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Miles v. State

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division

July 20, 2018

DARRELL DEWAYNE MILES PLAINTIFF
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS; SERGEANT SCOTT HARWELL; MELISSA BOOKER; BRANDI WALTHALL; UNION COUNTY CRIMINAL JUSTICE CENTER; and EL DORADO NEWS TIMES DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Susan O. Hickey, United States District Court.

         This is a civil rights case filed by the Plaintiff, Darrell Dewayne Miles, under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis (IFP). He is not currently incarcerated.

         The IFP statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, requires the Court to screen complaints for dismissal under' 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, if it contains claims that: (a) are frivolous or malicious; (b) fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or, (c) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         I. BACKGROUND

         According to the allegations in the Complaint (ECF No. 1) and Addendum (ECF No. 5), on January 27, 2015, Sergeant Harwell, of the El Dorado Police Department, interviewed Melissa Booker, who lived at 1401 West Block Street in El Dorado, Arkansas. Booker reported that on January 21, 2015, a black male was standing at the corner of East Cedar Street and Reed Street watching her closely. Booker reported feeling like she was being stalked. On January 22, 2015, Booker indicated she saw the same black male standing in her neighbor's front yard. Booker stated she was afraid to get out of her vehicle until the black male started to walk away. He walked to the intersection of West Cedar Street and Reed Street and stopped and started staring again. Booker got out of her vehicle and went into her house. She then observed the black male walk past her vehicle and into a wooded area at the end of the street.

         A short time later, Booker was inside the house with a friend, Brandi Walthall, when she realized she had left her phone charger in her car. Booker asked Walthall to watch out the window while she went to her car to get the charger. When she was at her car getting her charger out of the back seat, she saw the same black male emerge from the woods and begin walking toward her at a brisk pace. Booker got into the back seat, shut the door, and locked it. Booker reported that the black male stopped at the rear of her vehicle, removed his penis from his pants, and began to masturbate. Booker got out of her car and ran into the house and dialed 911. Walthall was watching the black male through the window and saw him begin to walk away. He stopped at the intersection of West Cedar Street and Reed Street but then turned around and began walking toward the side door of Booker's house. The black male began knocking on her side door but eventually left the area. Booker described the black male as being medium complexion, approximately 5'10” tall, weighing approximately 230 pounds, [1] having a close shaven beard and mustache, and wearing sagging shorts and a hooded sweatshirt with the hood covering his head.

         On January 23, 2015, at approximately 12:30 a.m., Booker's dogs and her neighbor's dogs began barking. Booker called 911 because she feared someone was watching her house from the nearby wooded area. She asked that an officer drive through the area shining a spotlight.

         On January 28, 2015, at 1:43 p.m., officers were called to the 1400 block of West Block Street regarding a black male running through the woods after being seen standing in the wooded area watching Booker and her step-daughter who were talking beside a vehicle. While in the area, officers saw Plaintiff, who they believed met the physical description given by Booker, and who was standing on the front porch of an apartment located at the intersection of West Cedar Street and Holloway Street (1300 West Cedar Street). Plaintiff alleges he was required to stand in the yard bare footed with the police officers, including Sergeant Harwell, while Booker was driven by in a vehicle with dark tinted windows by Sergeant Chris Lutman. When Booker saw Plaintiff, she began crying and having difficulty breathing. She advised Sergeant Lutman that Plaintiff was the man who had been stalking her and had masturbated in front of her car.

         Plaintiff was asked to come to the police station and speak to investigators about the incident. Plaintiff stated he wanted to contact his attorney. Plaintiff was told that after he talked to his attorney, if he wanted to speak with the investigators he should do so at 9:00 a.m. on January 29, 2015. Booker was asked to come in at 8:00 a.m. on January 29, 2015, to look at some photos and provide a recorded statement. Booker was also asked to bring Walthall with her to do the same.

         On January 29, 2015, both Booker and Walthall identified Plaintiff as the black male involved in the incidents. As a result, Plaintiff was charged with stalking and indecent exposure. (ECF No. 1 at 60). Plaintiff denies that he has ever engaged in socially aberrant behavior.

         Plaintiff was arrested at his home on January 30, 2015. He remained incarcerated in the Union County Criminal Justice Center (UCCJC) until he was able to post bail on March 12, 2015. (ECF No. 1 at 50). Plaintiff contends he was falsely imprisoned and unlawfully detained.

         Plaintiff contends Sergeant Harwell allowed the "drive by" identification which was improper in Plaintiff's opinion because he was the only person involved. Plaintiff maintains Booker's and Walthall's falsehoods and the "unprofessional, " "unfair, " and "unjust" investigation done by Sergeant Harwell caused him to lose his home, car, employment, and his family-a wife and three small boys. (ECF No. 1 at 5-6). Plaintiff also maintains Sergeant Harwell violated his constitutional rights by not reciting his Miranda rights, by committing perjury, and by informing him that Booker was going to get a gun and that if Plaintiff did not quit committing deviant acts the community would take action. (ECF No. 5 at 5).

         Plaintiff alleges these falsehoods were printed in the El Dorado News Times resulting in the entire community turning against him. Plaintiff has attached a copy of the published police log from the newspaper in which the following is stated: "Darrell D. Miles, 37, of 1300 W. Cedar, was arrested Friday on a warrant for second-degree stalking and indecent exposure." (ECF No. 1 at 89).

         Plaintiff alleges this was "a crime of hate which targeted the African American race." (ECF No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff maintains Booker manipulated Sergeant Harwell and the El Dorado Police Department. Plaintiff asserts that Booker's actions were the result of a delusional mind "which specifically target[ed] a voting, tax pay[ing] working man [and his] family." (ECF No. 1 at 7). Plaintiff maintains the actual guilty party has never even been identified.

         According to Plaintiff, both Booker and Walthall later retracted their statements identifying him. (ECF No. 5 at 2). As a result of the retraction, the criminal charges were dismissed. (ECF No. 5 at 2).[2] Plaintiff asserts he was never allowed to face his accusers and would not recognize them.

         Further, while he was incarcerated at the UCCJC, Plaintiff alleges he was badly mistreated and placed on twenty-three hour lock down immediately following his booking. Plaintiff alleges that Sheriff Roberts allowed jail personnel to mistreat him by denying him medical treatment and giving him "mustard" for what he thinks was a mild heart ...


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