhibit L]). Moreover, plaintiffs contend that one of the officers told plaintiffs that they were not welcome in the store. See id. at 21 (citing A. Robinson Declaration at P 33).
The Town Defendants are correct that their actions cannot be construed as subjecting plaintiffs to involuntary servitude. This fact alone, however, does not shield them from liability under the Thirteenth Amendment. "The Thirteenth Amendment not only prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude, but also gives Congress the power to prohibit actions that impose a 'badge of slavery' on citizens."
Hawk v. Perillo, 642 F. Supp. 380, 384 (N.D. Ill. 1985) (citing James v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409, 439-43, 88 S. Ct. 2186, 2203-05, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1189 (1968). But see City of Memphis v. Greene, 451 U.S. 100, 126 n. 40, 101 S. Ct. 1584, 1599 n. 40, 67 L. Ed. 2d 769 (1981)). The court went on to explain, "however, [that] in the realm of equal protection, the Thirteenth Amendment offers no protection not already provided under the Fourteenth Amendment." id. (citation omitted).
In the present case, it is difficult to determine from the face of plaintiffs' complaint exactly what the basis for their Thirteenth Amendment claim is. In view of their arguments in opposition to this motion, however, it appears that the gravamen of their claim is that the Town Defendants treated them differently because of their race/color. Viewed in these terms, plaintiffs' claim is a classic example of a Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim. Since plaintiffs assert such a claim as part of their first cause of action, the court finds their Thirteenth Amendment claim to be redundant. Accordingly, the court grants the Town Defendants' motion for summary judgment with respect to plaintiffs' first cause of action to the extent that it rests upon the Thirteenth Amendment.
3. Fourth Amendment - Unreasonable Seizures5
In order to determine whether an individual's Fourth Amendment rights have been violated, the court must engage in a two-part analysis: (1) under all the circumstances of the case, did the encounter between the individual and the police officer constitute a "seizure" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment; and (2) if said encounter did constitute a seizure, was such seizure reasonable. In the present case, neither party addressed the first prong of this test. The Town Defendants apparently concede, at least for purposes of this motion, that their encounter with the Robinsons constituted a seizure. Thus, their analysis of the situation focuses entirely upon the reasonableness of the encounter. Obviously, seeing no reason to disturb the Town Defendants' concession, plaintiffs argument, likewise, addresses only the second prong of this test. Despite the foregoing concession, however, the question of whether a seizure has occurred is a matter of law in the first instance. See United States v. Springer, 946 F.2d 1012, 1015 (2d Cir. 1991) (citations omitted). Consequently, the court has an independent obligation to address this issue.
In order to place the present case in the proper perspective, it is necessary for the court to review, in some detail, the Supreme Court's development of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. Beginning with its decision in United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 100 S. Ct. 1870, 64 L. Ed. 2d 497 (1980), the Supreme Court has sought to refine its definition of "seizure" for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. In Mendenhall, the encounter at issue occurred in an airport concourse. Agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency ("DEA") approached a young woman, fitting the drug courier profile, as she walked through the concourse, identified themselves as federal agents, and asked to see her identification and airline ticket. In response, she produced her driver's license and her ticket, each of which bore a different name. After reviewing these documents, the DEA agents returned them to Ms. Mendenhall and asked her to accompany them to the airport's DEA office for further questioning. Although she did so, there was nothing in the record to indicate that she verbally agreed to this request. The DEA's office, comprised of a reception area and three adjoining rooms, was situated approximately 50 feet from where the agents originally had encountered Ms. Mendenhall. Once in the office, the agents asked for consent to search her person and her handbag. Although they informed her that she had a right to decline their request, she, nonetheless, agreed to the search.
The Court began its analysis of these facts by indicating that in Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed. 2d 889 (1968), the Court had assumed that up to the point [at which the officer physically restrained Terry for purposes of searching his person for weapons] no intrusion upon constitutionally protected rights had occurred.'" Mendenhall, 446 U.S. at 552-53, 100 S. Ct. at 1876, 64 L. Ed. 2d at (quoting [Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S.,] at 19, n. 16, 88 S. Ct., at 1879, n. 16). The Court went on to say that this "assumption appeared entirely correct in view of the fact noted in White's concurring opinion that 'there is nothing in the Constitution which prevents a policeman from addressing questions to anyone on the street.'" Id. at 553, 100 S. Ct. at 1876, 64 L. Ed. 2d at (quoting [Terry], at 34, 88 S. Ct., at 1886). Based upon these legal principles, the Court concluded that a "person has been 'seized' within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment only if, in view of all of the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave." Id. at 554, 100 S. Ct. at 1877, 64 L. Ed. 2d at .
The Court went on to list several factors which might indicate a seizure, even in those instances in which a person did not attempt to leave: "the threatening presence of several officers, the display of a weapon by an officer, some physical touching of the person of the citizen, or the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance with the officer's request might be compelled." Id. at 554, 100 S. Ct. at 1877, 64 L. Ed. 2d at (citations omitted). The Court then concluded that "in the absence of some such evidence, otherwise inoffensive conduct between a member of the public and the police cannot, as a matter of law, amount to a seizure of that person." Id. at 555, 100 S. Ct. at 1877, 64 L. Ed. 2d at .
Applying this law to the facts of the case before it, the Court held that no seizure had occurred. In support of this conclusion, the Court noted that (1) the events had taken place in a public concourse; (2) the agents neither wore uniforms nor displayed their guns; (3) the agents did not summon Ms. Mendenhall to their presence, instead they approached her and identified themselves; and (4) the agents requested, but did not demand, to see her identification and ticket. Moreover, the Court explained that Ms. Mendenhall "was not seized simply by reason of the fact that the agents approached her, asked her if she would show them her ticket and identification, and posed to her a few questions. Nor was it enough to establish a seizure that the person asking the questions was a law enforcement official." Id. at 555, 100 S. Ct. at 1877, 64 L. Ed. 2d at .
In Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 103 S. Ct. 1319, 75 L. Ed. 2d 229 (1983), another airport encounter between law enforcement officials and an individual fitting the drug courier profile, the Court concluded that a seizure had occurred. In doing so, however, the Court reiterated that police officers do not violate the Fourth Amendment merely by approaching an individual in a public place, by asking her if she is willing to answer questions, and by putting questions to her if she is willing to listen. Royer, 460 U.S. at 497, 103 S. Ct. at 1324, 75 L. Ed. 2d at . Moreover, the Court found that the officer's request for and examination of Mr. Royer's ticket and driver's license were permissible actions that, standing alone, did not convert the encounter into a seizure. Id. at 501, 103 S. Ct. at 1326, 75 L. Ed. 2d at . Rather, it was only when the agents identified themselves, told Mr. Royer that they suspected him of transporting narcotics, and asked him to accompany them to a police room, while at the same time retaining his ticket and driver's license and failing to indicate that he was free to leave, that the initial encounter was converted into a seizure. Id. at 501, 103 S. Ct. at 1326, 75 L. Ed. 2d at . After viewing the agents' conduct in its entirety, the Court concluded that "these circumstances surely amount to a show of official authority such that 'a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave.'" Id. at 501-02, 103 S. Ct. at 1326, 75 L. Ed. 2d at (quoting United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S., at 554, 100 S. Ct., at 1877 (opinion of Stewart, J.) (footnoted omitted)).
In INS v. Delgado, 466 U.S. 210, 104 S. Ct. 1758, 80 L. Ed. 2d 247 (1984), the Court applied the principles set forth in Mendenhall and Royer to an entirely different setting - factory surveys conducted by the INS in search of illegal aliens.
As set forth by the Court, the following facts describe the setting in which the challenged encounters occurred:
At the beginning of the surveys several agents positioned themselves near the buildings' exits, while other agents dispersed throughout the factory to question most, but not all, employees at their work stations. The agents displayed badges, carried walkie-talkies, and were armed, although at no point during any of the surveys was a weapon ever drawn. Moving systematically through the factory, the agents approached employees and, after identifying themselves, asked them from one to three questions relating to their citizenship. If the employee gave a credible reply that he was a United States citizen, the questioning ended, and the agent moved on to another employee. If the employee gave an unsatisfactory response or admitted that he was an alien, the employee was asked to produce his immigration papers. During the survey, employees continued with their work and were free to walk around within the factory.