United States District Court, D. Maryland
K. Bredar United States District Judge.
filed a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment in response
to plaintiff's claim that he was subjected to excessive
force in violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition
against cruel and unusual punishment. ECF 19. Plaintiff
Marcus Dennis was advised of his right to file an opposition
response to the motion and of the consequences of failing to
do so. ECF 20. Dennis sought and was granted additional time
to respond (ECF 21 and 22), but has filed nothing further in
this case. The court finds a hearing unnecessary to resolve
the matters pending before it. See Local Rule 105.6
(D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow, defendants'
unopposed motion, construed as a motion for summary judgment,
shall be granted and judgment entered in their favor.
complaint as supplemented, Dennis alleges that on January 11,
2016, he and other inmates who were also incarcerated at
Maryland Correctional Training Center (MCTC) were assaulted
by correctional officers following a three-day hunger strike.
ECF 1 at p. 1. He claims that he was “maced” and
assaulted and that all of the inmates involved were
transferred to different institutions. Id.
Dennis claims he suffered a broken nose, cracked rib, and
serious injuries to his left ankle, right hamstring, neck,
and back, but received no medical attention for those
injuries. Id. Dennis states that he was found not
guilty of an institutional infraction he was issued as a
result of the events occurring on January 11, 2016.
this court directed Dennis to supplement his original
pleading, he filed a supplemental complaint asserting that
the officers involved in the assault were Lt. McKenzie, Sgt.
B. Younker, Officer M. Hollar, Sgt. Bair, Sgt. G. Durbrow,
Officer Fiorita, and Officer H. Carr. ECF 3. In his second
supplemental complaint, Dennis explains that on January 11,
2016, he was housed on the segregation unit at MCTC when the
officers formed an extraction team to “do a force
count.” ECF 4 at p. 3. Dennis claims the named officers
came into his cell “and many others” and beat
Dennis and his cellmate. Id.
provide copies of reports prepared following the January 11,
2016, incident in support of their dispositive motion. ECF 19
at Ex. 1 (Serious Incident Report, Use of Force Report). A
narrative is provided in the Serious Incident Report that
summarizes the incidents occurring prior to the use of force
employed against Dennis. Id. at pp. 5 - 6. The
report states that “an incident occurred on C Tier in
Housing Unit 7 that spanned the duration of the 8 - 4 and 4 -
12 shifts.” Id. at p. 5. The incident began at
8:45 a.m. when officers attempted to deliver meals to inmates
on the segregation tier, a process referred to as
“feed-up.” Id. When this process began,
inmates on the tier began yelling to other inmates on the
tier to refuse their lunch meals. Id. Meals were
accepted in only six of the cells. Id.
Correctional Security Chief George Morris was briefed about
the incident by Sgt. Harold Hall and Lt. Joseph Hewitt, the
three officers decided to advise the dietary department to
add cookies to the bagged meals being delivered to the
inmates. Id. No explanation is provided as to why
this decision was made.
a.m., Sgt. Hall and Lt. Hewitt spoke with Dennis, who was
among those who had refused to accept the meal offered
initially. Dennis told Hall and Hewitt that the reason the
meals were refused is they “lacked protein.” ECF
19 at Ex. 1, p. 5. Hall and Hewitt told Dennis that the same
meal was being provided to the general population and advised
him of the decision to add cookies to the segregation-bagged
meals. Id. While Dennis told the officers he would
let others know this information, he advised that the meals
would probably be rejected again. Id.
approximately 10:00 a.m., after the segregation tier inmates
were told about the addition of cookies to the meals being
offered, the inmates began to plug their toilets and sinks to
flood the tier. Correctional staff went from cell to cell
identifying which inmates were participating in this conduct
and shut off the water to the cells where it was occurring.
10:30 a.m., Amber Knoll, LPN, came to the segregation tier to
distribute medication to the inmates. To ensure the safety of
staff, inmates were ordered to the back of their cells while
medication was placed in the cell. Knoll was not permitted
onto the tier at that time; there is no explanation regarding
who delivered medication in her place. ECF 19 at Ex. 1, p. 5.
infractions were issued to the inmates who engaged “in
the disruptive behavior” and an institutional count was
conducted at 3:00 p.m. without incident. Id. During
the count conducted at 4:10 p.m. by the 4 - 12 shift
officers, “multiple inmates on C Tier refused to
uncover their cell windows and only 5 cells accepted their
evening meals.” Id. Lt. William McKinley
advised Capt. Jeffrey Bradshaw of the situation and Bradshaw
notified Warden Morgan who ordered the assembly of a team to
conduct a forced count. Id.
forced count team assembled at approximately 5:30 p.m. and
included McKinley, Lt. Hendershot, Sgt. Younker, Sgt. Bair,
Sgt. Durboraw, Officer Hollar, Officer Fiorita, and Officer
Carr. ECF 19 at Ex. 1, p. 5. In addition to the correctional
staff noted, Christina Poff of the psychology staff was
present for purposes of “Confrontational
Avoidance” protocol. Id.
first three cells the team approached, the inmates who
occupied the cells did not cooperate with orders. First,
inmate Andre Williams refused to uncover his cell window
despite orders to do so. Force was used to gain his
compliance and he was handcuffed and removed from his cell to
another “secure location in Housing Unit 7.”
second cell, the two occupants, inmates Charles Fry and Damon
Alexander, refused to uncover the cell window and the cell
door was ordered to be opened. When the door was opened,
Alexander threw his mattress at the team members and began
striking Sgt. Younkers in the head. Id. Fry also
threw his mattress at the team ...