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Braswell v. Bujricki

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

December 27, 2016

BUJNICKI, et al., Defendants


          Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Velmon Braswell was confined at the Northern Correctional Institution as a pre-trial detainee. He has filed a complaint pro se and in forma pauperis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging, in essence, that defendants used excessive force against him while he was detained awaiting trial, thereby violating his rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. After an initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I conclude that plaintiff's complaint should go forward against all defendants on his Fourteenth Amendment excessive force claim and equal protection claims, and should be dismissed as to plaintiff's other claims.


         Plaintiff names nine defendants: Lieutenants Bujnicki and Porylo and Correctional Officers Jasion, Caron, Kidd, Piscottano, Boudreau, Titus, and McCarthy, all of whom work at Northern Correctional Institution. All defendants are named in their individual capacities only. Doc. #1 at 1; Doc. #14 at 2-3.

         The following allegations from plaintiff's complaint are accepted as true only for purposes of the Court's initial review. At all times relevant to this complaint, plaintiff was a pretrial detainee. Doc. #1 at 6 (¶ 14).

         In May 2016, plaintiff was transferred to Northern Correctional Institution. Id. at ¶ 18. Upon his arrival, the medical department issued plaintiff a medical pass. Id. at 14 (¶ 64). Plaintiff was suffering from chronic pain and had been prescribed Tylenol. Id. at 7 (¶ 19).

         Several weeks after plaintiff was transferred, he was awoken while sleeping in his cell by a correctional officer and told to provide his ID number. Plaintiff put his ID card in the cell window and returned to bed. Defendant McCarthy issued plaintiff a false disciplinary report. Ibid. As a result, more correctional officers came to his cell and told plaintiff that he was going to restrictive housing. Plaintiff asked that he be handcuffed with his hands in front. He stated that he had a medical pass because he had medical issues with his hand, arm, and shoulder. Defendant Bujnicki said that plaintiff's medical pass meant nothing. Although defendant McCarthy threatened him, plaintiff was handcuffed in front without issue. Id. at 7 (¶¶ 20-21). On the way to restrictive housing, plaintiff and defendant Bujnicki “had some words” after plaintiff asked the officers to watch out for his shoulder because he had medical issues and chronic pain. Id. at ¶ 22.

         When plaintiff entered the restrictive housing unit and faced the wall, defendant Caron twisted plaintiff's left arm. Plaintiff said that defendant Caron was hurting him and asked defendant Caron to stop. Defendant Caron would not listen. Defendant Titus then pulled plaintiff's underwear. Id. at 8 (¶ 24). Defendant Bujnicki stated that plaintiff was not being compliant and ordered defendants Caron, Jasion, Titus, and others to perform a hands-on strip search. Id. at ¶ 25.

         Defendant Titus hurt plaintiff by pulling off his knee braces. Plaintiff made his displeasure known and informed defendants that he had problems with his shoulder, hand, arm, back, hip, and knee. Id. at ¶¶ 25-26. Defendants Caron, Jasion, Titus, and other unnamed correctional staff stripped off plaintiff's clothes as well as his knee, hip, and back braces, causing him severe pain in the process. Id. at ¶ 27. Plaintiff was held up by his arms and shoulders while defendants Caron and Jasion twisted plaintiff's left side. Id. at ¶ 28.

         Plaintiff told defendants that his back, hip, and knee issues prevented him from bending over without holding the wall for support. Defendant Bujnicki and others forced him to bend over without support. Id. at 8-9 (¶¶ 29-30). Defendants' actions caused injuries to plaintiff's left hand, arm, and shoulder as well as to his left knee and hip and his back. Id. at 9 (¶ 32).

         A few days after this first incident, plaintiff again showed staff his medical card when they were attempting to handcuff him.[1] Id. at 11 (¶¶ 43-44). He was told that the card was no good at Northern Correctional Institution. Ibid. Defendant Kidd took the medical card and, at plaintiff's request, called a supervisor. Defendant Porylo, a Lieutenant, came to the shower area where plaintiff was at the time, and plaintiff requested to be handcuffed with his hands in front of his body due to his medical needs. Id. at ¶¶ 45-46. Defendant Porylo ignored plaintiff's medical pass and ordered plaintiff handcuffed with his hands behind his back. Plaintiff complied but experienced severe pain. Id. at ¶ 47.

         Plaintiff was taken into a cell and pushed up against the wall. Id. at 12 (¶ 49). With two unidentified correctional officers holding plaintiff's arms, defendant Jasion removed the handcuffs and pulled plaintiff's underwear down to his ankles. Id. at ¶¶ 50-51. Then defendant Jasion pulled plaintiff's underwear “very hard in a upw[ar]d motion hurting plaintiff testicles.” Id. at ¶ 52. Defendant Jasion also forced plaintiff to bend over again. Id. at 13 (¶ 55).

         Defendant Porylo then ordered plaintiff handcuffed in front and ordered defendants Jasion, Kidd, and Piscottano to put plaintiff on the bed in the cell. Id. at ¶ 56. Plaintiff was slammed and pushed onto the bed, causing him severe pain. Although he complained about pain, defendants did not stop. Id. at ¶¶ 57-58. Defendant Porylo ordered the other defendants to hold plaintiff down so other defendants, including defendant Boudreau, could jump on him. Id. at ¶ 58. Defendant Piscottano kneed plaintiff in his testicles. Defendant Porylo refused plaintiff's requests to call the police. Id. at 13-14 (¶¶ 59-60). Defendant Kidd continued to hold down plaintiff's left shoulder, causing plaintiff pain and difficulty breathing. Ibid.

         This abuse by defendants left plaintiff unable to stand. Id. at 14 (ΒΆ 61). He was taken to the medical unit in a wheelchair, where he was placed on a medical ...

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