United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
THOMAS MARTEN, JUDGE
Dennis Andres seeks damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
based on a claim that defendant City of Coffeyville, Kansas,
terminated his employment in retaliation for exercising his
right to free speech. Defendant moves for summary judgment
(Dkt. 29) and argues that it had a legitimate basis for
terminating plaintiff- Montgomery County Attorney Larry
Markle (“CA Markle”) placed plaintiff on the
Giglio list and further refused to prosecute any
cases where plaintiff was involved. Plaintiff responds that
defendant's reason is pretextual and flows directly from
his decision to exercise his First Amendment right of free
speech. For the reasons provided below, the court denies
there are several controverted facts, the court finds the
following facts to be uncontroverted for purposes of summary
hired plaintiff as a police officer in 1986. Over the next 29
years, plaintiff climbed up the chain of command and became a
captain, second in command. About halfway through his career,
plaintiff met an eight-year-old kid named Brazell Scott
(“Scott”) who was caught shoplifting. Plaintiff
tried to mentor Scott, and even allowed Scott to reside in
his home at different times. When Scott was 13 years old, he
moved to Texas to live with his father; but Scott later
returned to Coffeyville sometime in 2011.
2012, a shooting took place in Coffeyville. Sometime later,
Scott came to plaintiff's house because he wanted to hire
plaintiff's wife to make a birthday cake for his
daughter's birthday. As Scott crossed through
plaintiff's living room into the kitchen, plaintiff asked
Scott how things were going. Scott replied something to the
effect of “you know, they messin' with me.”
Nothing more was said on the matter, but plaintiff knew that
Scott was referring to James Logan and his friends.
September 28, 2012, Scott shot James Logan and Latrelle Boyd.
Scott turned himself in and was charged with their murders.
Scott claimed self-defense.
months after Scott's case was filed, two attorneys from
the Kansas Attorney General's office, Greg Benefield and
Amanda Voth (the “AAGs”), entered their
appearances on behalf of the state. Scott's defense
counsel later subpoenaed plaintiff. Plaintiff contacted the
AAGs and told them about his subpoena; however, according to
plaintiff, the AAGs seemed disinterested in talking with him.
Plaintiff claims that he told the AAGs of his encounter with
met with the defense's investigator on two separate
occasions. During their second meeting, plaintiff informed
the investigator that Scott had told him “they're
messin' with me.”
opening statements at Scott's trial, defense counsel
informed the jury that plaintiff would testify that Scott
told him “they're messin' with me” before
he shot both men. Plaintiff testified about his encounter
with Scott at his house prior to the shootings, and the jury
ultimately acquitted Scott of both murders.
Markle and the AAGs were upset. They believed that plaintiff
withheld substantial information and that his trial testimony
differed from the information he previously told them. As a
result, CA Markle notified City of Coffeyville Police Chief
Anthony Celeste (“Chief Celeste”), via a letter
dated February 3, 2014, that he considered plaintiff to have
Giglio issues and would not file criminal charges in
a different case because of plaintiff's involvement.
administrative complaint was filed against plaintiff, and an
internal investigation into the matter ensued to determine if
plaintiff withheld exculpatory evidence. Plaintiff cooperated
with the investigation and passed a polygraph test.
August 21, 2014, Chief Celeste determined the complaint was
“Not Sustained”-meaning there was insufficient
evidence to support the allegations. Plaintiff thought the
matter was resolved. Then, in a letter dated March 30, 2015,
CA Markle informed Interim City Manager James Grimmett that
he would not prosecute any cases in which plaintiff was
involved. CA Markle also demanded access to defendant's
personnel files and Enterpol database for its police
April 7, 2015, CA Markle notified Chief Celeste that he was
declining to prosecute a case in which the video showed that
plaintiff had spoken to the suspect, but there was no audio.
CA Markle noted that plaintiff was not a credible witness due
to Giglio issues and further that Chief Celeste had
not provided other video/audio from ...