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Baird v. Carie

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

May 29, 2013

WILLIS BAIRD, #K-81582, Plaintiff,


MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

This matter is now before the Court for review of Plaintiff's civil rights complaint (Doc. 7) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915A. In addition, the Court shall address two motions filed by Plaintiff, which seek to add a Defendant (Doc. 10) and another claim (Doc. 12) to this action. Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"), filed the 42-page complaint in response to this Court's order (Doc. 3) of April 22, 2013. That order also referred Plaintiff's motion (Doc. 1) for injunctive relief to United States Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams, who has set the matter for hearing. Plaintiff is seeking an order requiring Defendants to place him in protective custody because he was attacked by a fellow inmate and has received additional threats. He also requests damages for violations of his constitutional rights.

In his complaint, Plaintiff adds several Defendants as well as some additional claims. His allegations are as follows:

Plaintiff was transferred from Hill Correctional Center ("Hill") to Lawrence on July 11, 2012, after he was found guilty of possessing contraband at Hill (Doc. 7, p. 12).[1] One month before the transfer, Plaintiff had been confronted by inmates at Hill who learned he had formerly been employed as an undercover police officer. Plaintiff was then separated from other inmates for his safety, and he requested protective custody ("PC"). When Plaintiff was brought to Lawrence, two other Hill inmates who knew of his past (one of whom was a Latino gang member) were transferred with him. This put him in fear that they would tell other Lawrence inmates about his police background, thus placing him in danger of assault.

Between July 11 and 23, 2012, Plaintiff advised several Lawrence staff including Defendants Strubhart (counselor) and Burke (social worker) of the danger he faced because of the former Hill inmates, who were housed in the same unit as Plaintiff (Doc. 7, pp. 24-25). He requested PC or "some type of protection" (Doc. 7, pp. 34-35). However, Defendant John Doe #1 (segregation placement officer), put him in a cell with inmate Acosta, who was a Spanish Lords gang member incarcerated for attempted murder of a policeman, and who had been shot by police (Doc. 7, pp. 13, 35). On July 14, 2012, Plaintiff wrote to Internal Affairs requesting PC (Doc. 7, p. 18). He met with Defendant Burke and requested protection on or about July 19, 2013 (Doc. 7, p. 37). However, neither Defendant Burke nor Defendant Strubhart took any action to protect Plaintiff.

In late July 2012, Plaintiff wrote to Defendant Hodge (Lawrence Warden) for the first time asking for PC because of his fear that the former Hill inmates would tell fellow gang members about Plaintiff's police history (Doc. 7, pp. 13). Plaintiff wrote several other requests for PC to Defendant Hodge over the ensuing months, to no avail (Doc. 7, pp. 9-10, 13-16).

In August 2012, Plaintiff was interviewed by Defendant Harper (Internal Affairs officer) about his PC request, but was returned to the same cell with inmate Acosta. Defendant Harper told Plaintiff he needed to verify Plaintiff's former employment, but would not allow Plaintiff to obtain his documentation from his cell (Doc. 7, pp. 21-22). Also in August 2012, Plaintiff spoke personally to Defendant Stafford (head of Internal Affairs) about getting protection, and he showed Defendant Stafford the documents proving he had been a police officer. However, Defendant Stafford failed to take any steps to protect Plaintiff (Doc. 7, pp. 18-19).

On March 20, 2013, Plaintiff was assaulted by a different cellmate (Meeks, a member of the Gangster Disciples street gang), who beat him with a plastic stool, held him down, and choked him. Inmate Meeks had been told by another inmate that Plaintiff was an ex-police officer (Doc. 7, pp. 14-15). Plaintiff suffered injuries to his head and neck, cuts, and a broken nose (Doc. 7, pp. 23, 26).

The day after the attack, Plaintiff wrote to Internal Affairs requesting documentation of his injuries, and again asking for PC (Doc. 7, p. 19). Defendant Stafford did not respond. Plaintiff also sent another emergency grievance to Defendant Hodge requesting PC. Defendant Hodge ruled it was not an emergency and instructed Plaintiff to file the request through regular channels. Plaintiff was later placed with other inmates who he felt posed a danger to him, so Plaintiff declared hunger strikes in order to be separated from them. The PC request was never granted.

The attack on Plaintiff also resulted in disciplinary action against him. Defendant Maus, who observed the assault on Plaintiff by inmate Meeks, wrote a disciplinary ticket stating (falsely, according to Plaintiff) that Plaintiff attempted to punch Meeks while Meeks was holding Plaintiff down (Doc. 7, p. 26). One month earlier, Plaintiff had filed a grievance against Defendant Maus. He asserts that Defendant Maus lied about the facts of the assault in order to retaliate against him for this complaint (Doc. 7, pp. 26-27). Defendants Brown and Carie conducted the disciplinary hearing, and refused to allow Plaintiff to introduce documents he needed to present his defense (Doc. 7, pp. 28-30). Plaintiff also complains that the hearing committee was biased against him because it did not include a minority staff member as directed by IDOC policy (Doc. 7, p. 30). Plaintiff was found guilty and his discipline included the revocation of 15 days' good conduct credits. This disciplinary action was approved by Defendant Hodge, who denied Plaintiff's emergency grievance over the discipline (Doc. 7, pp. 16-17).

Following the March 20, 2013 attack, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Nurse Darnold for medical treatment for his injuries (Doc. 7, p. 31). Despite his complaints of pain, she refused to give him anything for pain relief, and failed to give him a thorough examination (Doc. 7, p. 32). His broken nose went undetected and untreated for several days. Plaintiff had previously filed grievances against Defendant Darnold for unrelated matters, and he believes she deliberately rendered inadequate treatment in retaliation for Plaintiff's earlier complaints (Doc. 7, p. 31). Defendant Hodge denied Plaintiff's grievance over the lack of medical treatment (Doc. 7, p. 18).

In April 2013, Plaintiff gave several documents (including a police report and court transcript identifying Plaintiff as a police officer)[2] to Defendant Musgrave (law library supervisor) so she could make copies for him (Doc. 7, p. 32). He soon learned that Defendant Musgrave had "negligently" mailed copies of these documents to another inmate (Couch), when inmate Couch wrote Plaintiff a threatening letter and included the copies of Plaintiff's papers (Doc. 7, pp. 15, 32, 34). Plaintiff wrote another emergency grievance to Defendant Hodge, requesting PC (Doc. 7, pp. 15-16). Defendant Hodge deemed the grievance non-emergency and nothing was done to protect Plaintiff. Plaintiff then sent his PC request to Defendant Strubhart (counselor), and wrote to Defendant Treadway (assistant warden) seeking PC (Doc. 7, pp. 23-26). Plaintiff also wrote Defendant Stafford another request for PC, which was personally delivered by the segregation lieutenant (Doc. 7, p. 20). Again, he got no response. Three days later, Plaintiff was placed by Defendant John Doe #2 (segregation placement officer) in a cell with an inmate (Askew) who had just come from the housing unit where inmate Couch lived (Doc. 7, pp. 16, 36). Inmate Askew also had a history of assaulting other inmates and guards (Doc. 7, p. 36). Plaintiff declared a hunger strike in order to be moved (Doc. 7, pp. 16, 37).

On May 2, 2013, Plaintiff saw inmate Couch talking to other prisoners while they were in the law library, and the group kept looking over at Plaintiff. Their actions indicated to Plaintiff that inmate Couch was telling them about Plaintiff being a former policeman (Doc. 7, p. 34). These events continue to ...

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