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Jacques v. Williams

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

December 4, 2018



          Janet Bond Arterton, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Ezckholm Jacques ("Plaintiff) files this lawsuit against Correctional Officer Williams ("Defendant"), claiming that Defendant sexually assaulted him while Plaintiff was housed at the New Haven County Correctional Center on December 23, 2010. The Court has construed Plaintiffs action as bringing Eighth Amendment claims for excessive force and deliberate indifference, as well as state law claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery. Defendant now moves for summary judgment (Mot. Summ. J. [Doc. # 49]), arguing that Plaintiff lacks any record evidence that could establish that Defendant was correctly identified as Plaintiffs assailant.

         I. Background

         A. Undisputed Facts

         On December 23, 2010, Plaintiff assaulted a Connecticut Department of Corrections ("DOC") officer at the New Haven Corrections Center ("New Haven CC") in the throes of a manic episode. (Parties' L.R. Stmts. [Doc. ## 49-2, 56] ¶ 1; Compl. [Doc. # 1] ¶ 1.) This incident began at the beginning of the prison's second shift of the day, either around or shortly before 4:11 p.m. (L.R. Stmts. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff resisted DOC staffs efforts to secure him, resulting in Plaintiff being forcibly removed from the housing unit and taken first to the Foxtrot Housing Unit dayroom, then to the Medical Unit, and then to a different DOC facility-Northern Correctional Institute. (Id. ¶¶ 4-5; Attach. 1 (Incident Report) to Ex. 2 to Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. [Doc. #49-1] at 3.) The Connecticut state police charged Plaintiff with assault on a public safety officer, breach of the peace, interfering with a police officer, and failure to submit to fingerprinting; Plaintiff pled guilty to Assault of Public Safety personnel and received a prison sentence of three years and five years of special parole. (L.R. Stmts. ¶¶ 6-7.)

         On March 7, 2012, New Haven CC received an "administrative remedy form" filed by Plaintiff alleging that New Haven CC staff had sexually assaulted him during the Incident. (Id. ¶ 8.) DOC authorized a Security Division investigation, which concluded that Plaintiffs allegations of sexual assault were unfounded. (Id. ¶ 9.)

         Defendant Williams was assigned to the New Haven CC from December 1999 to June 2017 and, at the time of the Incident, as a correctional officer working the first shift. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13.) The first shift hours are from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Id. ¶ 14.) The second shift officers have roll call at 3:45 pm and relieve the first shift staff at some point between 3:50 and 4:00, depending on how long roll call takes. (Id. ¶ 15.) A correctional officer who stayed at work for more than one-to-two minutes after the end of his shift could put in for overtime in 15-minute increments. (Id. ¶ 17.) Defendant worked the first shift on the day of the Incident, and Defendant did not seek any overtime on the day of the Incident. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 21.)

         B. Plaintiffs Affidavit[1]

         Plaintiff avers that during the Incident, the corrections staff escorted him to the Foxtrot Housing Unit Dayroom. (Ex. 1 (Affidavit of Ezchholm Jacques) to Mem. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J. [Doc. # 55-1] ¶ 7.) While in the dayroom, Plaintiff states that the staff placed a kitchen hat over his head to prevent him from spitting on them, even though Plaintiff denied that he had been spitting. (Id. ¶ 8.) Plaintiff further avers that an officer turned a hand-held video camera on, stated for the recording that the officer was signing on, and asked Plaintiff to state his name and inmate number for the camera, which he did. (Id. ¶ 9.) At no time contemporaneously did the correctional officer say that he was unable to record for any reason, and Plaintiff believed that he continued to video record the events as they unfolded. (Id.)

         While the video was running, Plaintiff claims that he was asked by the corrections officer in charge what happened in the cell block, and that Plaintiff replied that he did not know what happened. (Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff maintains that he then heard snickering from the corrections officers behind him and the sound of zippers unzipping. (Id. ¶¶ 11-12.) Plaintiff looked to his right and saw a black man's penis, which he deduced to be Defendant's because Defendant was the only black officer that Plaintiff saw in the room at the time. (Id. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff alleges that he felt something hitting his back and screamed for Defendant to "get [his] penis off [Plaintiffs] back." (Id. ¶ 13.)

         Plaintiff states that the officer in charge then ordered: "[Plaintiffs] not being compliant, spray him boys[, ]" and an officer then sprayed Plaintiff with what Plaintiff believed to be a lemon-scented cleaner, based on the smell of the substance and the fact that it sounded as if it was sprayed from a spray pump bottle, as opposed to the aerosol can from which mace would have been sprayed. (Id. ¶¶ 14-15.) Plaintiff asserts that the officers then jumped on him and he lost consciousness, later waking in four point restraints in a bed in the medical unit. (Id. ¶ 16.)

         Plaintiff has reviewed the video recordings of portions of the incident that were made available to him and used in the creation of the incident report, and explains that "[t]he beginning of the incident, where I was sexually assaulted and sprayed with lemon scented cleaner, is not included on the video provided." (Id. ¶ 19.) "At the beginning of the video, a Corrections Officer is heard on the audio of the video saying 'Officer Tracey, resigning on, 4:20, December 23, 2010, Bravo Unit, sorry Foxtrot center day room.'" (Id.) Officer Tracey "does not say my name or inmate number on the audio of the video recording." (Id.) At oral argument, Defendant did not dispute Plaintiffs characterization of this portion of the video.

         II. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment

         A. ...

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