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United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
July 20, 2011, Submitted; August 18, 2011, Decided
[*605] Posner, Circuit Judge. Kevin Sroga has sued Chicago police officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, complaining of three arrests that he contends violated his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizure of his person. The district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment, and so we are obliged to construe the facts as favorably to the appellant as the record permits.
The first arrest was for disorderly conduct. Sroga tried to dissuade an employee of the City of Chicago from towing his car, which was parked on a street near his home and which the City had designated as hazardous because [**2] a dolly (a platform on wheels for moving heavy objects) attached to the rear of the vehicle had no license plate. A crowd gathered to watch their altercation. A police officer appeared and told Sroga to calm down and let the driver of the tow truck do his job. Instead Sroga leapt onto the moving car as it was being towed away. At that point he was arrested.
The second arrest, months later, was for theft of lost or mislaid property after Sroga got into another spat with a City employee, who was trying to tow not one but several of Sroga's vehicles. They were parked in a vacant lot, which apparently he owned, and we have no idea why the City wanted them towed. And in fact the driver of the tow truck decided not to tow them. But then he noticed a car parked on the street in front of Sroga's house and decided to tow that vehicle. Later Sroga was told the vehicle was hazardous, though we don't know what the hazard was. To prevent the car from being towed, Sroga got into it as the driver was hooking it up to the tow truck, and despite repeated demands by police that he get out of the car he refused to budge until a sergeant showed up and ordered him to get out. Meanwhile a different police [**3] officer had spotted a Chicago Police Department ticket book on the dashboard of yet another of Sroga's vehicles, this one also parked on the street in front of the lot. The police arrested him, not for disorderly conduct but on suspicion that he had stolen the ticket book.
The third arrest, made more than a year later, was for criminal trespass to "state-supported" land, and occurred shortly after he left a police station upon being released from police custody following still another arrest but not one challenged in this case. (He keeps the Chicago police [*606] busy. See Chicago Police Department, "Criminal History Report for Kevin Robert Sroga," May 29, 2008, listing 13 arrests between November 2003 and January 2008. He is also a prolific civil litigant. See, e.g., Sroga v. Personnel Board, 359 Ill. App. 3d 107, 833 N.E.2d 1001, 295 Ill. Dec. 795 (Ill. App. 2005); Sroga v. Chicago Public Schools, No. 11 C 2124, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38840, 2011 WL 1364036 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 11, 2011); Sroga v. Decero, No. 09 C 3286, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119594 , 2010 WL 4705161 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 9, 2010).) He left by the front door of the police station and walked past a sign that reads "No Loitering No Trespassing" into a parking lot marked with signs that said "Parking Police Personnel Only." A police officer [**4] noticed him walking between the rows of police cars peering inside each car. Realizing that he was being observed, Sroga struck up a conversation with an officer who was sitting in one of the cars. He claims she was an old friend, but she offered her handcuffs to another officer to fasten on Sroga.
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649 F.3d 604 *; 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 17144 **
KEVIN SROGA, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. TIMOTHY WEIGLEN, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 08 C 1789—Ronald A. Guzmán, Judge.
Sroga v. Weiglen, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13623 (N.D. Ill., Feb. 17, 2010)
arrest, towed, breach of peace, police officer, disorderly conduct, parking lot, police station, driver, parked, ticket, tow truck, violent, notice
Criminal Law & Procedure, Disruptive Conduct, Disorderly Conduct & Disturbing the Peace, Elements, Commencement of Criminal Proceedings, Arrests, Warrantless Arrests, Stolen Property, Receiving Stolen Property, Probable Cause, Criminal Offenses, Obstruction of Administration of Justice, Civil Rights Law, Scope, Law Enforcement Officials, Arrests, Burglary & Criminal Trespass, Criminal Trespass