United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING RE: MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC NOS. 22
C. HALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, Octavious Williams (“Williams”),
currently incarcerated at Cheshire Correctional Institution
in Cheshire, Connecticut, commenced this action by Complaint
filed pro se in state court. See generally
Compl. (Doc. No. 35-1). Defendant Ryan Cubells
(“Cubells”) removed the case to federal district
court. See Notice of Removal (Doc. No. 1). The
defendants are the City of Waterbury (“the
City”), Cubells, Martin Scanlon
(“Scanlon”), Robert Raad (“Raad”),
Waterbury Police Officers Ocasio (“Ocasio”) and
Marano (“Marano”), Waterbury Police Sergeants J.
Knapp (“Knapp”) and Napiello
(“Napiello”), Waterbury Police Lieutenant
Cappozzi (“Cappozzi”), and Waterbury Police
Detective Brownell (“Brownell”).
Motions for Summary Judgment are currently pending before the
court: one filed by defendant Cubells (Doc. No. 22), and the
other filed by all other defendants (“group
defendants”) (Doc. No. 23). Williams, proceeding
pro se, opposes both pending Motions with a document
styled “Pro se litigant opposing motion for summary
judgment in requirement of Local Rule 56(b)” and
referred to herein as “Plaintiff's Response.”
See Plaintiff's Response (“Pl.'s
Response”) (Doc. No. 28).
reasons that follow, the defendants' Motions for Summary
Judgment (Doc. Nos. 22 & 23) are granted as to Counts One
through Eight and Thirteen. Counts Nine through Twelve will
proceed against defendant Raad.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion for summary judgment, the burden is on the moving
party to establish that there are no genuine issues of
material fact in dispute and that the party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986); Wright v.
N.Y. State Dep't of Corr., 831 F.3d 64, 71-72 (2d
Cir. 2016). Once the moving party has met its burden, in
order to defeat the motion, the nonmoving party “must
set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial, ” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256,
and present “such proof as would allow a reasonable
juror to return a verdict in [its] favor, ” Graham
v. Long Island R.R., 230 F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2000).
“An issue of fact is genuine and material if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Cross Commerce
Media, Inc. v. Collective, Inc., 841 F.3d 155, 162 (2d
assessing the record to determine whether there are disputed
issues of material fact, the trial court must “resolve
all ambiguities and draw all inferences in favor of the party
against whom summary judgment is sought.” LaFond v.
Gen. Physics Servs. Corp., 50 F.3d 165, 175 (2d Cir.
1995). “Where it is clear that no rational finder of
fact ‘could find in favor of the nonmoving party
because the evidence to support its case is so slight, '
summary judgment should be granted.” F.D.I.C. v.
Great Am. Ins. Co., 607 F.3d 288, 292 (2d Cir. 2010)
(quoting Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs.,
Ltd. P'ship, 22 F.3d 1219, 1224 (2d Cir. 1994)).
On the other hand, where “reasonable minds could differ
as to the import of the evidence, ” the question must
be left to the finder of fact. Cortes v. MTA N.Y. City
Transit, 802 F.3d 226, 230 (2d Cir. 2015) (quoting
R.B. Ventures, Ltd. v. Shane, 112 F.3d 54, 59 (2d
time of the events in question, December 7, 2013, Williams
was a resident of Waterbury, Connecticut. See Group
Defendants' Local Rule 56(a)(1) Statement of Facts
(“Group Statement of Facts”) (Doc. No. 23-2) at
¶ 1. Cubells, Scanlon, Raad, Marano, and
Ocasio were employed as Waterbury police
officers; Knapp and Brownell as Waterbury police detectives;
and Cappozzi and Napiello as Waterbury police sergeants.
Id. at ¶¶ 2-10.
December 7, 2013, Ocasio and Marano were dispatched to
investigate an armed home invasion on Coe Street in
Waterbury. Id. at ¶¶ 11, 47. After
interviewing three victims, they broadcast a description of
three men who were wanted as suspects in connection with the
home invasion. Id. at ¶¶ 11, 48-49. The
broadcast indicated that two of the suspects were driving a
BMW with out-of-state license plates and that the third had
fled in a dark-colored Jeep Grand Cherokee with partial
license plate number ZPS. Id. at ¶ 13.
approximately 7:45 p.m., Cubells and Scanlon were patrolling
in the area of Ridgewood Street when they saw a black BMW
with New York license plate GJB4242 and a black Jeep Grand
Cherokee with Connecticut license plate 996ZPS parked on
Ridgewood Street. Id. at ¶ 14. Both vehicles
were unoccupied. Id. Cubells and Scanlon parked
their police cruiser out of sight and moved to a position
where they could see anyone entering the vehicles.
Id. at ¶ 15. Knapp assigned several police
units around the area to intercept the vehicles if they
attempted to leave. Id. at ¶ 17. Ocasio and
Marano were two of the officers assigned to establish the
perimeter. Id. at ¶¶ 50-51.
approximately 8:35 p.m., two men entered the vehicles and
prepared to drive away. Affidavit of Ryan Cubells (Doc. No.
22-4) at ¶ 10. Edward Blancaneauex
(“Blancaneauex”) was in the BMW which fled toward
Hillside Avenue. Williams was in the Jeep which fled toward
Central Avenue. Group Defendants' Statement of Facts at
¶ 16. Cubells and Scanlon ordered Blancaneauex to stop
and get out of the vehicle. Id. at ¶ 18. He did
not comply with the order. Id. at ¶ 19.
Instead, Blancaneauex drove the BMW toward Cubells and
Scanlon, grazing Cubells and causing him to suffer an injury
to his left leg. Id. at ¶ 20-21. Scanlon
discharged three rounds at the BMW, hitting the car but not
the driver. Id. at ¶ 23-24. Scanlon did not
fire at the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Id. Cubells
notified the police of the direction taken by the fleeing
vehicles. Id. at ¶ 28. Scanlon advised dispatch
that Cubells had been injured by the BMW. Id. at
¶ 29. A use of force investigation following this
incident confirmed that Scanlon had discharged three rounds
from his revolver into the BMW and that Cubells had not fired
his service weapon on December 7, 2013. Id. at
hearing that shots had been fired, Knapp went to Ridgewood
Street to secure the scene. Id. at ¶ 30. Knapp
then drove Cubells from the scene to St. Mary's Hospital.
Id. at ¶ 31.
officers, including Ocasio, Marano, and Raad, pursued
Williams as he drove away from the Ridgewood Street location
until he crashed into a parked and unoccupied car and two
police cruisers on Central Avenue in Waterbury. Id.
at ¶¶ 32, 52. At that point, Ocasio and Marano left
their police cruiser to determine whether there were any
passengers in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Id. at
¶¶ 52-53. They determined that there were no
passengers. Id. at ¶ 52. By this time there
were many other officers on the scene.
approached the driver's side of the Jeep Grand Cherokee
as Williams exited the vehicle. Id. at ¶ 74.
Raad ordered Williams to get on the ground but Williams
refused. Id. at ¶ 75. After several refusals,
Raad brought Williams to the ground by kicking him in the
shin and sweeping his legs. Id. Once Williams was on
the ground, Raad repeatedly ordered him to show his hands.
Id. at ¶ 76. Williams refused, and began
tucking his hands under his waist while he was lying on the
ground. Id. Raad struck Williams on the left side of
his face and the side of his body. Id. Eventually,
Williams moved his hands so that they were visible.
Id. at 78. Raad then placed Williams under arrest,
and Williams was taken to St. Mary's Hospital for his
injuries. Id. Following the incident, Raad completed
a Case Supplement Report and Response to Resistance Form.
Id. at ¶ 80.
Knapp, Scanlon, Napiello, Cappozzi, and Brownell were not
present on Central Avenue when Williams was
apprehended. Id. at ¶ 34. Brownell was
assigned to assist in the investigation of, and obtain
witness statements regarding, the incidents in which Williams
and Blancaneauex were suspects. Id. at ¶ 62. He
did not receive this assignment until after Blancaneauex and
Williams had been arrested. Id. at ¶ 63.
prepared a report of the incident, after which the
investigation was transferred to Napiello who completed a
supplementary report which includes reports of Raad, Ocasio
and Officer Tiso. Id. at ¶ 66. After the report
was completed, Cappozzi, Napiello's supervisor, reviewed
and approved the report. Id. at ¶ 67. Cappozzi
was present at Central Avenue but did not arrive there until
after Williams had been arrested, handcuffed, and placed in
the back of a police cruiser. Id. at ¶ 69.
a police officer uses force, the circumstances regarding the
use of force are reviewed by the officer's supervisors
through the chain of command up to the Chief of Police.
Id. at ¶¶ 83-85. In addition, the Internal
Affairs Division investigates citizen complaints against
police officers. Id. at ¶ 86. Officers receive
in-service and roll call training. Id. at ¶
107. All police officers are subject to supervision to ensure
policies and procedures are followed. Id. at ¶
105. All incidents are reviewed by supervisors or the
Internal Affairs Division. Id. at ¶¶
91-93. Discipline is imposed when required. Id. at
¶ 103-04, 108-12.
defendants have received training in the use of force, search
and seizure, and probable cause for arrest at the Police
Academy and as part of their recertification process after
graduating from the Police Academy. Id. at ¶
120. Prior to December 7, 2013, the Waterbury Police
Department was not aware that any defendant had a propensity
to use excessive force in exercising his official duties or
to violate departmental rules and policies or the
constitutional rights of any person. Id. at
¶¶ 133- 34.
Complaint alleges thirteen counts against one or more of the
defendants. See generally Compl. (Doc. No. 35-1).
Counts Ones through Four, against all defendants, are based
on Williams's assertions that he was falsely arrested and
imprisoned. See Compl. at 4-5. Specifically, Count
One alleges false imprisonment pursuant to the Fourth
Amendment; Count Two alleges common law false arrest; Count
Three alleges common law false imprisonment; and Count Four
alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress
(“IIED”) resulting from Williams's false
arrest and / or imprisonment. Id.
Five through Eight are alleged against Scanlon and Cubells,
and arise from Williams's allegations that Cubells fired
shots at Williams's vehicle. Id. at 5-6. Count
Five alleges Fourth Amendment excessive force; Count Six
alleges common law assault; Count Seven alleges common law
battery; and ...