United States District Court, S.D. Florida
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
BLOOM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court following a bench trial
that took place on May 28, 2019. The parties submitted their
closing arguments and proposed findings of fact and
conclusions of law following the filing of the trial
transcript. See ECF No.  (Plaintiff's
Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law); ECF No.
 (Defendants' Closing Argument and Proposed Findings
of Fact and Conclusions of Law). The Court has carefully
considered the testimony and other evidence presented at
trial, the applicable law, and the parties' submissions.
Set forth below are the Court's relevant findings of fact
and conclusions of law.
case arises as a result of an encounter between Plaintiff
Gary Lucas (“Lucas”) and Defendants, City of
Hollywood Police Officers Archer (“Archer”),
Cabezas (“Cabezas”), and Sinnes
(“Sinnes”) in 2017. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit
on June 28, 2017, alleging that Defendants used excessive
force against him during the course of his arrest,
specifically after he was handcuffed. As a result, he
sustained physical injuries and pain and suffering. Lucas
asserts a claim against Defendants under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for violation of his Fourth Amendment rights.
FINDINGS OF FACT
The parties involved
Lucas was born and raised in Hollywood, Florida. He suffers
from schizophrenia and depression. He has at least one prior
felony conviction within the last ten years. Lucas was
married in 2002. He has been a widower since 2014, after his
wife died of congenital heart failure. Before becoming
disabled in 2008, he worked in various industries, including
construction and fast food, and he had his own business at
Andrew Archer was hired as a police officer in the Hollywood
Police Department in July of 2013. He is assigned to the
Neighborhood Team Unit and tasked with being a liaison
between the community and police department.
Rolando Cabezas is a member of a Community Oriented Policing
Unit, in which he also acts as a liaison between the
community and police department. He is specifically tasked
with integrating himself within the community, addressing
complaints from the community, and identifying and devising
responses to specific problems. Cabezas has been a police
officer for just over five years.
Michael Sinnes has been a Hollywood police officer for seven
years and is currently in the Neighborhood Services Division.
His duties include dealing with chronic and specific problems
of the residents of the east side of Hollywood, and he too
acts as a liaison between the community and the police
day of Lucas's arrest, Archer, Cabezas, and Sinnes were
members of the same unit.
Events leading to Lucas's arrest
19, 2017, Lucas was living with his sister, Carmella Gardner
(“Gardner”), at 2239 Forrest Street. At the time,
Lucas was aware that there could be an active warrant for his
arrest because he had missed a previous court hearing on
March 2, 2017. Archer knew that Lucas had outstanding
warrants, as Archer and Lucas had had previous encounters.
Archer had ticketed Lucas multiple times for parking his car
in an alleyway behind his previous residence. During their
previous encounters, Lucas would come out of his residence
and video record Archer ticketing his vehicle.
morning of May 19, 2017, Lucas testified that he was outside
his sister's house cleaning his bicycle. Officers Cabezas
and Archer testified that Lucas was walking his bicycle on
Forrest Street. The Officers were riding together that day in
a Tahoe police vehicle to patrol their assigned area, which
included Forrest Street. As they approached 2239 Forrest
Street, Archer, who was driving, pointed out Lucas and told
Cabezas that he had outstanding active warrants. Cabezas
decided to exit the vehicle with the intention of
apprehending Lucas. When Lucas realized that the Tahoe was
approaching and saw Cabezas exiting, he turned and ran
through the front gate and into his sister's house.
Cabezas followed Lucas to the front door of the house, which
had not closed behind him. Upon seeing three black males
inside the house and a large aggressive dog, Cabezas decided
not to follow Lucas in the house. Cabezas shut the door to
the house and ...