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Michael Keith Lee v. Debra Overton

January 15, 2013

MICHAEL KEITH LEE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DEBRA OVERTON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM

I.PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On September 16, 2010, Michael Keith Lee ("Plaintiff") filed both a complaint and amended complaint with this Court against police officers Debra Overton ("Overton") and Monique Bryant ("Bryant"), Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey ("Commissioner Ramsey"), and Mayor Michael Nutter ("Mayor Nutter")(collectively "Defendants"). Compl. 1, ECF No. 5; Am. Compl. 1, ECF No. 7.*fn1 Plaintiff brings a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations under the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments based on events occurring on July 15, 2008. Am. Compl. 6, 9-10. Defendants Commissioner Ramsey and Mayor Nutter filed a joint answer to the Amended Complaint on November 30, 2010. Defs.' Answer to Am. Compl. 1, ECF No. 12. Defendants Overton and Bryant filed a joint motion to dismiss on March 23, 2011. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss 1, ECF No. 23. Plaintiff filed a Response on April 27, 2012. Pls.' Resp. to Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 29. Plaintiff submitted exhibits to be attached to his response on October 31, 2012. Defendants Overton's and Bryant's motion to dismiss is now ripe for disposition.

II.FACTUAL BACKGROUND*fn2

Plaintiff was arrested for armed robbery on July 15, 2008 while in the vicinity of 500 Dupont Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss 2. The following summary presents Plaintiff's account of events, which Defendants Commissioner Ramsey and Mayor Nutter have denied except as to Plaintiff's arrest having taken place on July 15, 2008. Defs.' Answer to Am. Compl. 1-3.*fn3

A. Plaintiff's Allegations

1. Allegations Pertaining to Defendants Overton and Bryant

On or about 2:30 a.m. on July 15, 2008, Plaintiff entered a 7-11 convenience store to purchase cigarettes. Am. Compl. ¶ 1. After leaving the store, Plaintiff noticed several police officers on the street. Id. ¶ 2. Plaintiff hid under a car in a nearby parking lot as the police cars approached him because of "the late hour," and his "general fear of police."

Id. ¶¶ 3-4. One police officer alerted the others as to Plaintiff's whereabouts and ordered Plaintiff to get out from under the car with his hands up. Id. ¶¶ 6-7. While getting up, Plaintiff's lighter fell beneath the car. Id. ¶ 7. The officers, including Defendants Overton and Bryant, drew their weapons and pointed them at Plaintiff who was approximately five feet in front of them, standing with his hands raised. Id. ¶¶ 8-9. Plaintiff did not move or make any statements to the police at this time. Id. ¶ 9.

Defendant Overton directed Defendant Bryant to look underneath the car while she ordered Plaintiff to lift his shirt. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. Plaintiff lifted his shirt with one hand while keeping his other hand raised when Defendant Overton shot Plaintiff in his right leg. Id. ¶ 12. As Plaintiff fell to the ground, at least two shots were fired by Defendant Bryant, missing the Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 13. Plaintiff was then handcuffed by Defendants Overton and Bryant. Id. ¶ 14. Other police officers and the teller at the 7-11 store witnessed the described events. Id. ¶ 15. Defendant Bryant asked Defendant Overton, "Why did you shoot him?" and received no response. Id. ¶ 16.

After being taken to Temple Hospital by an ambulance, according to the complaint, Plaintiff asked Defendant Overton why she had shot him, to which she replied, "'I'm a cop . . . I can do whatever I want and get away with it.'" Id. ¶¶ 17-18. Also according to the complaint, the attending physician overheard Defendant Overton's statement. Id. ¶ 19.

2. Allegations Pertaining to Defendants Commissioner Ramsey and Mayor Nutter

Plaintiff sent grievance letters to Defendant Commissioner Ramsey and Defendant Mayor Nutter on May 1, 2010 and May 30, 2010, respectively, seeking redress for the violations mentioned below and did not receive a response from either ...


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