United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
ANGELINE S. MADONDO, Plaintiff,
SMYRNA POLICE DEPARTMENT and POLICE OFFICER R. EDWARDS, Badge # 1004, Defendants.
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES
Madondo has filed a pro se Complaint (Doc. No. 1)
against defendants Smyrna Police Department and Smyrna Police
Officer R. Edwards, asserting claims based on alleged
violations of her constitutional rights. Because she proceeds
in forma pauperis, the complaint is before the Court
for an initial review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
Court is required to conduct an initial review of any in
forma pauperis complaint and to dismiss any portion of
it that is facially frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); McGore v. Wrigglesworth,
114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other
grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007).
conducting this review, “a district court must (1) view
the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff
and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as
true.” Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA,
LLC, 561F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citation
omitted). A pro se pleading must be liberally
construed and “held to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citation omitted).
alleges that she was aggressively and unnecessarily assaulted
by Smyrna Police Officer R. Edwards, Badge # 1004, during the
course of an arrest for driving under the influence, on
January 3, 2018. She claims that she had already suffered a
broken leg prior to the incident, but, as a result of the
malicious assault by Officer Edwards, her injury was
exacerbated and required surgery. She seeks compensation for
pain and suffering, as well as for the permanent disability
and disfigurement of her right foot and leg, and
reimbursement for all costs associated with her treatment.
Although she asserts that she is innocent of the
drunk-driving charge against her, she does not actually
allege that she was arrested without probable cause or that
she suffered any violation of her Fourth Amendment rights
other than through being subjected to the use of excessive
force. She nonetheless demands that the criminal charges
against her be dropped and that she be reimbursed for all
costs associated with her arrest.
Complaint does not contain any allegations regarding the
official actions or policies of the Smyrna Police Department
or the effect of these on the officer's actions. In her
prayer for relief, Plaintiff states that she would
“like Smyrna Police Department to be held responsible
for this traumatic incident as well as the pain and
suffering.” (Doc. No. 1, at 3.) She further requests
that all cases in which Officer Edwards was involved be
reopened and evaluated to verify whether other innocent
people have been victimized by his “gruesome
Excessive Force Claim Against Officer Edwards
asserts that her constitutional rights have been violated.
Because 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides a civil cause of
action for the violation of constitutional rights, the Court
liberally construes the complaint as bringing claims under
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the plaintiff must
establish “(1) that [the] defendant was acting under
color of state law, and (2) the offending conduct deprived
the plaintiff of rights secured under federal law.”
Mezibov v. Allen, 411 F.3d 712, 716 (6th Cir. 2005).
The rights of a person who suffers the use of unreasonable
force during the course of an arrest are protected by the
Fourth Amendment, which guarantees that “[t]he right of
the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall
not be violated.” U.S. Const. Amend. IV; see also
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395 (1989) (holding that
“all claims that law enforcement officers have used
excessive force-deadly or not-in the course of an arrest,
investigatory stop, or other ‘seizure' of a free
citizen should be analyzed under the Fourth Amendment and its
Complaint states a colorable claim against Officer Edwards
under § 1983 based on the use of unreasonable force, as
it alleges facts that, if true, could establish that Officer
Edwards, as a police officer, was a person acting under color
of state law and that he violated Plaintiff's Fourth
Amendment rights. Moreover, because the excessive force claim
apparently has no bearing on the validity of the pending
state charges against the plaintiff for driving under the
influence, there is no need refrain from exercising
jurisdiction or to stay the claims under the abstention
doctrine established in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S.
Claim Against Smyrna ...