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Williams v. Collins

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

March 31, 2017

DERRICK COLLINS, et al. Defendants.


          Michael R. Barrett Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants, Derrick Collins, Marianne Burgess, Maria Slone, Elizabeth Boughen, and Sheriff Richard K. Jones (Doc. No. 33), the Plaintiff's Response (Doc. No. 36) and the Defendants' Reply (Doc. No. 37). Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants have violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights based upon an altercation that took place at the Butler County jail in Hamilton, Ohio. Plaintiff's complaint includes claims for excessive force and failure to intervene under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Plaintiff has made further claims for false imprisonment and battery under Ohio law.

         Defendants assert that the claims arise under the Fourteenth Amendment rather than the Fourth Amendment because the Plaintiff was a pre-trial detainee. Under the applicable standards, Defendants claim that they are entitled to qualified immunity as to the Fourteenth Amendment claims and are further immune from the state law claims. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment will be DENIED IN PART and GRANTED IN PART.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. FACTS

         On May 24, 2014, Plaintiff Corey Williams (hereinafter referred to as “Williams”), was pulled over by a Hamilton, Ohio police officer for a traffic violation. Williams was then booked into the Butler County jail based upon the discovery of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his vehicle. (Plaintiff's Complaint, Doc. No. 27, PageID 99; Williams Depo, PageID 130). It is not disputed that at the time he was booked into the jail, it was determined that Williams could be released on his own recognizance and the Defendants began to prepare the paperwork for him to be released. (Doc. No. 27, PageID 99). While Williams was in the process of completing the paperwork, he made a remark about Officer Collins's hairstyle, stating that he should fire his barber. (Id). Williams was training to become a licensed barber at the time. (Id.). It is at this point that the parties' recollections and perceptions of the time in question diverge.

         1. Testimony of Corey Williams

         Williams testified that he was happy he was going to make bond and that while he was being processed he made a remark about Officer Collins's haircut. Williams stated to Collins that he had a line around his head and that he should fire his barber. (Williams Depo, PageID 130). Williams testified that “When I made that comment about Collins' haircut, he told me he would pull me over the counter and beat the fuck out of me.” (Id. at PageID 132).

         Within this time frame, Williams claims that Officer Collins told Officer Burgess to put him in a holding cell. (Id.). Williams was informed that he was not going to be released, and at that time, he testified that “they all came in, five of them, with black latex gloves” and told him to give them the paperwork he was holding. (Id.). Williams had the paperwork folded behind his back and wanted to know why he was not being released. (Id.). When he asked about the release, he claims that Officer Collins reached around Officer Burgess and punched him in the face. (Id.). Williams claims he was punched in the face, fell back on a bench, ended up sprawled on the floor and was then turned over and tased. (Id. at PageID 132-4). He claims he was struck with prongs from the taser. (Id.).

         Williams continues that he was then placed in a restraint chair and never had an opportunity to tell anyone he was hurt, but did tell officers and anyone there that he was in pain. (Id.). Williams claims that he did not physically wrestle with any Butler County employee and he was not argumentative. (Id.). Williams specifies that he was hit all over, however mostly in the head, by Officer Collins while Officer Davenport held him down. (Id. at PageID 136). Williams testified that no female officer touched him. (Id. at PageID 134). He was eventually released shortly after 12:00 a.m. on May 25, 2014. About a week later, Williams had surgery to the left orbital zone of his left eye. (Id. at PageID 136-7).

         2. Testimony of Sergeant Maria Slone

         Sergeant Slone manages the corrections officers and maintains safety and security of the facility for the second shift. (Slone Depo., PageID 178). She supervises booking, intake and release. (Id.). Sergeant Slone made the decision to release Plaintiff based upon his lower level offenses. (Id.). However, while Plaintiff was completing the paperwork to be released, he became disruptive. (Id. at PageID 182). As a result, Sergeant Slone decided to revoke the OR bond to see if Williams would calm down and then continue with the release. (Id.).

         Officer Collins and Officer Burgess told Sergeant Slone that Plaintiff was being disruptive and would not give back the paperwork. (Id. at PageID 184-5). She saw Collins and Davenport go in to get the paperwork that Plaintiff had behind his back. (Id. at PageID 186). She could see Plaintiff back up against the back wall of the room and then lunge toward Officer Collins. (Id.). The next thing she saw was Williams and Collins on the ground, and Davenport kneeling trying to get Plaintiff's hands behind his back. (Id.).

         Next, Sergeant Slone then went into the room and ordered Plaintiff to stop resisting and to put his hands behind his back twice. (Id. at PageID 188). She told him a third time and that if he did not comply, she would tase him. (Id.). Sergeant Slone testified that he did not comply, so she tased him in the stun drive mode to his right shoulder blade area. (Id). He was then cuffed and put in a restraint chair. (Id.). Sergeant Slone testified that the times when she saw Williams in the restraint chair, she did not see any bruising and that he was checked multiple times over the two hours he was in the chair. (Id. at PageID 189). She further testified that she observed Officer Davenport strike Plaintiff with his fist and use balance displacement to attempt to gain control. (Id. at PageID 192).

         3. Testimony of Officer Collins

         Officer Collins testified that Williams caught his attention when Williams came back to booking to be released. (Collins Depo., PageID 246-7). Officer Collins stated that Williams was being argumentative and was angry about the process. (Id.). Collins attempted to get the paperwork back from Williams, then he took a step and put his hands in a boxer pose and lunged toward him. (Id. at PageID 248-50). Williams then made a quick motion and put his hands behind his back with the paperwork. (Id.). Officer Collins then employed the balance displacement technique to “assist” Williams to the bench. (Id.). Williams was face down on the bench, and his face, stomach, thighs, knees, feet and head made contact with the bench. (Id. at PageID 251-2). Williams then swung a leg off the bench, jerked his right hand away from Collins and they began to wrestle. (Id. at PageID 252). Officer Collins did not know where the paperwork was at that time, and Williams was still not listening or obeying the commands given by the officers. (Id.).

         Officer Collins testified that he then employed three to four closed hand strikes to the larger muscle groups, but they had no effect. (Id.). It was at that point that Sergeant Slone administered the five second tase stun. (Id. at PageID 253). At that point Officer Collins was able to get Plaintiff's hands and handcuff him. (Id.). Williams was next put in a restraint chair and moved to a holding cell. (Id. at PageID 254). He did not see any bruising or bleeding on Williams. (Id.). Officer Collins testified that he did not strike Williams in the face. (Id.).

         4. Testimony of Officer Burgess

         Officer Burgess testified that she first communicated with Williams when he was given his paperwork for release. (Burgess Depo., PageID 155). Williams was disruptive from the start, and argued about his money. (Id. at PageID 157). She did hear Williams tell Officer Collins that he needed to fire his barber. (Id.). At that time, Sergeant Slone decided that Plaintiff needed time to cool off and would go back to the holding cell. (Id.). Williams was asked to go to the holding cell and to return the paperwork. (Id. at PageID 158). Burgess asked him three times to return the paperwork, but he wadded it up and put it behind is back. (Id.). Officer Collins then came into the holding cell and Williams lunged toward Officer Collins. (Id.).

         Officer Collins then took control of Williams, placed him on the bench with balance placement technique, then got him to the floor and attempted to roll him over to get his hands. (Id. at PageID 160). Officer Burgess testified that both Davenport and Collins were working to control Williams, who was resisting, kicking and pulling away. (Id.). Once Williams was on his stomach on the ground and his hands were underneath him, Officer Slone came in and tased him. (Id. at PageID 161). Officer Burgess testified that she saw Williams being struck in his sides and shoulders by Officers ...

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