United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Joshua R. Williams, Esq., and Timothy M. Phillips, Esq., Law Office of Joshua R. Williams, PLLC, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Plaintiff.
Jon K. Iverson, Esq., and Stephanie A. Angolkar, Esq., Iverson Reuvers Condon, Bloomington, MN, on behalf of Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ANN D. MONTGOMERY, District Judge.
On April 18, 2014, the undersigned United States District Court Judge heard oral argument on Defendants Chad Glirbas, Jeremy Halek, Robert Roushar, and City of Brooklyn Park's (collectively, "Defendants") Motion for Summary Judgment [Docket No. 14] and Defendants' Motion to Exclude Plaintiff's Expert Witness [Docket No. 21]. Plaintiff Daniel Elex opposes both motions. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part, and Defendants' motion to exclude Plaintiff's expert witness is granted in part and denied in part.
This case arises from a police pursuit and arrest of Daniel Elex in 2007. Elex asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that during his arrest Defendant police officers used excessive force in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
On June 15, 2007, Elex, who was then thirteen years old, was riding in the front passenger seat of an Infiniti driven by his friend Antwain Lee. First Angolkar Aff. [Docket No. 17] Ex. 4 ("Elex Dep.") at 16, 20-22. Elex did not know who owned the car, and Lee did not tell Elex how he obtained the car. Id. at 21. Both Elex and Lee were members of street gangs. Id. at 10-12.
That same day, police officers in Brooklyn Park received information from a concerned citizen about the Infiniti. First Angolkar Aff. Ex. 2 ("Roushar Dep.") at 12-16; Enevoldsen Aff. [Docket No. 18] Ex. 1 ("Police Reports"), at BP 8. The police were told that the car was stolen, that it contained weapons including a sawed-off shotgun and a handgun, and that the occupants were planning a drive-by shooting. Roushar Dep. at 14-16; Police Reports at BP 8. The police searched for the Infiniti, and Officer Roushar ultimately spotted it at Brookdale Drive and Noble Avenue. Roushar Dep. at 12-13.
A police chase began, with Sergeant Roushar leading the pursuit in a fully marked squad car with activated emergency lights. Roushar Dep. at 18-20. Officer Glirbas also gave chase in a separate police vehicle. First Angolkar Aff. Ex. 3 ("Glirbas Dep.") at 13-14. As the police chase continued, the Infiniti accelerated to speeds of approximately 80 miles per hour, hitting curbs and street corners. Elex Dep. at 29-30. Because it was daytime and pleasant weather, a number of people were walking on sidewalks and outside in the area of the chase. First Angolkar Aff. Ex. 1 ("Halek Dep.") at 12; Roushar Dep. at 13.
Elex has stated that Lee was being reckless and he was concerned for his own and the public's safety. Elex Dep. at 30; Police Reports at BP 12. He asked to be let out of the car, but Lee did not stop. Elex Dep. at 28, 30; Police Reports at BP 12.
Officer Halek, who was also in the area with his squad car, saw the Infiniti being pursued and took an alternate route to try to cut off its path. Halek Dep. at 11, 13. Halek saw the Infiniti lose control and go into a yard at a slower speed, and he attempted to ram it near the trunk area to cause it to spin and stop the pursuit. Id. at 14. He chose to stop the vehicle because of the severity of the crime, the potential danger of the chase to the public, and the reckless driving by the driver of the stolen vehicle. Id . Ramming the stolen car with Halek's squad car succeeded in stopping the pursuit. Elex Dep. at 29-30. The side air bag deployed, hitting the right side of Elex's head and causing his body to jerk slightly to the left. Id. at 31-32. Elex's face was not injured in the collision. Id. at 53-54; Police Reports at BP 33.
Officer Halek, accompanied by his police canine, exited his squad and prepared to chase any of the suspects who attempted to flee on foot. Halek Dep. at 16. Sergeant Roushar parked his squad and approached the front passenger side of the Infiniti. Roushar Dep. at 21-22. Halek and his canine ran around the back of Halek's squad car to join Sergeant Roushar at the passenger side of the car. Id.
The officers saw Elex hunched over in the car, learning toward the center of the front seat, and reaching down. Halek Dep. at 19; Roushar Dep. at 22. Officer Halek drew his service revolver while Sergeant Roushar ordered Elex to show his hands and sit up. Halek Dep. at 19-21; Roushar Dep. at 22, 28-29; Elex Dep. at 33-34. Elex raised his hands inside the car. Halek Dep. at 19; Elex Dep. at 64-65.
The officers ordered Elex to get out of the car, but the car door was pinned shut by the squad car. Elex Dep. at 34, 36. Sergeant Roushar then grabbed Elex by the arms and back of his shirt, pulled him through the car's open window, and brought him to the ground so that he was laying face down on his stomach. Elex Dep. at 34-36, 40-41; Roushar Dep. at 22, 25; Halek Dep. at 19-22. Sergeant Roushar ordered Elex to put his hands behind his back and attempted to handcuff him. Roushar Dep. at 49; Halek Dep. at 21; Glirbas Dep. at 14; Elex Dep. at 36.
At this point the officers' testimony of events differs from Elex's. According to the officers, Elex was moving around, attempting to slide away from them, turning his head, and keeping his arms under his body. Halek Dep. at 21-22; Roushar Dep. at 30; Glirbas Dep. at 14-15. Sergeant Roushar gained control over Elex's right arm, but Elex continued to resist and kept his left arm under his body. Halek Dep. at 26; Roushar Dep. at 30. Because the police had been told weapons were involved, Officer Halek was concerned for his and Roushar's safety as well as the safety of those around them. Halek Dep. at 26-27. Elex had not yet been searched and was keeping his hands under his body. Id. at 25, 27. Halek gave Elex multiple commands to put his hands behind his back, but Roushar was only able to get Elex's right hand behind his back. Id. at 25-26. Halek had his gun in his right hand and was holding the canine with his left hand, so he used his foot to kick Elex twice near his left shoulder to get him to comply with the commands to put his hands behind his back. Id .; Police Reports at BP 17-20. After the kicks, it appeared to Halek that Roushar would be able to handcuff Elex, and so Halek stepped back. Halek Dep. at 27-28. Sergeant Roushar was ...