United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVEW ORDER
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Velez (“Plaintiff”), incarcerated at the Cheshire
Correctional Institution, filed a civil Complaint under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Lieutenant Harris and Correctional
Officers Rivard, Berloni, Field, Pacileo, and Brouwer
(collectively “Defendants”). Mr. Velez alleges
that Defendants, in both their individual and official
capacities, used excessive force against him and failed to
intervene/protect him from harm in violation of his Fourth,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights and state law.
following reasons, the claims against Defendants in their
official capacity are DISMISSED, the Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendment claims are
DISMISSED, and the Eighth Amendment and
state law claims against Defendants in their individual
capacity are allowed to PROCEED.
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
February 26, 2016, Mr. Velez alleges that a prison official
at Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution issued a
disciplinary report to Mr. Velez for indecent exposure.
Compl. ¶ 2, ECF No. 1. Later that day, Lieutenant Harris
and Officers Rivard, Berloni, Field, Pacileo, and Brouwer
arrived at Mr. Velez's cell to escort him to the
restrictive housing unit. Id. ¶ 3. Officer
Pacileo videotaped the escort. Id. ¶ 4.
an officer opened the cell door, Lieutenant Harris allegedly
sprayed Mr. Velez in the face with mace. Id.
¶¶ 7-9. Officers Rivard, Berloni, and Field entered
the cell and allegedly threw Mr. Velez against the wall.
Id. ¶ 11. Officer Rivald allegedly punched Mr.
Velez in the face, neck and body and swore at him.
Id. ¶ 12. Officer Pacileo also allegedly
punched and kneed Mr. Velez. See Id. ¶ 14.
Although Officers Rivard, Berloni, Field, and Pacileo had
complete control of Mr. Velez, Officer Rivard allegedly
continued to punch Mr. Velez in the face, head, neck,
stomach, ribs and penis and forcefully kneed him. Officer
Pacileo allegedly continued to assault Mr. Velez, as well.
Id. ¶¶ 16-18. Mr. Velez claims that
Lieutenant Harris refused to intervene and stop the
assaultive behavior of Officers Rivard and Pacileo.
Id. ¶ 21.
Rivard, Berloni, Field and Pacileo then threw Mr. Velez to
the floor of the cell. Id. ¶ 22. Mr. Velez
alleges the officers continued to assault him as he lay on
the ground. Id. ¶¶ 23, 26. Lieutenant
Harris then allegedly entered the cell, directed Mr. Velez to
stop resisting and sprayed him in the face with mace.
Id. ¶ 24.
the mace, Mr. Velez claims that Officers Rivard, Berloni,
Field, and Pacileo handcuffed him behind his back and stood
him up. Id. ¶ 27. At that point, Mr. Velez
noticed that Officer Brouwer was videotaping the incident.
Id. ¶¶ 28-29. Allegedly, Officer Brouwer
never made any attempt to stop the other officers from
assaulting Mr. Velez. Id. ¶ 34.
Mr. Velez's escort to the restrictive housing unit,
Officers Berloni and Pacileo allegedly twisted and turned Mr.
Velez's handcuffs and caused them to dig into his wrists.
Id. ¶ 30. A nurse treated Mr. Velez for the
effects of the mace, but did not treat an injury to his leg.
Id. ¶ 35.
Velez allegedly suffered the following injuries from the
force used against him by Officers Rivard, Berloni, Field,
and Pacileo: bruises and swelling to his face, pain in his
neck, ribs and lower back, nerve damage to both of his
wrists, a gash on his right shin, and emotional anguish.
Id. ¶¶ 36-43. Mr. Velez made multiple
requests for treatment for the gash in his leg. Id.
at 9 ¶¶ 44-48.
March 8, 2016, a nurse examined the injury to Mr. Velez's
right shin, cleaned it and applied a dressing to it. A doctor
prescribed an antibiotic. Id. ¶¶ 47-48. On
March 23, 2016, a doctor examined Mr. Velez's leg injury,
re-prescribed an antibiotic and ordered an x-ray.
Id. ¶¶ 50-51. Mr. Velez filed requests and
grievances regarding the use of force by Officers Rivard,
Berloni, Field, and Pacileo, and Lieutenant Harris.
Id. ¶¶ 49, 52.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), a court must review prisoner civil
complaints against governmental actors and “dismiss . .
. any portion of [a] 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.” Id.
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that
a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
detailed allegations are not required, “a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A
claim has facial plausibility when a plaintiff pleads factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). A
complaint that includes only “‘labels and
conclusions,' ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action' or ‘naked
assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement, '” does not meet the facial
plausibility standard. Id. (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 557 (2007)).
Although courts still have an obligation to interpret
“a pro se complaint liberally, ” the complaint
must still include sufficient factual allegations to meet the
standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v.
Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations