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Williams v. City of Memphis

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

February 5, 2015

CITY OF MEMPHIS, et al., Defendants.


TU M. PHAM, Magistrate Judge.

On October 1, 2104, plaintiff Raynell Williams filed a pro se complaint against numerous defendants alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, accompanied by an application to proceed in forma pauperis . (ECF Nos. 1, 2, 5.) The court granted Williams's motion to proceed in forma pauperis . Pursuant to Administrative Order No. 2013-05, this case has been referred to the United States Magistrate Judge for management and for all pretrial matters for determination and/or report and recommendation as appropriate. For the reasons below, it is recommended that Williams's complaint be dismissed.


Raynell Williams's hand-written complaint consists of 264 enumerated paragraphs and lists approximately 50 defendants, nearly all of whom are identified by only their first or last names. These defendants include: the City of Memphis ("City"); Mental Health Officers Smith, Cunningham, and King; Shelby County Sherriff Bill Oldham; Intake Officer Young; Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") Special Agent McIntosh and other unnamed FBI Special Agents; Memphis Police Department ("MPD") Officers James Harvell, Rogers, McCord, Bing, Joyner, Connor, Gooch, Lemmons, Daugherty, Winsett, Toles, Brantley, Porter, and Walter; MPD Sergeants Brown, Banks, and Pete; University of Tennessee Health Science Center ("UT") Officers Walsh and Sims; Memphis Fire Department Station No. 8; United States Postal Service ("USPS") Clerks Joyce, Gloria, Vicki, Curtis, and Hopkins; The Commercial Appeal newspaper; an unnamed local sports radio station; Southwest Tennessee Community College ("STCC") Officer Carson; the Memphis Area Transit Authority ("MATA") bus system; Chief Moore; Lieutenant Benn; Officer Steward; Officer Warren; Commissioner Miller-Herron and her assistants Ross and Yvonne; and Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies Adams, Shaw, Jones, and Banks.

Although the complaint is difficult to decipher, it appears that Williams alleges the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have continuously harassed him by placing him on a terrorist watch list, mishandling his mail, interfering with his freedom of speech, intimidating him by "surveilling [his] movements and thoughts from brain imagining, " and implanting chips inside his leg (after he had sustained a gunshot wound) so that his movements could be tracked via the Global Positioning System ("GPS"). (Compl. at 1-3, 20-22, 25.) More specifically, Williams alleges that MPD officers harassed him while he was leaving the Cornelia Crenshaw Public Library on September 21, 2013. (Compl. at 1-2.) He claims that MPD Officer Harvell would not allow him access to the library computers, and then searched through his backpack while Williams was detained in a squad car. Williams alleges that as he was exiting the library, MPD Officer Toles grabbed Williams's arm, twisted it, and forcefully shoved him into a wall. (Compl. at 1.) Officer Harvell then drove away from the scene with Williams's backpack and did not return it for two days. (Compl. at 1-2.) Williams claims he was falsely arrested and falsely convicted of trespassing and disorderly conduct as a result of this incident.[1] (Compl. at 2-3.)

Williams alleges that on October 12, 2013, while he was inside the UT library, a librarian approached him and asked to make a copy of his identification card. Williams refused and left the library. (Compl. at 2.) He claims that based on a complaint from the librarian, UT Officer Walsh stopped Williams outside of the library and tried to take his photograph in order to post it to "discredit [ sic ] defame and endanger" him. (Compl. at 3.) Furthermore, Williams claims that Officer Walsh threatened to jail him if he refused to have his photograph taken. (Compl. at 3.) He claims that UT Officer Sims then showed up and was concerned that Williams's backpack contained a bomb, and as a result the FBI placed him on a "terrorist watch list." (Compl. at 3.) William alleges that on October 31, 2013, while he was at the STCC library, STCC Officer Carson asked Williams for his state identification card and illegally surveilled him from a car. (Compl. at 4.)

Williams claims that on January 17, 2014, MPD Officers Bing and Connor harassed him by pretending to run over Williams with their squad car. (Compl. at 5.) Next, Williams alleges that on February 6, 2014, at St. John's Baptist Church, MPD Officers Bing and Joyner instructed Williams to "show them his teeth." (Compl. at 4.) Williams claims that on February 15, 2014, MPD Officer Rogers wrongly cited him for asking someone for money and forced Williams to sign the citation. (Compl. at 5-6.) Williams alleges that on March 5, 2014, MPD Officer Rogers wrongly accused him of trespassing and harassment. (Compl. at 5.) On April 1, 2014, Williams claims that MPD Officer Lemmons unlawfully searched him and asked for his identification. (Compl. at 6.) Williams claims that Officer Lemmons, along with MPD Officer Winsett, wrongly cited him for jaywalking and obstructing traffic. (Compl. at 6-7.)

Next, on April 7, 2014, Williams alleges that MPD Officers McCord, Bing, Daugherty, and Gooch raced after him with their squad cars, jumped out and approached him, placed him in handcuffs, and charged him with attempted carjacking.[2] (Compl. at 7.) The officers took Williams to jail, at which time Williams claims the intake officer, Officer Young, falsely arrested and threatened him. (Compl. at 8, 10.) Williams alleges that Officers Rogers and Walter then "dragged" him into court. (Compl. at 9.) Williams alleges that while he was waiting to be released from jail, Officer Stewart went through his cell phone without permission. (Compl. at 17.) Additionally, Williams alleges that Sheriff's Deputies Adams, Shaw, Jones, and Banks planted surveillance chips in his leg after Williams sustained a gunshot wound and illegally tracked him via GPS. (Compl. at 20-22.) He also states that FBI detective McIntosh conducted unwarranted surveillance on him. (Compl. at 24.)

Williams alleges that Mental Health Officer King conducted covert mental evaluations on him and placed him in the mental health pod of the jail against his will. (Compl. at 10-11.) Williams claims that while he was in jail, Sergeant Brown moved him to the general population floor against his will, and Officers Brantley denied him access to the courts. (Compl. at 12-13.) Williams claims that while in the mental health pod of the jail, "Ms. Becky, " a jail employee, conducted an unusual second round inspection of his pod, which Williams claims was related to the FBI's surveillance of him. (Compl. at 14.) Williams alleges that Lieutenant Benn, who also worked in the mental health pod of the jail, ignored Williams's concerns with being transferred from the mental health pod and denied him protective custody. (Compl. at 16.)

Williams alleges that he sent various letters on June 9, 2014, through the USPS, and that USPS Clerks Vicki, Curtis, Tamika Hopkins, Joyce, and Gloria surreptitiously opened, read, and shared the letters with others, and ultimately prevented his letters from reaching the intended recipient, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. (Compl. at 24.) Williams claims that on July 18, 2014, a MATA bus attempted to run him over. (Compl. at 19.) Finally, he alleges that The Commercial Appeal newspaper mentioned his name in the sports section and that it gained information about Williams's family through "covert operations." (Compl. at 19.)


A. Standard of Review

The court is required to screen in forma pauperis complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any ...

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