United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
proceeds in this matter pro se and in forma
pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently
before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment. (ECF No. 48).
filed his Complaint on June 22, 2015, in the Eastern District
of Arkansas. (ECF No. 2). He filed his Amended Complaint on
July 13, 2015. (ECF No. 5). The case was transferred to this
District on July 21, 2015. (ECF No. 7).
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated his
constitutional rights when they arrested and charged him with
Felony Domestic Battery against his wife, Amber McKinney,
because he was the actual victim of the domestic battery. He
also alleges Defendant Plyler denied him medical care when he
arrested him. (ECF No. 5 at 4-11).
alleges he was arrested by Defendant Plyler on March 19,
2015, at the Baptist Health Emergency Room when he sought
treatment for a cracked rib, black eye, upper and lower
“busted lips, ” large head contusion, and
possible concussion. (Id. at 4-5). He alleges the
Defendants did not interview him or take any photographs of
his injuries, even though his injuries were much more serious
than those sustained by his wife. (Id. at 5). He
alleges Defendant Plyler arrested him as he was being
processed by the emergency room administration, thereby
denying him medical care. (Id. at 4). He alleges he
was arrested for Domestic Battery in the Third Degree, but
his charge was upgraded to Second Degree Domestic Battery
“an hour later.” (Id.).
alleges he received a “Facts Constituting Reasonable
Cause” form dated March 22, 2015, from Defendant
Daniel. Plaintiff alleges this form stated his wife had
sustained a fractured right wrist in addition to her other
injuries. (Id. at 5). Plaintiff alleges this was a
“complete fabrication to ensure my illegal detainment,
” because prior photos taken by Defendant Ursery showed
her using a fully functional right wrist to hold her mouth
further alleges his wife was known as Amber Inez Williams
prior to their marriage. (Id. at 7). He alleges she
had a history of violent domestic disputes, and provided a
newspaper clipping of an altercation between them prior to
their marriage. In the article, she was noted to be the
aggressor in the domestic assault and had further promoted
violence in front of a juvenile. (Id. at 7, 10).
Plaintiff alleges these facts should have been discovered if
Defendants had actually performed an investigation.
(Id. at 7).
alleges he was told on March 22, 2015, that he would be
released. However, after he signed the release form for a
Third Degree Domestic Battery, he was informed his release
required him to be on GPS monitoring, which he could not
afford, so the release papers were “trashed.”
(Id. at 5). “Two hours later” he was
taken before a Judge, charged with Second Degree Domestic
Battery, given a $75, 000 bond and GPS monitoring at his own
expense. (Id.). Plaintiff's Amended Complaint
was dated July 9, 2015, and Plaintiff alleges he had been
detained since March 19, 2015 with no bond reduction
hearings, no pre-trial motions, and no evidence proving him
claims against a prosecutor and judge were dismissed at
pre-service screening on March 14, 2016. (ECF No. 22).
Plaintiff's official capacity claims were dismissed after
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss on February 9, 2017. (ECF
filed their Motion for Summary Judgment without supporting
documents on May 18, 2018. (ECF No. 48). The complete Motion
for Summary Judgment was filed on May 21, 2018. (ECF No. 49).
Documents submitted with the Motion provide additional
background and context to Plaintiff's Complaint.
March 19, 2015, the Clark County Sheriff's Office
received a call at approximately 6:57 p.m. on March 19, 2015.
The caller reported that a woman was “laying in the
middle of [H]ighway 8, ” she was bleeding from the
mouth, and an ambulance had been called. (ECF No. 50-1 at 2).
When Defendant Plyler arrived at the scene, the woman was
identified as Amber McKinney. She told him her husband, John
McKinney, had beaten her and thrown her out of a moving
vehicle due to an argument over a Facebook request she had
received. (Id.; 50-2 at 1). Defendant Plyler
observed that she had a large “knot/bruise” on
the right side of her head, cuts on her left knee, her upper
lip was “busted, ” and she thought a finger on
her left hand was broken. (Id.). She was taken to
the Baptist Health Medical Center - Arkadelphia by ambulance.
(Id.; ECF No. 50-3 at 2). Defendant Ursery, the
Victim Services Director for Clark County, Arkansas, was
called to the hospital, where interviews and photos were
taken. (ECF No. 50-1 at 2; 50-3 at 1). Photos of Amber
McKinney showed cuts to her lips, mouth, and tongue. (ECF No.
Defendant Plyler was at the hospital, Plaintiff called Amber
McKinney's phone several times. (ECF No. 50-2). Defendant
Plyler answered the phone and spoke with Plaintiff. Plaintiff
told him he was actually the victim, as Amber McKinney had
beaten him. Defendant Plyler was unable to conduct a formal
interview with Plaintiff over the phone because Plaintiff was
“belligerent.” (Id. at 1).
then arrived at the hospital complaining of broken ribs. (ECF
No. 50-1 at 2; 50-2 at 1). Defendant Plyler observed that
Plaintiff was able to talk, walk, move, and function
“fine.” No. apparent injuries were noted for
Plaintiff. (50-1 at 3; 50-2 at 2). Based on Amber
McKinney's injuries, her statements, and witness
statements, Defendant Plyler arrested Plaintiff for Domestic
Battery and took him to jail (ECF No. 50-1 at 3; 50-2 at 2).
At the jail, EMS (Emergency Medical Services) was called to
evaluate Plaintiff's condition, and he was
“cleared.” (ECF No. 50-2 at 2). Once Amber
McKinney was treated, Plaintiff was returned to the hospital
for examination. (50-1 at 3; 50-2 at 2). Defendant Plyler was
not involved with Plaintiff's criminal case after the
March 19, 2015, arrest. (ECF No. 50-2 at 2).
records from Baptist Health Medical Center - Arkadelphia,
indicate Plaintiff was admitted at 12:22 a.m. on March 20,
2015. (ECF No. 50-6 at 1). He presented with a complaint of a
rib injury. (Id. at 3). On examination, he exhibited
tenderness in the right rib cage, with no edema. He exhibited
tenderness on the heel of the right hand. He had normal range
of motion. Contusions to his rib, nose, and hand were noted, but
did not require workup. A headache and urinary tract
infection were also noted, but did not require workup. (ECF
No. 50-6 at 4). Plaintiff received x-rays of his head, right
hand, and right ribs. No. new fractures were apparent in the
right rib or elsewhere. (Id. at 5-7). Healed
fractures were apparent at the second and fifth metacarpals.
(Id. at 7). There was no evidence of head injury or
abnormality. (Id. at 5). Plaintiff also received a
CT scan of the head, due to his report of trauma and
headache. The CT scan was negative for any injuries or
abnormalities. (Id. at 8). Plaintiff received two
tablets of acetaminophen and a prescription for antibiotics.
(Id. at 10). Plaintiff's urine drug screen was
positive for THC and cocaine metabolite. (Id. at 9).
Plaintiff was discharged from the hospital on March 20, 2015,
at 2:16 p.m. (Id. at 2).
March 22, 2015, Defendant Daniel spoke with Amber McKinney on
the phone, and she told him that she had a fractured wrist.
(ECF No. 50-7; 50-8). He obtained her medical records and
determined that Plaintiff would likely be charged with
Domestic Battery in the Second Degree. (ECF No. 50-8).
Daniel completed an Affidavit of Facts Constituting
Reasonable Cause (hereafter Probable Cause) against Plaintiff
for Domestic Battery in the Second Degree on March 22, 2015.
(ECF No. 50-10). This Affidavit noted Amber McKinney's
physical injuries, including cuts in her upper lip, abrasions
to the side of her head and to her right knee, and a
fractured right wrist. It stated she had identified Plaintiff
as her attacker. (Id. at 2). Plaintiff appeared
before Clark County Circuit Judge McCallum on March 22, 2015,
for his first appearance. The Court found probable cause to
detain him on the charge of Domestic Battery in the Second
Degree, set bond for $75, 000 and required electronic
monitoring at Plaintiff's expense. (ECF No. 50-11).
Arraignment was set for April 14, 2015. (Id.). The
Order was signed on March 22, 2015, but not filed by the
Clerk of Court until April 7, 2015. (Id.).
filed two jail grievances stating he was being illegally detained
because he was the victim of domestic battery. (ECF Nos.
50-13). Defendant Daniel responded to one grievance, stating
he had not been aware of Plaintiff's claim to be the
victim, and telling Plaintiff to make an appointment through
jail administration to speak with him. (Id. at 1).
Plaintiff met with Defendant Daniel on April 13, 2015, for an
interview. (ECF No. 50 at ¶ 35). The Court reviewed the
videotape of this interview. (ECF No. 50-5). Plaintiff stated
the incident started while he was driving Amber McKinney home
from work because he questioned her about a Facebook request
she had received from another man and she “went
haywire.” Plaintiff stated he told her that if she hit
him again he was going to hit her back. As a result, there
was more than one physical altercation between himself and
Amber McKinney in and around the vehicle that day, but he
stated she was the aggressor for all of them. After one of
these altercations, Amber McKinney got out of the vehicle at
a stop sign and sat in the highway. Plaintiff followed her,
she returned to the car, and another “scuffle”
ensued. According to Plaintiff, both parties hit, bit, and
spit at each other during these altercations. Amber McKinney
also grabbed him by the penis and would not let go, despite
the fact the he had undergone surgery for a broken urethra
early in the year when she had pulled on and “broken
his penis.” Plaintiff asked why he was not interviewed
before being arrested and charged when there were two people
involved. Plaintiff further noted past incidents where Amber
McKinney had assaulted him or other women.
Daniel interviewed Amber McKinney again on October 14, 2015.
(ECF No. 50 ¶ 26). In the video of this interview, she
described a pattern of beatings and violence from Plaintiff,
but also referenced at least one prior arrest for herself.
(ECF No. 50-9). She stated she “broke his penis”
in an attempt to escape him during a prior beating.
March 17, 2016, Plaintiff's charges were amended to
Domestic Battery in the Third Degree. (ECF No. 50-14). An
Order transferring the case to District Court was signed the
same day. (ECF No. 50-15). Plaintiff was released from the
Clark County Jail on March 18, 2016. (ECF No. 17). After
several continuances, the case was nolle prossed on
May 28, 2016, because Amber McKinney did not wish to
prosecute. (ECF No. 50-16).
22, 2018, this Court entered an Order directing Plaintiff to
respond to the Summary Judgment Motion by June 12, 2018. (ECF
No. 52). On June 13, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion to Deem
Facts Admitted, noting Plaintiff had not filed his Response
as directed. (ECF No. 55). Plaintiff filed his Response on
June 15, 2018. (ECF No. 56).