United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
TIMOTHY R. RICE U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Stewart Arnold alleges Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment
violations against the City of Philadelphia and several
individual police officers based on his 2014 arrest and
incarceration until February 2016, when charges against him
were dropped. Am. Cplt. (doc. 44) at 12-27. Defendants seek
summary judgment (doc. 67), contending all of Arnold's
claims must be dismissed based on the undisputed facts. City
Br. (doc. 67-1) at 9. I agree that all claims against the
City of Philadelphia, Victor Valenzona, and Confidential
Informant (“CI”) 01338 must be
dismissed. I further dismiss the claims for unlawful
search and seizure (Count IV) and assault and battery (Count
VIII) against all defendants because Arnold concedes they
lack merit. See Pl. Br. (doc. 70) at 10, 18.
remaining claims for false arrest/imprisonment and malicious
prosecution against Officers Campbell, Eleazer, McKnight,
Mouzon, and Towman, however, are not subject to summary
judgment. According to the officers, they had probable cause
to arrest Arnold when they executed the search warrant, there
was no constitutional violation, and they are entitled to
qualified immunity. According to Arnold, the officers
realized they lacked probable cause to arrest him and
intentionally misled prosecutors by completing the
investigative report, arrest report, and property receipts
with misleading and/or incorrect information. A reasonable
jury could credit Arnold's version of events over the
officers', precluding a grant of summary judgment.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
judgment is appropriate where “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
Disputes are “genuine” if the evidence could
support a verdict for the non-moving party, and
“material” if they “might affect the
outcome of the case.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at
248. In determining whether there is a genuine dispute of
material fact, the evidence and any inferences from the
evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. See Ray v. Warren, 626 F.2d 170,
173 (3d Cir. 2010). If reasonable minds could conclude that
there are sufficient facts to support a plaintiff's
claims, summary judgment should be denied. See
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Alternatively, summary
judgment should be granted if no “reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party, ” based on
the evidentiary record. Reedy v. Evanson, 615 F.3d
197, 210 (3d Cir. 2010).
The Facts in the Light Most Favorable to
was hired by Julius Phillips, a childhood friend, to demolish
the wall between the dining room and kitchen at 2607 North
Hollywood Street beginning on July 9, 2014. Arnold Dep. at
22-23. Phillips agreed to pay Arnold $50 per day for two
days, and let Arnold into the property at approximately 8:00
a.m. on July 9. Id. at 24-25, 56. Arnold worked in
the back part of an attached living room/dining room area,
behind a black drape that was hung to protect the front
section of the house from debris. Id. at 23, 29.
While he worked, Arnold noted that Amir Crawley, an
acquaintance who lived in the area, was “coming and
going.” Id. at 26-27. Arnold could hear music
playing, but did not know for certain what Crawley was doing,
although he knew that Crawley was “not a good
kid.” Id. at 29, 31. Arnold let himself out
around noon or 1:00 p.m., locking the door's bottom lock
behind him. Id. at 24-25, 37.
3:00 and 4:00 p.m. on July 9, Philadelphia police officers
McKnight and Mouzon had a CI purchase illegal drugs from
someone at 2607 North Hollywood Street, using marked bills.
July 10, 2014 Investigative Report, attached as Exhibit D to
Pl. Br. (“Inv. Rep.”) at 1. They returned within
the hour, this time with Officer Eleazar, to conduct a second
controlled buy. Id. Although McKnight now claims he
saw Arnold answer the door and let the CI inside during this
second purchase, N.T. 7/29/14 at 18; see also
McKnight Dep. at 100, 114-15, Arnold denies it, Arnold Dep.
that day, McKnight prepared a probable cause affidavit to
obtain a search warrant for 2607 North Hollywood Street.
Search Warrant 181310. According to the affidavit, the first,
$20 purchase recovered substances in four green ziplock
packets that tested positive for marijuana using field test
“E.” Id. The second, $10 purchase was
conducted by the same CI, and McKnight attested that he saw
an unknown black man let the CI into the property.
Id. This second controlled buy recovered two
green-tinted Ziplock bags. Id. According to the
search warrant, the substance in these bags tested positive
for cocaine using field test “G.” Id.
also completed two Property Receipts (“PR”) on
July 9. PR 34 is consistent with the search
warrant affidavit, and describes four green-tinted ziplock
bags of marijuana, as confirmed by field test
“E.” PR 34. PR 35 is inconsistent with the search
warrant affidavit. It describes two green-tinted ziplock bags
of marijuana, confirmed by field test “E, ”
instead of the cocaine confirmed by field test
“G” described in the probable cause affidavit. PR
35. The “from whom taken” box on each receipt is
filled out “Confines of the 22nd
Dist.” McKnight's search warrant was approved the
following day, July 10. Id. at 1. Arnold arrived at
2607 North Hollywood Street that day at 10:00 a.m. Arnold
Dep. at 25. Again, he was aware of Crawley at the residence,
including during the few minutes it took Arnold to go to a
local store, purchase a sandwich for lunch, and return.
Id. at 26. Arnold testified he never saw the quarter
pound of marijuana, shotgun, and scale later found in the
front area of the living room. Id. at 30. While he
was eating lunch, Arnold heard a “commotion, ”
peeked around the drape, and saw Crawley had run out of the
front door. Id. at 28, 61. Afraid that someone was
about to get shot, Arnold ran out of the house's back
door without seeing anyone enter. Id. at 28, 32.
2607 North Hollywood Street, Arnold encountered one
plainclothes police officer who identified himself as police.
Arnold Dep. at 33. After Arnold surrendered, two uniformed
officers joined them. Id. at 33, 57. One uniformed
officer, Towman, tackled Arnold, lacerating Arnold's
right hand. Am. Cplt. at ¶ 132-33; Arnold Dep. at 35.
Arnold was brought to the front of 2607 North Hollywood
Street through an adjacent lot, and McKnight asked Arnold for
his name, address, and other identifying information. Arnold
Dep. at 58. When Arnold told McKnight that 2607 North
Hollywood was not his residence, McKnight responded by saying
something to the effect of, “That sucks for you.”
Id. at 65. Arnold was taken to the hospital, where
doctors spent about an hour stitching up his hand. Am. Cplt.
at ¶ 134, Arnold Dep. at 36.
on July 10, 2014, McKnight prepared an Investigative Report.
He described the controlled buys from July 9 the same way he
had in the search warrant, including that the second
purchase's product tested positive for cocaine using test
“G” and that an “unidentified” black
male had opened the door for the CI. Inv. Rep. at 1. Arnold
was not identified as the male.
down that same page, however, McKnight described
“another black male, ” whom he had “later
[identified] as Arnold Steward, ” leaving the property.
Id. McKnight included a description of a third
controlled buy that took place on July 10 before the search
warrant was executed, as well as descriptions of the search
warrant execution and arrests. Id.
to this Investigative Report, Crawley shut the front door on
Officer Campbell as he tried to execute the search warrant
and, once police gained entry, they saw Arnold run from the
living room towards the back of the house. Id.
McKnight was behind the house, and saw Arnold run out of the
back of the property and climb over the gate. Id. In
searching Arnold, police recovered $97 in unmarked bills and
a silver key for 2607 North Hollywood Street. Id.
living room, officers found a shotgun, shotgun shells, one
clear baggie with a significant amount of marijuana, one
clear baggie containing other clear baggies containing
marijuana, and a marijuana grinder and scale. Id.
From the second floor bedroom, the officers recovered two
scales, one packet of unused green ziplocks, one packet of
unused blue ziplocks, and six clear baggies with ...