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Wiley v. City of Philadelphia Police Department

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 19, 2014




This action arises out of Errol Wiley's arrest on December 16, 2010, for aggravated assault by handgun and related charges, and the execution of search warrants at Wiley's home and on Wiley's car. The search warrant for Wiley's home was supported by an affidavit of probable cause based on statements by Regina Clozier, the woman who the plaintiff allegedly assaulted.

The plaintiff brought suit against the City of Philadelphia and Detective Robert Daly, Jr., [1] alleging that his rights under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution were violated during the execution of the search warrants and the arrest warrant. The plaintiff alleges the following Fourth Amendment claims: false arrest, excessive force, and municipal liability.

For the following reasons, the Court will now grant the defendants' motion for summary judgment in its entirety.

I. Factual Background

A. Incident with Regina Clozier[2]

It is undisputed that, on December 15, 2010, around 1:30 pm, Wiley interacted with a woman named Regina Clozier in front of Wiley's home in Philadelphia. Wiley's and Clozier's accounts of this interaction differ greatly, however.

Wiley states, in an affidavit in opposition to the motion for summary judgment, that on the afternoon of December 15, 2010, he heard knocking and then banging on his front door. The plaintiff answered his door, and asked the woman standing there who she was and why she was banging on his door. The woman stated that Wiley had not gone to child support court, and she then left Wiley's home. Wiley shut his door and went back inside. Wiley assumed that the woman was his youngest daughter's mother's relative. Pl.'s Aff. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J. ¶¶ 4-6 ("Wiley Affidavit"); Defs.' Mot. Summ. J., Ex. A at 9:14-11:14 ("Wiley Deposition").

B. Clozier's Report to Philadelphia Police

The Southwest Detectives Division in the 12th District received a complaint on December 15, 2010, that an aggravated assault had occurred around 1:35 pm that day. Detective Daly interviewed the complainant, Regina Clozier.

Clozier stated that she was babysitting her four-month-old niece on December 15, 2010. She ran out of diapers and went to the home of her niece's father, Errol Wiley. Clozier alleged that she knocked on his door and Wiley answered, asking angrily what she was doing there. Clozier told Wiley that her niece needed Pampers. After she asked Wiley for money to purchase diapers, Wiley told her to stop knocking on his door and not to come back. While Clozier was arguing with Wiley, he reached into his waist area underneath his sweater and pulled out a small, silver semi-automatic handgun with black grips and pointed it at her. Clozier told police that Wiley chased her on the street with the gun until she was in sight of the 12th District police station, at which point he ran back to his house. Defs.' Mot. Summ. J., Ex. B ("Arrest Report"); Defs.' Mot. Summ. J., Ex. D ("Clozier Investigation Interview Record").

After reporting the incident with Wiley, Clozier returned to Wiley's residence with police officers. Clozier told officers that Wiley's car had been moved from where it was originally parked to in front of his home. Clozier told police that the car was warm to the touch. Police knocked on the front door of Wiley's home, but there was no answer. Arrest Report.

Clozier then returned to the 12th District police station with officers. Clozier told police that she had met Wiley approximately three times in the last year. Clozier was shown a photo array containing a four-year-old photo of Wiley. She did not positively identify anyone in that array. Clozier then was shown an array containing Wiley's two-year-old driver's license photo. From that array, Clozier did identify Wiley as the man who pointed the gun at her and chased her to the police station based on his driver's license photo. Arrest Report; Clozier Investigation Interview Record.

C. Search Warrant

A search warrant was obtained for Wiley's home on December 15, 2010. The warrant identified the following items to be searched for and seized: "Firearms, ballistic evidence, proof of residency/occupancy documents in the name of Errol Wiley. Any and all items of evidentiary value." Defs.' Mot. Summ. J., Ex. F ("Search Warrant 154534").

The warrant was supported by an affidavit of probable cause completed by Detective Daly. The affidavit contained the facts as stated in the Arrest Report and the Clozier Investigation Interview Record, including Clozier's recounting of the incident with Wiley, Clozier's return to the scene with police, and her identification of Wiley in the photo array. Based "on the possibility of removing/destroying the evidence used in this crime, " Detective Daly requested a night time search warrant to recover the weapon. Defs.' Mot. Summ. J., Ex. G ("Continuation of Probable Cause for Warrant 154534").

D. Execution of Search Warrant

It is undisputed that on December 16, 2010, between 2:30 and 3:00 am, Detective Daly executed the search warrant for Wiley's home with members of the SWAT team. Wiley was arrested inside of his home by members of the SWAT team. No firearm was recovered during the search of the plaintiff's home. Arrest Report; Wiley Affidavit ¶¶ 7, 14, Wiley Deposition at 18:8-18:10.

Although the Arrest Report states that Wiley was arrested "without incident, " Wiley's complaint, deposition, and affidavit state ...

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