United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION & ORDER
MICHAEL J. MCSHANE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Blake Allen filed this action on 6/2/2016 against Keizer
police officer Rodney Bamford. In his Complaint, Mr. Allen
alleges that Officer Bamford violated Allen's 4th
Amendment rights by arresting him without probable cause for
the crime of Interfering with a Police Officer (ORS
162.247(1)) during a domestic violence investigation at
Allen's home on 9/19/2015. (ECF No. 1).
filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (ECF No. 32) on
3/27/2017. Bamford filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF
No. 39) on 3/31/2017. Oral arguments were heard in court on
4/14/2017 (ECF No. 65), and these matters are now before this
Officer Bamford had probable cause to arrest Mr. Allen and is
entitled to qualified immunity, Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 39) is GRANTED and this matter is
DISMISSED with prejudice, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.
Plaintiffs Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (ECF No. 32)
is DENIED as moot.
9/15/2015, Mr. Allen and his girlfriend Kristin May attended
Oktoberfest in Mt. Angel, Oregon. They returned to their home
located on Winter Leaf Court North in Keizer, Oregon at
approximately 11pm. (ECF No. 42-1 at p.3). Allen and May had
consumed alcohol at Oktoberfest and they were arguing upon their
return home. (Id. at pp.4-5). At approximately
11:20pm, a neighbor called 911 to report a potential domestic
violence situation. The neighbor reported that she heard a
man yelling and screaming profanities and twice heard a woman
crying and saying, "Ouch, ouch" and "Get away
from me" (ECF No. 40 at pp. 1-2; 41 at pp. 1-2; 42-2 at
p.3; and 55-2 at p.2).
response to the 911 call, Keizer Police dispatched Officer
Bamford, Officer Perez, and Officer Harrison to the area.
(ECF No. 42-2 at p.4). When the officers were standing in the
front yard of the neighbor's house, they could hear a
woman (later identified as Ms. May) crying from somewhere
inside Allen's house. (ECF No. 41 at p.2; 42-2 at p.7;
42-1 at p.5). Officers Bamford and Perez walked to the front
door of Allen's house and knocked on the front door while
Officer Harrison stayed behind. (ECF No. 42-2 at p.8). Mr.
Allen answered the door, stepped out of the house, and closed
the door behind him. (ECF No. 42-1 at p.6; 42-2 at p. 12; and
41 at p.2). Bamford and Perez explained to Allen that they
were responding to a possible domestic disturbance and asked
him what had happened. (Id.). Mr. Allen admitted
that he and Ms. May had been in an argument, but that it was
just verbal. (ECF No. 42-1 at p.8; 42-2 at p. 12; and 41 at
officers then asked Mr. Allen if they could either step
inside to speak with Ms. May or if he could ask her to come
outside so they could talk to her and verify that the dispute
had not been physical (ECF No. 42-2 at pp. 13-15, 21, 27;
42-1 at p.9; and 41 at pp.2-3). Mr. Allen was warned that if
he did not comply and tried to prevent the officers from
contacting Ms. May, he could be arrested for interfering.
(Id. and ECF No. 40 at p.3). During his deposition,
Mr. Allen recalled that the officers made these requests and
explained his options "more than once... maybe about
three times." (ECF No. 42-1 at p. 10). Mr. Allen refused
both options, telling the officers that they "needed a
warrant" and that he did "not have to help
them." (ECF No. 42-2 at p.l3;4l at pp.2-3; and 42-1 at
Allen then took a step backwards towards the closed door,
blocking the officers' access to it, at which point
Officer Bamford told Allen he was under arrest for the crime
of Interfering. Officer Bamford placed Allen in handcuffs.
(ECF No. 40 at p. 4; 41 at p.3; 42-2 at pp.15-16, 23-24).
After being arrested, Mr. Allen was transported to Marion
County Jail. (ECF No. 1 at p.2; 32 at p.6). On 9/25/2015, the
Marion County District Attorney filed an Information charging
Allen with Interfering (the same crime he was arrested for),
but the charge was never prosecuted. (ECF No. 55-1).
court must grant summary judgment if there are no genuine
issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). An issue of
fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a
reasonably jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party." Villiarimo v. Aloha Island Air., Inc.,
281 F.3d 1054, 1061 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). The
court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. Allen v. City of Los Angeles, 66
F.3d 1052, 1056 (9th Cir. 1995) (citing Jesinger v.
Nevada Federal Credit Union, 24 F.3d 1127, 1130 (9th
Cir. 1994)). On a motion for summary judgment, "the
moving party bears the initial burden to show the absence of
a material and triable issue of fact; the burden then moves
to the opposing party, who must present significant probative
evidence tending to support its claim or defense."
Richards v. Neilsen Freight Lines, 810 F.2d 898, 902
(9th Cir. 1987).
cause for a warrantless arrest arises when the facts and
circumstances within the officer's knowledge are
sufficient to warrant a prudent person to believe 'that
the suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to
commit an offense.'" Devenpeck v. Afford,
543 U.S. 146, 152 (2004); Barry v. Fowler, 902 F.2d
770, 773 (9th Cir. 1990); Lacey v. Maricopa County,
693 F.3d 896, 918 (9th Cir. 2012). The determination of
probable cause requires only a "fair probability"
or a "substantial chance" of criminal activity, not
an actual showing that such activity occurred. US v.
Brooks, 367 F.3d 1128, 1 l34(9th Cir. 2004). Whether
probable cause exists depends upon the reasonable conclusion
to be drawn from the facts known to the arresting officer at
the time of the arrest. Devenpeck v. Afford, 543
U.S. 146, 152 (2004) (citing Maryland v. Pringle,
540 U.S. 366, 371 (2003)). If an officer has probable cause
to believe that an individual has committed even a very minor
criminal offense in his presence, he may arrest the
individual without violating the Fourth Amendment.
Atwater v. City of Logo Vista, 532 U.S. 318, 354,
121 S.Ct. 1536, 1557, 149 L.Ed.2d 549 (2001).
162.247(1) provides that:
"A person commits the crime of interfering with a peace
officer... if the person, knowing that another person is a