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 Marquis Dechane Harrison's pro se civil rights
Complaint, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. No. 1). See
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A, 1915(e).
was a pre-trial detainee at the Henderson County Detention
Center when he filed the instant Complaint. Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant Brandon, identified as a correctional officer,
used excessive force against him. (Compl. 3-4, Doc. No. 1.)
Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that on October 28, 2017, he
was offered an additional 30 minutes of recreation time if he
picked up breakfast trays. When Plaintiff declined the offer
and stated he wished to take his free time, he was directed
to go back to his cell for refusing to pick up the trays.
Plaintiff refused to go back to his cell and, instead,
proceeded to the showers. Plaintiff alleges that while he was
showering, Defendant Brandon and others came into the room,
and he and Brandon “exchange[d] a few words.”
When Plaintiff turned his back, Brandon stepped into the
shower stall, put his arm around Plaintiff's neck, and
began choking him, causing Plaintiff to slip and fall.
According to Plaintiff, Brandon landed on top of him and
began punching Plaintiff in the side and face with a closed
fist. Brandon then grabbed Plaintiff by the hair and tried to
push his face into the shower floor while telling Plaintiff
to put his hands behind his back. Plaintiff complied with
Brandon's order. (Compl. 3-4, Doc. No. 1.)
to Plaintiff, he suffered abrasions and swelling on the left
side of his face and a black eye. Plaintiff asserts that he
was not disciplined in relation to the shower incident. He
seeks monetary damages. (Compl. 4.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must
review the Complaint to determine whether it is subject to
dismissal on the grounds that it is “frivolous, ”
“malicious, ” “fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted, ” or “seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). In its frivolity
review, the Court must determine whether the Complaint raises
an “indisputably meritless legal theory, ”
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992), or is
founded upon clearly baseless factual contentions, such as
“fantastic or delusional scenarios, ” Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327-28 (1989).
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the
violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of
the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation
was committed by a person acting under color of state
law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
“[T]he treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the
conditions under which he is confined are subject to scrutiny
under the Eighth Amendment.” Helling v.
McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31 (1993). In its prohibition of
“cruel and unusual punishments, ” the Eighth
Amendment places restraints on prison officials, who may not,
for example, use excessive physical force against prisoners.
See Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 1 (1992).
Because of his status as a pretrial detainee, however,
Plaintiff's claim is evaluated under the Due Process
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment rather than under the
Eight Amendment standard applicable to convicted prisoners.
See Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979).
Process Clause “protects a pretrial detainee from the
use of excessive force that amounts to punishment, ”
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395 n.10 (1989), and
is not “an incident of some other legitimate
governmental purpose, ” Bell, 441 U.S. at 538.
In Kingsley v. Hendrickson, the Supreme Court held
that the appropriate standard for a pretrial detainee's
excessive force claim is an objective one, requiring that a
plaintiff must demonstrate “only that the force
purposely or knowingly used against him was objectively
unreasonable.” 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2473 (2015). In
determining whether the force was objectively unreasonable, a
court considers the evidence “from the perspective of a
reasonable officer on the scene, including what the officer
knew at the time, not with the 20/20 vision of
hindsight.” Id. (citing Graham, 490
U.S. at 396).
excessive use of force claim does not raise an
“indisputably meritless legal theory.” See
Denton, 504 U.S. at 32. Nor is it based upon clearly
baseless factual contentions, such as “fantastic or
delusional scenarios.” See Neitzke, 490 U.S.
at 327-28. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Complaint survives
IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that:
Clerk of Court shall send a copy of this Order and blank
summons form to Plaintiff at his current address;
Plaintiff shall complete and return the summons form to the
Clerk of Court within 15 ...