United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Chauncey Moore is a prisoner in the custody of the
Connecticut Department of Correction. He has filed a civil
rights complaint pro se and in forma
pauperis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he
was subject to excessive force during an arrest in April of
2014. After an initial review, the Court concludes that the
complaint will proceed in part, and will be dismissed in part
with leave to amend.
following allegations from plaintiff's complaint are
accepted as true solely for purposes of the Court's
initial review. Plaintiff names seven defendants: the Town of
Norwalk, Norwalk Police Officers John Does #1 through #5, and
Norwalk Police Officer Supervisor John Doe #6.
April 24, 2014, a supervisor with the Norwalk Police
Department, Supervisor Doe #6, told plaintiff to leave
Norwalk immediately or he would be arrested if seen in
Norwalk again. Plaintiff had previously been arrested in
Norwalk, but on the date he was told to leave Norwalk, he was
not committing any crimes.
days later, on the morning of April 26, 2014, plaintiff was
approached by Officers Doe #1 and Doe #2 as he was leaving a
convenience store with his nephew and his nephew's
friend. Officers Doe #1 and Doe #2 exited their vehicles and
attempted to handcuff plaintiff. Afraid that he would be
arrested, plaintiff tried to run away. After he went a short
distance, plaintiff was tased by Officer Doe #1 and, while
being tased, he heard the officers making racially derogatory
remarks. Plaintiff attempted to cooperate with the officers
after he was tased, begging them to stop, but the officers
continued to tase, kick, and stomp him. After about five to
ten minutes of abuse, during which time plaintiff never fully
lost consciousness, defendant Supervisor Doe #6 ordered
plaintiff to apologize for running from the officers.
Plaintiff observed about six officers standing around him and
bragging about the abuse they had inflicted.
Doe #1 and Doe #2 told Supervisor Doe #6 that plaintiff had
swallowed what appeared to be drugs during the encounter.
Supervisor Doe #6 ordered Officers Doe #3 and Doe #4 to take
plaintiff to Norwalk Hospital to have plaintiff's stomach
pumped and its contents tested for drugs. On the way to the
hospital, Officers Doe #3 and Doe #4 continued the verbal
racial abuse and, at one point, Officer Doe #3 told plaintiff
to lean forward, and then slammed on the brakes, causing
plaintiff to smash his face against the divider between the
officers repeatedly tried to get plaintiff to confess to
swallowing narcotics but plaintiff denied doing so. At the
hospital, Officers Doe #3 and Doe #4 told nurses that they
were there to have plaintiff's stomach pumped and tested
for drugs. The officers made plaintiff undress and, even
though he was cooperating, they told the nurses to put
plaintiff under anesthesia so they could pump his stomach.
Plaintiff did not consent to the procedure. The contents of
plaintiff's stomach were removed, and nothing was found.
in the hospital, an x-ray of plaintiff's foot showed a
fractured heel. He also had injuries to his hand, neck, and
temple. Plaintiff later learned from his injuries that the
officers had used a taser on him three times and that Officer
Doe #5 used a stun gun on plaintiff twice while other
officers had been using tasers. Officer Doe #5 admitted to
using the stun gun once while another officer was using a
taser. But plaintiff believes that the police reports were
falsified to show only one use of the taser to conceal the
excessive force used against him. Plaintiff's injuries,
photographed by his defense attorney, were consistent with
three uses of a taser and two uses of a stun gun. Plaintiff
is African-American, and none of the defendant officers are
result of the encounter with the police on April 26, 2014,
plaintiff was charged with assault on a police officer. Those
charges were nolled in exchange for a guilty plea for
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court must review prisoner
civil complaints and dismiss any portion of the complaint
that is frivolous or malicious, that 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. The
Court must accept as true all factual matters alleged in a
complaint, although a complaint may not survive unless its
factual recitations state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face. See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Mastafa v. Chevron Corp.,
770 F.3d 170, 177 (2d Cir. 2014) (same). Nevertheless, it is
well-established that “pro 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).
recent years, the Supreme Court has set forth a threshold
“plausibility” pleading standard for courts to
evaluate the adequacy of federal court complaints. A
complaint must allege enough facts-as distinct from legal
conclusions-that give rise to plausible grounds for relief.
See, e.g., Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007). Notwithstanding the rule of liberal
interpretation of a pro se complaint, a pro
se complaint may not survive dismissal if its factual
allegations do not meet the basic plausibility standard.
See, e.g., Fowlkes v. Ironworkers Local 40,
790 F.3d 378, 387 (2d Cir. 2015).