Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Thompson v. Singleton

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

June 28, 2016

SHAD THOMPSON, PLAINTIFF
v.
JAMES SINGLETON, DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Susan O. Hickey United States District Judge

         This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff is currently participating in a drug treatment program known as Project New Start in Newport, Arkansas as an alternative to continued detention in the Hempstead County Detention Center ("HCDC"). The events at issue occurred while Plaintiff was a pre-trial detainee incarcerated at the HCDC. On September 16, 2013 Plaintiff claims he was attacked in a holding cell by another inmate, Christian Archer, who had fired shots at him earlier that same day. Immediately after the inmate was removed from the cell Veronica Mauldin, a former detention officer with HCDC, deployed her taser on Plaintiff.

         Plaintiff is asserting claims against each Defendant, [1] in both official and individual capacities, for failure to protect and excessive force. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages against Defendants. Defendants argue that Plaintiff failed to notify them that he should not be placed in the same cell with the inmate who attacked him. In addition, they claim the force used against Plaintiff was reasonable and used for purposes of officer safety and maintaining order.

         This matter was tried to the Court without a jury on April 14, 2016. The testimony of the following witnesses was heard: (1) Donna Stephens; (2) Michael Thompson; (3) Defendant Fransico Mercado; (4) Defendant Gary Dorman; (5) Defendant James Singleton; (6) Defendant Johnny Godbolt; (7) Veronica Mauldin; (8) Heath Ross; (9) Plaintiff Shad Thompson; and (10) Defendant Cecilia Bland.

         Plaintiff offered Exhibits 1 - 8, including: (1) S.O.A.P. Notes - September 16, 2013; (2) Separate Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's Second Set of Interrogatories; (3) Hempstead County Sheriff's Department Taser Policy; (4) Hempstead County Sheriff's Department Incident Report - September 16, 2013; (5) Separate Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's First Set of Interrogatories and Second Request for Production of Documents; (6) Hempstead County Detention Facility Incident Report and Use of Force - Veronica Mauldin; (7) Video of September 16, 2013 incident between Inmate Archer and Plaintiff; and (8) Separate Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's First Request for Production of Documents. Plaintiff's Exhibits 1 - 8 were admitted without objection.

         Defendants offered Exhibits 1 - 8, including: (1) September 16, 2013 Book-in Sheet; (2) September 16, 2013 S.O.A.P. Notes prepared by Joan McLean; (3) Incident Report and Use of force Number 13-0129 dated September 16, 2013 prepared by former Sgt. Veronica Mauldin; (4) Taser Use Report prepared by former Sgt. Veronica Mauldin; (5) Hempstead County Sheriff's Department Taser Policy; (6) Video of September 16, 2013 incident; (7) Suspect Arrest Report for Plaintiff dated September 16, 2013; and (8) Record of First Judicial Appearance for Plaintiff dated September 18, 2013. Defendant's Exhibits 1 - 8 were admitted without objection.

         The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391. The Court now renders its findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 52 (a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         The events at issue occurred while Plaintiff was a pre-trial detainee incarcerated at the HCDC. On September 16, 2013 around 7:30 a.m. Plaintiff was booked into the HCDC for possession of drug paraphernalia. He was initially placed in A-Pod (general population) in a cell with his brother. At that time Plaintiff did not inform anyone at HCDC that he had any enemies. At approximately 11:00 a.m. Plaintiff's parents contacted the Hempstead County Sheriff's Department to ask them to investigate an incident which occurred during the early morning hours of September 16, 2013 when several gun shots were fired close to their home. Defendant Gary Dorman and Investigator Justin Crane responded and determined numerous shots had been fired at Plaintiff's home.

         Plaintiff was removed from the A-Pod cell in the early afternoon on September 16, 2013 by Defendant Fransico Mercado and told to pack up his belongings. Plaintiff was taken to booking where Defendant Cecilia Bland placed him in a holding cell at the direction of Defendant Dorman and Crane.[2] A short time later, Defendant Dorman and Crane removed Plaintiff from his cell so he could identify the individual/individuals who fired shots at him.

         Plaintiff was initially reluctant to identify who had fired at him. After a discussion with Defendant Dorman, Plaintiff admitted he had been involved in purchasing drugs from an individual named Christian Archer and that Plaintiff had failed to pay Archer in full for the drugs. After being shown numerous photographs of suspects, Plaintiff identified Christian Archer and Antonio Perkens as the individuals who had fired shots at him earlier that morning. Plaintiff was then placed back in the holding cell. Prior to the conversation with Defendant Dorman, Plaintiff had not told anyone associated with the HCDC that Archer and Perkens had shot at him.

         After Plaintiff identified Archer as the shooter, Defendant Dorman obtained a warrant to search Archer's residence. Defendant Dorman did not tell anyone at HCDC that Archer was a suspect in the shooting or that he was going to obtain a search warrant for Archer's home. Upon entering Archer's residence, Defendant Dorman and Crane found a considerable amount of drugs, drug paraphernalia and the gun used to fire the shots at Plaintiff. Archer was arrested and taken to the HCDC for booking around 7:00 p.m. on September 16, 2013. It is not clear from the record which officers transported Archer to the HCDC but the record does reflect that none of the named Defendants were involved. Defendant Dorman remained at Archer's home to complete the search and did not return to the HCDC when Archer was taken in and charged with terroristic threatening.

         Defendant Bland, the officer who originally placed Plaintiff in the holding cell, went off duty at 6:00 p.m. and was replaced by Veronica Mauldin. Defendant Bland did not inform Mauldin that Plaintiff was in a holding cell in the booking area. While waiting to be formally booked into HCDC, Archer began acting up and yelling at the officers on duty disrupting the booking process. In response, Veronica Mauldin placed Archer in the holding cell where Plaintiff was being held so that she and the other HCDC officers could complete the booking process of others who had been arrested that same evening.

         Veronica Mauldin was not aware of Plaintiff's whereabouts when she put Archer in the same holding cell and none of the named Defendants were present or on duty at that time. Within a few minutes of them being placed together, Archer and Plaintiff were seen fighting in the cell. The video tape of the incident shows that Mauldin and Officer Williams came to the cell, Mauldin unlocked the door and Officer Williams restrained Christian Archer. Mr. Archer did not appear to have suffered any injuries during the incident with Plaintiff. Plaintiff was bleeding from a head wound above his left eye and began to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.