United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Pierre Tolefree, an inmate with the Cook County Department of
Corrections, brings this action for deprivations of his
constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that
allegedly occurred during his time at Lawrence Correctional
Center. In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims the defendants
violated his constitutional right to be free from cruel and
unusual punishment guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment. (Doc.
1). This case is now before the Court for a preliminary
review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
(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.
careful review of the Complaint and any supporting exhibits,
the Court finds it appropriate to allow this case to proceed
past the threshold stage.
Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff makes the following
allegations: while Plaintiff was in a holding area preparing
for a writ transfer from Lawrence to Stateville on April 5,
2017, Lt. Bech told him and the other inmates waiting there
that they could not wear their sneakers on the transfer bus.
(Doc. 1, p. 8). When inmates objected, Bech told them that
their shoes would go to property, and that they would get
state-issued shoes. Id. Plaintiff then told Bech
that he would not be returning to Lawrence because his
Mandatory Supervised Release date was April 11, 2017 and
asked to keep his shoes. Id. Bech told Plaintiff
that he could either hand over his shoes or go to
segregation, to which Plaintiff replied by turning around and
placing his hands behind his back. Id. Lieutenant
Vaughn handcuffed Plaintiff's hands behind his back and
told Wilson to take Plaintiff to segregation. Id.
of taking Plaintiff to segregation, Wilson grabbed him by the
back strap of his jumpsuit and “hockey checked
[Plaintiff] to the concrete wall head and face first, using
excessive force.” Id. Plaintiff had not acted
disruptively in any way prior to this use of force.
Id. Present in the hallway were lieutenants Bech and
Vaughn, Wilson and another correctional officer, and other
inmates, including an inmate Brown. Id. Wilson then
tossed Plaintiff to another wall, and when the other officer
opened the door to the segregation area, Wilson “body
slammed [Plaintiff] face first to the floor.” (Doc. 1,
p. 9). Other officers then came to assist Wilson and
proceeded to beat Plaintiff and pin him down with their knees
as his shoes were pulled from his feet. Id.
Plaintiff's hands were still cuffed behind his back
during this time. Id. Plaintiff sustained injuries
to his head, back, legs, and wrist. Id.
and other officers dragged Plaintiff to the shower because he
was unable to walk. Id. The officers ripped his
jumpsuit off, placed new handcuffs on Plaintiff very tightly,
and forced the original handcuffs off of Plaintiff's
wrists along with the rest of his clothes. Id.
Plaintiff “screamed for mercy” while “other
inmates laughed.” Id. Plaintiff “fell to
[his] face butt naked.” Id. This fall injured
Plaintiff's wrist, head, back, and legs. Id.
Plaintiff cried for the nurse (Jane Doe), but when she came
to see him and he told her that his whole body hurt and
showed her his injuries, she claimed to see nothing wrong.
Id. Jane Doe walked away, as Plaintiff pled with her
to return and told her that he could not walk. Id.
Plaintiff was then dragged to the bus and put into a cage,
where he spent the entire three to four hour drive.
arrival at Lincoln Correctional Center, Plaintiff was unable
to move, and his head, wrist, and back were swollen because
he had not received care at Lawrence. Id. Plaintiff
told the bus driver, Jeckman, what happened at Lawrence, and
also informed him that he could not walk on his own.
Id.; see also (Doc. 1, p. 2). When
Plaintiff did not get up when his name was called to leave
the bus, Jeckman took two oval pills from his jacket and gave
them to Plaintiff. Id. He told Plaintiff to take
them and that they would make him feel better. Id.
Bech was present for this and told Jeckman to make sure
Plaintiff took the medicine before he got on Stateville's
bus because Plaintiff would be searched at that point.
held the pills in his hand, and Jeckman and his partner
dragged Plaintiff off of the Lawrence bus to the Stateville
bus. (Doc. 1, p.10). Plaintiff was handed off to a Stateville
officer Purley, and he immediately explained to him what
happened and gave a female lieutenant from Stateville the
pills, which she placed in a brown paper towel. Id.
Plaintiff was then taken off of the Stateville bus into
Lincoln Correctional Center, where photographs were taken of
his wounds. Id. Plaintiff later used the prisoner
grievance procedure available at Stateville in an attempt to
resolve his issues. Id. Plaintiff did not receive
any of his property. Id.
seeks declaratory, monetary, and injunctive relief. (Doc. 1,
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
4 counts. The parties and the Court will use these
designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion
regarding their merit.
Count 1 - Wilson used excessive force
against Plaintiff on April 5, 2017 in violation of the Eighth
Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual
Count 2 - Bech and Vaughn failed to
intervene when Wilson used excessive force against Plaintiff
on April 5, 2017 in violation of the Eighth Amendment's