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Davis v. City of New York

United States District Court, S.D. New York

March 28, 2017

JOSEPH DAVIS, Plaintiff,
CITY OF NEW YORK, et al., Defendants.


          LORNA G. SCHOFIELD, District Judge

         Plaintiff Joseph Davis brings this action against Defendant Police Officer David Terrell, asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for false arrest and malicious prosecution.[1] Before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The following facts are taken from the parties' statements pursuant to Local Civil Rule 56.1 and the parties' submissions on this motion. For the purposes of this motion, all factual disputes are resolved, and all reasonable inferences are drawn, in Plaintiffs favor. See Wright v. N.Y. State Dep't of Corr., 831 F.3d 64, 71-72 (2d Cir. 2016).

         On the morning of January 18, 2013, Plaintiff left his apartment for a short time. Jahard White, a family friend who was staying with Plaintiff, was inside the apartment when Plaintiff left. When Plaintiff returned, White was gone and all of Plaintiff's footwear was missing. Plaintiff immediately ran downstairs and went outside, where he found a shirt, sweater and baseball cap that he recognized as his lying on the ground. He saw White and two unidentified males running away from his building and carrying some of his belongings. Plaintiff chased the three men and yelled at them. At one point during the chase, one of the men turned around and lifted his shirt to display a gun.

         Plaintiff then called 911 and reported that he had been robbed. As reflected in a recording and transcript of the call, Plaintiff told the 911 operator that “[t]he guys put a gun to me and robbed me.” To confirm, the operator asked Plaintiff, “And the guy pulled a gun at you and robbed you?” Plaintiff responded, “Yes.”

         At approximately 10:18 A.M., Defendant and his partner received a radio transmission of a 911 call reporting a robbery at gunpoint. A robbery at gunpoint is considered a “priority job, ” so Defendant and his partner responded to the caller's location immediately.

         Approximately two minutes after Plaintiff placed the 911 call, Defendant and his partner arrived at Plaintiff's location. Defendant observed clothes on the sidewalk. Plaintiff, who had circled back toward his building after chasing the men, was standing in front of a nearby supermarket and speaking to a security guard whom Plaintiff believed saw part of the robbery. Plaintiff flagged down Defendant and told him that the clothes on the sidewalk were his and that he had been robbed of his clothes. Plaintiff also told Defendant that the security guard may have witnessed some of the incident, but Defendant's partner said that he did not care and told Plaintiff to get into the police car. With Plaintiff in the police car, Defendant drove to Plaintiff's apartment building and waited for another police car to arrive.

         Plaintiff asked Defendant to take him to his apartment so that they could see what was missing, but Defendant made Plaintiff stay in the lobby of the building and did not go to Plaintiff's apartment. Defendant and another police officer spoke to the building's superintendent, who showed them surveillance video from the building. The surveillance video showed Plaintiff exiting the building and, while he was away, two unidentified men arriving, ringing the bell and being granted entry to the building. Video from another surveillance camera posted in an interior hallway showed three men exiting Plaintiff's apartment with clothing and descending the building's stairs. The videos also showed Plaintiff returning to his apartment via the elevator at the same time the three men were going down the stairs.

         After viewing the surveillance videos, Defendant handcuffed and arrested Plaintiff. Defendant Terrell prepared an arrest report, identifying the charge as “PL 240.50 03A” and stating, “Deft [Davis] made 911 call stating he was robbed at gunpoint. Upon further investigation the crime didn[']t occur. Deft stated he made false call because he wanted cops to come faster.” Defendant swore to a criminal complaint charging Davis with violating N.Y.P.L. § 240.50(3) for falsely reporting an incident. In the Complaint, Defendant Terrell stated that, after Plaintiff was arrested, Plaintiff said:

I swear to you, I am so sorry. I just wanted to get my stuff back. I was robbed beforehand and the cops never showed up. Someone told me to say a gun next time and cops would show up faster. Can't you let me go home now that I've told you the truth?

         Plaintiff denies that he made this statement.

         Plaintiff was held in custody from his arrest until his arraignment, and was released at approximately 11:54 P.M. on January 18, 2013, approximately 13 hours after his arrest. On September 24, 2014, the District Attorney dismissed the charge against Plaintiff, in part because Defendant would not cooperate with the prosecutors.

         II. ...

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