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Hamilton v. McCallister

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 2, 2015

KEVIN L. HAMILTON, #K59387, Plaintiff,
v.
ANTHONY McCALLISTER and UNKNOWN PARTY, [1] Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Kevin Hamilton is currently incarcerated at the Big Muddy River Correctional Center in Ina, Illinois. (Doc. 1 at 1.) Proceeding pro se, Hamilton has filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as a state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Id. at 7.) Hamilton alleges that he was improperly strip searched by two prison officers in front of female officers during a prison sweep, was physically abused for objecting to the strip search by the same individuals, and was verbally abused by another officer after the search. (Id. at 7-8.) He also names Commander McCallister in his suit, alleging that McCallister was "in charge of the Orange Crush tact-team strip search." (Id. at 1.)

This matter is now before the Court for a preliminary review of Hamilton's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court shall review a "complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a government entity." During this preliminary review, the court "shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, " if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted" or if it "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief."

Background

According to Hamilton's complaint, on May 13, 2014, the Illinois Department of Corrections' Orange Crush Tactical Team performed a strip search of Hamilton and several other inmates at Big Muddy Correctional Center. (Doc. 1 at 7.) Two officers - who the Court will refer to as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 - performed the search of Hamilton, ordering him to disrobe, bend at the waist, spread his buttocks, expose his rectum, open his penis head, and lift his testicles. (Id. ) Hamilton claims that John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 performed this search "in the presence of female officers, who were not performing any penological duty." (Id. ) Hamilton also claims that Commander McCallister was "in charge of the orange crush tact-team strip search" and was present at the prison during the search. (Id. at 1 & 8.)

As the search was occurring, Hamilton complained to John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 that he "didn't want to be stripped in front of women, " as it was against his religion. (Id. ) In response, the officers allegedly shoved Hamilton, yelled slurs at him, and threatened him with bodily harm. (Id. at 7-8.) At the end of the search, both officers did not allow Hamilton to put on underwear or socks under his prison garb, pushed him into another inmate when he complained, and repeatedly "smacked" him on the back of the head as he departed for the prison cafeteria. (Id. )

When Hamilton arrived at the prison cafeteria after the search, he states that he encountered another prison officer, who Hamilton claims was generally responsible for the "safety and security" of the inmates. (Id. at 3 & 8.) He told this officer - who the Court will refer to as John Doe 3 - about the search and the manner in which he was treated during the search. (Id. ) The officer told Hamilton to "sit [his] ass down and shut the fuck up." (Id. )

Hamilton claims that he filed grievances about the search and exhausted his remedies "to no avail" - the Illinois Department of Corrections ruled that the tactical team "did nothing wrong." (Id. ) On March 12, 2015, Hamilton brought the instant suit. (Id. at 1.)

Discussion

Construed liberally, Hamilton's complaint alleges that John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 performed an illegal search on him, and that McCallister generally directed the search that was conducted throughout Big Muddy by John Doe 1, John Doe 2, and other officers. ( See id. at 1, 7-8.) In addition, Hamilton claims that John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 retaliated against him for complaining about the search, and that their retaliatory conduct similarly constituted excessive force. ( See id. at 7-8.) Hamilton may have intended to name McCallister in these claims as well. Finally, Hamilton states that John Doe 3 retaliated against him after the strip search and generally failed to protect him from the conduct of officers during the search. (Id. at 3 & 8.)

To facilitate the management of future proceedings, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8 and 10, the Court finds it appropriate to break the claims in Hamilton's pro se complaint into numbered counts, as shown below. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by the Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

COUNT 1: McCallister, John Doe 1, and John Doe 2 violated Hamilton's Eighth Amendment rights by strip searching him in front of female guards.
COUNT 2: McCallister, John Doe 1, and John Doe 2 violated Hamilton's Fourth Amendment rights by strip searching him in front of female guards.
COUNT 3: McCallister, John Doe 1, and John Doe 2 violated Hamilton's First Amendment rights by retaliating against him for protesting the method of strip searching male inmates in the presence of female guards.
COUNT 4: McCallister, John Doe 1, and John Doe 2 violated Hamilton's Eighth Amendment rights by physically ...

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