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Bullard v. Snipes

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

November 28, 2017

FNU SNIPES, et al., Defendants.


          Frank D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint, (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 6).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff William D. Bullard filed a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on February, 2016, addressing incidents that allegedly occurred at the Lanesboro Correctional Institution at Polkton, North Carolina.[1] He has named as Defendants the following Lanesboro C.I. employees: Correctional Officer FNU Snipes and FNU Heh, Sergeant FNU Pressley, and Nurse FNU Kapull.

         Liberally construing the Complaint and accepting the allegations as true, Plaintiff was placed in a holding cell after an “incident” in F-Block on August 27, 2015, while he was waiting to see “mental health.” (Doc. No. 1 at 5). Plaintiff spoke to Sergeant Allen about “officers and him being threatened” on F-Block, about which Plaintiff had sent several requests to the unit manager and assistant superintendent. (Doc. No. 1 at 5). Allen told Plaintiff he would be moved to A-Block and Plaintiff agreed. However, after Plaintiff finished with mental health, Allen took him back to the holding cell and told him he was going back to F-block pursuant to Unit Manager Hartley's instructions. Plaintiff refused but was told he was going “one way or another.” (Doc. No. 1 at 5). Hartley, Allen and several officers came to the holding cell while Hartley held a video camera. Plaintiff attempted to pull the waist chain from around his waist but the officers put the chain back around him. The “roughly” pushed Plaintiff against the wall “due to him resisting” and he somehow got a bleeding cut over his eye. (Doc. No. 1 at 5-6). Officer Snipes came from another unit and put a spit mask over Plaintiff's face even though he was not spitting, and punched Plaintiff's face while smiling. Sergeant Phalemon told Snipes to stop because it was being recorded. (Doc. No. 1 at 6).

         Dr. Hasenwall from mental health saw what was happening and decided to have Plaintiff brought to “main medical.” (Doc. No. 1 at 6). Officers pushed Plaintiff up against the wall and Snipes made “disrespectful comments” to him. (Doc. No. 1 at 6). After “they” roughly slammed Plaintiff onto the floor, Officer Heh kicked his face three times. Officer Rodka was standing beside Heh when this happened. (Doc. No. 1 at 6). Officer Snipes punched and hit Plaintiff several times while he was on the ground. After Plaintiff was strapped to a stretcher and was being carried down the hallway toward main medical, Plaintiff attempted to take off the spit mask. Snipes grabbed the mask and punched Plaintiff's face again. (Doc. No. 1 at 7).

         In main medical, Plaintiff was put in an observation room where Pressley and Officer Holder held him in a corner while Pressley choked him with her hand, which left visible marks on his neck. Plaintiff was restrained on a bed by his legs and right arm while “they” were attempting to secure his left leg. Snipes kneed Plaintiff in the face two times as Pressley stood nearby. Snipes tried to knee Plaintiff's face a third time but Plaintiff was able to move and said “Snipes stop kneeing me in my face.” (Doc. No. 1 at 7).

         Plaintiff's left hip and nose were badly bruised and swollen, he had a black eye and cuts to his face, and he was not able to really walk on his left leg. (Doc. No. 1 at 11).

         When the nurse brought Plaintiff his night medication, he described what happened and told her that his nose and hip were hurting, and that he felt his nose was fractured. Nurse Kapull said they would see him once someone came to go into the room with her. Plaintiff said an officer was already with her but she did not say anything. She looked at the back of Plaintiff's neck and his face and said “yeah, your nose is bruised bad, ” and left. (Doc. No. 1 at 8). Plaintiff tried to get “custody” to tell “medical staff” he needed to be medically screened due to the use of force and his injuries but he was not seen by medical for screening that night. (Doc. No. 1 at 8).

         The next morning, August 28, 2015, Dr. Hasenwall came to see Plaintiff and he told her he was hurting, injured, and had not been medically screened the night before. Dr. Hasenwall arranged for medical to see him. Sergeant Williams and Officer Ferguson came to take Plaintiff to see the nurse. Plaintiff could not put pressure on his left leg due to his hip injury so they assisted him to see Head Nurse Hopkins and Nurse Toten. Plaintiff told the nurses what happened and they saw that his hip was bruised and swollen. Nurse Hopkins thought it might be fractured so he sent him to the hospital for x-rays due to his hip and facial injuries. (Doc. No. 1 at 8-9).

         Officers Kiker and Billpus took him to the hospital in Union County where Plaintiff got x-rays and a CAT scan which were negative for broken bones. (Doc. No. 1 at 9). The doctor said it was just bad bruising and told Plaintiff not to put pressure on the hip, to keep ice packs on his hip and face, and to take ibuprofen for pain.

         When Plaintiff returned to Lanesboro C.I., he talked to Dr. Hasenwall who spoke to Mr. Beaver about being moved to another block. Mr. Beaver and Mr. Hartley told Plaintiff he was moving to A-Block and he was escorted back to the unit in a wheelchair.

         Pictures were never taken of Plaintiff's injuries even though he requested pictures several times.

         Plaintiff still has visible bruises from his injuries. (Doc. No. 1 at 11). Plaintiff wrote his statement on September 4, 2015, wrote down inmate witnesses, and asked for statements but “they” never ...

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