United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
R. Underhill United States District Judge
plaintiff, Abdullah Saboor Rashid, was incarcerated at the
Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution when he filed this
action. He now resides in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. He has
filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
Windsor Locks Police Department, Detective Dawn Morini,
Officer John Doe 1, Detective John Doe 2, Criminologist 1,
Criminologist 2 and the Connecticut State Forensic
Laboratory. For the reasons set forth below, I dismiss
Rashid's complaint in part.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I must review prisoner civil
complaints and dismiss any portion of the complaint that is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. Although detailed
allegations are not required, the complaint must include
sufficient facts to afford the defendants fair notice of the
claims and grounds upon which they are based and to
demonstrate a plausible right to relief. See Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).
Conclusory allegations are not sufficient. See Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The plaintiff must
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570. Nevertheless, it is well-established that
“[p]ro se complaints ‘must be
construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest
arguments that they suggest.'” Sykes v. Bank of
Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting
Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471,
474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater,
623 F.3d 90. 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules
of solicitude for pro se litigants).
August 2014, Windsor Locks police officers arrested Rashid in
the driveway of his residence on burglary charges. Officer
John Doe 1 searched and seized two towels from Rashid's
car without a warrant. The Officer falsely stated in his
report that Rashid had consented to the search. In addition,
the report listed additional items as having been seized from
the car including sixteen pillow cases and one face cloth.
Morini stated in her report that she had seized two towels
from the crime scene at the Candlewood Suites in Windsor
Locks, Connecticut. She initially submitted one towel and a
pillow case from another crime to the forensic crime lab to
be tested for DNA evidence. The following day, she submitted
the other towel that she had seized from the Candlewood
Suites for testing. Rashid claims that Detective Morini
tampered with evidence and broke the chain of custody with
regard to the submission of evidence to the crime lab.
Rashid was at the Enfield Superior Court in connection with
the criminal charges filed against him, he consented to
Detective Morini's request for a sample of his DNA.
Morini indicated that the police had a videotape of Rashid
linking him to the burglaries. She also indicated that the
crime lab had “a forensic D.N.A. hit matching [his] DNA
profile from a brown stain” on one of the towels that
she had submitted for testing.
reports prepared by Criminologist 1 and Criminologist 2
indicated that Rashid's DNA was on evidence submitted for
testing, but did not identify the evidence or where on that
piece of evidence the DNA was located. Rashid claims that the
failure to include this information “subverted the
fairness of the fact finding process” and could lead to
a wrongful conviction.” Compl., Doc. No. 1, at 8.
Rashid also suggests that the testing done by the
criminologists revealed exculpatory evidence that they failed
to disclose in their reports.
after Rashid had been arrested and confined in prison,
Detective John Doe 2 filed burglary charges against him based
on the forensic lab's finding that his DNA was detected
after testing a blood-like stain on evidence seized from a
crime scene in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Rashid claims that
Detective John Doe 2 consulted with Detective Morini before
filing criminal charges. Rashid states that the police
falsely charged him with a total of seven counts of burglary,
six counts of larceny and one count of criminal mischief.
Rashid was unable to post the cash bond imposed by the judge.
twenty months to resolve the criminal charges against Rashid.
During that time, the prosecutor offered Rashid a plea deal
of three years to serve and two years of special parole.
After Rashid requested an investigation into the possibility
that Detective Morini had tampered with evidence, the
prosecutor nolled all of the charges him.
1, 2015, before the criminal charges were nolled, Rashid
suffered two strokes. Rashid is still participating in
physical and occupational therapy in order to learn to walk,
run and write again.
claims that his detention on criminal charges was unlawful
and without probable cause. He seeks monetary damages and a
Windsor Locks Police Department
municipal police department is not an independent legal
entity and is not subject to suit under section 1983. See
Rose v. City of Waterbury, 2013 WL 1187049, at *9 (D.
Conn. Mar. 21, 2013) (Bryant, J.) (noting that courts within
Connecticut have determined that state statutes do not
include “provision[s] establishing municipal
departments, including police departments, as legal entities
separate and apart from the municipality they serve, or
providing that they have the capacity to sue or be sued . . .
it is the municipality itself which possesses the capacity to
sue and be sued”) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). Furthermore, a police department is not a
person amenable to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See
Nicholson v. Lenczewski, 356 F.Supp.2d 157, 164 (D.
Conn. 2005) (collecting cases). Thus, I dismiss any claims
against the Windsor Locks Police Department for lack of an
arguable legal basis. See 28 U.S.C. §
Connecticut State ...