Calderone v. City of Chicago, No. 19-2858 (7th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Calderone, a Chicago police communications operator, was off duty, driving her car when another motorist, Garcia, threw a drink into Calderone’s vehicle, then pulled to the side of the road. Calderone stopped behind Garcia’s car. The women exited their cars and argued. Garcia returned to her vehicle and tried to drive away. Calderone blocked Garcia’s exit. Garcia again got out of her vehicle, grabbed Calderone by the hair, and threw her to the ground. Calderone then shot Garcia with her handgun, which she was legally permitted to carry. The bullet lacerated Garcia's vital organs; she was hospitalized for several months.
Calderone was indicted for attempted murder. The city administratively charged her with violations of Personnel Rules and, after a hearing, fired Calderone. Calderone asserts the city did not respond to her claim that the discharge was in self-defense. An Illinois state court acquitted Calderone of attempted murder based on self-defense. The city subsequently reinstated Calderone and held a hearing to determine her back pay.
Calderone sued, arguing that her termination deprived her of her Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, that the city deprived her of property and liberty rights without due process, and that the Personnel Rules were vague. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the claims. Even if Calderone has a constitutional right to discharge her firearm in self-defense, qualified immunity shielded her supervisors from suit because precedent has not clearly established that right.