United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
M. Parker, United States Magistrate Judge
Garfield Heights police officer injured Plaintiff
De'Angelo Wiggins in the process of arresting him for
failing to comply with a request to leave private property.
Wiggins claims that the officer, Patrolman David DuPont,
used excessive force. Wiggins asserts a Monell claim
against the City of Garfield Heights for failing to train,
supervise or discipline its officers and for adopting a
custom or policy of indifference to unconstitutional conduct,
which ultimately caused his injury. Because Wiggins has not
identified any genuinely disputed issues of material fact and
because the City of Garfield Heights is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law on plaintiff's claims, the court must
GRANT the City's motion for summary judgment.
Statement of Facts
Alleged Violation of Wiggins's Constitutional
undisputed Rule 56 evidence reveals that St. John Lutheran
Church in Garfield Heights ran a youth basketball program on
Tuesday and Thursday nights in 2016. ECF Doc. 19-1, p. 10.
Wiggins went to the church on December 20, 2016 with his
friends Jaylon Thomas, Hilton Peck, and Adolph Jackson. ECF
Doc. 19-1, p. 15. Because Wiggins decided he didn't want
to play basketball, a supervisor asked him to leave.
Id. Wiggins, Peck and Thomas asked if they could sit
in Jackson's car in the parking lot while he played
basketball. Id. Jackson gave them the keys to his
car where they sat with the engine off in the church parking
lot. ECF Doc. 19-1, p. 15-16.
Dutton, the person in charge of open gym, called the police
and complained that Wiggins, Peck and Thomas were not
supposed to be on the property because she had asked them to
leave. She feared a fight might occur. ECF Doc. 20-1, Page
ID# 247. Officer DuPont heard the dispatch call and responded
to the scene. While driving to the church, DuPont heard
another officer's radio report that Wiggins had
previously fought with police and could be “highly
disorderly.” ECF Doc. 20-1, Page ID# 242.
arrival, Officer DuPont went inside and talked to Ms. Dutton.
ECF Doc. 20-1, Page ID# 247. She was adamant that she wanted
the young men to leave the property. Id. According
to Wiggins, Officer DuPont said approached Jackson's car
and tapped on the window with a flashlight. ECF 19-1, p. 21.
DuPont asked them to roll down the window but the car was
off. ECF Doc. 20-1, Page ID# 246. Wiggins testified that he
opened the door; DuPont says he was the one who did so. ECF
19-1, p. 21; ECF Doc. 20-1, Page ID# 247.
admitted Officer DuPont told the young men that they needed
to leave the property. Wiggins testified that he responded by
stating that Ms. Dutton had told them they could sit in the
car. ECF 19-1, p. 22. Wiggins admitted Officer DuPont told
them they would be arrested if they didn't leave. ECF
19-1, p. 23. Wiggins denied telling DuPont that he
wouldn't leave. Id. He claims that he said,
“I'm not going anywhere” and then got out of
the car. Id. DuPont claims that Wiggins was very
angry; and he asserts Wiggins said that he had every right to
be there, and was going to go in there (the church), and he
wasn't going anywhere. ECF Doc. 20-1, Page ID# 248-249.
claims that when he got out of the car he took a step and
DuPont immediately took him to the ground. ECF 19-1, p. 25.
Wiggins explains that he was facing the car with his back to
DuPont, “trying to slip out the door.” ECF 19-1,
p. 48-49. According to Wiggins, DuPont grabbed his left
shoulder from behind with DuPont's left hand and pulled
him down. Id. DuPont was holding his flash light in
his right hand. ECF Doc. 19-1, p. 51. Wiggins hit the ground
on his chest and stomach. His head didn't hit the ground.
ECF 19-1, p. 50. DuPont remained in a standing position
during the incident. ECF 19-1, p. 52. He pulled Wiggins's
arms behind his back and placed him in handcuffs. ECF 19-1,
p. 50. Wiggins did not see Officer Tatulinski until he stood
up. ECF 19-1, p. 52.
recalls the incident differently. He claims that the two
collided when Wiggins jumped out of the car and that both of
them went to the ground. ECF Doc. 20-1, Page ID# 249. There
was ice around the car. ECF 19-1, p. 20. After they fell,
Officer DuPont was worried about protecting himself from
attack. So he struggled with Wiggins to handcuff him. ECF
Doc. 20-1, Page ID# 251.
the incident, Wiggins's head was injured. Wiggins does
not state how his head was injured. But he has submitted an
unsworn statement from Jaylen Thomas, stating “the
officer slammed [De'Angelo] then hit him with the
flashlight in the face and kicked him a little bit.”
ECF Doc. 18-8, Page ID#131. The court cannot consider this
statement because defendants have objected to it as an
unsworn statement that would not be admissible in evidence.
Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 56(c)(2); Harris v. J.B. Robinson
Jewelers, 627 F.3d 235, 239 n.1 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Dole v. Elliott Travel & Tours, Inc., 942 F.2d
962, 968-69 (6th Cir. 1991)).
DuPont was not sure how Wiggins was injured, but he denies
intentionally hitting him in the head with his flashlight.
ECF Doc. 20-1, Page ID# 256. DuPont's report stated that
there was “unintended contact” with Wiggins's
head and the flashlight. Id. DuPont thinks that the
flashlight may have hit Wiggins in the head when he jumped
out of the car. ECF Doc. 20-1, Page ID# 257.
the incident, DuPont asked Wiggins if he wanted EMS to be
called. Wiggins told him that he didn't want EMS because
he didn't want a ticket. An EMS unit did come to the
scene, however. Paramedics looked at Wiggins's head but
didn't provide any treatment. ECF 19-1, p. 28. Officer
DuPont gave Wiggins a citation for trespassing. ECF 19-1, p.
29. Wiggins then went to the emergency room where he got
three stitches. Wiggins took one ibuprofen per day for about