A man moved for an order requiring his opponents to produce for an in camera inspection of employment and civilian complaint review board records for two police officers. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the opponent’s city opposes the motion and moves for an order to dismiss the complaint against it.
It started in a complaint report prepared by a police officer involving the man’s mother who stated that the man got upset and broke her cell phone when she presented him with a P.I.N.S. warrant. The man’s brother also stated that the man smacked/slapped his mother in the face with a notebook. No injuries were reported, nor arrests made but a domestic incident report was prepared. The police officer classified the incident as harassment.
Two hours after the incident, the mother was signed and swore to the incident report, on which the notation no offense was scratched out and replaced with harassment as offense description.
On the evening of the same day, another police officer came and arrested the man for criminal mischief with intent to damage property and harassment. The police officer prepared an arrest report which reflects the man did damage/destroy his mother’s cell phone causing annoyance and alarm to his mother. Consequently, in court the complaint signed by the officer, the man was charged with criminal mischief and harassment. The complaint was based on his mother’s report that the man had yelled and screamed at her, grabbed her cell phone, twisted it, and broke it.
The man initiated an action against the police officers, asserting claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution, violation of his constitutional rights, and negligent hiring, training, and supervision of the arresting officers.
The police assert that they had responded previously to other complaints involving the man’s family. Formerly, the mother reported that his other son became angry and started throwing and destroying property in their apartment. However, a New York Criminal Lawyer reported that his son was not arrested. After a month, the mother alleged that his son came home late and threw a fit when she refused to give him money. However, the responding police officer found that no offense was committed. After several days, the mother again reported that she and her son had an argument and again, the son was not arrested as no offense was committed. Consequently, several other complaints had been reported.
At the trial, the man testified that when police officers first came to the apartment on the morning of his arrest, they told him and his brother to call their father to pick them up in order to give everyone time to calm down and return to the apartment. In the evening, he was sitting in the lobby when two officers approached him and told him to come with them to his mother’s apartment as they were going to arrest him, spoke to his mother, and expressed their intent to arrest him. The man walked toward his mother and the officers grasped him and shoved him to the ground. He later learned that his mother never told the officers to arrest him, and recognized the two officers from their prior home visits.
The arresting police officer testified that at the time of the incident, she was employed as a domestic violence officer. They were required to conduct home visits, effect arrests, and follow up on domestic incident reports. The officer visited the man’s home to follow up on the domestic incident report signed by the man’s mother and on the police officer’s complaint report. During the visit, the mother told the police officer that his son had broken her cell phone and showed her the broken phone. Further, the arresting officer also asserts that the man tried to leave the apartment and together with another officer, they restrained the man. The officer also testified that the man was arrested because of the broken cell phone and the family’s domestic violence history, at mother’s request.
It is certain that the man’s arrest was not made pursuant to a warrant and that the charges against the man were dismissed before trial. The city argues that the man’s arrest was based on probable cause of the incident report, signed and sworn to by the mother. It also contends that the negligent hiring, supervision, and retention claims must be dismissed against the officer because they were acting within the scope of their job.
The man argues that there is a triable issue as to whether his arrest was based on revenge or familiarity with the family’s domestic violence history rather than on probable cause. He further contends that relevant discovery remains outstanding, including the police officer’s employment records which are relevant to his negligent hiring, supervision and retention claims.
The city then argues that the man failed to disprove its showing that the officers had probable cause to arrest him and that the man is not entitled to the additional discovery. The city further contends that the man’s failure to plead and prove that his alleged injuries arose out of an official city custom or policy eliminate his constitutional claims.
Based on the record, probable cause arises when the arresting officer has reasonable or probable grounds for believing that the arrestee had committed an offense or it is in the grounds which would cause an ordinary and cautious person, under the situations, to believe the arrested person guilty. Generally, information from an identified citizen accusing another individual of committing a specific crime is enough to provide the police with probable cause to arrest. Dismissal of the criminal charge is some evidence of a lack of probable cause, but it is not dispositive, and the opponent’s motives, in good or bad faith, or malice or lack thereof are immaterial as to whether she had probable cause to arrest the man. Further, a person is guilty of criminal mischief when, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he or she has such right, he or she intentionally damages another person’s property. A person is guilty of harassment when he or she, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person, engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no legal purpose.
Moreover, the elements of a false arrest claim which includes that the opponent intended to confine the man, that the man was conscious of the confinement, that the man did not consented to the confinement, and the confinement was not otherwise privileged. A warrantless arrest gives rise to assumption that the arrest was unlawful, and thus the man establishes a claim of false arrest upon proof that his arrest was made without a warrant. In order to avoid liability for the arrest, the police officer must establish that he was legally justified to make the arrest based on evidence that at the time of the arrest, the arresting officer had probable cause to believe that the man had committed a crime.
The court decided that the man’s motion to compel the officer’s is denied. It is further ordered that the city’s cross-motion for an order granting a request for judgment without trial is granted and the complaint is dismissed against the city. The action is dismissed entirely.
There are times that we encounter misunderstanding towards other people that cause us or our family member trouble. If troubles resulted in unexpected violence, ask help from our New York Domestic Violence Attorneys. If a criminal suit is filed against you for drug possession, a theft charge or domestic violence, you may find a New York Criminal Attorney at Stephen Bilkis & Associates to give you the best defense in court.