United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. Dooley, United States District Judge.
April 1, 2019, the Plaintiff, Shaqille Brown, a prisoner
currently confined at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution in Suffield, Connecticut, brought a civil action
pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against two
Connecticut Department of Correction (“DOC”)
officials for damages: Correction Officer Wehr and Captain
Anaya. The Plaintiff is suing the Defendants for subjecting
him to excessive force, in violation of his constitutional
rights. On April 22, 2019, Magistrate Judge William I.
Garfinkel granted the Plaintiff's motion to proceed
in forma pauperis. See Order No. 9. For the
following reasons, the case may proceed on the
Plaintiff's excessive force claim.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, 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. Although
detailed allegations are not required, the complaint must
include sufficient facts to afford the Defendants fair notice
of the claims and the grounds upon which they are based and
to demonstrate a right to relief. Bell Atlantic v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Conclusory
allegations are not sufficient. 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.” Bell Atlantic, 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
America, 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).
returning from court on June 25, 2018, the Plaintiff became
involved in a verbal altercation with defendant Wehr.
Defendant Wehr threatened the Plaintiff as the Plaintiff was
entering his cell, stating that has going to come into the
cell and “fuck [him] up!” Moments later,
defendant Wehr handcuffed the Plaintiff, entered the cell,
and locked himself inside with the Plaintiff. Defendant Wehr
then physically assaulted the Plaintiff. He grabbed the
Plaintiff and “slamm[ed]” him onto the cell bench
causing harm to his preexisting back injury. After he was
finished assaulting the Plaintiff, defendant Wehr unlocked
the cell and brought the Plaintiff to the medical unit for
treatment of his injuries.
defendant Anaya was investigating “the
situation.” When Anaya realized that Plaintiff had been
assaulted, he forced defendant Wehr to issue a false
disciplinary report against the Plaintiff for slipping
through his handcuffs to cover up the assault. The report was
later dismissed, or so the Court assumes because Brown
alleges he “beat” the ticket. Because of the
injuries suffered during the assault, the Plaintiff was
placed on stronger pain medication.
Plaintiff claims that defendant Wehr subjected him to
excessive force and defendant Anaya “tried to cover up
the true details of th[e] altercation, ” in violation
of his constitutional rights.
Plaintiff has filed another civil action in this Court
alleging that, two other DOC officials, Correction Officers
Harrington and Forde, assaulted him on the very same day at
Bridgeport Correctional Center (“BCC”). See
Brown v. Harrington, No. 3:18-CV-2029 (KAD), DE#7. The
Court permitted his excessive force claim in that case to
proceed against Harrington and Forde in their individual
capacities for damages. Id. at 5. Harrington and
Forde answered the complaint on March 5, 2019.
Harrington, DE#14. Wehr and Anaya are identified as
officers at Northern Correctional Institution so the Court
infers that Northern is where the assault occurred.
Court stated in Harrington, the Plaintiff was a
pretrial detainee at the time of the June 25, 2018 assault.
See Harrington, DE#7 at 1 n.1. Thus, the Court
analyzed his excessive force claim under the Fourteenth
Amendment's Due Process Clause. Id. at 3
(quoting Darnell v. Pineiro, 849 F.3d 17, 29 (2d
Cir. 2017)). Because the alleged assault in this case
occurred on the same day, his constitutional claims against
defendants Wehr and Anaya are also governed by the Fourteenth
order to state an excessive force claim under the Fourteenth
Amendment, the Plaintiff “‘must show …
that the force purposely or knowingly used against him was
objectively unreasonable.'” Fletcher v. City of
New London, No. 3:16-CV-241 (MPS), 2018 WL 4604306, at
*10 (D. Conn. Sept. 25, 2018) (quoting Kingsley v.
Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2473 (2015)).
“‘[O]bjective reasonableness turns on the facts
and circumstances of each particular case.'”
Id. (quoting Kingsley, 135 S.Ct. at 2473).
In Kingsley, the United States Supreme Court
identified several relevant factors a court may consider in
determining the reasonableness or unreasonableness of the
the relationship between the need for the use of force and
the amount of force used; the extent of the plaintiff's
injury; any effort made by the officer to temper or to limit
the amount of force; the severity of the security problem at
issue; the threat reasonably perceived by the officer; and
whether the plaintiff was actively resisting.
Kingsley, 135 S.Ct. at 2473. The determination is
made “from the perspective of a reasonable officer on
the scene, including what the officer knew at the time, not
with 20/20 vision of hindsight.” Id. In
addition, "supervisory liability may be imposed where an
official demonstrates 'gross negligence' or
'deliberate indifference' to the constitutional
rights of inmates by failing to act on information indicating
that unconstitutional practices are taking place."