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Oliver v. Sabens

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 19, 2019

KING MICHAEL OLIVER,[1] also known as MICHAEL OLIVER, #B89925, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Michael Oliver, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections currently incarcerated at Shawnee Correctional Center, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his constitutional rights. He seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner Complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a Complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or requests money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).


         Plaintiffs make the following allegations in the Complaint: On April 9, 2019 at 6:30 a.m. officers entered Plaintiff’s house and walked to the room where he was lying in bed. This was an unlawful entry and an unreasonable search and seizure. (Doc. 1, p. 2). The officers confirmed his identity and told him they were looking for his girlfriend because her Dad had called them. (Id., pp. 2, 3). Plaintiff tried calling his girlfriend but she did not answer. (Id.) The officers provided their last names but refused to give their first names and badge numbers. (Id.). The officers left after he called his sister and asked her to call the state police. (Id.).

         An hour later, other officers arrived including a couple of detectives, a crime scene investigator (CSI), Officer Ashley Noto, and a female officer. (Id.). Plaintiff recorded the events via Facebook live because he believed they came to kill and/or arrest him. (Id.). One of the detectives told him they were there because Plaintiff had left the scene of an accident a few days earlier. (Id.). The CSI asked to call Plaintiff’s girlfriend. (Id., p. 4). At this point everyone was outside the house and he gave the detective permission to “climb into the window to fetch his phone.” (Id.). The detectives went in to get his phone. (Id.). When they returned with his phone, the battery had been removed, which was the only way to turn off the phone without his security code. (Id.). The phone had been recording prior to them retrieving it. (Id.). It was apparent that they had “done something to it evidenced by some type of rainbow dust on the front screen.” (Id.). This was an unlawful search and seizure. (Id.). Plaintiff had to turn on the phone to make the call. (Id.). The CSI asked him to come to the station for more questions and he told them he would do so after confirming they were real police officers and that they were supposed to be in his residence. (Id.).

         At some point, Plaintiff felt he needed to take off his shirt so that it was clear he did not have any weapons on him. (Id., p. 5). Once the officers left, he did not feel safe and so he decided to go somewhere with a lot of cameras and witnesses. (Id.). He went to Schnucks, which was right around the corner. (Id.). After he entered the store, he went to the front service desk and asked the store clerk to call the state police. (Id.). He continued recording via Facebook live. (Id.). The store clerk made the mistake of calling 911. (Id.). He asked the 911 dispatcher to connect him to the state police. (Id.). The dispatcher told him to call the “non-emergency” number but gave him an incorrect number twice. (Id.). The third time, the dispatcher told him she would send officers to arrest him if he called again. (Id., pp. 5, 6). The dispatcher finally gave him the correct number, but the store clerk told him she could not make any more phone calls for him because he was shirtless. (Id., p. 6). He asked to buy a shirt, but he did not have his wallet with him. (Id.).

         Plaintiff asked the store clerk if there was a place to charge his phone and the clerk directed him to a power outlet by the video vending machine in the lobby. (Id.). He went there immediately because his battery was dangerously low and he had been asked to leave. (Id.). He plugged in his charger and phone and continued to record. (Id.). The store manager met him at the vending machine and told him he could not remain inside or use the phone because he was not wearing a shirt. (Id., p. 7). The store manager directed Plaintiff to a power outlet just beyond the entry doors. (Id.).

         Plaintiff was having a conversation with the store manager and some employees awaiting Carbondale Police Department’s arrival when he saw Officer Noto approaching. (Id.). Officer Sabens stood in the background. (Id.). Another officer charged him from behind and aggressively handcuffed him so tight that his circulation was compromised causing severe pain and numbness in his fingers. (Id., pp. 7, 8). The officer yelled at him to “let go of the phone” and then took his phone and everything in his pockets (which was given to a friend that was with him). (Id.).

         Plaintiff was placed in the nearest police vehicle. (Id.). After noticing the police vehicle was equipped with video and audio recording equipment, Plaintiff asked Officer Sabens to loosen the handcuffs, but Sabens did not respond. (Id.).

         Plaintiff asserts the following claims in the Complaint:

Count 1: Unlawful Entry and Unreasonable Search and Seizure claim against unknown individuals for entering Plaintiff’s residence without his permission and without a warrant.
Count 2: Unlawful Search and Seizure against unknown individuals for taking the battery out of Plaintiff’s phone to turn it off and stop a recording and for doing something to his phone as evidenced by rainbow dust on the front screen.

         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. Any claim that is mentioned in theComplaint but not addressed in this Order is considered ...

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