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Brown v. Helder

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

August 29, 2019

REV. TOM BROWN PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF TIM HELDER, Washington County, Arkansas; OFFICER SMITH #564; OFFICER PARADES #553; OFFICER HOLIDAY # 472; OFFICER WELCHEL CW02; NURSE REGINA WALKER; DR. ROBERT KARAS; PA VERONICA DOCKERY; NURSE ANDREW PIAZZA; NURSE PHEBE GROTHAUS; ADMINISTRATOR JANE BURLESON, KARAS URGENT CARE; and BRIAN THOMAS, City of Fayetteville, Prosecutor's Office DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Reverend Tom Brown filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff was directed to file an amended complaint on July 26, 2019. See Doc. 52. His "First Corrected Amended Complaint" (Doc. 59) was filed on August 19, 2019.

         Under the IFP statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court is obligated to screen the case prior to service of process being issued. The Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, if it contains claims that: (1) are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or, (2) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e)(2)(B).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was arrested on October 17, 2016, and booked into the Washington County Detention Center ("WCDC"). He remained incarcerated there until October 19, 2016, when he was released. At the time of incarceration, Plaintiff was sixty-nine years old.

         He asserts three claims stemming from this incarceration: (1) he was subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement; and (2) he was denied adequate care for his serious medical needs.[1]

While at the WCDC, Plaintiff contends he:
was held in torture for some 30 hours, admitted to jail population without access to needed medications, denied writing instruments and paper to make any record of events and personalities involved in the events, [and] denied access to any communication thru the jails computer Kiosk telephone system

(Doc. 59 at 3).

         Plaintiff states he was unable to submit a grievance because an inmate using the kiosk system must start by entering the identification number contained on his arm band. As his glasses were taken away from him, Plaintiff maintains he could not read his arm band. In any event, when both inmates and jailers assisted him by entering his identification number, the number did not work. The jailer reported this; however, Plaintiff claims he was not able to access the kiosk at all during his incarceration at the WCDC.

         On October 17, 2016, Officer T. Smith was the intake officer and the one who took Plaintiff's personal clothing away. Plaintiff alleges Officer Smith "threaten[ed] to keep him in the intake cell for 72 hours if Plaintiff refused to answer his questions." Plaintiff believes Officer Smith deliberately put him in the cold cell "for the purpose of torturing Plaintiff in compliance with Smith's orders."

         Plaintiff maintains that Officer Smith failed to list on the property intake sheet all of the identification cards carried by Plaintiff, including a VA hospital identification card. According to Plaintiff, Officer Smith's actions show he was "a willing and able member of a conspiracy to deny rights to those arrested and placed in his custody and care." Plaintiff also states Officer Smith failed to contact the "VA hospital to determine Plaintiffs medical needs" and failed to contact jail medical staff.

         Plaintiff was placed in an intake cell and remained there until sometime in the afternoon of October 18, 2016, when he was moved to general population. Plaintiff alleges he was placed in the intake cell because he "refused to verbally answer questions from the intake officer." Plaintiff asserts that the temperature in the intake cell was maintained at less than 50 degrees. Plaintiffs contends that his requests for his personal clothing in order to stay warm were refused as were his request for blankets.

         Plaintiff indicates he had been treated for elevated PSA[2] levels in urine, difficulty and pain on urination, urine retention, and other symptoms of prostate cancer. Plaintiff told Officer Smith that he had been searched by the arresting officer who had Plaintiffs "medical identification." Further, Plaintiff states he advised the intake officer that "the [Veteran's Administration ("VA")] would supply his needed medications upon demand by the jail ...


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