Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Petaluma Officer Seth M. McMullen does a bad job id’ing a suspect

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Case:  KEANE v. MCMULLEN (N.D.Cal. 8-13-2012)


No doubt aware of the lack of facts to establish a nexus between the package [of contraband] and Plaintiff, McMullen attempted to forge such a connection by affirmatively representing that Ms. McGuigan — the owner of Mail Depot and the only person to actually have seen the sender — “positively identified the individual in the photo [i.e., Keane] as the person who dropped the package off a day earlier for shipment to the New Jersey address.” . . . In fact, Ms. McGuigan made no such positive identification. To the contrary, Ms. McGuigan merely thought, after pondering the photograph for thirty seconds, that it “looked like” the person who attempted to send the package of marijuana to [a third party] in New Jersey. . . . Notably, Ms. McGuigan offered her tentative and equivocal statement of resemblance only upon being shown a photocopy of [Plaintiff’s] California Identification Card, which displayed his photograph, full name and address—which matched the return address on the package. . . . Ms. McGuigan’s highly suggestive identification is hardly the type of “positive identification” which McMullen represented in his affidavit. Given that McMullen was the individual who solicited the identification from Ms. McGuigan, a reasonable trier of fact could conclude that his mischaracterization that she “positively identified” Keane as the sender was deliberately false or, at a minimum, in reckless disregard for the truth.

Written by Burgers Allday

August 15, 2012 at 5:22 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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