United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND
DENNIS SAYLOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
an action arising out of the use of a police dog during an
arrest by Randolph police officers. Plaintiff Anthony Brown
was arrested after committing burglary. During the arrest,
Randolph K-9 unit officer Geoffrey Lucas commanded his police
dog, Rony, to bite Brown. Brown was eventually taken into
custody by other officers who arrived on the scene.
has brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, contending that
Lucas and officer Craig Staffier used excessive force in
violation of the Fourth Amendment. He is proceeding pro
se. Defendants have moved for summary judgment, and
plaintiff has moved to amend the complaint to add the City of
Randolph as a defendant. For the following reasons, the
motion for summary judgment will be granted in part and
denied in part, and the motion to amend will be denied.
otherwise noted, the following facts are as set forth in the
record and are undisputed.
April 23, 2013, police dispatchers in Randolph,
Massachusetts, received a phone call from a homeowner on Vine
Street stating that an unidentified male (later identified as
Anthony Brown) had attempted to break into his home. (Def.
Ex. A). The homeowner stated that the male fled on a bicycle
toward Lafayette Street. (Id.). Detectives David
Clark and Michael Tuitt of the Randolph Police Department
viewed the homeowner's security video and noted that the
suspect appeared to be an African-American male “around
5'11 with a[n] athletic buil[d].” (Id.).
The suspect was also wearing a hooded sweatshirt, jeans, and
white sneakers. (Id.).
Clark was then informed by dispatchers that a homeowner on
Belcher Street had returned home with his son when he
encountered a male (later identified as Brown) stealing his
Apple iPad. (Id.). The homeowner stated that the
male fled toward a wooded area behind his home.
(Id.). The homeowner provided a physical description
of the suspect that corroborated the video recording from
Vine Street. (Id.).
set up a perimeter surrounding the wooded area between North
Main Street and Belcher Street. (Id.). Sergeant
Anthony Marag saw an individual who fit the suspect's
description running through several backyards.
(Id.). K-9 unit officer Geoffrey Lucas and his
German Shepherd dog, Rony, then moved into the
area. Another officer, Craig Staffier, saw the
suspect run into a yard at the corner of School Lane and
Belcher Street, and radioed his location to other officers,
including Lucas. (Id.).
parties dispute the circumstances surrounding Brown's
arrest. Defendants contend that the dog tracked the
suspect's scent and led Lucas eastward until they arrived
in a lot containing a shed and various debris, including
scrap metal and hardware. (Id.). According to
defendants, the dog pulled Lucas toward a sheet of plywood on
the ground, and attempted to crawl under it. (Id.).
Lucas turned over the plywood, uncovering Brown, and ordered
him to show his hands. (Id.). Brown then punched the
dog in the head and attempted to kick him. (Id.).
Lucas then ordered the dog to bite Brown, and it bit
Brown's left calf. (Id.).
contrast, at his criminal trial, Brown testified that he was
urinating on the side of a house when he saw Lucas and Rony
approaching. (Trial Tr. at 96). Although Lucas ordered him to get
down, Brown refused until he saw the dog getting closer.
(Id. at 97). Brown testified in substance that at
that point, he surrendered, lay prostrate on the ground, and
asked Lucas to not permit the dog to bite him.
(Id.). According to Brown, although he was compliant
with the officer's commands, Lucas “let the dog
maul the back of [his left] leg.” (Id. at 98).
the bite occurred, Staffier arrived and rolled Brown onto his
stomach to handcuff him. (Id. at 165). Within a few
minutes, other officers arrived to help take Brown into
custody and obtain medical treatment. (Def. Ex. A).
was prosecuted in Norfolk Superior Court for burglary and
various related charges. On April 1, 2015, he was convicted
of nighttime unarmed burglary, daytime breaking and entering,
and possession of burglarious tools. (Verdict Tr. at
9-10). He was acquitted of attempted daytime
unarmed burglary, resisting arrest, and mistreating or
interfering with a police dog. (Id.).