United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
R. UNDERHILL, United States District Judge
Tyran Sampson, commenced this action by complaint filed on
March 6, 2015. The defendants are Officers Anthony Pia and
Tanya Ortiz of the Hartford Police Department. The remaining
federal claims are asserted against the defendants in their
individual capacities for false arrest, malicious
prosecution, use of excessive force, and racial profiling.
Sampson also includes state law claims for assault and
battery. The defendants have filed a motion for summary
judgment. For the reasons that follow, the defendants'
motion is granted.
Standard of Review
judgment is appropriate when the record demonstrates that
“there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact
and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986) (plaintiff
must present affirmative evidence in order to defeat a
properly supported motion for summary judgment).
ruling on a summary judgment motion, the court must construe
the facts of record in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party and must resolve all ambiguities and draw all
reasonable inferences against the moving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
(1986); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S.
144, 158-59 (1970); see also Aldrich v. Randolph Cent.
Sch. Dist., 963 F.2d. 520, 523 (2d Cir. 1992) (court is
required to “resolve all ambiguities and draw all
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party”). When a
motion for summary judgment is properly supported by
documentary and testimonial evidence, however, the nonmoving
party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of
the pleadings, but must present sufficient probative evidence
to establish a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986); Colon v.
Coughlin, 58 F.3d 865, 872 (2d Cir. 1995).
when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of
the evidence is summary judgment proper.” Bryant v.
Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir. 1991); see also
Suburban Propane v. Proctor Gas, Inc., 953 F.2d 780, 788
(2d Cir. 1992). If the nonmoving party submits evidence that
is “merely colorable, ” or is not
“significantly probative, ” summary judgment may
be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50.
The mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between
the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported
motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be
no genuine issue of material fact. As to materiality, the
substantive law will identify which facts are material. Only
disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of
summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or
unnecessary will not be counted.
Id. at 247-48. To present a “genuine”
issue of material fact, there must be contradictory evidence
“such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for
the non-moving party.” Id. at 248.
nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an
essential element of his case with respect to which he has
the burden of proof at trial, then summary judgment is
appropriate. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. In such a
situation, “there can be ‘no genuine issue as to
any material fact, ' since a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”
Id. at 322-23; accord Goenaga v. March of Dimes
Birth Defects Found., 51 F.3d 14, 18 (2d Cir. 1995)
(movant's burden satisfied if he can point to an absence
of evidence to support an essential element of nonmoving
party's claim). In short, if there is no genuine issue of
material fact, summary judgment may enter. Celotex,
477 U.S. at 323.
defendants, Anthony Pia and Tanya Ortiz, were police officers
with the Hartford, Connecticut, Police Department at all
times relevant to this action. On June 10, 2012, Pia was on
duty wearing his full police uniform and Sampson was a
passenger in a white Toyota Camry, driven by his brother.
about 10:10 p.m., Pia received information that the East
Hartford police were pursuing a white Toyota Camry believed
to have been involved in an armed robbery in East Hartford.
Pia believed that the occupants of the Camry being pursued by
the East Hartford police were involved in the armed robbery
and, therefore, were armed and dangerous.
about 10:27 p.m., Pia became involved in a vehicular pursuit
of a white Camry through the towns of East Hartford,
Hartford, and West Hartford. The pursuit involved numerous
marked and unmarked police vehicles with lights and sirens
activated. Sampson noticed that the Camry in which he was
riding was being pursued by the police. Sampson's brother
did not pull over and stop the vehicle for the police. The
Camry finally stopped on I-84 after police used stop sticks
to deflate the vehicle's tires.
the Camry stopped, Pia saw the driver immediately exit the
vehicle and flee the scene on foot. He also saw a passenger,
Sampson, in the vehicle. Pia approached the passenger side of
the Camry to detain the passenger. Pia saw Sampson make
hurried, reaching motions toward the driver's side of the
vehicle. Pia opened the passenger door and gave Sampson a
verbal command to exit the vehicle. At the time he opened the
door, Sampson was reaching down and moving in the passenger
seat. Pia grabbed Sampson's shirt. Sampson then kicked
Pia in the forearm, causing Pia some pain. Pia struck Sampson
once in the mid-forehead area with his firearm. Sampson
placed both hands in front of his face and Pia was able to
pull Sampson out of the vehicle by pulling his shirt or belt.
being removed from the vehicle, Sampson was placed face down
on the ground. While on the ground, Sampson covered his face
with both hands. Sampson heard the police give him verbal
commands to put his hands behind his back, but he stalled and
did not comply for about a minute. Sampson then put his hands
behind his back. He was handcuffed, helped to a standing
position, escorted to a police cruiser and seated inside. Pia
did not put the handcuffs on Sampson. Following his arrest,
Sampson was taken to St. Francis Hospital where the
laceration to his forehead was treated.
10, 2012, Sampson was arrested and charged with one count of
interfering with an officer, one count of assault on a police
officer, and one count of assault in the third degree. The
following day, Sampson was arraigned and appointed a public
defender. Sampson failed to appear on May 29, 2013, and a
warrant was issued for his rearrest. On January 7, 2014,
Sampson was rearrested on all charges as well as a charge for
failure to appear.
November 2014, the State filed a substitute information
charging Sampson with one count of assault on a police
officer and one count of interfering with a police officer,
both charges involving Pia. Following a jury trial in
December 2014, Sampson was found not guilty on the charge of
assault on a police officer but guilty on the lesser included
charge of interfering with a police officer. Sampson was
sentenced to a term of imprisonment of one year.
Sampson's appeal of the conviction remains pending.
defendants move for summary judgment on all claims.