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Brooks v. Gloudemans

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

January 19, 2017



          J.P. Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge.

         1. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Derrick Brooks (“Brooks”), a prisoner, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants, prison officials at Racine Correctional Institution (“Racine”), alleging that some of them used excessive force against him and that the others failed to protect him from the use of force, and that they subjected him to an unconstitutional strip search. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on December 1, 2016. (Docket #18). Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Court's Local Rules, the deadline for Brooks to respond was January 3, 2017. See Civ. L. R. 56(b)(2). To date, Brooks has filed nothing in response to the motion. Therefore, the motion will be addressed in its unopposed form and, for the reasons explained below, it will be granted.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that the court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d 910, 916 (7th Cir. 2016). A fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit” under the applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute of fact is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. The court construes all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc., 815 F.3d 356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016). The non-movant need not have more or better evidence than his opponent, but he must present “appropriate evidence demonstrating that there is a pending dispute of material fact.” Waldridge v. American Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 921 (7th Cir. 1994).

         3. RELEVANT FACTS

         Because Brooks failed to respond to Defendants' statement of facts submitted in connection with their motion, the Court will consider them undisputed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Civ. L. R. 56(b)(4); Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[F]ailure to respond by the nonmovant as mandated by the local rules results in an admission.”); Hill v. Thalacker, 210 F. App'x 513, 515 (7th Cir. 2006) (noting that district courts have discretion to enforce summary judgment rules against pro se litigants). Only those facts necessary to the disposition of the motion are recounted below.

         3.1The November 20, 2014 Use of Force

         During the relevant period, Brooks was an inmate at Racine. Defendants are correctional officers of various ranks. On November 20, 2014, Brooks ingested K-2, a form of synthetic marijuana, and suffered a psychotic episode. At approximately 6:45 p.m. that day, there was a loud crash and yelling coming from the north dayroom of the Rock Unit at Racine. Defendants R. Smith, C.O. Marten (“Marten”), and Sgt. Stine (“Stine”) responded and observed a table flipped over and Brooks yelling at another inmate. Brooks was screaming, “I'm a fighter” over and over again, and then walked up to another inmate and punched him at least once in the face.

         Stine ordered Brooks to stop yelling and he and R. Smith attempted to separate the two inmates. Brooks then ran through the hallway from the north side of the unit to the south side of the unit. R. Smith and Stine pursued Brooks through the hallway, ordering him to stop and to put his hands behind his back.

         R. Smith caught up to Brooks and brought him to the ground in the south dayroom. Brooks continued to ignore multiple directives to stop resisting and to place his hands behind his back. Stine and Marten arrived on the scene to assist in gaining control of the situation and placing Brooks in mechanical restraints on his wrists and ankles. Marten attempted to secure Brooks's legs, but Brooks continued to be combative and disregarded orders to stop resisting. Two other correctional officers who are not named as defendants arrived and assisted Marten with securing Brooks's legs in leg irons. Due to Brooks's combative behavior, the restraints were not able to be double-locked to prevent them from tightening further. At this same time, Stine secured Brooks's right arm. While Brooks was being placed in the restraints, he continued to be combative, spitting blood, and continuously yelling, “I am Jesus! I am a murderer! I am God.”

         Additional officers, including Defendants M. Smith, Anderson, Sgt. Goettl (“Goettl”), [1] Lt. Serrano (“Serrano”), and Capt. Gloudemans (“Gloudemans”) arrived in response to the emergency team call. When they arrived, the responding officers already had Brooks “decentralized”-which the Court understands to mean “pinned”-on the floor and in mechanical restraints. A make-shift spit mask was placed over Brooks's face as he was spitting blood at staff. Even while in restraints, Brooks continued to be combative. He kept screaming statements such as, “I am a fighter, I am a fighter, I am Jesus, I am God, ” and “fuck white people.” After Brooks was fully restrained and supervised by several officers, Serrano determined that Brooks should be taken to the segregation unit. He ordered staff to assist Brooks to his knees, but Brooks actively resisted by kicking and swinging his arms and legs. Serrano explained to Brooks that if he did not comply, Serrano would be forced to use a taser. Brooks responded incoherently, including claiming to be “Jesus” again and again. Serrano again directed Brooks to comply with being assisted up to his knees, but Brooks refused all directives and continued to be combative, so in order to move Brooks to the segregation unit, Serrano activated a taser on Brooks's upper back and shoulder. It did not produce any results.

         Nevertheless, the team was able to get Brooks standing and walked about five to seven feet out of the unit with him before Brooks became resistant again. Serrano explained to Brooks that if he did not comply, Serrano would have to use the taser on him again. Brooks continued to resist. As a result of Brooks's resistance, he was again decentralized to the ground by staff, and Serrano was able to dry stun Brooks on his back with the taser.[2]After the taser stopped, Brooks continued to yell, “I'm Jesus, fuck you bitches” and “I'll take all of you.” Brooks continued to be noncompliant while being escorted. This included dragging his legs, not walking, and actively trying to break the compliance holds of the escorting officers. Since the distance to the segregation building was too far for the officers to carry Brooks, a flatbed cart was used. Even after Brooks was placed on the flatbed cart, he continued to resist the officers by flailing his body, trying to break the officers' holds, and incoherently yelling.

         Serrano activated the taser at least two more times during the escort. After every deployment of the taser, Serrano tried to talk to Brooks and give him direction, but Brooks went back to being resistant and yelling, “I am Jesus, ” “I am God, ” and “I am a murderer.” Brooks continued to resist by attempting to kick and jerk his body away and trying to break the compliance holds of the officers. Because the taser did not have the desired effect, Stine eventually delivered three knee strikes to Brooks's lower abdomen in ...

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