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MICALIZZI v. CIAMARRA
May 29, 2002
PAUL MICALIZZI, PLAINTIFF,
WILLIAM CIAMARRA, INDIVIDUALLY, LOUIS SUAREZ, INDIVIDUALLY, PAUL STABILE, INDIVIDUALLY, "JOHN DOE", AND THE VILLAGE OF TUCKAHOE, N.Y., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: McMAHON, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
The motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied
in part as to Officer Ciamarra, granted in part and denied in
part as to Detective Suarez, granted in part and denied in part
as to the Village of Tuckahoe, and granted as to Officers
Stabile and DiRienzo ("John Doe").
Plaintiff, Paul Micalizzi, is a police officer who has been
employed by the Village of Mamaroneck for the past four years.
Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 43. After completing a midnight to 8:00 A.M.
shift on Monday, September 18, 2000, plaintiff went home. He was
dressed in a plain white t-shirt, loose-fitting blue mesh nylon
shorts that ended approximately one inch above the knees, a
Miami Dolphins baseball cap and a pair of sandals. Id. at ¶
44. After plaintiff went home, he accompanied his brother,
Donald Micalizzi, to the Maxwell Institute, located on Yonkers
Avenue in the Village of Tuckahoe. Donald Micalizzi is learning
disabled and needed assistance getting to the Institute;
plaintiff had accompanied his brother several times before.
Id. at ¶ 45.
Plaintiff and his brother traveled in a 1988 Chevrolet Caprice
with tinted windows, light blue in color with some bondo
material which had been used to fill dents and damages. Id.
The siblings arrived on Yonkers Avenue, a commercial area which
included a bar, the Maxwell Institute, a dance studio, a
dentist's office, a restaurant and en electric business, at
approximately 8:55 A.M. Id. at ¶ 46. After Donald parked the
vehicle and went inside the Maxwell Institute, plaintiff
remained inside the vehicle. Id. Plaintiff slept for
approximately one half hour in the vehicle. Id. at 47.
Moments after plaintiff awoke, at approximately 9:40 A.M., a
woman who he later learned was Kathleen O'Donnell, passed the
Chevrolet while walking her dog. Id. at ¶ 48; Def. 56.1 Stmt.
at ¶ 6.
Ms. O'Donnell stopped Officer Ciamarra, who was passing the
scene on routine patrol. The parties dispute what Ms. O'Donnell
said to Officer Ciamarra.
Plaintiff claims that Ms. O'Donnell informed Officer Ciamarra
that she saw a man sitting in a strange vehicle and wanted him
to check into the situation. Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 49; Nicaj Aff.,
Ex. 13 (O'Donnell Dep. at 9-11). In her deposition, Ms.
O'Donnell testified as follows:
Q. What did you tell the police officer?
A. I said, this is strange, this situation looks
strange to me.
Q. When you said this, did you indicate anything in
any way about the car?
A. I said, I don't remember exactly, all I know,
it's a strange situation. . . . You know, I didn't
accuse anybody of anything. I said, it looks like a
strange situation, maybe you should check it out.
Ms. O'Donnell left the scene after making her statement to
Officer Ciamarra. Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 8. Officer Ciamarra radioed
for backup. Although what Ms. O'Donnell stated to Officer
Ciamarra is in dispute, it is clear that when he radioed for
backup, Officer Ciamarra stated that he was investigating a
report of a possibly naked man. The other three police officer
defendants heard Officer Ciamarra's radio transmission, and all
of the contemporaneously-generated evidence is consistent with
Ciamarra's contention that he was looking into a complaint about
a possibly naked man. DiRienzo Event Report, Decl. Ex. E ("he
was investigating a possible complainant of a person exposing
himself"); Stabile Dep. at 33, Aff. Ex. 16 ("I heard P.O.
Ciamarra request assistance for a very possible naked man");
Suarez Dep. at 9, Aff. Ex. 15 ("Officer Ciamarra [radioed that]
it was reported that a man was naked in the area.") Detective
Suarez and Officer Stabile responded to the scene. 56.1 ¶ 15,
Plaintiff claims that he saw Ms. O'Donnell speak to Officer
Ciamarra. Plaintiff, who recognized that his vehicle was
odd-looking and had tinted windows, believed that the woman
might be reporting a concern about him sitting in the vehicle.
Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 53. As he was about to exit the Caprice with
his identification, Officer Ciamarra approached the vehicle and
ordered him to raise his hands. Id. at ¶ 54.
At this time, an unmarked vehicle arrived at the scene. This
vehicle was operated by Detective Suarez. Defendant Stabile also
arrived at the scene in a marked vehicle. Id. at ¶ 56. Neither
of these officers participated in the interrogation of the
While Ciamarra was still at plaintiffs car, plaintiff
identified himself as a police officer and showed Ciamarra his
badge. Id. at ¶ 57. Officer Ciamarra then ordered plaintiff
out of the vehicle, ordered him to place his hands on the front
of the hood and demanded to see further identification verifying
that plaintiff was a police officer. Id. at ¶ 58. Plaintiff
produced further identification, and Officer Ciamarra continued
to search and question plaintiff. Id. at 59.
Either Officer Ciamarra or Detective Suarez then instructed
Officer Stabile to locate Ms. O'Donnell, whose name and address
was unknown. Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 60. Detective Suarez also
contacted Desk Officer Vito DiRienzo at the Tuckahoe Police
Department and asked that DiRienzo contact the Mamaroneck Police
Department. Id. ¶ 61. Detective Suarez claims that he did this
in order to verify that plaintiff was really a police officer at
Mamaroneck. Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 29. DiRienzo did call the
Mamaroneck police department. He spoke to someone there and
communicated that someone had accused plaintiff of exposure. Pl.
56.1 Stmt. ¶ 62; DiRienzo Dep. at 24. Detective Sergeant Holland
from Mamaroneck — who either spoke with DiRienzo or was told
about DiRienzo's statement — asked that the Detective handling
the case in Tuckahoe call him as soon as possible. Pl. 56.1
Stmt. ¶ 62.
Meanwhile, Officer Stabile had located Ms. O'Donnell a few
blocks away. He asked her to get into his marked police vehicle,
and drove her by plaintiff, who was standing near his car. Ms
O'Donnell verified that plaintiff was the occupant of the
vehicle she identified earlier and Officer Stabile radioed this
information back to Detective Suarez and Officer Ciamarra. Id.
at ¶ 66.
It is undisputed that Detective Suarez did search plaintiffs
vehicle for a weapon or camera equipment. Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 22.
Instead of those items, Suarez located a marble notebook
containing poems or love notes in child-like handwriting and a
list of grade level and room assignments for teachers at a local
elementary school. Id. ¶ 23 — 26. Papers in the notebook
indicated that it belonged to someone named Don. Id. ¶ 26. One
of the handwritten notes in the notebook that caught Detective
Suarez' attention was as follows:
THE MINEITE I TACH YOU I GET NOUCKED OFF MY
FEET. THE SMOUTHN'S OF YOUR SKIN, AND THE SMELF OF
YOUR HAIR THE LOOK IN YOUR EYE'S. LOVE IT IS ALL
THEREIN ONE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN. LOVE IF THE SUN REVUSE
TO SANE I WOULD STILL LOVE YOU TO THE END OF TIME.
CAN'T YOU SEE I HAVE MADE UP MY MANDE I WENT TO
MAKE YOU MINE.
Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 24. Following the search of the car and the
handcuffing (or the handcuffing and the search of the car),
Officer Ciamarra and Detective Suarez decided to take plaintiff
into custody. Plaintiff was placed in the back of Officer
Ciamarra's police car at approximately 10:00 A.M. and arrived at
the Tuckahoe Police Department a few minutes later. Pl. 56.1
Stmt. ¶ 73. When plaintiff arrived at the police headquarters,
Desk Officer DiRienzo read him his Miranda rights. Id. at ¶
75. Plaintiff was then taken to the detention area where he was
handcuffed to a metal bracket attached to the wall. Id. While
there, he claims that he cried, started to hyperventilate and
had difficulty breathing. Id.
When Detective Suarez arrived at headquarters, he called
Detective Sergeant Holland at Mamaroneck, as he been requested
to do. Id. at ¶ 76. Plaintiff claims that Suarez informed
Holland that a woman reported seeing plaintiff naked in a
vehicle and that plaintiff had been arrested for exposing
himself to the woman. Id. Detective Sergeant Holland confirms
this. Holland Dep. at 9-10. Defendants claim that Suarez advised
Holland only that the plaintiff had been brought in for further
investigation following a civilian complaint that he was naked
in his car. Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 30.
After this conversation, Holland informed the Chief of Police
in Mamaroneck of the substance of his conversation with Suarez,
and Holland, along with a Detective Bart DiNardo, went to
Tuckahoe police headquarters to investigate. Id. They arrived
at the station at around 10:30 A.M., Def. 56.1 Stmt. at ¶ 33.
When they got there, they spoke with Officer Ciamarra, who told
them that "he was on patrol and got a report from a woman that
[there] was a car parked on Yonkers Avenue and there was a man
in there that was naked." Holland Dep. at 18.
I noted a blue car parked with a white male, with a
baseball cap on, sitting ir the car front seat. As
I approached the blue car I noted that the man was
looking in my direction. I looked ir the driver's
car window and noticed his upper thigh area and
lower portion of his hip to be without clothing.
His back was turned to me as I walked by I thought
it was strange to see a man sitting in the car that
way. I looked back and saw the man looking out the
back window in my direction, he was looking over
his right shoulder. I saw a police car coming down
Yonkers Ave., I approached the police officer and
asked him to look into the situation. I then
continued to walk up Yonkers Ave. with my dog.
Tuckahoe Police Department Complaint Report, case no. 00-00199,
Nicaj Aff. Ex. 7. Shortly after Ms. O'Donnell signed this
statement, and it became clear that she had never seen plaintiff
exposing his genitals, Officer Ciamarra claims that he removed
the handcuffs from plaintiff, but did not release plaintiff.
Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 35. Plaintiff contends that he remained
handcuffed for at least two hours, until the last 20 minutes of
his confinement. Pl. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 79.
After he allegedly removed plaintiffs handcuffs, Officer
Ciamarra claims that he conferred with the an Assistant District
Attorney from the Sex Crimes Unit of the Westchester County
District Attorney's Office regarding the arrest of plaintiff.
Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 36. Sometime between 12:00 P.M. and 1:00 P.M.,
plaintiff was released. Defendants retained possession of the
notebook found in the vehicle, and informed plaintiff that
criminal charges could still be brought against him. Pl. 56.1
Stmt. ¶¶ 79-80. Although there was an investigation by the
Mamaroneck Police Department regarding this incident, no
disciplinary charges were filed against plaintiff by Mamaroneck.
Id. at ¶ 82.
This action was filed in January 2001. Affm. Ex. 20. At some
point during discovery, Vito DiRienzo was identified as "John
Doe." The claims against the four officers and the Village of
Tuckahoe are as follows:
1. § 1983 claim against Officer Ciamarra, Detective
Suarez, and Officer Stabile for violation of the
Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable
2. § 1983 claim against Officer Ciamarra, Detective
Suarez, and Officer DiRienzo (a.k.a. "John Doe") for
violation of the ...