United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Rinaldo Bankston, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at
Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”), brings
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged
deprivations of his constitutional rights at Vandalia
Correctional Center (“Vandalia”). (Doc. 1).
Plaintiff claims that he was subjected to a racially
motivated verbal and physical assault by C/O Cage, Sergeant
Simmons, and Major Cooper on May 18, 2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-8).
He seeks monetary damages against these officers and the
prison. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Although he transferred from Vandalia
before filing this action, Plaintiff also seeks injunctive
relief, in the form of criminal charges against the
defendants, an investigation into racially motivated assaults
at Vandalia, and termination of all racist correctional
Complaint is now subject to preliminary review under 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
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). Frivolousness is an
objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable
person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209
F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of
entitlement to relief must cross “the line between
possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At
this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se
complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v.
Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir.
2009). The Complaint survives screening under this standard.
the events giving rise to this action occurred at Vandalia on
May 18, 2017. (Doc. 1, pp. 5-8). On that date, C/O Hall
denied Plaintiff's request to shop at the prison
commissary. (Doc. 1, p. 5). When Plaintiff asked him why, the
officer allegedly became irate and began screaming.
Id. Plaintiff told C/O Hall that he
“didn't have to speak to [him] in such a
manner” because Plaintiff had done nothing wrong.
Id. Plaintiff explained that he was “badly in
need of soap and asked the officer to let him purchase it.
response, C/O Hall demanded Plaintiff's identification
card and informed him that he would be going to the
“yard office.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff gave C/O
Hall his identification card. Id. As C/O Hall
escorted Plaintiff to the yard office, C/O Cage and Sergeant
Simmons met them and took Plaintiff the rest of the way.
(Doc. 1, p. 6).
forty-five minutes after he arrived at the office, C/O Cage
handed Sergeant Simmons a disciplinary write-up on Plaintiff.
(Doc. 1, p. 6). Sergeant Simmons ordered Plaintiff to take a
seat in a plastic chair in Major Cooper's office.
Id. As he did so, Major Cooper stood up from behind
his desk and said, “Who the fuck do you think you are,
I never told you to sit the fuck down
‘bitch.'” Id. Plaintiff told Major
Cooper that he was just following Sergeant Simmons's
orders. Id. Major Cooper responded, “[S]hut
the fuck up Bitch, speak when ask[ed] to speak.”
Id. He then said, “[S]ee that's y'all
problem you niggas think you can do as you want but not here
at Vandalia!” Id. Major Cooper spoke loudly
and, as he did so, spit in Plaintiff's face. Id.
Simmons then handed Major Cooper the disciplinary report.
(Doc. 1, p. 6). After he read it, Major Cooper said,
“C/O Hall has been working here many years an[d] you
dare speak to him in that manner.” Id.
Plaintiff assured Major Cooper that the report must be false,
although he admittedly had no idea what it said. Id.
Cooper then placed his right hand around Plaintiff's neck
and attempted to choke him. (Doc. 1, p. 6). When Plaintiff
tried to “snatch away, ” C/O Cage grabbed him and
placed him in a headlock. Id. Major Cooper then
said, “‘Nigga Boy, ' you're about to go
to Jail bitch.” (Doc. 1, p. 7). At that, Sergeant
Simmons grabbed Plaintiff by the right hand and reached for
his cuffs. Id. After the sergeant secured the cuffs
around Plaintiff's wrists, he began beating Plaintiff in
the back of his head with a closed fist. Id. As he
did so, C/O Cage continued to hold Plaintiff in a headlock.
Id. Sergeant Simmons then grabbed the cuffs and
hoisted Plaintiff upwards, almost breaking his wrists and
arms, before he began twisting the cuffs. Id.
Plaintiff yelled, “[W]hat ya'll going to do kill
Simmons then instructed C/O Cage to release Plaintiff. (Doc.
1, p. 7). As Plaintiff stood up, the sergeant asked C/O Cage
for a pair of cuffs. Id. Sergeant Simmons wrapped
the cuffs around his knuckles and jammed them into the middle
of Plaintiff's back, grinding and twisting them into his
spine. Id. Sergeant Simmons and C/O Cage hit
Plaintiff in the back of his head, back, arms, and legs
repeatedly. Id. While doing this, they made comments
about “how they don't like niggas and if it was up
to them they would take [Plaintiff] an[d] other Blacks out by
the pond in the back of the prison and beat and hang us
alluded to another encounter he had with an officer the month
before and to other racially motivated assaults on inmates at
the prison. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). These incidents left Plaintiff
feeling shocked, devastated, fearful, and mentally
distraught. Id. ...