United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jovan Cooper, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at
Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”), brings this action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged deprivations of his
constitutional rights. Plaintiff claims he was the victim of
a racially motivated assault by five correctional officers at
Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”) in January
2018. (Doc. 1, pp. 6, 8-9). His also claims his property was
stolen the same month. (Id. at p. 8). Plaintiff
seeks release on parole. (Id. at p. 7).
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. 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 asks for money damages from a defendant who by
law is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b). At this juncture, the factual allegations of
the pro se Complaint are liberally construed.
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816,
821 (7th Cir. 2009).
makes the following allegations in the Complaint: Sometime in
January 2018, Plaintiff was beaten by Officers Scanlan,
Royster, Morris, Fitzgerald, and Freeman while he was cuffed
to a steel or iron gate in Menard's sick call area. (Doc.
1, pp. 6, 8-9). As the officers assaulted Plaintiff, they
used racial slurs against him. (Id. at pp. 6, 8).
One of the officers (Officer Royster) harassed Plaintiff
twice the same week by turning the water in his cell on and
off. (Id. at p. 9). Plaintiff's personal
property was also stolen. (Id. at p. 8).
on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se Complaint
into the following Counts:
Count 1: Eighth Amendment excessive force
claim against Defendants Scanlan, Royster, Morris,
Fitzgerald, and Freeman.
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment equal
protection claim against Defendants Scanlan, Royster, Morris,
Fitzgerald, and Freeman.
Count 3: Fourteenth Amendment claim for
deprivation of property without due process of law against
Defendants Scanlan, Royster, Morris, Fitzgerald, and Freeman.
other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not
addressed herein is considered dismissed
without prejudice as inadequately pled under
intentional use of excessive force by prison guards against
an inmate without penological justification constitutes cruel
and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Wilkins v. Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34 (2010). To state an
excessive force claim, an inmate must show that an assault
occurred and that “it was carried out
‘maliciously and sadistically' rather than as part
of ‘a good-faith effort to maintain or restore
discipline.'” Wilkins, 559 U.S. at 40
(citing Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 6 (1992)).
Plaintiff sets forth sufficient allegations to state an
excessive force claim against all five defendants who
allegedly beat him while he was restrained in January 2018.
Hendrickson v. Cooper, 589 F.3d 887, 890 (7th Cir.
2009). Therefore, Count 1 will receive further review against