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Borrelli v. McDermott

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

February 16, 2017

RICHARD BORRELLI, Plaintiff,
v.
BRIAN MCDERMOTT, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

          DONNA F. MARTINEZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, Richard Borrelli, commenced this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendant Brian McDermott, a New Haven police officer acting under the color of state law, violated plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right not to be subjected to unreasonable force during the course of his arrest on February 4, 2013. After a bench trial on February 10, 2017, I make the following findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         I. Findings of Fact

         In their joint trial memorandum, the parties stipulated to the following facts. (Doc. #31, p. 3.)

1. At all relevant times, defendant was a police officer employed by the New Haven Department of Police Service, and was acting within the scope of his employment.
2. At all relevant times, defendant was acting under the color of state law.
3. On February 4, 2013, defendant arrested plaintiff in Apartment 2B of premises located at 103 Grand Avenue in New Haven, Connecticut.

         Based on the credible testimony, the exhibits, and the record as a whole, I find the following facts.

4. On February 4, 2013, plaintiff resided with his wife and son at 103 Grand Avenue, Apartment 2B, New Haven, Connecticut.
5. Plaintiff got out of work at 6:00 PM on February 4, 2013. Before going home, he and some coworkers lingered in the parking lot and drank alcoholic beverages.
6. Plaintiff drove home and had dinner with his wife and son.
7. After dinner, plaintiff's son went to his bedroom, while plaintiff and his wife went to their bedroom to watch television.
8. Some time later, plaintiff and his wife had a loud argument, during which plaintiff's wife threw a glass, which broke on the kitchen floor.
9. Shortly after 11:00 PM, defendant and another New Haven police officer, Rosa Melendez, were dispatched to investigate a reported domestic disturbance at plaintiff's home.
10. When the officers arrived at the building, they could hear screaming, yelling, and what sounded like objects crashing to the floor.
11. The common door to the multi-unit building was locked. Defendant and Officer Melendez knocked on a first floor window and someone let them inside.
12. As the officers went up the stairs to the second floor, they could still hear yelling and screaming.
13. The door to plaintiff's apartment was partially open.
14. Officer Melendez knocked on the door and announced their presence.
15. Neither plaintiff nor his wife wanted the police to go inside the apartment.
16. Plaintiff told the officers that everything was under control and that he and his wife did not need ...

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