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Hill v. Zachary

January 16, 2007

KEVIN HILL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANNE ZACHARY, C. NITTLE AND THE EVENING SHIFT COMMANDING SGT. OF THE GRANITE CITY POLICE DEPT., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gilbert, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, formerly an inmate in the Madison County Jail, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are legally frivolous and thus are subject to summary dismissal.

CLAIM 1

Plaintiff states that in June 2004, he was arrested by officers from the Granite City Police Department. He claims that he was cooperative and followed their instructions, but once he was handcuffed on the ground, he was "beaten stomped and tazed" by the evening shift commander.

In order to establish an excessive force claim under § 1983, plaintiffs must demonstrate that a state actor's use of force was "objectively unreasonable" under the circumstances. See DeLuna v. City of Rockford, Ill., 447 F.3d 1008, 1010 (7th Cir. 2006) (citing Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396-97, 109 S.Ct. 1865, 104 L.Ed.2d 443 (1989)). What constitutes "reasonableness" with regard to an officer's actions in apprehending a suspect under the Fourth Amendment is " 'not capable of precise definition or mechanical application' but 'requires careful attention to the facts and circumstances of each particular case, including the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officers or others, and whether he is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.' " Abdullahi v. City of Madison, 423 F.3d 763, 768 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting Graham, 490 U.S. at 396). The reasonableness of a particular use of force "must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight." Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396, 109 S.Ct. 1865, 104 L.Ed.2d 443 (1989). This calculus of reasonableness must allow for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation. Id. at 387.

Thompson v. City of Chicago, - F.3d -, 2006 WL 3720250 (7th Cir. 2006).

Based on the allegations in the complaint, the Court is unable to dismiss Claim 1 at this point in the litigation. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

CLAIM 2

Plaintiff next alleges that in July 2004, his wife, Defendant Anne Zachary, falsely reported their automobile stolen. Plaintiff was subsequently ...


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