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Johnson v. McCallistor

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 8, 2015

JAMMEL L. JOHNSON, #M11290, Plaintiff,
v.
ANTHONY McCALLISTOR, and UNKNOWN PARTY, [1] Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff Jammel Johnson is currently incarcerated at the Big Muddy River Correctional Center in Ina, Illinois. (Doc. 1 at 1.) Proceeding pro se, Johnson 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 9.) Johnson alleges that he was improperly strip searched by three prison officers in front of female staff during a prison sweep and was physically abused for objecting to the strip search by the same officers. ( Id. at 9-10.) He also names Commander McCallistor in his suit, alleging that McCallistor was "in charge of [the] Orange Crush Tact team." ( Id. at 1.)

This matter is now before the Court for a preliminary review of Johnson'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 Johnson's complaint, during the week of May 12, 2014, the Illinois Department of Corrections' Orange Crush Tactical Team performed a strip search of Johnson and several other inmates at Big Muddy Correctional Center. (Doc. 1 at 9.) Three officers - who Johnson names in his complaint as John Doe 1, John Doe 2, and John Doe 3 - performed the search of Johnson, ordering him to disrobe, bend at the waist, spread his buttocks, expose his rectum, lift his testicles, and pull back the foreskin on his penis. ( Id. ) Johnson claims that the officers performed this search "in the presence of female officers, who were not performing any penological duty." ( Id. ) Johnson also claims that Commander McCallistor was the "commander in charge of [the] Orange Crush Tact team." ( Id. at 1.)

As the search was occurring, Johnson complained to the John Doe officers that he "did not want to be stripped in front of women." ( Id. at 10.) In response, Johnson was "met with a barrage of threats of bodily harm." ( Id. ) As the search concluded, Johnson was also "forcefully pushed into another inmate while handcuffed, " "repeatedly smacked on the back of the head and shoulders, " and told to "keep [his] fucking head down" or he would "get [his] ass kicked." ( Id. ) According to Johnson, at the end of the search, the officers also did not allow Johnson to put on underwear or socks under his prison garb as he departed for the prison cafeteria. ( Id. )

Johnson claims that he filed grievances about the search and exhausted his remedies "to no avail." ( Id. ) On March 10, 2015, Johnson brought the instant suit. ( Id. at 1.)

Discussion

Construed liberally, Johnson's complaint alleges that John Doe 1, John Doe 2, and John Doe 3 performed an illegal search on him, and that McCallistor was in charge of the team to which those officers were assigned. ( See id. at 1, 9-10.) In addition, Johnson claims that John Doe 1, John Doe 2, and John Doe 3 retaliated against him for complaining about the search, and that their retaliatory conduct similarly constituted excessive force. ( See id. at 10.) Johnson may have intended to name Commander McCallistor in these claims as well.

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 Johnson'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: McCallistor, John Doe 1, John Doe 2, and John Doe 3 violated Johnson's Eighth Amendment rights by strip searching him in front of female guards.
COUNT 2: McCallistor, John Doe 1, John Doe 2, and John Doe 3 violated Johnson's Fourth Amendment rights by strip searching him in front of female guards.
COUNT 3: McCallistor, John Doe 1, John Doe 2, and John Doe 3 violated Johnson'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: McCallistor, John Doe 1, John Doe 2, and John Doe 3 violated Johnson's Eighth Amendment rights by ...

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