United States District Court, D. Connecticut
INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
A. Dooley, United States District Judge.
plaintiff, Bennie Gray, Jr. (“Gray”), is
currently incarcerated at Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional
Institution. He filed the instant complaint under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Groton Police Officers Bridget Nordstrom
and Emery, Norwich Parole Officer Belval, Groton Police Chief
John Doe and Norwich District Parole Manager John Doe. Gray
challenges the September 5, 2017 search of a car in which he
was a passenger, the seizure of evidence from the car, his
arrest on drug possession charges and his remand to the
custody of the Connecticut Department of Correction for a
parole violation. For the reasons set forth below, the
complaint is dismissed in part.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
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 include sufficient factual allegations to meet
the standard of facial plausibility. See Harris v.
Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 72 (2d Cir. 2009) (citations
second week of August 2017, Gray participated in a scheduled
parole meeting in New Britain with his Parole Officer, Ms.
Lindley. See Compl. at 2 ¶ 11. Gray was in the
process of trying to change his sponsor. Ms. Lindley
directed Gray to report to her at the New Britain Parole
office on September 5, 2017. See Id. at 2 ¶ 13.
Gray was driven to the meeting with Ms. Lindley by Bobby Jo
Viger (“Viger”). See Id. at 3 ¶ 18.
When Gray entered the office, Ms. Lindley placed him in
handcuffs because his original sponsor no longer wanted to be
his sponsor and because the Hartford Police Department had
received a report that an individual “with the same
name as Gray was seen in the city with a gun.” See
Id. ¶¶ 15-16. Within a few minutes of placing
Gray in handcuffs, Ms. Lindley learned that officers had
taken the individual who had been seen with a gun into
custody. See Id. ¶ 16. She immediately released
Gray to return to Ms. Slaughter's home in Groton and
informed Gray that Norwich parole officers would be visiting
Ms. Slaughter's home. See id.
Britain parole officers searched Viger's vehicle while he
was inside the parole office with Ms. Lindley. See
Id. ¶ 17. The search revealed no illegal items.
See Id. Viger drove Gray to Manchester Community
College to retrieve some paperwork and then picked up Rachel
Mead (“Mead”) in Willimantic. See Id.
¶ 18 & at 4 ¶ 27. Viger drove Mead and Gray
from Willimantic to Groton. See Id. When Gray
entered Groton, he called Zachary T. Steward to arrange a
meeting to collect money that Steward owed to him. See
Id. at 3 ¶¶ 19-20. Steward agreed to meet Gray
at a Walgreen's store located near Ms. Slaughter's
address on Long Hill Road in Groton. See Id. ¶
arriving at the Walgreen's, several plainclothes police
officers, including Groton Police Officers Nordstrom and
Emery, and Norwich Parole Officer Belval ran towards
Gray's vehicle. See Id. ¶ 21 & at 5
¶ 37. The officers removed Gray, Viger and Mead from the
vehicle. See Id. at 3 ¶ 21. Officers at the
scene, pat-searched Gray, Mead and Viger. See Id.
¶¶ 21-22. The searches revealed no illegal items.
See Id. Officers placed Gray, Viger and Mead under
investigatory detention. See Id. ¶ 21 & at
7 ¶ 48. Officer Nordstrom then entered Viger's
vehicle without permission and placed a brown bag containing
narcotics under the driver's seat. See Id. at 4
¶ 23. Norwich Parole Officer Belval immediately remanded
Gray into custody on the charge of possession of narcotics.
See Id. Officers at the scene did not charge Viger
or Mead with a criminal offense in connection with the
narcotics which Officer Nordstrom had planted in Viger's
vehicle. See Id. ¶ 25.
police report documenting the incident included allegations
that on September 5, 2017, Gray had traveled to his
family's home on Brandegee Avenue in Groton to pick up
narcotics and then traveled to Long Hill Road in Groton to
sell the narcotics. See Id. ¶ 26. The report
also included a statement that prior to Gray's arrest,
the New Britain Parole Office had notified the Groton Police
Department that Gray was travelling in a vehicle driven by
Viger. See Id. The Groton Town Police Northeastern
Task Force also known as the Regional Community Enforcement
Task Force (“Task Force”) had coordinated the
drug transaction involving Gray. See id.
connection with his arrest for the offense of possession of
narcotics, Gray moved for a speedy trial and provided the
court or the prosecutor with the GPS information from his
cellular phone which documented the routes and stops that
Viger's vehicle had made after leaving the New Britain
Parole Office with Gray as a passenger. See Id.
¶ 27. The State of Connecticut “entered a
Nolle” dismissing the criminal charge against Gray
because the State “did not want to disclose its
confidential informant.” See Id. ¶ 29
& at 7 ¶ 48.
Board of Parole initiated a hearing to revoke Gray's
release on parole because he had been arrested on a charge of
drug possession. See Id. ¶¶ 23, 30. At
Gray's revocation hearing, the Board of Parole found Gray
guilty of violating a condition of his parole and revoked his
term of parole. See Id. ¶ 30. The Board of
Parole “sanctioned” Gray to serve six months of
imprisonment prior to re-releasing him on parole. See
Id. ¶ 31. Gray “grieved Parole's
decision, but Parole refused to answer his grievance.”
asserts the following claims: a violation of his Fourth
Amendment rights, a violation of the separation of powers
doctrine embodied in the United States Constitution,
deliberate indifference and negligence. See Id. at
4-7. He sues the Groton Police Chief and the Norwich District
Parole Manager in their individual and official capacities
and sues Groton Police Officers Bridget Nordstrom and Emery
and Norwich Parole Officer Belval in their individual
capacities only. See Id. at 1-2.