United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED SATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Max McCoy, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at
Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”), brings
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for
deprivations of his constitutional rights that allegedly
occurred at Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”). In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims
the defendants subjected him to excessive force, failed to
protect him, and violated his due process rights in violation
of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. 1).
case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the
Complaint pursuant to 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.
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: on June 16, 2017, a staff assault occurred in
Plaintiff's cell house while Plaintiff and other inmates
were at the recreation gym at Menard. (Doc. 1, p. 5). While
officers were escorting Plaintiff and the other inmates back
to the cellblock for a lockdown, there were over a dozen
officers kicking and assaulting several inmates while they
were on the ground. Id. Defendant Lieutenant
Mennerich then locked the front entrance of the gate and told
Plaintiff and several inmates to lie on the ground.
Id. Shots were fired from the guard tower, and
Plaintiff and the other inmates complied. Id. While
on the ground, Plaintiff watched at least twenty officers
assault three inmates while they were restrained in cuffs.
(Doc. 1, pp. 5-6).
Lieutenant Kelly saw Plaintiff watching the assault and asked
Plaintiff what he was looking at. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Kelly
approached the gate and attempted to unlock it, but Mennerich
grabbed Kelly and said: “Be cool, we'll get
him.” Id. Kelly then called Plaintiff a racial
slur and told him to keep watching because he was next.
Id. Ten to fifteen minutes later, Mennerich told
Defendant Lieutenant Mitchell to open the gate and cuff
Plaintiff. Id. Mitchell told Plaintiff to cuff up
twice, and both times Plaintiff asked why, noting he did
nothing wrong. Id. Mitchell then kicked Plaintiff in
his hip area and placed his knee on Plaintiff's lower
back. Id. While attempting to put restraints on him,
Mitchell called Plaintiff a racial slur and yelled at him to
cuff up. Id.
turned over on his back and struck Mitchell in the face.
Id. Plaintiff threw several more punches, but none
connected with Mitchell. Id. Mitchell then punched
Plaintiff in the throat, and Plaintiff lost his breath.
Id. Plaintiff was cuffed and Mennerich, Kelly, and
other officers began choking and kicking Plaintiff while he
was restrained. Id. Plaintiff was then escorted by
two officers who bent Plaintiff's hands and wrists while
he was in cuffs until they reached the segregation unit.
(Doc. 1, p. 7). In the segregation unit, Plaintiff was
dragged up the steps upside down, and his face hit every
step. Id. He was then thrown in the shower.
Id. Defendant Sergeant Jones came to the shower and
accused Plaintiff of enjoying assaulting lieutenants.
Id. Plaintiff was taken out of the shower and taken
to a cell. Id.
came to the cell and told Plaintiff: “I fucking hate
you coons.” Id. He left but soon returned and
asked Plaintiff if he wanted medical attention. Id.
Plaintiff responded that he did, so he was cuffed, and Jones
told him to walk with his body bent over and his face facing
the floor. Id. While walking, Plaintiff noticed
puddles of blood leading into a room. Id. When
Plaintiff entered the room, Jones and several other officers
“began to viciously and maliciously assault Plaintiff
again.” Id. After the assault, Plaintiff was
taken to his cell, where his head was rammed into his cell
door. Id. Thirty minutes later, Jones returned and
asked Plaintiff if he wanted medical attention. (Doc. 1, p.
8). Plaintiff replied that he did, and he was taken to an
area where he was able to speak with nurses and mental health
was then taken to another room for an interview with the
sergeant of the intel investigations unit of the Internal
Affairs Department (“John Doe 1”). Id.
Plaintiff was read his Miranda rights, and Plaintiff refused
to give a statement. Id. Plaintiff asked John Doe 1
if he could have his injuries photographed, and he responded:
“You didn't make a statement, so your injuries
aren't getting photographed.” Id.
Plaintiff was taken back to his cell; hours later, he was
transferred to Pontiac. Id. John Doe 1
“knowingly conspired to cover up the brutal assaults by
his fellow officers . . . by refusing to photograph
Plaintiff's injuries.” (Doc. 1, p. 13).
months later, Plaintiff was charged with aggravated battery
in the Randolph County Court in Chester, Illinois, for
assaulting Mitchell on June 16, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 8). On
December 19, 2017, the officers from Pontiac took Plaintiff
to his court date and brought him back to Pontiac after court
without issue. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). Plaintiff's court date
was continued to February 2, 2018. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Instead of
being taken to court by Pontiac officers again, on January
31, 2018, Plaintiff was scheduled for a temporary writ at
Menard for a week stay. Id. On Plaintiff's court
date, February 2, 2018, he was escorted out of his cell at
Menard and taken to a bullpen. Id. Jones approached
Plaintiff and asked, “You ready for round two,
boy?” Id. He then kneed Plaintiff in his
stomach and punched him several times. Id. Plaintiff
was later escorted to court by Sergeant Faze, and he was
returned to Pontiac on February 8, 2018. Id. The
IDOC Transfer Coordinator knew there was an altercation on
June 16, 2017, and sent Plaintiff to Menard for a court writ
anyway, though he faced possible retaliation from staff.
(Doc. 1, p. 10).
seeks monetary and injunctive relief. (Doc. 1, p. 14).
on the allegations and counts specified in the Complaint, the
Court finds it convenient to divide this pro se
action into seven 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