United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER DISMISSING CASE PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §
Jeffrey Alker Meyer United States District Judge.
James Ever Holley is an inmate at Corrigan-Radgowski
Correctional Center. He has filed a complaint pro se
and in forma pauperis under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against eleven defendants: the City of Middletown, the
Middletown Police Department, and nine members of the
Middletown Police Department. After an initial review, the
Court concludes that the complaint must be dismissed.
following facts are accepted as true solely for purposes of
this initial review. On December 11, 2012, plaintiff was
detained in Middletown, Connecticut, by three of the
defendants. The basis for the detention was “racial
profiling”; specifically, defendants detained plaintiff
because he is a black male who was driving a new Lincoln
sports utility vehicle. After restraining plaintiff, one
defendant slammed plaintiff to the ground and another
handcuffed him. Plaintiff, bruised and in pain, requested
medical attention, which was denied. Two defendants and a
parole officer, who is not named as a defendant, then
performed a rough physical search inside plaintiff's
pants causing plaintiff pain. Although handcuffed and
restrained, plaintiff perceived that he “was not placed
under arrest.” Doc. #1 at 5.
was then driven without his consent to his residence.
Plaintiff's keys were taken from him and used to access
his residence without his consent and without a search
warrant. Using plaintiff's keys, defendants and the
parole officer accessed a safe inside plaintiff's
residence wherein defendants discovered what they claimed was
an illegal substance. Plaintiff was placed under arrest at
that time. Plaintiff contests that the officers indeed found
an illegal substance in his residence.
same day, plaintiff filed a civilian complaint against the
police officers for their actions in detaining plaintiff and
searching his residence. One defendant investigated
plaintiff's claims and cleared the officers of any
wrongdoing. Two defendants higher up the chain of command
reviewed the findings of the investigation, but the
investigation remained closed. Plaintiff alleges that his
complaint was not fully investigated and this failure was
because of his race as well as collusion within the
department to protect the officers from the consequences of
was charged with possession of a controlled substance with
the intent to sell in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. §
21a-278(b). State v. Holley, 174 Conn.App. 488, 491,
cert. denied, 327 Conn. 907 (2017). He was tried in
Connecticut Superior Court, convicted by a jury, and
sentenced to a term of imprisonment. Ibid. Plaintiff
filed the complaint in this case on September 22, 2017.
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
alleges constitutional claims of excessive force, cruel and
unusual punishment, false arrest, unlawful search and
seizure, and deprivation of medical care stemming from the
events surrounding his detention, the search of his person,
and the search of his home. Plaintiff's claims arising
from these events are subject to the three-year statute of
limitations for constitutional claims under § 1983.
See Lounsbury v. Jeffries, 25 F.3d 131, 134 (2d Cir.
1994); Gonzalez v. Maurer, 2017 WL 4531685, at *3
(D. Conn. 2017). The actions alleged in the complaint giving
rise to these claims occurred on December 11, 2012;
therefore, the limitations period for plaintiff's claims
lapsed on December 11, 2015. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit
more than a year and a half after the expiration of the
limitations period. Accordingly, these claims are
with respect to any claims stemming from the allegedly
inadequate or biased departmental investigation of
plaintiff's civilian complaint, it is not entirely clear
from the face of the complaint in this case that any
constitutional claims stemming from the investigation into
plaintiff's civilian complaint are barred by the statute
of limitations given the absence of any indication when the
investigation concluded. In view that plaintiff lodged his
civilian complaint on December 11, 2012, it is most likely
that his claim is time-barred.
factual allegations, however, are nevertheless insufficient
to state any constitutional claims. First, individuals do not
have a constitutionally protected right to an investigation
by government officials for alleged wrongdoing by other
government officials. See Martinez v. Cty. of
Suffolk, 999 F.Supp.2d 424, 430 (E.D.N.Y. 2014);
Hayes v. Cty. of Sullivan, 853 F.Supp.2d 400, 433
(S.D.N.Y. 2012) (collecting cases). Second, to the extent
plaintiff claims that defendants conducted an inadequate or
biased investigation because of his race-i.e.,
engaged in selective enforcement-in violation of the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,
plaintiff's claim fails because he alleges no facts that
plausibly give rise to an inference that the investigation
was tainted by discriminatory animus. See Butler v. City
of Batavia, 323 F. App'x 21, 22 (2d Cir. 2009);
Brisbane v. Milano, 2010 WL 3000975, at *4 (D. Conn.
2010) (dismissing an Equal Protection claim because
allegations that police did not investigate plaintiffs'
robbery complaint because of race were conclusory and
unsupported by any facts). Accordingly, plaintiff's
claims arising from the departmental investigation into his
complaint are dismissed.
absence of any actionable constitutional violation against
any individual, plaintiff's claims against the City of
Middletown and the Middletown Police Department are also
dismissed. See Claudio v. Sawyer, 675 F.Supp.2d 403,
408 (S.D.N.Y. 2009) (“Under Second Circuit case law . .
. a prerequisite to municipal liability under Monell
is an underlying ...