United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Christie E. Jones, Plaintiff,
Officer Armando F. Abla-Reyes and Officer Jean Barber, in their individual and official capacities; Defendants.
Zorislav R. Leyderman, Esq., The Law Office of Zorislav R.
Leyderman, counsel for Plaintiff.
M. Niblick, Esq., St. Paul City Attorney's Office,
counsel for Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DONOVAN W. FRANK United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment
brought by Defendants Officer Armando F. Abla-Reyes
(“Officer Abla-Reyes”) and Officer Jean Barber
(“Officer Barber”) (Doc. No. 17). For the reasons
set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part
October 9, 2013, Saint Paul Police Officers were dispatched
on a report of an aggravated assault. (Doc. No. 20
(“Niblick Aff.”) ¶ 5, Ex. B
(“Abla-Reyes Dep.”), Ex. 3 at STP0022;
id. ¶ 6, Ex. C (“Barber Dep.”) at
16-17.) Officer Abla-Reyes was the first to respond, and
while he was en route, dispatch advised that an individual on
the scene was injured. (Abla-Reyes Dep. at 49; Barber Dep. at
14.) Specifically, dispatch advised that an individual had
been stabbed by a female and was bleeding heavily and lying
in the street. (Abla-Reyes Dep. at 49 & Ex. 3 at STP0022;
Barber Dep. at 14.)
Officer Abla-Reyes arrived, he located the bleeding victim,
later identified as Kenneth Jordan (“Jordan”),
and also observed a female, later identified as Plaintiff
Christie E. Jones (“Jones”), standing over the
victim. (Niblick Aff. ¶ 4, Ex. A (“Jones
Dep.”) at 29; Abla-Reyes Dep. at 49, 55.) At the time,
Officer Abla-Reyes thought Jones was the complainant.
(Abla-Reyes Dep. at 49, 55-56.) Jones testified that she came
across Jordan standing in the middle of the road with a torn
shirt and dripping with blood on her way home from work.
(Jones Dep. at 13-14, 17-18, 20.) Jones, who has training as
a paramedic, stopped to help Jordan. (Id. at 18,
Jones attempted to assist Jordan, Officer Abla-Reyes
approached Jordan and Jones. (Abla-Reyes Dep. at 50-52.) The
scene was not yet secure. (Id. at 70.) Officer
Abla-Reyes testified that he did not know the extent of
Jordan's injuries, where on his body Jordan was injured,
or the identity or location of the person who injured Jordan.
(Id. at 50, 70.) Jones testified that she informed
Officer Abla-Reyes that she used to be a paramedic, that the
scene was secure, and that Jordan was injured. (Jones Dep. at
23-29.) Officer Abla-Reyes testified that he attempted to ask
Jordan questions to get necessary information. (Abla-Reyes
Dep. at 50, 69.) Officer Abla-Reyes further testified that
Jones interjected answers to the questions that were directed
at Jordan. (Abla-Reyes Dep. at 51, 59.)
Abla-Reyes proceeded past Jones and bent over Jordan to
investigate his injuries. (Jones Dep. at 26; Abla-Reyes Dep.
at 51.) Officer Abla-Reyes noticed blood on Jordan's
shirt but could not determine where the blood was coming
from. (Abla-Reyes Dep. at 50.) Officer Abla-Reyes reached
down to inspect Jordan, and Jones reached out her right arm
and extended it in front of Officer Abla-Reyes, either
grabbing his hand, pushing it away, or impeding his ability
to contact Jordan. (Jones Dep. at 28, 32; Abla-Reyes Dep. at
51-52 (“[Jones] reached in and grabbed my hand and
pulled it back and said “Don't touch him. He's
bleeding.”; Barber Dep. at 18).) Jones testified that
she intentionally stuck her arm out so that it would be in
Officer Abla-Reyes's line of sight. (Jones Dep. at 33.)
Jones claims that her intention was to alert Officer
Abla-Reyes that Jordan had blood on him and to keep Officer
Abla-Reyes from touching Jordan. (Jones Dep. at 33, 60.)
Jones claims that Officer Abla-Reyes then
“slammed” her in the chest, causing her to
stumble backwards. (Id. at 28, 34, 35, 36.) Jones
testified that she stated “watch out, he's covered
in blood.” (Id. at 28, 32.) Officer Abla-Reyes
asserts that he told Jones to step back and leave several
times and that he eventually used his left arm to create
space between himself and Jones and to guide Jones away from
the scene. (Abla-Reyes Dep. at 52, 63; see also
Barber Dep. at 17, 20.)
point while Officer Abla-Reyes and Jones were interacting,
Officer Barber and Officer Chad Dagenais arrived at the
scene. (Jones Dep. at 33; Abla-Reyes Dep. at 52, 57, 62;
Barber Dep. at 16.) Officers Abla-Reyes and Barber testified
that Jones was uncooperative and hostile. (Abla-Reyes Dep. at
61-64; Barber Dep. at 20-24.) Eventually, Jones was moved
away from the scene while the officers tended to Jordan.
Jones asserts that she walked approximately two houses down
the street and, using her cell phone, began to videotape the
officers as they interacted with Jordan. (Jones Dep. at
39-41; see also Abla-Reyes Dep. at 67; Niblick Aff.
¶ 8, Ex. E.) Jones asked to see a sergeant. (Abla-Reyes
Dep. at 66; Jones Dep. at 35-39.)
Abla-Reyes later approached Jones and asked for her name and
birthdate. (Jones Dep. at 42, 43.) Officer Abla-Reyes
intended to arrest Jones for obstructing legal process.
(Abla-Reyes Dep. at 69-70.) Jones was detained, placed in
handcuffs, and seated in the back seat of the squad car.
(Id. at 75; Jones Dep. at 43-45.) Jones indicated
that she could not sit in the back of the squad car because
she had a medical boot on her leg. (Jones Dep. at 44.) Jones
also told Officer Abla-Reyes that she was disabled, her
insulin pump had been knocked loose, and she wanted an
ambulance. (Id. at 44-45.) Office Abla-Reyes placed
her in the back of the squad car in such a way that
Jones' feet could remain outside of the vehicle.
(Abla-Reyes Dep. at 78-79.) Jones also asked Officer
Abla-Reyes to remove the handcuffs, which were causing her
discomfort. (Jones Dep. at 45.) Roughly fifteen minutes
later, Officer Abla-Reyes removed the handcuffs, and released
Jones with a citation for obstruction of legal process.
(Id. at 47.) Prior to being released, medical
personnel checked Jones' condition. (Abla-Reyes Dep. at
asserts four claims against Defendants: (1) First Amendment
Retaliation against Officer Abla-Reyes (Count One); (2)
Fourth Amendment excessive force against Officer Abla-Reyes
(Count Two); (3) Fourth Amendment unreasonable seizure and
false arrest against Officer Abla-Reyes (Count Three); and
(4) Fourth Amendment unreasonable seizure, excessive force,
and failure to protect against Officer Barber (Count
Four). (Doc. No. 1, Compl. ¶¶ 51-63.)
Defendants move for summary judgment on all counts. The Court
considers the motion below.