Guerrero v. City of New York

Civil Rights

New York Law Journal


Judge Robert Sweet

Police arrested Guerrero in December 2010 following an altercation (first arrest). Criminal charges were dismissed. He was again arrested in July 2011 (second arrest), based on a traffic officer's accusation of assault. Charges arising from the second arrest were also dismissed. The court granted the city dismissal of Guerrero's 42 USC §1983 suit. In addition to failing to allege any underlying constitutional violation, Guerrero did not allege facts providing a viable basis for the city's Monell liability. The arrests were insufficient to state a municipal policy or custom, and Guerrero did not otherwise allege what municipal policy or custom led to his arrests. Nor did Guerrero state a §1983 false arrest claim. He alleged he was arrested due to complaints of victims or witnesses. Thus, the arresting officers had probable cause. Guerrero also failed to state an excessive force claim. His claim that his handcuffs were too tight during the first arrest were insufficient for such a claim. As to the second arrest Guerrero claimed only mental and emotional harm resulting from being "physically abused" by the police. Such a conclusory assertion, absent allegations of a specific or identifiable mental injury, is an insufficient basis for an excessive force claim.

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