United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MARKUS A. COWAN, Plaintiff,
SHERIFF ALFONZO WILLIAMS; MAJOR JOHN H. BUSH; CAPTAIN CASSANDRA HAYNES; CAPTAIN BLASH; LT. WILBERT WILLIAM; C.O. NICHOLAS VINSON; SGT. JOHNIE WRIGHT; NURSE CASSEY STAGGS; NURSE ASHLEY MARSH; NURSE BRANDON MOAK; LT. KENNETH MCKENZIE; and OFFICER CHRIS MCKENZIE, in their individual and official capacities, Defendants.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS JUDGE .
a pretrial detainee at Burke County Detention Center
(“BCDC”) in Waynesboro, Georgia, is proceeding
pro se and in forma pauperis (“IFP”) in this case
filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because he is
proceeding IFP, Plaintiff's complaint must be screened to
protect potential defendants. Phillips v. Mashburn,
746 F.2d 782, 785 (11th Cir. 1984); Al-Amin v.
Donald, 165 Fed.Appx. 733, 736 (11th Cir. 2006).
SCREENING OF THE COMPLAINT
names as Defendants: (1) Sheriff Alfonzo Williams; (2) Major
John H. Bush; (3) Captain Cassandra Haynes; (4) Captain
Blash; (5) Lieutenant Wilbert William; (6) C.O. Nicholas
Vinson; (7) Sargent Johnie Wright; (8) Nurse Cassey Staggs;
(9) Nurse Ashley Marsh; (10) Nurse Brandon Moak; (11)
Lieutenant Kenneth McKenzie; and (12) Officer Chris McKenzie.
(Doc. no. 1, pp. 2-6.) Taking all of Plaintiff's
allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the
present screening, the facts are as follows.
October 9, 2018, an inmate threatened to attack Plaintiff the
next morning. (Id.at 10.) Three to four inmates
attacked him the next morning. (Id.) Officer Abrams
pulled Plaintiff away from the inmates attacking him.
(Id.) While Plaintiff stood there in handcuffs, the
inmates spit on him, while the officer looked on.
(Id.) Plaintiff was taken to a special housing unit
(“SHU”), where he was refused a shower and
medical attention. (Id.) Plaintiff slept in spit for
forty-eight hours. (Id.) Defendants Bush, Haynes,
and Lt. William denied Plaintiff a shower and Lt. William
denied Plaintiff tissue and soap. (Id. at 8.)
Plaintiff did not have a bed, sheets, towels, or tissues in
SHU. (Id. at 10.) Plaintiff did not receive his
belongings for another seventy-two hours. (Id.)
never receiving a disciplinary report or hearing regarding
the incident, Plaintiff was placed in a different dorm, which
had a different classification and uniforms, with hardened
criminals. (Id.) By failing to follow the proper
procedures, the officers failed to keep Plaintiff safe.
(Id.) Plaintiff has asked every officer, including
Defendants Haynes, Bush, and Sheriff Williams, why he was
transferred without a disciplinary report. (Id. at
10-11.) Sheriff Williams did not return Plaintiff's or
his family's calls. (Id. at 8.) Defendants Bush,
Haynes, and Sheriff Williams did not take his complaints
seriously. (Id. at 8.) After Plaintiff asked one
officer, Major Bush threatened him. (Id. at 11.)
Officers also denied Plaintiff access to medical care for his
injuries to his hand, head, and food following the attack.
(Id. at 10.) Nurses Staggs, Marsh, and Moak denied
plaintiff medical attention, and Nurse Marsh refused to take
a picture of Plaintiff's wounds. (Id. at 9.)
January 26, 2019, seven officers entered Plaintiff's cell
block with another inmate in handcuffs. (Id. at 12.)
As Plaintiff leaned out of his cell to see what was
happening, an officer told him to lock himself in his cell.
(Id.) Plaintiff questioned the officer's order
because he had not done anything to be placed on lockdown.
(Id.) Five officers then ran into the cell block and
“got in [Plaintiff's] face.” (Id.)
Officer Vinson and Sgt. Wright, along with three other
officers, pulled Plaintiff's arms behind his back,
twisted his wrists, and threw him on a table. (Id.)
Lt. Kenneth McKenzie assaulted Plaintiff and slammed him on
the table. (Id. at 9.) Officer Chris McKenzie tried
to break Plaintiff's arm, slammed him on the table, and
dragged Plaintiff to his cell. (Id.) Sgt. Wright
held Plaintiff by the throat, and Officer Vinson pulled
Plaintiff into his cell. (Id. at 12.) The five
officers continued to push and strike Plaintiff in the cell.
the forty-five minutes after the attack, Plaintiff asked for
medical attention several times but it was denied.
(Id.) Plaintiff began to beat the bars of his cell
to get the booth officer's attention. (Id. at
12-13.) Officer Vinson and Sgt. Wright returned and told
Plaintiff to put his hands behind his back. (Id. at
13.) Sgt. Wright pointed his taser at Plaintiff and told
Officer Vinson to lock down the cell block. (Id.)
When Officer Vinson left, Sgt. Wright grabbed Plaintiff's
buttocks and then shot Plaintiff in the back with his taser.
(Id.) Plaintiff fell from being tased, and Sgt.
Wright slammed Plaintiff's foot in the door of his cell
minutes later, other officers and EMS arrived and transported
Plaintiff to Burke County Hospital, where he was treated for
high blood pressure and a sprained ankle. (Id.)
Plaintiff's foot had a tennis-ball-sized swelling caused
by Sgt. Wright slamming it in the door. (Id.)
Plaintiff asked for a picture to be taken, but none was.
(Id.) Plaintiff's arm is swollen and he has four
holes in his back from being tased. (Id.) Plaintiff
has suffered mental and emotional stress from being sexually
assaulted, tased, and assaulted by officers. (Id.)
An officer told Plaintiff Sgt. Wright should not have tased
him and the officers were not supposed to be in his cell
block. (Id.) Officer Vinson has since mocked
Plaintiff about the incident by blowing kisses at Plaintiff,
joking about grabbing his buttocks, and writing him a note
“talk[ing] [a]bout he gone [sic] fuck me.”
(Id. at 8.)
Wright and Officer Vinson took Plaintiff's property,
including legal and personal mail, religious materials,
hygiene products, and food. (Id. at 13.) At the
hospital, Officer Vinson brought Plaintiff a used toothbrush,
Plaintiff's bowl, and towels, but no soap, deodorant, or
mail. (Id. at 14.) Plaintiff does not know if the
toothbrush was his. (Id.) Plaintiff asked to speak
to the lieutenant, captain, and major, as well as medical
staff, but he received no response and was refused medical
attention. (Id.) Officer Golden, Lt. William, and a
nurse told Plaintiff inmates on lockdown cannot be seen by
medical. (Id.) At Plaintiff's disciplinary
report hearing, Cpt. Blash told Plaintiff he was not allowed
to ask questions, did not have rights, is a liar, and could
not call witnesses at his hearing. (Id. at 8, 14.)
relief, Plaintiff seeks: (1) a protective order against Sgt.
Wright; (2) an injunction allowing prisoners on lockdown to
be seen by medical; (3) $250, 000 in compensatory damages;
and (4) $250, 000 in punitive damages. (Id.)
Plaintiff attached as exhibits to his complaint over fifty
handwritten pages of the grievances he filed at BCDC and
three affidavits from other BCDC inmates. (Id. at
23-62.) However, because Plaintiff does not specifically
reference the exhibits within the body of his complaint, the
Court will not independently examine the exhibits to