United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
TYSON DION CALLOWAY-ARMSTRONG and EVELYN RACHEL NORTHERN, Plaintiffs,
CLARKSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.
A. Trauger, United States District Judge.
Dion Calloway-Armstrong and Evelyn Rachel Northern co-filed
this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the Clarksville Police Department, the Metro
Police Department, Drake Forrest, and Ion Chaney. (Doc. No.
1). The plaintiffs are residents of Nashville, Tennessee.
the plaintiffs are proceeding as paupers in this action, the
court must conduct an initial review of the complaint under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and dismiss it or any portion of
it that is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for
which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. In assessing
whether the complaint states a claim on which relief may be
granted, the court applies the standards under Rule 12(b)(6)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as construed by
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009), and
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57
(2007). See Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71
(6th Cir. 2010) (holding that "the dismissal standard
articulated in Iqbal and Twombly governs
dismissals for failure to state a claim under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)] because the relevant statutory language
tracks the language in Rule 12(b)(6)").
se complaints are to be held to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, and should therefore be
liberally construed." Williams v. Curtin, 631
F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). Pro se litigants, however, are not exempt
from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th
Cir. 1989); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415
Fed.Appx. 608, 613 (6th Cir. 2011) ("[A] court cannot
create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his
pleading") (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted); Payne v. Sec'y o/Treas., 73 Fed.Appx.
836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua sponte dismissal of
complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) and stating,
"[n]either this court nor the district court is required
to create Payne's claim for her").
Section 1983 Standard
plaintiffs seek relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To
state a claim under § 1983, the plaintiff must allege
and show: (1) that he was deprived of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the
deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of
state law. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535
(1981)(overruled in part by Daniels v.
Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330 (1986)); Flagg Bros.
v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155-56 (1978); Black v.
Barberton Citizens Hosp., 134 F.3d 1265, 1267
(6th Cir. 1998). Both parts of this two-part test
must be satisfied to support a claim under § 1983.
See Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504
to the complaint, on December 15, 2017, the plaintiffs, who
are husband and wife, pulled into the driveway of the
residence of Plaintiff Calloway-Armstrong's father. Two
to three undercover police vehicles surrounded the
plaintiffs, and police announced with guns drawn that there
was an arrest warrant in Calloway-Armstrong's name.
Officers arrested both of the plaintiffs and subsequently
searched their home. In executing the search, the police took
$150 that was under a mattress. The police did not seize any
electronic devices, even though the search warrant stated
that all electronic devices must be seized. The police left a
copy of the search warrant and an illegible inventory list at
the plaintiffs' residence.
the plaintiffs attempted to obtain a copy of the affidavit of
record stated for the search warrant. The county clerk's
office stated that they had no record of the warrant or the
affidavit. Agent Ion Chaney, the officer who gave the sworn
statement for the warrant, refused to speak with the
plaintiffs. The public information officer of Montgomery
County told the plaintiffs that he could not locate any
record of the affidavit or the warrant. The plaintiffs
believe a forged warrant was executed on their home.
plaintiffs have spent the last two years pursuing legal
recourse for the December 15, 2017 search and arrest.
Recently the plaintiffs were told that the "The State of
Tennessee is no longer prosecuting." (Doc. No. 1 at 5).
The plaintiffs have submitted copies of the May 29, 2019
state court orders expunging their criminal records
pertaining to these crimes. (Id., Attach. 1). The
plaintiffs' property that was taken during the search of
their home has not been returned to them.
Section 1983 Claims
the plaintiffs name the Clarksville Police Department and the
Metro Police Department as defendants. (Doc. No. 1 at 1).
However, a police or sheriffs department is not an entity
capable of being sued under 42 U.S.C § 1983. See,
e.g., Durham v. Estate of Gus Losleben, No.
16-1042-STA-egb, 2017 WL 1437209, at *2 (W.D. Tenn. Apr. 21,
2017); McKinney v. McNairy Cnty., Tenn.,
1:12-CV-01101, 2012 WL 4863052, at *3 (W.D. Tenn. Oct. 11,
2012); Newby v. Sharp, 3:11-CV-534, 2012 WL 1230764,
at *3 (E.D. Tenn. Apr. 12, 2012); Mathes v. Metro.
Gov't of Nashville and Davidson Cnty., No.
3:10-CV-0496, 2010 WL 3341889, at *2 (M.D. Tenn. Aug. 25,