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Parker v. City of New York

April 28, 2010

KEENEN PARKER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT, D.A. CHARLES HYNES, A.D.A. ROBERT WALSH, N.Y.P.D. DET. WILLIAM HOGAN, P.O. ANDREA SIMMONDS, AND P.O. HALE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John Gleeson, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Keenen Parker brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he was wrongfully arrested and prosecuted for a murder of which he was later acquitted. In an earlier opinion, I dismissed the complaint except to the extent that it alleges claims against the police officers who arrested him and one of the detectives who investigated the case. Those remaining defendants now move to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. On February 4, 2010, I heard oral argument, in which Mr. Parker participated by videoconference. For the reasons stated below, the motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

For the purpose of ruling on the motion to dismiss, I assume that Parker's factual allegations are true. See, e.g., Spagnola v. Chubb Corp., 574 F.3d 64, 67 (2d Cir. 2009).

A. The Investigation into the Murder of Stephan Blakney

Parker's claims arise from his arrest, detention, and prosecution for the murder of Stephan Blakney. According to Parker, Detective William Hogan was the lead investigator in the Blakney murder case. Compl. 2. Based on statements by Bradford Hardin and Leshawn Brown, who identified Parker as the killer after viewing a photo of him, Hogan determined that Parker should be arrested for the murder. Id. A third witness viewed the photo and said that Parker was not the shooter. Later, however, a fourth witness, Lawrence Sumptner -- himself a suspect -- claimed that Parker was the murderer. Hogan issued an alert that Parker was "wanted for questioning." Id.

At some later date, Hogan "coerced Bashawn Holiday and Lewis Gonzales to say" that Parker was guilty, though "none of their statements matched the crime scene." Id. Parker asserts that the authorities knew that the witnesses against him were lying. He also claims and that an NYPD Detective named Pugliese witnessed the shooting and denied that Parker was the shooter.

B. The Arrest

On April 9, 2005, Parker was riding a dirt bike in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn when he was stopped by Officers Andrea Simmonds and Rodney Hale. Parker conceded that he had violated the traffic laws, and asked Simmonds to give him a ticket and let him move on. Simmonds, however, returned to her squad car to run a check on Parker. According to Parker, she then told him there was a warrant for his arrest. Hale then "pulled his service weapon and put it to [Parker's] head and said he'll kill [Parker] with no problem." Compl. 1. The officers arrested Parker.

C. The Criminal Proceedings Against Parker

Parker was arraigned on April 11, 2005. On April 27, 2005, a King's County grand jury indicted him for second degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. The grand jury charged that Parker killed Blakney by shooting him with a handgun. See Patrick Decl., Ex. D, at 2. Parker was detained at Riker's Island while awaiting trial.

Parker was acquitted of the Blakney murder on May 24, 2006. He says that the authorities should never have brought the case, because they were "well aware of the [witnesses'] character, knowing their criminal history, knowing that their way of life consist[s] of being gang members, drug dealers and junkies who all lied and testified at trial with lies before the court, with statements that never matched the crime scene." Compl. 3.

D. The Proceedings in this Court

In a complaint dated January 19, 2009, plaintiff brought this action alleging that he was unlawfully arrested and prosecuted for the Blakney murder. In addition to Hogan, Simmonds, and Hale, the complaint named as defendants the City of New York, the New York Police Department, District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, and Assistant District Attorney Robert Walsh. The ...


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