Sanchez v. City of Chicago, No. 16-3546 (7th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Officers Garcia and Murphy observed Sanchez fail to stop his van as required at intersections and fail to maintain his lane; his sliding door was completely open. Garcia activated his siren and lights. Sanchez did not stop. Sanchez eventually stopped and exited his van, stumbling. Garcia noted that Sanchez, driving on a suspended license, smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, and was mumbling vulgarities. Sanchez refused instructions and took a swing at Garcia. Garcia performed an emergency takedown. The officers found an open beer can and marijuana in the van. Sanchez claimed Garcia struck him unprovoked. At the police station, an officer observed Sanchez lying on the floor, smelling of alcohol and mumbling profanities, and requested medical assistance. Paramedic Ragusa detected the odor of alcohol, but found Sanchez able to answer questions. Ragusa made a notation ruling out battery as a cause of Sanchez’s injuries. After he declined treatment, Sanchez was returned to the jail. The lockup keeper noted that Sanchez did not appear visibly intoxicated. Sanchez was convicted of aggravated driving under the influence. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed his conviction and denied post-conviction relief. In federal court, Sanchez claimed excessive force and that Garcia lacked probable cause for arrest. The court instructed the jury that it must take it as conclusively proven that Sanchez was driving under the influence and allowed introduction, without objection, of Murphy’s deposition testimony, with Murphy’s accounts of what Garcia said, and of Ragusa’s paramedic’s report. The court excluded the lockup report. The jury ruled in favor of Garcia. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, concluding that a new trial was not required.