United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
Lamar Edwards, formerly an inmate at the Craighead County
Detention Center (Detention Center), filed this civil rights
lawsuit without the help of a lawyer under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Docket entry #1) In his complaint, Mr. Edwards alleges
that Defendants Frazier, Bowers, and Boyd failed to protect
him from an attack by a fellow inmate, and that Defendant
Herald  failed to properly train Defendants
Frazier, Bowers, and Boyd.
have now moved for summary judgment on Mr. Edwards's
claims (#34); and Mr. Edwards has responded (#39).
summary judgment, the Court decides the case without a trial.
A moving party is entitled to summary judgment if-but only
if-the evidence shows that there is no genuine dispute about
any fact important to the outcome of the case. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 and Odom v. Kaizer, 864 F.3d 920,
921 (8th Cir. 2017). In this case, the important facts are
not in dispute.
Failure to Protect Claim
October 17, 2018, Defendant Frazier approached Mr. Edwards
after observing that his eye was swollen shut. (#35-1 at
p.186) Mr. Edwards told Defendant Frazier that he had fallen
down the stairs. (Id.) Not satisfied with that
explanation, Defendant Frazier reviewed video footage of Mr.
Edwards's cell. He saw inmates Mathis, Donovan, and
Syrell “approach inmate Edwards and take an aggressive
stance.” (Id.) Mr. Edwards then struck inmate
Mathis, and the two began to fight. Mr. Edwards was taken to the
hospital following the incident for medical treatment.
officials have a duty to protect prisoners from violence at
the hands of other prisoners. Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 833 (1994). But, to succeed on a failure-to-protect
claim, Mr. Edwards must demonstrate that he faced a
substantial risk of serious harm; that the defendants
actually knew of the risk; and that they chose to ignore the
risk. Holden v. Hirner, 663 F.3d 336, 341 (8th Cir.
2011); Young v. Selk, 508 F.3d 868, 872 (8th Cir.
2007); Lenz v. Wade, 490 F.3d 991, 995-996 (8th Cir.
2007) (quotation omitted).
Frazier has filed an affidavit in support of the motion for
summary judgment. (#35-2) According to his sworn statement,
before the fight between Mr.
and inmate Mathis, he knew of no incidents or altercations
between the two. (Id. at p.2) Furthermore, neither
inmate had reported that the other was a threat to his
safety; and neither had requested to be separated from the
other. (Id.) Defendant Frazier testified that he had
no reason to suspect that either inmate posed a safety risk
to the other.
Edwards has not come forward with any evidence to contradict
Defendant Frazier's testimony. The only conclusion that
can be drawn from the evidence in the record, therefore, is
that Defendant Frazier had no knowledge that Mr. Edwards
faced a risk of attack prior to the fight giving rise to ...