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Santiago v. Hamden Connecticut Police Department

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

December 3, 2019

ISRAEL SANTIAGO, Plaintiff,
v.
HAMDEN CONNECTICUT POLICE DEPARTMENT, POLICE SERGEANT DOHERTY, OFFICER VENDITTO, Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          KARI A. DOOLEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On October 22, 2019, the pro se plaintiff, Israel Santiago, currently incarcerated at Garner Correctional Institution, filed this civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Hamden Police Department, Sergeant Doherty, and Officer Venditto. Compl. [ECF No. 1]. He seeks damages and injunctive relief[1] due to violations of his constitutional rights arising out of his arrest on September 7, 2015. For the following reasons, the complaint is dismissed.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant 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).

         Although 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 omitted).

         Allegations

         On September 7, 2015, the plaintiff led the Hamden police officers on a chase. Compl. at 2 ¶ 1 [ECF No. 1]. The plaintiff accelerated his vehicle in an attempt to get away from the police because he feared that he would be shot and lose his life. Id. at ¶ 2. Sergeant Doherty struck the plaintiff's vehicle.[2] Id. at ¶ 3. After the plaintiff's vehicle spun out and became inoperable, Sergeant Doherty fired his weapon. Id. at ¶ 4. The plaintiff set out on foot fearing for his life due to the multiple gun shots. Id. at ¶ 5. The plaintiff had no weapons and did not pose a threat. Id. In an attempt “to get away in any manner possible[, ]” the plaintiff jumped into a river. Id. at ¶ 6. Thereafter, the plaintiff was tased, and he put his hands up in an attempt to surrender. Id. He pulled out the taser prongs and yelled, “I give up! Please! Don't hurt me!” Id.

         Officer Venditto slammed him to the ground face first and applied the hand restraints tight in an unlawful manner. Id. at ¶ 7.

         The plaintiff did not pose a threat to the police officers so as to warrant the use of deadly force. Id. at ¶ 8.

         At trial, the defendant police officers lied and made false allegations on the stand. Id. at ¶ 11. The charges against the plaintiff were later thrown out. Id.

         Hamden Police Officers have a common unlawful practice of firing their firearms or using deadly force on humans and their non-moving vehicles. Id. at 12.

         Discussion

         The plaintiff alleges that the defendant police officers used excessive force against him in violation of his Constitutional rights. He alleges violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments but claims of excessive force by police officers ...


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