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Richardson v. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 21, 2015

CRAIG JEREMY RICHARDSON, Plaintiff(s),
v.
LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendant(s).

ORDER

JAMES C. MAHAN, District Judge.

Presently before the court is defendant officer Jeremy Jacobitz's motion for summary judgment. (Doc. # 46). Pro se plaintiff Craig Jeremy Richardson filed a response (doc. # 48), and officer Jacobitz filed a reply (doc. # 51).

I. Background

This case stems from plaintiff's presence at a crime scene where individuals not involved in the instant action were arrested. (Doc. # 46 at 2). Plaintiff alleges that on September 4, 2012, officers Jacobitz and Anthony Kvam falsely arrested him while plaintiff was filming, "what [he] perceived to be police brutality." (Doc. # 1-1 at 4).

Plaintiff was outside of a smoke shop talking with an acquaintance when a concerned citizen flagged down officer Kvam to report numerous individuals who were causing some kind of a disturbance in the smoke shop. ( Id. at 3). Kvam reported the incident to dispatch and began investigating. ( Id. ). Jacobitz responded to Kvam's dispatch call and came to the smoke shop to assist. ( Id. ). The smoke shop is known to officers as a high crime area for gang-related activity including narcotics sales.

The suspects fled as Kvam attempted to take them into custody. ( Id. at 4). When Jacobitz arrived, he witnessed the suspects attempting to flee and helped Kvam to detain them. ( Id. ). Jacobitz recognized one of the individuals-Billy Ray Kelly-from a prior narcotics operation. ( Id. ). The officers found drugs on Kelly's person.

As officers Jacobitz and Kvam detained the suspects, plaintiff began recording the arrests. ( Id. ). One of the suspects looked at plaintiff and told him, "Keep on recording, sir." ( Id. ). It is unclear whether officer Jacobitz was aware that plaintiff was recording the arrests.

Defendants assert that the contact between plaintiff and the suspect who told him to keep recording, and Jacobitz's experience that Kelly used "lookouts" to facilitate his criminal activities caused Jacobitz to think that plaintiff was involved in the criminal activity. Jacobitz approached plaintiff and told him to put his hands behind his back, escorted him to the curb, and sat him down. ( Id. at 5).

Plaintiff protested his detention and began yelling and refused let the officers explain the reason for his detention. ( Id. ). Plaintiff then lay down on the ground and refused to move. It took numerous officers to move plaintiff safely into a patrol car.

While plaintiff yelled, another suspect attempted to flee the scene on Kelly's bike. Jacobitz asserts that he thought plaintiff was aiming to distract the officers with his yelling to allow this suspect to escape. ( Id. ). The officers stopped the suspect attempting to flee. ( Id. ).

While waiting in the patrol car, plaintiff became increasingly violent and agitated. Plaintiff continued to yell and kick inside the back of the patrol car. Officers restrained plaintiff with leg hobbles to minimize plaintiff's attempts to damage the patrol car. Plaintiff then used his head to break the rear passenger window of the patrol car.

The city of Las Vegas brought a criminal complaint against plaintiff for the misdemeanor offense of obstructing a public officer. (Doc. # 46-2 at 15). The municipal court held a trial on April 23, 2013, found plaintiff guilty of the charged misdemeanor, and sentenced him to ninety days in prison. (Doc. # 46-2 at 50).

Plaintiff filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis with the instant complaint on August 19, 2013. (Doc. # 1). On September 5, 2013, the magistrate judge screened plaintiff's complaint and prepared a report and recommendation. (Doc. # 3). On December 11, 2013, the court adopted the magistrate judge's report and recommendation. (Doc. # 7). The court filed plaintiff's complaint, which the court construed as accusing officers Jacobitz and Kvam of violating his First ...


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