United States District Court, D. Minnesota
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. Magnuson United States District Court Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment. For the following reasons, the Motion is
approximately 11:00 am on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, a
Minneapolis community service officer saw a car driving with
fake license plates. The plate read “PRIVATE”
instead of the standard state-issued numbers and letters. The
top of the plate stated, “NO DRIVER LICENSE OR
INSURANCE REQUIRED.” At the bottom, the plate read,
“NOT FOR COMMERCE USE - PRIVATE MODE OF TRAVEL.”
officer radioed into dispatch with a description of the
driver. By the time Defendant Officer David Mooneyham and his
partner, Officer Heidi Eisenbeis, responded, the car was
parked on 9th Street South at 5th Avenue in downtown
Minneapolis. A person matching the description of the driver
was accessing the car's trunk. Officer Mooneyham asked the
individual for his license, registration, and proof of
insurance. The individual, subsequently revealed to be pro se
Plaintiff Aaron Curry, refused, telling the officers that he
was a “sovereign citizen” and thus not subject to
state and municipal laws. Curry also requested to speak with
a sergeant. He asked several times whether he was free to go,
and the officers told him that he was not free to leave until
they were finished investigating. In the meantime, more
officers, including Defendant Officers Davis Mueller, Myron
Phernetton, Andrea Leal, and Nathan Carlson, responded to the
scene and tried to convince Curry to tell them who he was.
officers could see the VIN of the car, and a search of the
VIN showed that someone named Denise Bass owned the car.
Curry admitted knowing someone with the last name
“Bass” but told the officers that any further
information about “Bass” was
“confidential.” The officers eventually
identified Curry and discovered that his license had been
revoked. The community service officer who witnessed
Plaintiff driving the car came back to the scene and, at
Mooneyham's request, executed a citizen's arrest form
for Curry. But Defendant Sergeant James Walker, who had by
this point arrived on the scene, decided not to arrest Curry.
Thus, almost immediately thereafter, the officers told Curry
that he was free to leave.
officers then began to search the car to prepare it to be
towed. Curry returned a few minutes later. He told the
officers that he did not agree to his car being searched.
After a lengthy discussion regarding his rights, Officer
Mooneyham handed Curry prescription medicine found in the
car. Curry retrieved other items from the car and left again.
The officers finished searching the car, and it was towed and
impounded. (Carter Decl. Ex. 4 (Docket No. 26-1).) Curry was
cited by mail for three misdemeanor violations: driving after
revocation, no proof of insurance, and a traffic violation.
(Id. Ex. 1 (Docket No. 27).)
filed this lawsuit two weeks later. His seven-page Amended
Complaint recounts the incident and all of the ways Curry
believes the officers violated his rights. (Docket No. 4.)
Curry also filed a Second Amended Complaint, but it appears
this pleading merely adds two Defendants, Officers Zakari
Ketchmark and Jeremy Brodin, and is not intended to supplant
the Amended Complaint. (Docket No. 9.) According to the City,
these two late-added Defendants were not involved in this
incident in any way.
contends that he was detained without probable cause, that
the seizure of his car was unlawful, and that the police
conspired to violate his right to travel “and of all
rights under god and federal law . . . .” (Am. Compl.
at 2.) The Second Amended Complaint against Ketchmark and
Brodin also contends that Brodin “reach[ed] for his gun
to commit a act of violence.” (2d Am. Compl. at 2.)
now seek summary judgment. Curry responded to the Motion by
arguing only that he requires more discovery. (Docket No.
36.) But the Magistrate Judge assigned to the case denied
Curry's “Motion for Discovery” (Docket No.
45), and thus there is no futher discovery due in this
Court held a hearing on the Motion for Summary Judgment on
May 29, 2018. Curry did not appear at the hearing.
judgment is proper if there are no disputed issues of
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Court must view the
evidence and inferences that “may be reasonably drawn
from the evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party.” Enter. Bank v. Magna Bank of
Mo., 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). The moving party
bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of
material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). A party opposing a properly supported motion for
summary judgment may not rest on mere allegations or denials,
but must set forth specific facts in the record showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986).
did not respond to Defendants' argument that Defendants
Ketchmark and Brodin were not involved in the September 6,
2017, incident. There is no evidence that either of these
Defendants was on the scene or interacted with Curry at any