United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Gainesville Division
CHARLES A. SPRADLIN, Plaintiff,
JONATHAN SALCEDO, Defendant.
RICHARD W. STORY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case comes before the Court on Defendant Jonathan
Salcedo's Motion to Dismiss  and Plaintiff Charles A.
Spradlin's Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint
. After reviewing the record, the Court enters the
a civil rights case. On March 26, 2016, Plaintiff Charles A.
Spradlin was arrested in his driveway by Defendant Jonathan
Salcedo, a Georgia State Trooper. Plaintiff's car was
subsequently searched and towed. Plaintiff alleges that
Officer Salcedo arrested him without probable cause and in
retaliation for questioning the purpose of the traffic stop.
Plaintiff further alleges that Officer Salcedo unlawfully
searched and towed his vehicle. Plaintiff sues Officer
Salcedo in his individual capacity for violations of his
Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendment rights. He also seeks to
add a retaliatory arrest claim against Officer Salcedo for
violation of the First Amendment.
Allegations in the First Amended Complaint
Events Leading up to Plaintiff's Arrest
approximately 2:14 p.m. on March 26, 2016, Plaintiff received
a call from his neighbor, Jan Turner O'Kelly, whose son
had recently been killed in a police altercation. (1st Am.
Compl., Dkt.  ¶ 7.) She notified Plaintiff that
officers had set up a checkpoint in their neighborhood.
(Id.) After receiving the call, Plaintiff drove his
vehicle south on Carver Mill Road toward a hill to gain a
vantage point of the surrounding area. (Id. ¶
8.) He then activated his turn signals before reaching the
crest of the hill, knowing that a driveway was located there.
(Id.) Plaintiff slowly turned into the driveway,
which was located about 715 feet from the checkpoint area.
(Id.) Before turning into the driveway, Plaintiff
did not see the checkpoint. (Id.)
to Plaintiff, his intent was to drive to the crest of the
hill, observe the checkpoint, and then return home.
(Id.) From the driveway, Plaintiff saw two patrol
cars, but it was unclear if the officers were conducting a
checkpoint. (Id. ¶ 9.) After stopping briefly,
he carefully backed out of the driveway and began to drive
back toward his own driveway, located about 1, 200 feet away.
(Id.) Plaintiff did not commit any traffic
violations or make any reckless, evasive, or suspicious
driving maneuvers. (Id.) As he approached his
driveway, Officer Salcedo's patrol car came toward him
quickly with the sirens activated and lights flashing.
(Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff pulled into his driveway,
clear of any oncoming traffic. (Id.) He stepped out
of the car while keeping his hands clearly visible and stood
calmly next to his vehicle. (Id.)
arriving in Plaintiff's driveway, Officer Salcedo
approached him and asked why he had turned around at the
sight of the checkpoint. (1st Am. Compl., Dkt.  ¶
11.) Officer Salcedo also asked Plaintiff if he had a
driver's license. (Id.) Plaintiff, pointing to
his house, explained that he was returning home after
checking out the police presence at his neighbor's
request. (Id.) He confirmed that he had a
driver's license, too, and asked for the basis of Officer
Salcedo's stop. (Id.) Officer Salcedo became
visibly agitated and told Plaintiff to turn around and put
his hands behind his back. (Id.) Plaintiff complied
with Officer Salcedo's order. (Id.)
Salcedo placed handcuffs on Plaintiff and asked if he had any
weapons. (Id. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff said that he had
a firearm stowed in the vehicle's center console.
(Id.) Officer Salcedo then reached into the rear
pocket of Plaintiff's pants and retrieved his wallet.
(Id. ¶ 13.) Plaintiff audibly objected to the
search of his person. (Id.)
officer arrived at the scene. (Id.) The second
officer held Plaintiff's upper arm while Officer Salcedo
looked through the wallet and removed Plaintiff's
driver's license. (Id.)
Search and Impoundment of Plaintiff's Vehicle
was escorted to Officer Salcedo's patrol car and locked
in the backseat. (1st Am. Compl., Dkt.  ¶ 14.) From
there, Plaintiff observed Officer Salcedo and the second
officer searching his vehicle, including the glove
compartment, center console, rear cargo area, and inside a
backpack. (Id. ¶ 15.) At one point during the
search, Officer Salcedo returned to the patrol car, and
Plaintiff audibly objected to the search of his vehicle.
(Id. ¶ 16.) Officer Salcedo replied,
“It's not a search, it's an inventory subject
to tow.” (Id.) Plaintiff's wife then came
out of the house and spoke with the officers. (Id.
¶ 17.) Mrs. Spradlin asked to drive Plaintiff's
vehicle up the driveway to the home, but Officer Salcedo
replied that he had decided to have the vehicle towed.
(Id. ¶ 18.) Officer Salcedo gave Mrs. Spradlin
several personal items from the vehicle, including the
Events Following the Arrest
approximately 4:00 p.m., the tow truck arrived to remove
Plaintiff's vehicle from his driveway. (1st Am. Compl.,
Dkt.  ¶ 19.) Plaintiff was then transported to the
Pickens County Jail for booking on three charges: failure to
display license, obstruction of justice, and having unsafe
tires. (Id.) He was released around 7:45 p.m. after
utilizing a bail bondsman. (Id. ¶ 20.)
Plaintiff could not retrieve his vehicle until two days later
after paying $200 cash to the tow company. (Id.)
a preliminary hearing on April 14, 2016, a judge dismissed
the obstruction of justice charge because there was
“not in fact evidence to sustain that a reasonable
person would believe that a crime was committed[.]”
(Id. ¶ 21.) He also dismissed the unsafe tire
charge because there was “never any testimony that [the
tires] were below 2/32 of an inch[.]” (Id.
(alteration in original). The prosecution later dropped the
failure to display license charge. (Id.)
filed this case on March 22, 2018. In his first Amended
Complaint , he sets forth three counts: violation of his
Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count I); punitive damages (Count II);
and attorney's fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988
Allegations in the Proposed Amended Complaint
December 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting leave
to file a second amended complaint, (Dkt. ). The factual
allegations in the proposed amended complaint are identical
to those set forth above. However, Plaintiff seeks to add a
retaliatory arrest claim stemming from Officer Salcedo's
purported violation of his First Amendment rights. Plaintiff
contends that he was arrested by Officer Salcedo ...