United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
D. Whitney, Chief United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants FNU
Holder and FNU Smith's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc.
No. 43). Also pending is Plaintiff's “Request for
Review the 3 Videos, ” (Doc. No. 52), which has been
docketed as a motion.
se Plaintiff's Complaint passed initial review on
excessive for and discrimination claims for incidents that
allegedly occurred at the Lanesboro Correctional Institution.
(Doc. No. 14). However, Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed all
the claims except for the claims against Defendants Holder
and Smith. See (Doc. No. 33). Defendants Holder and
Smith have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No.
43), that is presently pending before the Court. Plaintiff
has filed a Response and Defendants had the opportunity to
reply. Plaintiff has also filed a “Request for Review
the 3 Videos” that appears to be in the nature of an
additional Response and appears to ask the Court to appoint
counsel to assist him in this case. (Doc. No. 52).
(Doc. No. 1)
alleges that he was being escorted to the rec yard in
handcuffs when Officer Smith called him a “wetback
m…. f….r Mexican, ” threw him to the
floor, placed his knee on Plaintiff's back, held his head
still, and beat him by hitting various parts of his body.
(Doc. No. 1 at 4). Officers including Defendants Holder and
Smith joined in the beating. Plaintiff was not a threat to
the officers and did not resist. The beating was an act of
retaliation and occurred after a long history of harassment,
bias, racial slurs, threats, intimidation, and prejudice
toward Mexicans. Plaintiff sustained fractures to his right
hand, one foot, and shoulder, and injuries to his left hand,
arms, head, and face. He has problems walking due to these
injuries. Plaintiff seeks punitive damages of $50, 000 from
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. No. 43)
argue that they are entitled summary judgment because
Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies before
filing this suit as required by the Prison Litigation Reform
Act (“PLRA”). Plaintiff was fully aware of the
administrative remedy procedure process because it is part of
inmate orientation, it is explained orally to each inmate,
and Plaintiff has exhausted several other grievances but
failed to do so for the alleged use of excessive force
incident at issue. The three grievances that Plaintiff has
filed in support of exhaustion fail to satisfy the PLRA's
the objective evidence demonstrates that there is no genuine
dispute of material fact that would support Plaintiff's
allegation of excessive force. Plaintiff's self-serving
allegations lack support and credibility and should be
rejected. Plaintiff's claims that he was not doing
anything wrong, that he posed no threat to anyone, that
Officer Smith instigated the incident based on racial animus,
and that other officers then joined in the beating, are
contradicted by the objective evidence. Plaintiff escaped
from his handcuffs so that he could attack another inmate,
Officer Smith was no part of the escort and was not in the
room where the incident began and thus could not have
instigated it, the video reveals that Plaintiff was not
beaten while he was on the ground, Plaintiff's various
descriptions of the incident are contradictory, and the
officers' use of force was reasonable to accomplish the
goad of controlling Plaintiff and preventing him from harming
argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity because no
constitutional violation occurred and, even if a violation
did occur it was not clearly established. Finally, Plaintiff
is not entitled to punitive damages because no evidence
exists of aggravated conduct that would support punitive
Plaintiff's Response (Doc. No.
was informed of the importance of responding to
Defendants' motion as well as the legal standard
applicable to summary judgment motions. See (Doc.
filed an unverified Letter in Spanish that was postmarked
June 3, 2019, with several hand-annotated documents attached.
His Letter, which will be treated as a Response, states:
I received these papers from the attorneys of defendants
Holder and Smith, they are lying regarding the facts I am
sending the statements they made were the committed mistakes
the prisoner Alarcon was Never escorted towards the
recreation by officer Turnumire he was escorted by a female
officer “Tillman” and 1 am requesting the videos
there were 2 cameras inside the block and 2 in the hallways,
and I never resisted, they are lying in their different
statements and they are covering up their actions for each
other. Officer Smith did use force with violence and was
uttering racist comments while they were handling me they
were in control the whole time. One of the statements
doesn't have the date. First they charged me with an A-1
and B1. The second a A-99 and B1.
(Doc. No. 50).
Defendants' Reply (Doc. No. 51)
filed a Notice of Intent Not to File a Reply.
Affidavit of William Rogers (Doc. No. 45-1)
is Assistant Superintendent of Custody and Operations at
Lanesboro C.I. He is responsible for the custody and control
of Incident Reports, and the statements, videos, and
documents attached to those Incident Reports.
result of the June 12, 2015 incident in which Plaintiff
attempted to attack another inmate, Incident Report
4865-15-341 was created by staff members at Lanesboro C.I.
The Incident Report and supporting statements and videos are
records that were made immediately following the incident,
kept in the course of the regularly conducted business of
NCDPS, and it is a regular practice of NCDPS to create and
maintain these documents pursuant to NCDPS Policy and
Affidavit of Johnathan Holder (Doc. No.
Holder is a Correctional Sergeant and was assigned to Anson
Unit on June 12, 2015. The Anson Unit is a restrictive
housing unit in which inmates are assigned to individual
cells based on disciplinary or safety concerns. The inmates
remain in their cells except for approximately one hour per
day when they are escorted to indoor or outdoor recreation.
12, 2015 at approximately 9:04 AM, Defendant Holder responded
to an emergency code in the nearby hallway. In the video of
the incident (Anson Hallway to E.F.G.), Holder can be seen
running towards Officer Bruce, Officer Smith, and Plaintiff
from the doorway on the right at 9:04:10. By the time
Defendant Holder reached the area, the other staff members
had already disarmed Plaintiff and placed him on the floor to
gain complete control over him. Defendant Holder did not
engage in any use of force with Plaintiff.
Plaintiff was fully restrained, Defendant Holder walked
behind the escort and can be seen on the video waiting off to
the side against the wall on the left at 9:06:45 wearing a
black short-sleeved shirt and black gloves. Defendant Holder
then followed the group to the adjoining corridor.
9:26:00, Unit Manager Ingram and Defendant Holder removed
Plaintiff from the hallway holding cell and took him back to
the Nurse's Station. Unit Manager Ingram and Defendant
Holder stayed with Plaintiff while he was seen by the Unit
Nurse. They then escorted Plaintiff to the farthest hallway
holding cell where they conducted a strip search to ensure
Plaintiff was not concealing any other weapons or contraband.
The search was conducted without incident. Afterwards,
Plaintiff got dressed and they escorted him back to the
Nurse's Station without incident. Unit Manager Ingram and
Defendant Holder then escorted Plaintiff back to a cell
Holder had no further interactions with Plaintiff. At no
point during the incident did Defendant Holder use any force
on Plaintiff. At no point during the incident did Defendant
Holder observe any other staff member punch or kick
Plaintiff, or otherwise engage in any unlawful use of force
Affidavit of Anthony K. Smith (Doc. No.
Smith is a Correctional Officer at Lanesboro and was assigned
to the Anson Unit on June 12, 2015. At approximately 9:00 AM,
Correctional Officer Raylene Bruce was escorting Plaintiff
from his cell to outside recreation. At the same time,
Correctional Officer Jonathan Turnmire was escorting Inmate
Alacron from his cell to outside recreation. Defendant Smith
was in the hallway bathroom when he heard shouts from the
video of the incident, Defendant Smith can be seen emerging
from the hallway bathroom at 9:03:47. Defendant Smith
responded to Officer Bruce to help her with Plaintiff who
continued to resist her efforts to control and restrain him.
Defendant Smith observed that Plaintiff had pulled one of his
hands free from his handcuffs and was holding a handmade
knife or shank. As Defendant Smith approached Plaintiff,
Defendant Smith wrapped his arms around Plaintiff's upper
body to keep him from attacking Smith or any of the
responding officers. Another responding officer was able to
disarm Plaintiff, then they placed him on the ground pursuant
to training and NCDPS policy in order to better control him
and place full restraints on him.
he was fully restrained, Defendant Smith was part of the
escort that picked Plaintiff up and carried him to the
Nurse's Station so that he could be evaluated by medical
staff. In the video, Defendant Smith can be seen holding
Plaintiff's upper body by ...