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Conquistador v. Syed

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 15, 2020

JEAN KARLO CONQUISTADOR, Plaintiff,
v.
FAHD SYED, et al., Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER

          Kari A. Dooley United States District Judge

         Preliminary Statement

         Plaintiff, Jean Karlo Conquistador (“Conquistador”), currently confined at Bridgeport Correctional Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut, filed this complaint pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Conquistador asserts claims for deliberate indifference, retaliation, use of excessive force, and unlawful seizure of property in violation of his rights under the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments against six defendants who work at Garner Correctional Institution (“Garner”): Captain Fahd Syed, and Officers Bakewell, Blekis, Kennedy, Colombo, and Allegne. Conquistador seeks damages against the defendants in their individual and official capacities.

         On December 4, 2019, the court ordered Conquistador to show why his complaint should not be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies before commencing this action. Doc. No. 8. Conquistador has responded to that order explaining that he is on grievance restriction and the grievance procedures are unavailable to him. Doc. No. 9. The court now reviews the merits of Conquistador's claims.

         Standard of Review

         Under section 1915A of title 28 of the United States Code, 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. Id. In reviewing a pro se complaint, the Court must assume the truth of the allegations, and interpret them liberally to “raise the strongest arguments [they] suggest[].” Abbas v. Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing special rules of solicitude for pro se litigants). 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.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         Allegations

         On August 26, 2019, Disciplinary Investigator Snowden told Conquistador that he would be returning to the IPM2 Unit and continuing in the Chronic Discipline Program because he could not be held for more than two weeks pending the investigation of the Disciplinary Report issued by Correctional Guard Rehm for alleged threats. Doc. No. 1, IV. ¶ 1. He was escorted to IPM2, cell 606 at 11:40 a.m. Id. ¶ 2.

         Conquistador complained that the cell had feces on the walls, floor, and toilet, smelled of urine, that the toilet did not work, and that there was no table or chair for him to sit and do paperwork. Id. ¶ 3. He was ignored for several hours. Id. ¶ 4.

         Several hours later, Officer Falcone and defendant Alleyne delivered Conquistador's bedroll and banker's box of legal files. Id. ¶ 5. He was handcuffed and directed to step out of the cell so his belongings could be placed in the cell. Id. ¶ 6. Conquistador objected to having his belongings placed in the cell and refused to re-enter the cell. Id. ¶ 7. He lay face-down on the floor and refused to walk back into the cell. Id. ¶ 8.

         A few moments later, defendants Syed, Bakewell, Blekis, Kennedy and other officers arrived at the cell. Id. ¶ 9. Defendant Syed asked Conquistador, who was still on the floor, what the problem was. Id. ¶ 10. Conquistador described his objections to the cell condition. Id. Defendant Syed disregarded his concerns and ordered Conquistador to “get up and walk.” Id. ¶ 11. When Conquistador objected, defendant Syed said that was his cell. Id. ¶¶ 12-13.

         Conquistador continued to refuse to get up and enter the cell. Id. ¶ 14. He was picked up and carried into the cell. Id. ¶ 15. He was not being physically hostile or trying to attack any officer and did not make any sudden movements. Id. Inside the cell, defendant Alleyne twisted his left foot causing pain. Id. ¶ 16. Defendants Blekis and Kennedy twisted his wrists. Id. Defendant Bakewell sprayed him in the face with a chemical agent after defendant Syed ordered that the handheld camera not be turned on and that Conquistador's head be held up. Id. ¶ 16, 18. Defendant Kennedy grabbed Conquistador's neck to hold up his head. Id. ¶ 17. About a week prior to this incident, defendants Syed and Alleyne received copies of a complaint Conquistador had filed against them. Id. ¶ 20.

         On August 30, 2019, defendants Bekis and Columbo transported Conquistador to Bridgeport Correctional Center (“Bridgeport”) after Conquistador was arraigned for threats against Officer Rehm, a defendant in another lawsuit filed by Conquistador. Id. ¶ 21. When Conquistador asked them to get his property from the van, defendant Blekis said he was not getting anything. Id. ¶ 22. They brought his property back to Garner Correctional Institution. Id. ¶ 23. Conquistador's television and white leather Reeboks are missing. Id. ¶¶ 24-25.

         Discussion

         Conquistador identifies his claims as deliberate indifference, retaliation, excessive force, and unlawful seizure of his property in violation of his rights under the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. He seeks damages from the defendants in their individual and official capacities.

         Conquistador states that he was confined as a sentenced prisoner and, now, is incarcerated at Bridgeport as a pretrial detainee. Id. at 2. He was arraigned on August 30, 2019. Id. ΒΆ 21. Thus, Conquistador was a pretrial detainee at the time of his property claim and a sentenced prisoner at ...


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