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Price v. Cumberland County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 23, 2018

WILLIAM PRICE, #K97032, Plaintiff,
v.
CUMBERLAND COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, COUNTY OF CUMBERLAND, and UNKNOWN PARTIES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

         Plaintiff William Price, an inmate who is currently incarcerated in Big Muddy River Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights by the Cumberland County Sheriff's Department. (Doc. 1). He seeks declaratory relief and monetary damages against the defendants. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff's Complaint is now before the Court for 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 such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An 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).

         Complaint

         On or around May 19, 2017, Irene Weaver contacted the Toledo Police Department and requested an emergency dispatch to assist with an “incident” at her residence, which is located at 504 5th Street in Jewitt, Illinois. (Doc. 1, p. 2). She indicated that William Price, who also resided at the address, intended to commit suicide by overdosing on Thorzine tablets. Id. The police were dispatched to the residence, where they found Price watching television. Id.

         At the time, Price was not engaged in any conduct that would have provided reasonable grounds to believe he had or was about to engage in any wrongdoing. (Doc. 1, p. 2). The police nevertheless arrested him without cause or provocation. Id. In the process, they used excessive force against him. Id.

         Among other things, the police grabbed Plaintiff and slammed him against the camper's window, causing it to shatter. (Doc. 1, p. 2). They slammed him against the floor, shoved a gun in his face, and handcuffed him while violently twisting his arms behind his back. Id. This caused Plaintiff to suffer from abrasions and “extreme pain.” Id. Once he was handcuffed, Plaintiff was also stunned with a taser gun “multiple times.” Id. The officers then dragged Plaintiff from his residence and forced him into a police vehicle where he was shackled, causing “public disorder.” (Doc. 1, p. 3).

         When Price arrived at Cumberland County Sheriff's Department, he requested medical treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Instead of providing him with medical care, however, Price was again subdued using a taser gun on three separate occasions. Id. This caused “high voltage to penetrate his back and rib cage.” Id. During one episode, the officers responded to his request for medical care by placing Price in a locked and windowless cell, strapping him into a chair, turning off the lights, using the taser on him, punching him, and then threatening to do it again if he did not stop “whin[ing].” Id. All the while, they ignored his pleas for medical treatment. Id. Plaintiff was then forced to spend the night strapped into the chair. Id.

         The following morning, Price was released on bail. (Doc. 1, p. 3). His family immediately noticed bruises and abrasions on his body. Id. They requested an official investigation into the matter. Id. They were told to “just leave the matter alone, ” or “more charges may be added.” (Doc. 1, pp. 3-4). Price was taken to a hospital, where he was admitted for treatment. (Doc. 1, p. 3). ...


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