United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
DALTON JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Timothy Allen Davis, Sr.'s remaining claim concerns a
chief evil: the unlawful search of his home in the aftermath
of Mr. Davis fatally shooting his son. The pressing
question for the Court is whether Defendant City of Apopka
(“City”) can be liable for this
chief evil based on its Chief of Police's involvement in
the search. Both parties moved for summary judgment. (Doc.
203 (“City Motion”); Doc. 205
(“Davis Motion”).) Each side
responded and replied. (Docs. 212, 218, 224, 225.) On review,
the Davis Motion is due to be granted and the City Motion
dusk on October 1, 2011, a domestic dispute culminated in Mr.
Davis shooting his son, who died as a result. (See
Doc. 205-4, p. 3.) Apopka Police Department
(“APD”) officers, including
Chief of Police Robert Manley, III,  were dispatched to the
scene. (Doc. 205-2, ¶ 4; Doc. 205-3; Doc. 205-11, p.
9:6-16.) Officers Rafael Baez and Mark Creaser
were first to respond, arriving minutes after the shooting,
around 6:24 p.m. (Doc. 205-3; Doc. 205-4, pp. 3, 5; Doc.
206-5, p. 28:10-12.) Officer Baez noticed Mr. Davis's son
bleeding from the chest and Mr. Davis on top of him trying to
talk to him. (Doc. 205-4, p. 3.) Several neighbors gathered
nearby. (Id. at 3, 5.) Officer Creaser immediately
detained Mr. Davis and retrieved a handgun from his front
Manley arrived around 6:30 p.m., at which point paramedics
had arrived and were tending to Mr. Davis's son. (Doc.
205-3, p. 4; Doc. 205-11, pp. 10:19-11:12, 13:9- 12.) Mr.
Davis was in handcuffs, complaining of knee pain, so Chief
Manley instructed the officers to take Mr. Davis into the
garage and allow him to sit down. (Doc. 205-2, ¶ 5; Doc.
205-7, pp. 18:23-19:5; Doc. 205-8, p. 26:2-9; Doc. 205-11, p.
14:1-15; Doc. 206-5, pp. 29:3-10, 20-24.) Mr. Davis refused
to sit and continued to complain of pain, so Chief Manley
called another ambulance to attend to Mr. Davis's
injuries. (Doc. 205-7, p. 19:7- 16; Doc. 205-11, p. 14:17-22;
Doc. 206-5, pp. 29:20-30:6.) Mr. Davis went to a local
hospital while his son, daughter, and wife went to a
different hospital-no family members remained on
scene. (Doc. 205-2, ¶¶ 6-7; Doc. 205-4,
pp. 3, 5; Doc. 205-8, p. 33:16-18.) Chief Manley called
Deputy Chief Donald Heston to the scene and told him to make
sure APD does its best work. (Doc. 205-10, pp. 4:2-15,
5:25-15, 8:13-23; Doc. 205-11, pp. 25:5- 14, 46:20-47:2,
52:2-9.) This all happened within 15 to 30 minutes of
officers arriving on scene. (Doc. 205-8, p. 26:19-20; Doc.
206-5, p. 33:3-7.) Chief Manley left shortly after Mr. Davis
and his family,  leaving Deputy Chief Heston as the
highest-ranking officer on scene. (Doc. 205-8, p. 33:13-15;
Doc. 205-11, pp. 16:20-22; 17:21-25, 25:5-8, 46:20-47:2,
issue is what followed during the Davis family's absence.
Here's the story as told by those on scene: Detective
Ruben Torres, the lead detective in charge of the
investigation, arrived and remained throughout the night,
departing only to take written statements from witnesses and
canvass the neighborhood. (Doc. 205-4; Doc. 205-5, pp.
16:25-17:1; Doc. 205-6, pp. 60:11-22, 64:18-21; Doc. 214-11,
p. 5:2-12, 22-24.) Detective Matthew Reinhardt arrived around
7:15 p.m., noticed officers in front of the garage, spoke to
Detective Torres, read the witness statements, and left
shortly after to prepare a search warrant and affidavit for
permission to search the home. (Doc. 205-5, pp. 15:22- 24,
16:2-17:6, 18:2-7.) Captain Jerome Miller and Lieutenant
David Call also arrived around this time. (Doc. 206-3, pp.
4:14-6:19, 9:15-11:22; Doc. 214-4, p. 4:22-24.)
Detective Reinhardt was away working on the search warrant,
on-call Crime Scene Technician
(“CST”) Nichole Dunn arrived
around 7:21 p.m. and noticed other APD officers in the
driveway and garage-the garage door was open. (Doc. 205-2,
¶ 9; Doc. 205-3, p. 4; Doc. 205-5, pp. 28:20-29:5; Doc.
206-4, pp. 5:23-6:2.) According to CST Dunn, a group of
detectives formulated the plan for processing the scene and
investigating. (Doc. 206-4, pp. 27:18-28:1; Doc. 214-1, p.
31:6-12.) During this meeting, a higher ranking official
ordered her to enter Mr. Davis's garage to take
photographs and process the area of the altercation between
Mr. Davis and his son, but she doesn't recall
(Doc. 205-2, ¶ 27; Doc. 205-5, p. 33:2-7; Doc. 206-4, p.
27:18-24.) Her photos reveal she complied, taking pictures
inside Mr. Davis's garage as early as 7:45 p.m. (Doc.
205-2, ¶¶ 11-12; Doc. 205-5, pp. 29:6-22,
30:22-31:15; Docs. 205-13-205-15; Doc. 206-4, p. 11:11- 13.)
After taking pictures, she searched for evidence in the
garage, put down markers for processing, and took more
photographs. (Doc. 205-5, pp. 31:20-23, 32:2-18, 37:2-38:7;
Docs. 205-14-205-16; Doc. 206-4, pp. 13:1-13, 24:11-15.)
After this, a higher ranking official instructed CST Dunn to
go inside the house to photograph, which she says she did
alone around 9:00 p.m. (Doc. 205-2, ¶¶ 11-12; Doc.
205-5, pp. 38:8-10, 40:19-41:13; Doc. 205-16; Doc. 206-4, pp.
Dunn wasn't the only person to enter Mr. Davis's
garage and house. While CST Dunn was processing the scene,
APD officers-including some of the highest-ranking ones-went
into the garage, house, or both. (Doc. 205-3; Doc. 205-4, p.
14; Doc. 205-18.) CST Dunn says other officers searched with
her for evidence in the garage, including shell casings,
bullets, and blood droplets. (Doc. 205-5, pp. 33:17-19,
34:18-25, 35:22-24.) And both Deputy Chief Heston and Captain
Miller admit to going into the house and the garage. (Doc.
205-10, pp. 9:8-11; Doc. 206-3, pp. 11:5-22, 13:1-13.) Deputy
Chief Heston recalls going into the house to look at a door
jam and going into the garage to see what evidence was there;
Captain Miller recalls going into the garage and upstairs.
(Doc. 205-10, pp. 10:15-19, 13:10-21; Doc. 206-3, pp.
Manley returned to the scene around 9:00 p.m. for an update
and to see if anyone needed anything. (Doc. 205-11, pp.
18:18-23, 21:23-24.) During this trip to the scene, he talked
to Captain Fernandez, Captain Miller, Lieutenant Call, and
Deputy Chief Heston. (Doc. 205-7, pp. 22:25-23:5.) Despite
this, he says he never asked whether there was a warrant and
didn't know whether one had been obtained. (Doc. 205-11,
pp. 19:9- 11, 40:11-16.) He also claims he never went into
the garage or house or saw other officers enter. (Doc.
205-11, pp. 17:3-9, 19:4.) Chief Manley says he was only
there for around 20 minutes. (Doc. 205-7, pp. 22:25-23:5;
Doc. 205-11, p. 33:12-14.) And he insists he never instructed
any officer or CST to search Mr. Davis's home before the
execution of the search warrant. (Doc. 205-11, pp.
this happened before 9:45 p.m., when Detective Reinhardt
arrived at Judge Alice Blackwell's residence with the
search warrant and affidavit. (Doc. 205-2, ¶¶
18-19; Doc. 205-4, p. 6; Doc. 205-5, p. 10:10-21; Doc.
206-7.) After briefly reviewing the affidavit, Judge
Blackwell signed the search warrant a little before 10 p.m.,
at which point Detective Reinhardt called Lieutenant Call to
alert him. (Doc. 205-2, ¶¶ 20-21; Doc. 205-5, pp.
12:17- 20, 19:22-25; Doc. 206-6, pp. 1-2.) Detective
Reinhardt returned to the scene with the warrant around 10:45
p.m. (Doc. 205-5, p. 13:14-17.) CST Dunn, Lieutenant Call,
and Detective Torres then walked through Mr. Davis's
home, and CST Dunn took more photographs of evidence found
during this search. (Doc. 205-5, pp. 21:6-12, 42:6-11,
48:20-22; Doc. 205-6, pp. 76:21-77:3; Doc. 206-4, p.
24:21-25; Doc. 214-11, pp. 10:9-13:24.)
those involved aren't the only storytellers from that
night: Mr. Davis's surveillance cameras draw portions of
Chief Manley's version into question. From one angle,
showing the driveway from near the front of the garage down
to the street, Chief Manley arrives shortly after the
shooting and is later seen with Mr. Davis and other officers
moving out of view as they head toward the garage. (Doc.
205-17, 18:24-35 (Cam. 4).) Chief Manley reappears on camera from
that direction as Mr. Davis leaves, and he chats awhile with
Mr. Davis's wife and other officers. (Id. at
18:39-55 (Cam. 4).) Chief Manley walks out of the
camera's view around 6:55 pm. (Id. at 18:55
(Cam. 4).) In his absence, other officers and CST Dunn
appear; some talk near the street before dispersing.
(Id. at 18:56-19:30 (Cam. 4).) CST Dunn periodically
heads toward the garage and leaves the camera's view
before returning to view, rinse and repeat and sometimes
carrying something. (Id. at 19:31-20:57 (Cam. 4).)
Other officers do the same-all possibly entering and leaving
the garage. (Id. (Cam. 4).) From another camera
angle, showing Mr. Davis's front doors and a glimpse
inside his foyer through them, an officer walks into Mr.
Davis's front door briefly before exiting. (Id.
at 19:17-18 (Cam. 2).) CST Dunn and unidentifiable
silhouettes of other officers later walk by inside the house.
(Id. at 19:31-20:57 (Cam. 2).) Camera flashes and
flashlights sporadically illuminate the frame. (Id.
the driveway angle, Chief Manley briefly appears from the
direction of the garage following behind Deputy Chief Heston
at 9:02 p.m.-his exact time and place of arrival on scene
weren't captured. (Id. at 21:02 (Cam. 4).) Around
this time, other officers and CST Dunn come and go in the
driveway toward and away from the garage as before.
(Id. at 21:02-22:00 (Cam. 4).) From the front door
angle, officers continue to occasionally walk by the front
door from inside the house. (Id. at 21:02-39 (Cam.
2).) In the final relevant scene, officers gather to talk in
the driveway and street until the search warrant is
signed-Chief Manley may be amongst them, at least for some
time. (Id. at 21:02-22:00 (Cam. 4).) But the
darkness and poor video quality obscure most of Chief
Manley's return visit and ultimate
departure. (Id. (Cam. 4).)
in part on what the surveillance footage showed of that
night, Mr. Davis sued the City, Chief Manley, officers,
detectives, and the CST involved for various claims under
state law and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, including false arrest
and unreasonable search and seizure. (See Docs. 1,
122.) After multiple rounds of pleading, settlement with the
individuals, and an appeal, all that remains is Mr.
Davis's unlawful search claim against the City under
§ 1983. (see Docs. 1, 3, 38, 114, 122, 133,
162, 164, 171, 172, 193); see also Davis v. City of
Apopka, 734 Fed.Appx. 616 (11th Cir. 2018).
Davis and the City both move for summary judgment, mainly
contesting whether the City can be liable for the unlawful
search of the home. (See Docs. 203, 205.) With
briefing complete (see Docs. 212, 218, 224, 225),
the matter is ripe.
judgment is appropriate only if the movant shows there is
“no genuine dispute as to any material fact and [it] is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). On issues for which the movant has the burden at
trial, it must show the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact and support its motion with credible evidence
demonstrating that no reasonable jury could find for the
nonmoving party on the essential elements. Fitzpatrick v.
City of Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1115 (11th Cir. 1993)
(citing United States v. Four Parcels of Real Prop. in
Green & Tuscaloosa Ctys., 941 F.2d 1428,
1438 (11th Cir. 1991)).
issues for which the nonmovant would bear the burden of
proof, the movant has two options: (1) it may simply point
out a lack of evidence to support the nonmoving party's
case; or (2) it may provide “affirmative evidence
demonstrating that the nonmoving party will be unable to
prove its case at trial.” Four Parcels, 941
F.2d at 1438 (citing Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at
331). “The burden then shifts to the non-moving party,
who must go beyond the pleadings, and present affirmative
evidence to show that a genuine issue of material fact
exists.” Porter v. Ray, 461 F.3d 1315, 1320
(11th Cir. 2006) (citing Fitzpatrick, 2 F.3d at
factual dispute is genuine ‘if the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.'” Four Parcels, 941 F.2d
at 1437 (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A court must view the evidence and
all reasonable inferences drawn from the evidence in the
light most favorable to the nonmovant, Battle v. Bd. of
Regents, 468 F.3d 755, 759 (11th Cir. 2006), so that
“when conflicts arise between the facts evidenced by
the parties, [the court] credit[s] the nonmoving party's
version.” Evans v. Stephens, 407 F.3d
1272, 1278 (11th Cir. 2005). Yet “[the] court need not
permit a case to go to a jury . . . when the inferences that
are drawn from the evidence, and upon which the non-movant
relies, are ‘implausible.'” Mize v.
Jefferson City Bd. of Educ., 93 F.3d 739, 743 (11th Cir.
1996) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 592-94 (1986)). “When
opposing parties tell two ...