United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
W. Eginton, Senior U.S. District Judge.
genesis of this civil rights action is plaintiff Jordan
Jefferson's seizure at a nightclub in New Haven,
Connecticut. Plaintiff alleges violations of his Fourth,
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 by the individual defendants, who are New Haven
police officers. Specifically, plaintiff alleges that
defendants Reddish, Abbate, Guliuzza, Marshall and Mauriello
are liable for falsely arresting him, subjecting him to
excessive force, and setting unreasonable bail bond in
violation of the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments;
and that defendants Police Chief Limon, Assistant Chief
Melendez and Sergeant Guliuzza are liable for failing to
train and supervise properly the officers, who committed the
unconstitutional acts. Plaintiff also alleges state law
claims of negligent and intentional assault, negligent
infliction of emotional distress, and liability of the City
of New Haven pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §
have filed a motion for summary judgment on all counts. For
the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment will
be granted in part and denied in part.
support of the motion for summary judgment, the parties have
submitted statements of facts in compliance with Local Rule
56(a), along with exhibits and supporting materials. The
parties appear to disagree on most of the facts relevant to
Limon and Assistant Chief Melendez have represented that the
City of New Haven experienced an escalation of crime in the
downtown bar area. On October 2, 2010, the defendants entered
the nightclub known as Alchemy/Elevate for inspection. The
nightclub had low lighting and the music was playing when the
police officers entered. Assistant Chief Melendez has
represented that he perceived the need to call for backup due
to a “mass exodus.” Plaintiff maintains that
there is conflicting evidence in the record regarding how
many individuals were leaving the nightclub when the
defendants entered the nightclub.
maintain that the occupancy limit of the club was 150 and
that a headcount revealed more than 250 people within the
club at the time of the incident. Plaintiff asserts that
there is conflicting evidence concerning the number of people
in the club and occupancy limits.
the nightclub lights were turned on and the music turned off,
the officers commenced a check of the patrons in conjunction
with Connecticut Liquor Control. The patrons were instructed
to sit down and to take out their IDs. Assistant Chief
Melendez has indicated that he told the patrons to put away
their cell phones “for the time being.” According
to Officer Reddish, he also told the patrons to stay off and
to put their cell phones down.
the officers found the patrons to be cooperative, while
others indicated that the patrons kept on moving around and
failed to comply with instructions.
who was a football player for Yale University aged 20 years
old, was a patron at the nightclub on that evening. He had
consumed two beers and a mixed drink prior to heading over to
the nightclub. He recalls that the police ordered patrons not
to use their cell phones during the investigation. After
hearing this order, plaintiff looked at a notification on his
phone and put it on silent. Officer Reddish then instructed
him to move to a different area.
ten minutes later, the police instructed patrons to form a
single line to exit the club. The line proceeded past the
location where plaintiff was seated. During the exiting
process, another patron began to speak with plaintiff.
Plaintiff was instructed not speak to the individual.
Plaintiff responded, “Why not? This is my
friend.” Officer Reddish advised plaintiff that he was
under arrest, told him to stand up and place his hands behind
his back. Plaintiff complied with this instruction. An
officer whom plaintiff could not see grabbed his wrist and
began to cuff him.
turned over left his shoulder towards the officer and asked
him not to put the cuffs on so tightly. Plaintiff has stated
that he “asked him nicely.” Plaintiff maintains
that he was thereafter tased, that he made no movements, and
that his left hand remained cuffed. Defendants assert that
plaintiff “attempted to prevent himself from being
brought to the ground by officers by spreading his feet to
maintain his balance and by holding his hands out to his side
at waist height. Chief Limon was not present during
City of New Haven requires all officers to adhere to the
training protocol established by state standards. The
defendant police officers have all successfully completed the
municipal police officer training academy program or a
state-accepted equivalent. Chief Limon was granted a
Certificate of Comparative Compliance from the State of
Connecticut Police Officers Standards and Training Council.