United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
D. WHITNEY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
Plaintiff's Complaint, (Doc. No. 1), as well as several
pending Motions, (Doc. Nos. 5, 6, 7). Plaintiff is proceeding
in forma pauperis. See (Doc. No. 12).
se Plaintiff Darryl Body Adkins has filed a civil rights
suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 with regards to an
incident that allegedly occurred at the Marion Correctional
Institution where he is still incarcerated. He names as
Defendants Officer Martin in her individual capacity and
Rehabilitative Diversion Unit (RDU) Director Julia Jenkins in
her official capacity.
the Complaint liberally and accepting the allegations as
true, on October 6, 2017, Defendant Martin came to escort
Plaintiff from the recreation cell back to his own cell.
Plaintiff told Defendant Martin that he had been asking her
for the television remote control ever since she put him in
the recreation cell. She responded that she had been busy and
forgot. Defendant Martin handcuffed Plaintiff's through
the cell's trap door, removed him from the cell, and
began escorting him while gripping his arm tightly. Plaintiff
told Defendant Martin she was grabbing him too tightly and to
loosen her grip. She did not say anything and gripped his arm
tighter. Plaintiff stopped walking, looked Defendant Martin
in the eyes, and said she is grabbing him too hard and to
loosen up. They started arguing. Plaintiff was about to
continue walking when Defendant Martin shoved him by the arm
and pushed him against the wall. Defendant Martin said
“don't think ‘cause she a old white lady
cause she can still get in it and beat my ass [meaning she
can fight].” (Doc. No. 1 at 5). Plaintiff, who was was
still pinned to the wall, started laughing. Defendant Martin
pulled him off the wall, walked him to his cell, and called
on her walkie talkie for the control booth to open
Plaintiff's cell door. Defendant Martin was still
gripping Plaintiff's arm tightly and Plaintiff was still
laughing at her.
the cell door opened, Plaintiff “yanked” his arm
from Defendant Martin's tight grasp. Defendant Martin let
go of his arm and Plaintiff walked into his cell. When he was
all the way into his cell towards the bed, still handcuffed,
he turned around to see Defendant Martin standing outside the
cell door fumbling with her pepper spray holster. She pointed
the pepper spray can at Plaintiff so he turned his head and
closed his eyes. He felt the chemicals hitting his hair,
right jaw, and right ear. He did nothing aggressive towards
Martin and felt his life was in danger from this excessive
use of force that was unconstitutional and violated prison
policy. No other officers was present at the time of
Defendant Martin's use of force. (Doc. No. 1 at 7).
was partially blind and tried to remove the pepper spray from
his face yet it spread to his eyes. Plaintiff rushed towards
Martin outside the cell and punched her face. She tumbled
backwards and fell, then Plaintiff jumped on top of her and
punched her a few more times. A Code-4 was called on the
intercom. Plaintiff got up off Defendant Martin and backed
into his cell to await the first responder officers.
Plaintiff told the officers that Defendant Martin pepper
sprayed him for no reason and that he acted in self-defense
to prevent further harm because he felt his life was in
danger. Plaintiff felt officers piling on top of him to bring
him down to the floor. They cuffed and shackled him then
roughly snatched him off the floor to escort him to lockup in
E-unit for detox in the showers. Defendant Martin denied
Plaintiff's version of events so he asked to look at the
surveillance video footage.
Jenkins is the head program director for the RDU program and
is responsible for every inmate participating in the RD U.She
promises when each inmate arrives at the facility that they
will be safe and protected. She is informed when any use of
force happens. Defendant Jenkins has not shown any concern by
doing an investigation and disciplining Martin for her
unprofessional actions of pepper-spraying Plaintiff
wrongfully. (Doc. No. 1 at 4). Defendant Jenkins failed to
protect Plaintiff from violence. She knew Defendant Martin
was in the wrong and that Plaintiff was in danger from staff.
Defendant Jenkins has been fully aware of the incident
because she saw video footage and placed him on lockup for 6
months. She is authorized to release him from the RDU program
and transfer him to another prison to prevent retaliation
from Defendant Martin and her many officer friends. Jenkins
never punishes officers and always feels the inmate is in the
is in fear for his life from Defendant Martin and employees
who have been harassing him because he defended himself
against Defendant Martin. (Doc. No. 1 at 15). Defendant
Martin knew Plaintiff has asthma and uses an inhaler for his
breathing. He experienced a “slight asthma attack,
” shortness of breath, facial swelling, burning on his
lower jawline and hair loss as a result of the incident.
(Doc. No. 1 at 10-11).
seeks transfer away from Marion C.I., removal from RDU
program, and discovery.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma
pauperis, the Court must review the Complaint to
determine whether it is subject to dismissal on the grounds
that it is “(i) frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In its
frivolity review, a court must determine whether the
Complaint raises an indisputably meritless legal theory or is
founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as
fantastic or delusional scenarios. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989). A complaint
should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim
“unless ‘after accepting all well-pleaded
allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true and
drawing all reasonable factual inferences from those facts in
the plaintiff's favor, it appears certain that the
plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of his
claim entitling him to relief.'” Veney v.
Wyche, 293 F.3d 726, 730 (4th Cir. 2002)
(quoting Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231,
244 (4th Cir. 1999)).
pro se complaint must be construed liberally.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972); see
also Smith v. Smith, 589 F.3d 736, 738 (4th
Cir. 2009) (“Liberal construction of the pleadings is
particularly appropriate where … there is a pro
se complaint raising civil rights issues.”).
However, the liberal construction requirement will not permit
a district court to ignore a clear failure to allege facts in
his complaint which set forth a claim that is cognizable
under federal law. Weller v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990). A
pro se complaint must still contain sufficient facts
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level” and “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007); see Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (the Twombly
plausibility standard applies to all federal civil complaints
including those filed under § 1983). This
“plausibility standard requires a plaintiff to
demonstrate more than a sheer possibility that a defendant
has acted unlawfully.” Francis v. Giacomelli,
588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal
quotation marks omitted). He must articulate facts that, when
accepted as true, demonstrate he has stated a claim entitling
him to relief. Id.