United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
LEON HOLMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Roy Bernard Flowers, currently in custody at the Craighead
County Detention Center, filed a motion to proceed in
forma pauperis (IFP) and a pro se complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Documents #1, #3.
In Forma Pauperis Application
provided financial information on Flowers's IFP
demonstrates that Flowers does not have sufficient funds to
pay the filing fee. Thus, his IFP motion is GRANTED. Document
#3. Even though Flowers may proceed IFP, the law requires him
to pay a $350 filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The
only question is the amount of the monthly payments Flowers
must make from his prison trust account to satisfy the filing
fee. The Court assesses an initial partial filing fee of
custodian is directed to collect monthly payments equal to
20% of the preceding month's income in his institutional
account each time the amount in that account is greater than
$10. Flowers's custodian must send those payments to the
Clerk of the Court until a total of $350 has been paid in
full. Payments should be clearly identified by the name and
number assigned to this action. The Clerk of Court is
directed to send a copy of this Order to the Administrator of
the Craighead County Detention Facility, 901 Willett Road,
Jonesboro, AR 72401.
docketing the complaint, or as soon thereafter as
practicable, the Court must review the complaint to identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint if it: (1) is
frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A; 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). While Rule 8(a)(2) does
not require a complaint to contain detailed factual
allegations, it does require a plaintiff to state the grounds
of his entitlement to relief, which requires more than labels
and conclusions. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65, 167 L.Ed.2d 929
(2007). A claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable
basis in law or fact.” Nietzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 325, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 1831-32, 104 L.Ed.2d 338
(1989); Jones v. Norris, 310 F.3d 610, 612 (8th Cir.
2002). In considering whether a complaint states a claim upon
which relief may be granted, the Court must accept as true
all factual allegations in the complaint and review the
complaint to determine whether its allegations show that the
pleader is entitled to relief. Gorog v. Best Buy Co.,
Inc., 760 F.3d 787, 792 (8th Cir. 2014). All reasonable
inferences from the complaint must be drawn in favor of the
nonmoving party. Id. The Court need not, however,
accept as true legal conclusions, even those stated as though
they are factual allegations. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50, 173 L.Ed.2d 868
(2009). A pro se complaint must be liberally
construed, however inartfully pleaded, and held to less
stringent standards than pleadings drafted by lawyers.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197,
2200, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007); Jackson v. Nixon, 747
F.3d 537, 541 (8th Cir. 2014).
sued the Jonesboro Police Department, Jonesboro Police
Officer Lester, the Craighead County Sheriff's
Department, the Craighead County Detention Center, and the
City of Jonesboro. Document #1 at 3. He alleges that on
October 2, 2017, Lester unlawfully searched and arrested him.
Id. at 3-4. He maintains that he was arrested based
on false information, mistakes, poor police work, harassment,
and racial profiling. Id., at 3. Flowers seeks
damages and the dismissal of all charges pending against him.
Id., at 4.
claims against the Jonesboro Police Department, the Craighead
County Sheriff's Department, and the Craighead County
Detention Center must be dismissed because neither of those
defendants is an entity subject to suit under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Ketchum v. City of West Memphis, 974
F.2d 81, 82 (8th Cir. 1992) (holding that West Memphis Police
Department was not a juridical entity sueable as such;
rather, it was simply a subdivision of the city government);
Owens v. Scott Cnty. Jail, 328 F.3d 1026, 1027 (8th
Cir. 2002) (affirming dismissal of Scott County Jail because
county jails are not amenable to suit).
claims against the City of Jonesboro also must be dismissed.
“To establish municipal liability under § 1983, a
plaintiff must show that a constitutional violation was
committed pursuant to an official custom, policy, or practice
of the governmental entity.” Moyle v.
Anderson, 571 F.3d 814, 817 (8th Cir. 2009). Because
Crowley has not alleged that any policy practice, or custom
was the moving force behind the alleged violation of his
protected rights, he has failed to state a claim for relief
against the City of Jonesboro. Further, as to any
official-capacity claim against Lester, “[a] suit
against a government officer in his official capacity is
functionally equivalent to a suit against the employing
governmental entity.” Veatch v. Bartels Lutheran
Home, 627 F.3d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir. 2010). To the extent
that Flowers sued Lester in his official capacity, those
claims likewise fail because Flowers has not alleged any
municipal custom, policy, or practice. A municipality cannot
be held liable under § 1983 simply because it employs a
tortfeaser. Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs. of City
of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 691, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 2036, 56
L.Ed.2d 611 (1978).
claims against Lester in his personal capacity should be
stayed. In Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-45, 91
S.Ct. 746, 750-51, 27 L.Ed.2d 669, 675-76 (1971), the Supreme
Court held that federal courts should abstain from
interfering in ongoing state proceedings. The Court explained
the rationale for such abstention as follows:
[The concept of federalism] represent[s] . . . a system in
which there is sensitivity to the legitimate interests of
both State and National Governments, and in which the
National Government, anxious though it may be to vindicate
and protect federal rights and federal interests, always
endeavors to do so in ways ...