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Talib v. Nicholas

United States District Court, C.D. California, Western Division

August 21, 2014

TALMADGE ADIB TALIB, Plaintiff,
v.
PETER NICHOLAS et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

DOUGLAS F. McCORMICK, Magistrate Judge.

I.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Talmadge Adib Talib ("Plaintiff") filed a pro se civil rights Complaint on August 1, 2014. Dkt. 3 ("Complaint"); Dkt. 3-1 ("Complaint Pt. 2"); Dkt. 3-2 ("Complaint Pt. 3"). Plaintiff names the following Defendants: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department ("LASD") Deputies Peter Nicholas, Edward Gonsalves, Fred Nunes, Moyer, and Antonio Sanchez; LASD Captain Eliezer Vera; and "Miguel" and Rob Van Lingen, who are apparently an employee and the owner of Van Lingen Towing, respectively. Id. at 3-6.[1] All Defendants are sued in both their individual and official capacities. Id.

In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, the Court must screen the Complaint before ordering service for purposes of determining whether the action is frivolous or malicious; or fails to state a claim on which relief might be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

II.

SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

Taking the allegations of the Complaint as true, the named LASD Deputies pulled Plaintiff over on three separate occasions in 2012 and 2013 for purely pretextual reasons. During these traffic stops the Deputies unlawfully detained Plaintiff and unlawfully searched Plaintiff's person and his car. On the third occasion the LASD Deputies also had Plaintiff's car unlawfully towed away.

A. November 17, 2012 Traffic Stop

On November 17, 2012, shortly after Plaintiff pulled out of a parking lot and onto 153rd Street, he was pulled over by Sanchez, who requested Plaintiff's license, registration, and proof of insurance. Complaint ¶ 12. Plaintiff asked Sanchez why he stopped him; Sanchez told Plaintiff that it was because he made a left turn without signaling. Id.

Plaintiff asked Sanchez to present his oath of office to prove that he was in fact a peace officer. Id . ¶ 13. Sanchez put his hand on his gun and ordered Plaintiff to step out of the car. Id . Feeling that his life was threatened, Plaintiff got out of his car. Id . Sanchez ordered Plaintiff to put his hands behind his back and handcuffed him. Id . Sanchez then searched and patted down Plaintiff. Id . Sanchez took Plaintiff's wallet out of his pocket, walked Plaintiff to the patrol car, and forced Plaintiff into the back seat. Id . ¶ 14.

Sanchez began asking Plaintiff various questions, such as whether Plaintiff was on probation or parole or whether there were any weapons in the car. Id . Plaintiff responded by asking Sanchez to call Sanchez's watch commander to the scene because he was violating Plaintiff's rights. Id . ¶ 15. Sanchez stated that he could arrest Plaintiff and have Plaintiff's car towed and impounded. Id . Sanchez then searched Plaintiff's wallet, personal papers, and all of the contents of Plaintiff's car. Id.

After completing the search, Sanchez returned to the patrol car and asked Plaintiff what kind of car Plaintiff was driving. Id . ¶ 16. When Plaintiff did not respond, Sanchez warned Plaintiff that if he continued to refuse to answer his questions Sanchez would take him to jail. Id . Plaintiff told Sanchez that he had already violated Plaintiff's rights by detaining Plaintiff, searching his car, and demanding personal information. Id . Under "threat and duress" Plaintiff told Sanchez what kind of car it was. Id . Sanchez then wrote Plaintiff a citation, which he forced Plaintiff to sign. Id . Sanchez also "forced" Plaintiff to provide a fingerprint. Id . Sanchez then released Plaintiff, returned to his patrol car, and drove away. Id . The entire traffic stop lasted over an hour. Id.

B. April 24, 2013 Traffic Stop

On April 24, 2013, Plaintiff was pulled over by Nunes and Moyer while he was driving south on Vermont Avenue. Id . ¶ 17. Moyer came to Plaintiff's window and requested Plaintiff's license and registration. Id . When Plaintiff asked why he had been stopped, Moyer responded that it was "because he wanted to and because he can." Id . Moyer then told Plaintiff to step out of the car. Id . ¶ 18. Plaintiff refused and asked Moyer to show Plaintiff his oath of office to prove that he was in fact a peace officer. Id . Moyer then put his hand on his gun and ordered Plaintiff to get out of the car. Id . Nunes came to the passenger window with his hand on his gun and also ordered Plaintiff out of the car. Id . Feeling that his life was threatened, Plaintiff got out of his car. Id . Moyer ordered Plaintiff to put his hands behind his back and handcuffed Plaintiff, crushing his fingers together. Id.

Moyer searched Plaintiff and took Plaintiff's wallet out of his pocket. Id . ¶ 19. Moyer walked Plaintiff to the patrol car and forced Plaintiff into the back seat. Id . Moyer searched Plaintiff's wallet, personal papers, and the inside of Plaintiff's car. Id.

While Moyer searched Plaintiff's car, Nunes came to the patrol car and began asking Plaintiff questions. Id . ¶ 20. Plaintiff said that he was not answering any questions and told Nunes that the officers were violating his rights. Id . Plaintiff asked Nunes to identify himself and show Plaintiff his oath of office, but Nunes refused. Id . ¶ 20. Plaintiff then asked Nunes to call his watch commander to the scene because Plaintiff was subjected to a "false arrest, " to which Nunes replied, "we haven't arrested you." Id . ¶ 21. Plaintiff then stated, "you have me held in confinement in the back of your car against my will and you have guns... what do you call that?" Id . Nunes and Moyer then walked away from Plaintiff and began speaking to each other on the sidewalk. Id . Nunes began talking on his cell phone, having a conversation that lasted "30-35 minutes." Id . ¶ 22.

After Plaintiff had been detained over an hour, Nunes told Plaintiff that he was giving Plaintiff a choice: he "could call his supervisor to the scene as Plaintiff had requested, but he'd have to arrest Plaintiff and tow/impound Plaintiff's car" or "[h]e could let Plaintiff go with a warning." Id . Plaintiff took the warning "[u]nder threat and duress." Id . ¶ 23. Nunes opened the door and released Plaintiff from the patrol car. Id ...


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