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Reeves v. Anderson

United States District Court, S.D. New York

December 24, 2014

DAVID REEVES AND VIRGINIA REEVES, Plaintiffs,
v.
DETECTIVE RICHARD ANDERSON, POLICE OFFICER JOHN DOE, CHIEF CHRISTOPHER SATRIALE, THE VILLAGE OF BRONXVILLE AND THE VILLAGE OF BRONXVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants

For Plaintiffs: Philip Russell, Esq., Philip Russell, LLC, Greenwich, CT.

For Defendants: Matthew Weir, Esq., Morris Duffy Alonso & Faley, New York, NY.

OPINION AND ORDER

Shira A. Scheindlin, United States District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

David Reeves and Virginia Reeves bring this suit against Detective Richard Anderson, Chief Christopher Satriale, and the Village of Bronxville and the Village of Bronxville Police Department under Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code (" Section 1983"), alleging primarily that Mr. Reeves's constitutional rights were violated when law enforcement officers questioned him, searched his personal property and vehicle, and brought him to a nearby police station for additional questioning and searches. Based on this police activity and a subsequent publication of a police bulletin concerning Mr. Reeves, plaintiffs assert a litany of federal and state law claims, seeking relief for the alleged resulting impact to Mr. Reeves's reputation and ability to seek employment.[1] Defendants now move for summary judgment on all claims asserted against them on the grounds that Mr. Reeves consented to the searches and questioning, and that information published about him was true and did not violate Mr. Reeves's due process rights.[2] For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion is GRANTED.

II. BACKGROUND[3]

A. The Events Leading to the Search

Mr. Reeves was formerly employed as a contract administrator for KG & D Architect, a company performing construction work for the village of Bronxville.[4] On the morning of May 4, 2010, Mr. Reeves drove to Bronxville High School, where he had a work-related appointment scheduled for later in the day.[5] Having arrived very early for his appointment, Mr. Reeves remained in his car, which he parked approximately two hundred feet away from the school.[6]

As Mr. Reeves sat in his car, a telephone company worker parked behind Mr. Reeves started to observe over the course of forty-five minutes what he considered to be suspicious behavior. According to the telephone company worker, whenever a group of girls walked by, Mr. Reeves would raise up his cell phone and take a picture.[7] Eventually, the telephone company worker called 911 to report Mr. Reeves's conduct.[8] In response to the complaint, Officer Nicholas DeYoung arrived on the scene, followed soon after by Detective Anderson, both of the Bronxville Police Department.[9]

B. The Search Outside of the High School

Detective Anderson approached Mr. Reeves, informed him of the complaint, and asked him if he had been taking photographs.[10] Mr. Reeves responded in the negative.[11] Detective Anderson then asked Mr. Reeves if he had any cameras with him; Mr. Reeves voluntarily gave Detective Anderson a camera that he had in his vehicle.[12] Detective Anderson inspected that camera and did not find any pictures on it.[13]

Detective Anderson also observed that Mr. Reeves possessed a camera-equipped smartphone.[14] Detective Anderson asked Mr. Reeves for permission to " take a look at [the camera phone]." [15] Mr. Reeves obliged and handed Detective Anderson the phone.[16] Upon receiving the phone, Detective Anderson reviewed the photographs stored on it from that morning.[17] Although Mr. Reeves claims that he was shooting pictures of a " bay brick building, " [18] it is undisputed that included in several of these photographs were girls who appeared to be school-aged.[19] These photographs displayed young girls' backsides, primarily focusing on girls wearing short skirts and short shorts.[20] Specifically, Detective Anderson reviewed five pictures. [21] One of those photographs contains no brick building or building of any sort; it is actually a close-up image of the backsides of two girls wearing a short skirt and short pair of shorts, respectively.[22] Girls' backsides are also displayed in the remaining four photographs, which are taken from a more distant perspective.[23]

After reviewing these photographs, Detective Anderson asked Mr. Reeves for permission to search Mr. Reeves's vehicle.[24] Mr. Reeves again, in his words, " agreed" to Detective Anderson's request.[25] In the vehicle, Detective Anderson discovered a laptop and another camera device.[26]

C. Continued Questioning at the Police Station

At this point, Detective Anderson asked Mr. Reeves if he would come to the police station to discuss the matter further " outside of the public eye." [27] Mr. Reeves agreed and handed over his car keys to another officer, who drove Mr. Reeves's car to the station while Mr. Reeves was driven there by Officer DeYoung.[28]

When they arrived at the police station, Mr. Reeves signed a " Consent to Search Form, " which stated that the police could search Mr. Reeves's vehicle and all electronic storage devices Mr. Reeves had on his person or inside his vehicle.[29] Detective Anderson conducted a search of Mr. Reeves's belongings, including the additional camera device found in his car, which contained videos and images of children outside of other schools in nearby towns.[30] Detective Anderson then questioned Mr. Reeves further concerning his activities that morning.[31] After he finished questioning Mr. Reeves, Detective Anderson returned the property to Mr. Reeves and asked him to stand by a wall so that Detective Anderson could take a photograph of him.[32] According to Mr. Reeves, upon leaving the station, he extended his hand to Detective Anderson for a handshake, and Detective Anderson squeezed Mr. Reeves's hand, pulled it towards ...


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