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#: 1 Filed: 10/01/12 Page: 1 of 9 PageID #: 1
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI EASTERN DIVISION TIFFANY CARTY, ) ) Plaintiff ) ) ) v. ) ) ) ) FRANCIS SLAY, JR., ) in his official capacity as a ) member of the St. Louis Board ) of Police Commissioners ) ) ) THOMAS IRWIN, ) in his official capacity as a ) member of the St. Louis Board ) of Police Commissioners ) ) ) BETTYE BATTLE-TURNER, ) in her official capacity as a ) member of the St. Louis Board ) of Police Commissioners ) ) ) RICHARD H. GRAY, ) in his official capacity as a ) member of the St. Louis Board ) of Police Commissioners ) ) ) ) LARRY DAVIS, ) In his individual ) capacity as a St. Louis Metropolitan ) police officer, ) ) Defendants. )
JURY TRIAL DEMANDED
Case: 4:12-cv-01769 Doc. #: 1 Filed: 10/01/12 Page: 2 of 9 PageID #: 2
COMPLAINT PRELIMINARY STATEMENT 1. Plaintiff Tiffany Carty was arrested, criminally charged and compelled to defend herself against such charges as a result of the prevarication of Defendant Larry Davis. Plaintiff was thereby deprived of her rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Defendants, the
Commissioners of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department are liable for the constitutional violations that Plaintiff suffered. 2. This is a civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to redress the violation of the Plaintiff’s rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 3. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1343 and 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Plaintiffs’ claims for relief are cognizable under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. 4. Venue is appropriate in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because the Defendant is located, and all incidents giving rise to this suit occurred, in this judicial district. PARTIES 5. Plaintiff Tiffany Carty is a resident and citizen of the United States of America and the State of Missouri residing in the City of St. Louis.
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Defendant Larry Davis was at all times relevant to this cause of action duly appointed and acting as an officer of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (STLMPD) and acting under color of law, including under color of statutes of the State of Missouri and the ordinances, regulations, policies, customs, and usages of the STLMPD. Defendant Davis is sued his individual capacity.
Defendants Slay, Battle-Turner, Irwin and Gray are the members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Board of Police Commissioners. Each is sued in his/her official capacity. The Board of Police Commissioners is the governing body for the STLMPD and the proper party for claims arising under Monell v. Dept. of Social Services and its progeny for violations of the constitution and laws perpetrated by peace officers in the employ of the STLMPD. To sue the Board, Plaintiff must name the commissioners as has been done here. FACTS
On October 12, 2007 Defendant Larry Davis responded to Convenient Food Market at 8200 South Broadway in the City of St. Louis, Missouri.
There, he encountered Plaintiff Tiffany Carty. Defendant Davis arrested Plaintiff and asserted, in an Incident/Offense Report, and in statements, that Plaintiff was in possession of illegal narcotics.
Plaintiff was not in possession of illegal narcotics and Defendant Davis’ assertion that she was, was a lie.
There was a video recorder that recorded the events giving rise to the arrest, charging and prosecution of Plaintiff.
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Among the details that Defendant Davis reported was that he searched a vehicle occupied by Plaintiff and found the illegal narcotics Plaintiff was charged with possessing.
The recording shows that Defendant Davis never searched the vehicle. Plaintiff was prosecuted as a result of the allegations of Defendant Davis and went to trial. She was acquitted.
Plaintiff made a complaint to the STLMPD Internal Affairs Division and asserted that Defendant Davis had lied in his reporting of the event, in his statements and in his testimony.
Plaintiff was informed by the investigator, Sgt. Klier, that he would not initiate an investigation unless Plaintiff won her criminal case.
To the knowledge of Plaintiff, no investigation into her allegations of misconduct on the part of Defendant Davis has ever been undertaken.
Defendant Larry Davis was indicted by the federal Grand Jury for two counts of Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana and pleaded guilty to the charges on April 23, 2012. The case is United States of America v. Larry J. Davis, Cause Number 4:12CR00013 CEJ-1, pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
CAUSES OF ACTION COUNT I UNREASONABLE SEIZURE BY DEFENDANT LARRY DAVIS IN VIOLATION OF THE FOURTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION COGNIZABLE UNDER 42 U.S.C. §1983
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For her cause of action in Count I, Plaintiff states: 20. Plaintiff incorporates by this reference the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 19 as though they were fully set forth in this Count I. 21. The seizure of Plaintiff was in violation of her rights secured and guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution as there was no cause for her arrest, detention and prosecution. 22. As a direct result and consequence of the actions of Defendant Davis, Plaintiff suffered damages. 23. The acts of Defendant Davis as aforedescribed were intentional, wanton, malicious, oppressive, reckless and callously indifferent to the rights of Plaintiff, thus entitling Plaintiff to an award of punitive damages against Defendant Davis. 24. If Plaintiff prevails, she is entitled to a reasonable award of attorneys’ fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988. WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendant Davis and for compensatory damages in an amount which is fair and reasonable, and for punitive damages, plus costs of this action, attorney’s fees and such other relief as the Court deems fair and appropriate under the circumstances. COUNT II LIBILITY OF THE ST. LOUIS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR VIOLATION OF THE FOURTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION COGNIZABLE UNDER 42 U.S.C. §1983 For her cause of action in Count II, Plaintiff states:
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Plaintiff incorporates by this reference the allegations contained in paragraphs 1 through 24 as though they were fully set forth in this Count II. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Board of Police Commissioners is Liable for the Constitutional Violation Suffered by Plaintiff
The Defendant Police Commissioners are responsible for the effective operation of the STLMPD. The Board sets policy, makes promotions, holds both closed and open meetings and coordinates the operation of the department with the Chief of Police.
To effectively operate the department, the Board must promulgate rules and regulations, monitor the performance of the sworn members, effectively investigate allegations of misconduct, sustain the allegations when appropriate and mete out the appropriate corrective measure, whether it be discipline, retraining, closer supervision or a combination of those and other measures. Ultimately, the Board is charged with the responsibility of assuring that the members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department conform their conduct to the law, including the United States Constitution.
The practices and protocols of the officers of the STLMPD are a function of not only the rules and the law, but also of the institutional customs and usages of the department. The customs and usages of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department include practices that violate the Constitution and specifically the Fourth Amendment.
There have been a number of publicly reported instances of sworn police officers employed by the STLMPD committing acts that range from the violation of police
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ethics, to the violation of Department rules and regulations to the violation of the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the United States and the State of Missouri. 30. In addition to the publicly disclosed incidents a review of the internal affairs records of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department will reveal that officers of the department have engaged in misconduct and have suffered no negative or corrective consequences. 31. The internal affairs operation in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is ineffective at monitoring, investigating, making findings supported by the evidence and implementing discipline or corrective action against officers who have engaged in misconduct. 32. The facts of this cause are but one example of the failures described herein. Defendant Davis made a claim that was directly contradicted by video evidence, yet, the response of the Internal Affairs Division was wholly ineffective at investigating, evaluating and ruling on Plaintiff’s complaint. 33. It is the duty of the Board to train, discipline and supervise the police officers under its charge and the Board has failed to discharge that duty by, among other actions or failures to take action, failing to oversee the proper and effective operation of the internal affairs function. 34. This cause illustrates, and Plaintiff asserts that the Board, acting through those who are charged with policing the police, ratified the misconduct of Defendant Davis, rather than condemn it.
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In its failure to train, supervise or discipline its officers, the Board has been deliberately indifferent to the misconduct of its police officers. The Board is deliberately indifferent either because it has tacitly authorized the deviant conduct of sworn members or it has disregarded a known or obvious consequence of the failure to train, supervise and discipline its police officers -that consequence being that the sworn members will act in ways that violate the law and the constitution.
This Court has found: The Board turns a “blind eye” to the use of excessive force by its police officers. See, Rohrbough v. Hall, 2008 WL 4722742; No. 4:07CV00996 ERW (E.D. Mo 2008). Recently, the Court found that a reasonable jury could conclude that “there is a widespread persistent pattern of unconstitutional conduct, that defendant commissioners are deliberately indifferent to or have tacitly approved such conduct, and that she [the plaintiff] sustained injury as a result.” S.L. v. St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Board of Commissioners, et al., Case No. 4:10-CV-2163, slip op. at 20 (Aug. 17, 2012).
The policies, and/or customs and usage, actions and/or the failure to act by the Board caused the constitutional violation suffered by Tiffany Carty.
As a direct and proximate result of the customs and usage, the policies and actions and failures to act by the Board, Plaintiff was unlawfully seized, detained, charged and prosecuted and thereby suffered damages.
If Plaintiff prevails, she is entitled to recover her attorney fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
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WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against The Board of Police Commissioners for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for compensatory damages in an amount which is fair and reasonable plus costs of this action, attorney’s fees, and such other relief as the Court deems fair and appropriate under the circumstances. Dated: October 1, 2012 Respectfully submitted, THE RYALS LAW FIRM, P.C. /s/ Stephen M. Ryals Stephen M. Ryals (MO 34149) 3120 Locust Street St. Louis, MO 63103 Phone: (314) 862-6262 Fax: (314) 880-2027 email@example.com /s/ J. Justin Meehan J. Justin Meehan (MO 24844) 2734 Lafayette Avenue St. Louis, MO 63104 Phone: (314) 772-9494 firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Plaintiff
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