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Mbewe v. Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 24, 2017

FRANCIS C. MBEWE, # 360922 Plaintiff,


          Ellen L. Hollander United States District Judge

         Francis C. Mbewe, the self-represented plaintiff, is an inmate at the Correctional Mental Health Center, Patuxent Institution (''Patuxent'').[1] On November 3, 2014, he filed a ''Petition to Show Cause for an Injunction'' (ECF 1), naming as defendants the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (''DPSCS'') and the Correctional Mental Health Center - Jessup.[2] He claims that defendants fail to protect him from violence; he was administered psychotropic medication against his will even though he does not have a mental illness; he was denied access to the court because defendants refused to deposit his $40 million dollar check so that he can retain counsel for his habeas corpus proceeding; he was refused access to the prison law library; he was denied the opportunity to contact witnesses to testify at his habeas corpus proceedings; and he was denied access to his Bank of America account to obtain funds for goods and services. ECF 1 at 1-2. Mbewe seeks to enjoin defendants from denying him access to witnesses, recreation, exercise, special diet, showers, and clean air ventilation and to his Bank of America account; withholding his $40 million check; denying him protection from harm by other inmates; and forcibly administering psychotropic medication to him. ECF 1 at 15-16.

         Because Mbewe‘s allegations concerning forced administration of medication and danger posed by inmates and others, if true, raised serious questions about his immediate safety and well-being, I directed counsel in the Office of the Attorney General to file an emergency response as to these two claims. I also directed Mbewe to supplement the petition using preprinted forms for filing a civil rights complaint, and to pay the filing fee or file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. ECF 2. Although Mbewe filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF 5), he failed to supplement his remaining claims. Therefore, I shall consider those remaining claims as abandoned. Accordingly, in analyzing Mbewe‘s request for preliminary injunctive relief, I shall consider only Mbewe‘s claims concerning forced administration of psychotropic medication and failure to protect.[3]

         On January 16, 2015, I notified Mbewe that counsel‘s response could be construed as a motion for summary judgment, and advised him that he was entitled to file an opposition with materials in support. ECF 6; ECF 7. Mbewe did not file an opposition. The notice informing Mbewe of his right to oppose the response was sent to Western Correctional Institution, not to Patuxent Institution (ECF 7). So, on November 23, 2015, I directed the Clerk to mail a copy of the notice to Mbewe at Patuxent Institution. ECF 9. And, I granted Mbewe until December 23, 2015, to file an opposition, but he did not do so. See Docket.

         After considering the pleadings, exhibits, and applicable law, I will deny the Petition for Injunctive Relief, for the reasons that follow.[4]

         I. BACKGROUND

         Mbewe filed his suit while he was an inmate at the Correctional Mental Health Center -Jessup. ECF 1 at 2, ¶ 1. The majority of Mbewe‘s petition for injunctive relief addresses his concern that he was labeled a snitch and as a result was at risk of harm from fellow inmates during the time he was housed at Western Correctional Institution (―WCI-). ECF 1.

         Mbewe was transferred from Maryland Correctional Training Center (―MCTC-) to WCI on July 15, 2013, after he requested protective custody housing due to threats and fear of assault. Id. at 2-3, ¶3.[5] On August 23, 2013, his request for protective custody at WCI was denied. Id. at 3, ¶ 4.

         Then, on October 17 and 18, 2013, Mbewe requested a cell transfer due to multiple problems he claimed to be having with his cellmate because he was labeled a snitch, and his request was denied. ECF 1 at 3, ¶¶ 5, 6. Plaintiff pursued grievance proceedings. Id. ¶¶ 7-9. Mbewe alleges that on March 9, 2014, he partially swallowed butter, which he believed was mixed with feces, and indicates that other inmates had handled his food tray. Id. at 5, ¶ 10.

         Mbewe claims he was admitted to the WCI infirmary on April 4, 2014, for food poisoning and snake bites. Mbewe states he was attacked by a ―black on command snake which coiled itself around his body and identified itself as Shane Weber, the chief psychologist; and then there after by Nurse Maria all WCI employees.- Id. When Mbewe returned to his cell from the infirmary, his cellmate called him a snitch and threatened him. Id. at 6.

         Mbewe complained to Correctional Officers Lark and Robert on April 15, 2014, stating that his cellmate had threatened him and that he feared for his safety. ECF 1 at 6, ¶ 11. He asked to be moved to a different cell. Lark entered the cell, spoke to the cellmate, and told Mbewe to return to the cell. Id. Mbewe states he was struck by his cellmate and, when he attempted to defend himself, Officer Robert sprayed ―a whole canister of mace on him.- Id. at 6-7, ¶ 11.[6] Mbewe also claims Warden Wayne A. Webb put a ―Klu Klux Klan hit- on him. Id. at 7, ¶ 11.

         Mbewe also alleges that he was stabbed by Officer Wilburn while other officers were conducting a cell search in cell 4-B-12. Id. He does not state when or in what facility this incident occurred.[7]

         Mbewe states he is housed in a mental health facility against his will even though he is able to distinguish right from wrong. Id. at 7, ¶ 12. Mbewe complains that he is housed with mentally unstable and violent inmates who pose a threat to him. Id. In addition, he complains that he has been denied showers, recreation, and a special diet. Id.

         II. ...

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