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Hakim Ali Bryant v. City of Philadelphia

January 27, 2012

HAKIM ALI BRYANT,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, J.

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

Hakim Ali Bryant ("Plaintiff") brings this civil rights action ("Bryant II")*fn1 against the City of Philadelphia, Police Officer Hoover ("Hoover"), and the City of Philadelphia Police Officers from the SWAT unit, Joseph Cooney, Manus Cassidy, Inocencio Amaro, Cyprian Scott, Sean Leatherbury, Erik Bullock, Todd Lewis, William McDonald, Robert DiBasio, Sgt. Joseph McDonald, and Sgt. Austin Fraser (collectively "Defendants"). Plaintiff filed this complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his First, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, including unreasonable seizure, false arrest, excessive force, and failure to intervene.*fn2

Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims against the City of Philadelphia, and Defendants Hoover, Cooney, Cassidy, Amaro, Scott, Lewis, Sgt. McDonald, DiBiasio, and William McDonald, as well as on his First, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims under 18 U.S.C. § 1983.*fn3

For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Defendants' motion on all of Plaintiff's claims against the City of Philadelphia as well as on all claims pursuant to the First, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court will also grant summary judgment in favor of Defendants Hoover, Cooney, Cassidy, Amaro, Scott, Lewis, Sgt. McDonald, DiBiasio, and William McDonald with respect to the excessive force claim, unreasonable seizure claim, false arrest claim, and failure to intervene claims to prevent the use of excessive force, unreasonable seizure and false arrest. Therefore, the case will proceed on Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claims for unlawful seizure, false arrest, excessive force, and failure to intervene as against Defendants Leatherbury, Bullock, and Sgt. Fraser.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that on November 8, 2010, he was at his home watching a movie when the SWAT officers, along with Hoover, knocked on the door. Compl. 3; Bryant Dep. 6:11-13, Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. B, ECF No. 16. Janet Armour, Plaintiff's mother, let the Defendants, who had guns drawn, into the home. Compl. 3; Bryant Dep. 6:13-16. The officers stated they had a search warrant and were looking for Sakoue Armour. Compl. 3; Bryant Dep. 6:22-23, 7:11-12.

Plaintiff claims he came out of his room and the SWAT officers ordered Plaintiff to put his hands in the air, which he states he did. Compl. 3; Bryant Dep. 6:18-20. Next, Defendants ordered Plaintiff to the ground and put him in handcuffs. During all of this, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants jumped on him, walked on his back and put their knees into his back. Compl. 3; see Bryant Dep. 6:22. Additionally, Plaintiff claims that the Defendants held Jane Armour at gunpoint. Plaintiff claims that he was handcuffed for an hour, the Defendants broke Janet Armour's gate, and broke into a locked basement cabinet. Compl. 3; Bryant Dep. 8:12-13, 10:14-19.

Defendant Detective Hoover signed the arrest warrant, but did not make physical contact with the Plaintiff. Sgt. McDonald was a supervisor who did not handcuff or come into physical contact with the Plaintiff. SWAT members DiBiasio and Lewis, and Sgt. McDonald were part of the first floor containment and did not handcuff or make any physical contact with Plaintiff. SWAT members Leatherbury, Bullock, and Sgt. Fraser were part of the second floor containment and William McDonald was the breacher. SWAT members Cooney and Cassidy were the Front containment and did not go to the second floor. SWAT members Amaro and Scott were the rear containment and did not go to the second floor. See Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. 16; SWAT Unit Service Report, Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. Exs. E1 & E2.

Plaintiff alleges violations of his First, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. As relief, Plaintiff requests $100,000 in punitive damages, $100,000 for pain and suffering, $50,000 for mental anguish, and $100,000 for future losses due to the injuries he sustained to his lower back. Compl. 4.

On August 1, 2011, Defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment. ECF No. 16. Plaintiff filed his response to the motion for partial summary judgment on August 18, 2011. ECF No. 17.

III. DISCUSSION

In their motion, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims against the Defendant City of Philadelphia fail as a matter of law. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. 6-7. They further argue that Plaintiff's First, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims also fail as a matter of law. Id. at 7-8. Defendants finally argue that Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claims against Defendants Hoover, Cooney, Cassidy, Amaro, Scott, Lewis, Sgt. McDonald, DiBiasio, and William McDonald should be dismissed as none of these officers had personal involvement in committing the alleged violations. Plaintiff does not contest the motion for summary judgment as to Defendant City of Philadelphia nor does he contest the motion to dismiss as to his First, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth ...


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