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Ketcham v. The City of Mount Vernon

United States District Court, S.D. New York

December 30, 2019

RONALD KETCHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF MOUNT VERNON, MICHAEL HUTCHINS, and ALLEN PATTERSON, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Vincent L. Briccetti United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Ronald Ketcham brings this Section 1983 action against the City of Mount Vernon and two of its police officers, Michael Hutchins and Allen Patterson, alleging that Hutchins and Patterson used excessive force when they arrested him on March 28, 2017. Plaintiff also brings state law claims against Patterson and the City for assault and battery.

         Before the Court is defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Doc. #43).

         For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED.

         The Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367.

         BACKGROUND

         The parties submitted briefs, declarations with exhibits, and statements of material fact pursuant to Local Civil Rule 56.1, which reflect the following factual background.

         Plaintiff is a retired United States Probation Officer who resides in New Rochelle, New York.

         Defendants Hutchins and Patterson were officers with the Mount Vernon Police Department (the “MVPD”) when the events relevant to this action occurred.

         I. Plaintiff's Arrest

         On the afternoon of March 28, 2017, plaintiff was walking on Main Street in New Rochelle. He was outside a gas station that was enclosed by a chain link fence.

         At the time, Officers Hutchins and Patterson were assigned to the MVPD warrant squad and were in New Rochelle searching for individuals with active arrest warrants. The officers were in plain clothes in an unmarked vehicle.

         As the officers approached Main Street, they saw a man who fit the physical description of an individual with an active arrest warrant. Patterson pulled the car over.

         The parties have different versions of what happened next.

         The officers testified they approached plaintiff, with shields visible around their necks, and identified themselves as members of the MVPD. According to the officers, they informed plaintiff that he fit the description of someone they were looking for, and they asked to see plaintiff's identification. Plaintiff responded by asking the officers to identify themselves, which they did. The officers testified that at this point, plaintiff became belligerent.

         According to the officers, to subdue plaintiff, they held him up against the fence. Nevertheless, plaintiff tried to push past them. In order to effectuate the arrest, Patterson testified he put plaintiff in an arm bar-a police technique used when “handcuffing someone to immobilize either arm”-and then secured one handcuff on his right wrist. (Doc. #48 (“Pl. Counterstatement”), Ex. D (“Patterson Dep.”) at 110). Hutchins assisted Patterson by placing plaintiff's left wrist in the other handcuff.

         While this was happening, plaintiff was shouting for bystanders to call the police. Patterson testified plaintiff was “actively resisting and fighting” the restraints and that “he matched [plaintiff's] force” to get him into the restraints. (Patterson Dep. at 104, 118).

         Once the handcuffs were secured on both of plaintiff's wrists, the officers attempted to move him to their vehicle. However, plaintiff resisted and “tried to prevent [the officers] from putting him in the car.” (Patterson Dep. at 120). Patterson testified that although he blocked plaintiff's head as they moved him into the vehicle, plaintiff was ...


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