Lund v. City of Rockford, No. 19-1945 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Lund, a reporter for the Rockford Scanner, heard, by police scanner, of multiple traffic stops in Midtown. He did not have a driver’s license, so he rode a motorized bicycle to Midtown to take photographs. He suspected a prostitution sting operation. An officer noticed Lund and radioed the team. Officers Welsh and Campbell knew of Lund's previous anti‐police speech. They directed Lund to “move on.” Lund asked if he was breaking any laws. Campbell informed him that he was not, but that his continued presence would constitute obstruction of a police detail and result in arrest. Lund started his bicycle and called out, loudly, “goodbye officers.” Concerned that Lund might post pictures on social media while the sting operation was ongoing and create a danger for unarmed undercover officers, the officers followed Lund and arrested him for driving the wrong way on a one‐way street, operating a vehicle without insurance, obstructing a police officer, felony aggravated driving on a revoked license, and operating a motor vehicle without a valid drivers’ license. News stories listed Lund’s name as an arrestee in the prostitution sting.
The charges against Lund were dismissed. Lund sued the officers and the city under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment for the defendants on First Amendment retaliation and malicious prosecution under Illinois law, citing the Supreme Court’s intervening "Nieves" (2019) holding, that, in most cases, probable cause to arrest defeats a claim of retaliatory arrest. There was probable cause to arrest Lund.