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Melendez v. Moon

June 9, 2010

DONALD MELENDEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANTHONY MOON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

This matter came on for bench trial on April 13, 2010 before the undersigned. The issues remaining for trial were Plaintiff's claims of excessive force and deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Having heard and considered the evidence, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. On April 21, 2005, at approximately 10:13 p.m., the City of Hudson Police Department received a call reporting that Plaintiff Donald Melendez ("Plaintiff") was intoxicated and driving a white truck toward Hudson.

2. Defendants Sergeant Anthony Moon and Officer Randy Clarke were dispatched to intercept Plaintiff who was reportedly operating his vehicle on Warren Street in Hudson.

3. Upon arriving at the scene in a City of Hudson Police Department marked police cruiser with the emergency lights activated, Sgt. Moon and Ofcr. Clarke observed an individual who was later identified as Plaintiff seated in a white pick-up truck which had been driven onto the curb at an angle and appeared to have struck a light post.

4. Sgt. Moon approached the driver's side of the truck, recognized the individual inside as Plaintiff Donald Melendez, and requested that he produce his license and registration.

5. Ofcr. Rowe of the City of Hudson Police Department also arrived on the scene and positioned his police cruiser such that the video camera inside could record the events surrounding Plaintiff's arrest. Portions of the events surrounding Plaintiff's arrest were also recorded using an audio recording device in Ofcr. Rowe's police cruiser.

6. At Sgt. Moon's request, Plaintiff exited the vehicle and was escorted to the sidewalk where Sgt. Moon administered a field sobriety test.

7. During the field sobriety test, Plaintiff can be heard threatening to sue the officers.

8. Upon determining that Plaintiff failed the field sobriety tests, Sgt. Moon placed Plaintiff under arrest for driving while intoxicated. Ofcr. Clarke assisted Sgt. Moon in placing Plaintiff's hands in handcuffs behind his back. Plaintiff was then escorted toward Sgt. Moon's police cruiser.

9. Plaintiff admitted that as of this time, he had not been injured.

10. At this point, Plaintiff was escorted to Sgt. Moon's police cruiser. The video recorder continued to be focused on the sidewalk where the field sobriety tests took place, not on Sgt. Moon's cruiser.

11. Through the audio recording, Plaintiff can be heard screaming. Though Plaintiff testified that his screams were caused by Sgt. Moon and Ofcr. Clarke causing him to fall to the ground and assaulting him, Sgt. Moon testified that Plaintiff began screaming after he lunged forward and threw his own head into the tailgate of the pick-up truck he had been driving.

12. Because Sgt. Moon's testimony is corroborated by the audio recording wherein we hear the officers repeatedly telling Plaintiff to "stop," "stop it," and "knock it off," the Court finds Sgt. Moon's testimony to be more credible than Plaintiff's.

13. Plaintiff resisted Sgt. Moon and Ofcr. Clarke's attempts to place him in the police cruiser, as evidenced by the officers' voices on the audio recording ...


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