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Shaw v. City of Milwaukee

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

September 24, 2019

WILLIAM R. SHAW, Plaintiff,


          William C. Griesbach, Chief Judge United States District Court.

         Plaintiff William R. Shaw, who is representing himself, filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendants violated his constitutional rights. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) applies to this case because Shaw was incarcerated when he filed his complaint. The PLRA requires courts to screen complaints filed by prisoners to confirm that the complaint is not legally “frivolous or malicious” and that it states a claim upon which relief can be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Additionally, he filed a motion to proceed without prepaying the filing fee and a motion to appoint counsel. This order screens the complaint and resolves Shaw’s motions.

         Motion to Proceed without Prepaying the Filing Fee

         Shaw has requested leave to proceed without prepayment of the full filing fee (in forma pauperis). A prisoner plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis is required to pay the full amount of the $350.00 filing fee over time. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Shaw filed a certified copy of his prison trust account statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of his complaint, as required under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2). Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph determined that pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4), Shaw was not required to pay an initial partial filing fee. Accordingly, Shaw’s motion for leave to proceed without prepaying the filing fee will be granted, and he will have to pay the full filing fee over time as explained in this order.

         Screening of the Complaint

         Under the PLRA, a court must dismiss a complaint if a plaintiff raises claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). To state a claim, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, “that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows a court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         To proceed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that: 1) he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and 2) the defendant was acting under color of state law. Buchanan-Moore v. County of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Village of North Fond du Lac, 384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). The court gives a pro se plaintiff’s allegations, “however inartfully pleaded, ” a liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         Allegations in the Complaint

         Shaw alleges that on February 27, 2014, at approximately 9:28 P.M., he was driving his father’s car with his girlfriend, Heather Parker, and her friend, Shannon Hajek. He states that defendants Milwaukee Police Officers Antoniak and Maduscha stopped him on the 3100 Block of South 9th Place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Antoniak and Maduscha requested the names of the people in the car and then ordered Shaw to get out of the car. Shaw states he repeatedly asked them why he was stopped, but they refused to tell him. Antoniak then patted Shaw down, searching his pockets, his waistband, and the legs of his pants. Shaw states they did not find anything illegal on his person during that search.

         Antoniak and Maduscha then arrested Shaw and placed him in the back of their squad car. Shaw states that they told him they were arresting him because Shaw’s probation officer had previously placed a detainer on him. However, Shaw alleges that the officers did not contact the Department of Corrections until after his arrest and detainment, implying that they could not have known about the detainer at the moment of arrest.

         After Shaw was arrested and placed in the squad car, Antoniak and Maduscha ordered Parker and Hajek out of the car and then searched the car. Parker was released on the scene, but Hajek was arrested. Shaw states that Hajek was arrested because she had a drug kit with 17 corner cuts of what appeared to be heroin in her purse. Shaw and Hajek were taken in separate squad cars to District 6 of the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD). Upon arrival, Shaw was searched again and placed into a holding cell.

         Some point later in the night, an MPD Sergeant, name unknown, told Shaw that Hajek stated that Shaw “had drugs concealed inside of his rectum.” Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 31. Shaw states that Hajek had a lot to gain by providing information of this nature to MPD. Shaw also alleges that police reports subsequently stated that Hajek told police that Shaw “only had placed drugs down his pants with his right hand.” Id. at ¶ 32. Shaw vehemently denied that he had placed drugs inside himself and states that the Sergeant responded, “do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way.” Id. at ¶ 33. When Shaw did not give the response the Sergeant wanted, the Sergeant allegedly pointed his finger in Shaw’s face and told him that “he would be sorry for this.” Id. at ¶ 34.

         Antoniak and Maduscha then transported Shaw to the Milwaukee Police Administration Building. Upon arrival, Officer Slowinski searched Shaw and found nothing. Around 4:25 A.M. on February 28, 2014, Shaw was taken to Room 520 within the Administration Building. Officer Slowinski and Sergeant Hauf were in the room when Shaw arrived. Shaw was immediately ordered to remove his clothing and to give each article of clothing to Slowinski. Slowinski identified each piece of clothing by recording a description of it into a hand-held recording device. Hauf, meanwhile, observed. Once Shaw was naked, Slowinski ordered him to lift his scrotum and penis. Slowinski narrated his observations into the recording device. Slowinski then ordered Shaw to turn around, bend over, and spread his buttocks apart. Slowinski yelled at Shaw until Shaw adequately complied. Shaw alleges that while he was in this position, both Slowinski and Hauf conducted a detailed visual search of Shaw’s exposed private areas. Shaw complained that holding this position was causing pain. Slowinski allegedly responded by yelling at Shaw to spread his buttocks apart further.

         When the search was over, Shaw was ordered to put on his clothes. Shaw noted, as he was getting dressed, that there was a surveillance camera inside of Room 520. Shaw alleges that defendants Slowinski and Hauf deliberately positioned him so that his body was in full view of the camera during the strip-search. Shaw also states that Slowinski and Hauf did not obtain written authorization to conduct and record the strip-search from their supervisor, Deputy Inspector Terrence Gordon, as required by Wisconsin law. Shaw alleges that the officers conducted and video-recorded the search without supervisor authorization “pursuant to official policy, custom, and usage, ” of the Milwaukee Police Department, Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 56, and he alleges that the Milwaukee Police Department is an arm of the City of Milwaukee, which Shaw names as a defendant. Id. at ¶¶ 154–57. He also alleges that both Gordon and Chief Edward Flynn “had known or should have known about the officers engaging in improper searches, and facilitated, approved, condoned, turned a blind eye to, and/or purposely ignored the continued exploitation of arrestees being subjected to various degrees of nude searches” that were improper in part because they were recorded. Id. at ¶¶ 57–58. Specifically, Shaw alleges that both Gordon and Flynn knew that their employees were conducting and inappropriately recording invasive strip-searches without prior written authorization.

         After the strip-search, Antoniak obtained a search warrant to search Shaw’s body cavity. Shaw challenges Antoniak’s affidavit used to obtain the search warrant, stating that it was fraudulent. He alleges that the affidavit stated he made a traffic violation when he didn’t, and that it identifies him as “William L. Shaw” when his name is actually William R. Shaw. He also alleges that the affidavit was written in such a way to intentionally be misleading, stating that it strongly implies that the drug kit found in Hajek’s purse was actually his. He further alleges that it improperly relies on Hajek’s statements, and the officers knew or should have known that Hajek was not credible.

         Shaw also alleges that Hajeck, a white woman, who actually had heroin in her possession at the time of the arrest, was released from custody; whereas Shaw, a black man, who did not have any illegal drugs in his possession, was detained and subjected to several humiliating and painful searches. As such, Shaw alleges that he was subjected to “differential bias treatment” and was “exclusively targeted” because of his race. Id. at ¶ 65(F).

         After Antoniak and Maduscha obtained the search warrant, Shaw was taken to Aurora Sinai Medical Center. There, medical personnel refused to conduct a body cavity search because Shaw would not consent. According to Shaw, hospital management determined that the search warrant was “not the correct paperwork necessary to do a rectal search against the patient’s will.” Id. at ¶ 85.

         Antoniak and Maduscha then took Shaw to Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-St. Francis. There, Physician Assistant Daniel Teska read the search warrant and asked Shaw to sign a consent form. When Shaw refused, Shaw alleges that Antoniak and Maduscha started yelling at him and threatening him. Then, Antoniak, Maduscha, and Teska put on gloves and proceeded to forcibly conduct a body cavity search. Shaw was handcuffed to a bed, and Teska pulled down Shaw’s pants and underwear and inserted his fingers into his rectum. Shaw states he yelled out in pain while Antoniak and Maduscha laughed, drawing spectators.

         When the search was unsuccessful, Teska suggested that Shaw’s torso be x-rayed. An x-ray technician, name unknown, took the x-ray without providing Shaw protective gear. The x-ray showed that there was nothing in Shaw’s body cavity. The results angered Antoniak and Maduscha. Shaw states that he was never charged or convicted of a drug-related crime as a result of the traffic stop but that ...

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