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Bell v. Clayton County Police Department

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia Atlanta Division

January 21, 2015

MARCUS BELL, Plaintiff,
v.
CLAYTON COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, Jr., District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the mandatory review of Plaintiff Marcus Bell's ("Plaintiff") Amended Complaint [5] for frivolity pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

On April 24, 2014, Plaintiff filed his Original Complaint [1] and an application for leave to proceed in forma paueris ("IFP"). On April 28, 2014, Magistrate Judge Janet F. King found that Plaintiff met the financial requirements to proceed IFP and granted Plaintiff's IFP Application. Plaintiff's Original Complaint was submitted to the Court for a frivolity determination.

On June 2, 2014, the Court directed Plaintiff to amend his Original Complaint to specify the claims that Plaintiff seeks to assert against each Defendant and to allege specific facts to support those claims.

On June 13, 2014, Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint.[1] Plaintiff asserts claims, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights, defamation, and "supervisory negligence, " against Sgt. Keith Singleton ("Sgt. Singleton"), Officer Robert Bordon ("Officer Bordon"), Officer Dockery (collectively, the "Officer Defendants"), the Clayton County Police Department, and Freeman Mathis & Gary ("the Firm").[2]

B. Factual Allegations

The Amended Complaint alleges that on June 16, 2012, Plaintiff and his wife were arguing in their residence with "elevated tone[s]." (Am. Compl. ¶ 2). Based on the suspicion that "there maybe [sic] a domestic dispute, " a neighbor made an anonymous phone call to the Clayton County Police Department. (Id.). Plaintiff asserts that Officer Kidd arrived at his residence but that Plaintiff was "afraid to speak with him due to him inquiring [about his] name and discovering [his] arrest warrant." (Id.). Plaintiff told his wife to answer the door. (Id.). Plaintiff asserts that Officer Kidd inquired about Plaintiff's location, but his wife responded that she was the only person at the residence. (Id.). Officer Kidd "grabbed her by the arm and pulled her outside." (Id.).

Plaintiff remained in a bedroom of the apartment. (Id. ¶ 3). After "notic[ing] [his] wife had not Returned [sic], " Plaintiff "stood up with the intentions of finding [his] wife." (Id.). Plaintiff noticed two officers outside of his bedroom window and "took it upon [himself] to hide under the bedroom bed in hope [sic] that they would soon leave." (Id.).

Plaintiff asserts that, hours later, a police dog entered the bedroom while Plaintiff remained under the bed. (Id.). The police dog allegedly did not locate Plaintiff. (Id.). Approximately ten (10) minutes later, Plaintiff observed three (3) police officers, with guns drawn, enter the bedroom. (Id.). Sgt. Singleton "said in a loud voice that this was a full search and to check under the bed []." (Id.). Plaintiff asserts that he "spoke in a loud voice informing the officers [he] was under the bed and ready to [s]urrender." (Id.).

Officer Bodron then attempted to lift up the bed for Plaintiff to come out, but "immediately after attempting to do so, Officer Dockery and Sgt. Singleton discharged their firearms[, ] striking [him] multiple times." (Id. ¶ 4). Plaintiff asked Officer Defendants why they shot him and "one replied [he] should have came outside earlier and they would've [sic] never shoot [sic] [him]." (Id.). The Officer Defendants "threatened" Plaintiff, asking him to "tell them where was [his] gun [sic] before the [sic] shoot [him] again and kill [him] on the spot." (Id.). Plaintiff asserts that he told the Officer Defendants that he "threw [his] gun out of the window" "out of fear for [his] life." (Id.).

Plaintiff next asserts that he was "unarmed under the bed" and there was not a "weapon on [him] nor in [his] immediate surroundings." (Id.). The Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff was arrested and transported to Atlanta Medical Hospital with "life threatening injuries." (Id.). As a result of the shooting, Plaintiff asserts, he "shattered" his right arm, damaged his liver, punctured his lung, endured a removal of his right kidney and "some of his intestine's [sic]." (Id. ¶ 6).

Plaintiff asserts that a local news story reported that Plaintiff "was outside beating [his] wife with a pistol and once police arrived [he] ran into [his] apartment." (Id. ¶ 4). The news report states that this event resulted in a "three (3) hour standoff and swat had to enter to get [him] out, shots were fired and [he] was arrested." (Id. ¶ 5). Plaintiff and his wife deny the news story's account of events, and assert that it ...


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