United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
self-represented plaintiff, Raymond Warren Mathis, an inmate
currently incarcerated at Roxbury Correctional Institution in
Hagerstown, Maryland, filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against defendants Somerset County Detention Center
(“SCDC”); Warden Louis A. Hickman; CO II Rick
Kato; CO II Pedro J. Bahamonde; CO II An Taun Torney; and
Ofc. David Matthews. ECF 1. In his unverified Complaint,
Mathis claims that when he was being held at SCDC, defendants
used excessive force against him by tasing him without
warning, banging his head into the wall and floor, and
beating him while his hands were cuffed. Id. Mathis
also claims that Warden Hickman discriminated against him.
Id. He seeks monetary damages and asks the court to
impose sanctions on the individual defendants. Id.
April 30, 2018, defendants moved to dismiss or,
alternatively, for summary judgment. ECF 12. Mathis responded
on May 15, 2018. ECF 14. However, because defendants
submitted unsigned affidavits in support of the original
motion, the court denied their motion, without prejudice,
subject to renewal upon the submission of signed affidavits.
27, 2018, defendants filed a “Renewed Motion To Dismiss
or, Alternatively, For Summary Judgment” (ECF 17). It
was supported by a memorandum (ECF 17-1) (collectively, the
“Motion”) and 30 exhibits. Mathis responded on
January 18, 2019. ECF 25. No. reply was submitted.
Order dated February 8, 2019, the court again denied
defendants' Motion, without prejudice, and subject to
renewal upon submission of video footage of the incidents
giving rise to Mathis' claims. ECF 26. On February 26,
2019, the court received correspondence from defendants
indicating that they do not possess videos of the incidents
in question as they had been “recorded over before suit
was filed.” ECF 28. The court construed defendants'
correspondence as a renewal of their Motion, and granted
Mathis additional time to respond. ECF 30. In March 2019, the
court received correspondence from Mathis alleging that
defendants are lying about the availability of the video
footage in question. ECF 31; ECF 32. Defendants did not
matter is now ripe for disposition. Upon review of the record,
exhibits, and applicable law, the court deems a hearing
unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018).
Defendant SCDC shall be dismissed and defendants' renewed
Motion shall be granted.
relevant time, Mathis was a pretrial detainee at SCDC.
See Commitment Pending Hearing, ECF
17-3. In his Complaint, Mathis claims that
defendants used excessive force against him during incidents
on December 1, 2017, December 11, 2017, and January 11, 2018.
Complaint, ECF 1 at 3-6. In addition, he claims that Warden
Hickman has discriminated against him and allowed SCDC staff
to abuse him. Id. at 4-5.
Mathis alleges that on December 1, 2017, following an
altercation at approximately 1:30 p.m., four correctional
officers restrained him. Id. at 3. According to
Mathis, two of those officers slammed him on his bed with his
arms underneath him. CO II Bahamonde then asked him to put
his hands behind his back, and when Mathis said that he could
not, Bahamonde tased him and hit him “with the drive
stun.” Id. at 3-4.
do not dispute that Corrections Officers II Bahamonde, M.
Bozeman, E. Phillips, and S. Ridgeway responded to Mathis on
December 1, 2017. See ECF 17 at 4-5. According to
defendants, the officers headed to the rear of the Master
Control Room after hearing Mathis banging on the door in an
aggressive manner. See Infraction Report, ECF 17-6;
Bahamonde Affidavit, ECF 17-7. Bahamonde states that Mathis
told the officers he was “going to be a problem”
if he did not get his shower and promised to start a fight.
Id. Based on Mathis' threats, Bahamonde opened
Mathis' cell door, withdrew his X-26P Taser from its
holster, and ordered Mathis to put his hands behind his back.
Id. Mathis refused to comply and instead stated that
his shirt was wet so he could not be tased. Id. The
officers tried to get Mathis' hands behind his back but
Mathis physically resisted and prevented them from doing so.
Id. Bahamonde then discharged his taser to
Mathis' back, moved forward, and directly applied the
taser to Mathis' back (i.e., drive stun).
Id. Mathis continued to resist and remained
combative but was subsequently handcuffed by the officers.
Id. The officers then escorted him to the processing
area where he was placed into a holding cell. Id.
Mathis threatened to “slap” Bahamonde if he ever
saw him on the street and stated that he would “Street
Charge” for him “happily.” Id.
Mathis was placed in the portable restraint chair to end his
threatening behavior and to protect staff and himself.
Id. He was examined and cleared by medical staff and
later returned to his cell. Id.
next claims that on December 11, 2017, while he was out for
recreation at approximately 3:05 p.m., he asked Officer Kato
for a towel to use after his shower. ECF 1 at 4. Mathis
states that Kato told him he would ask another officer to
bring it because he was working “master control.”
Id. At approximately 3:50 p.m., Mathis had not
received his towel and he asked other officers about it.
Id. According to Mathis, the officers told him to
lock up because his recreation time was up. Id.
Mathis alleges that Kato then grabbed him by the arm,
followed by a choke hold, and slammed him to the floor.
Id. According to Mathis, Kato began banging his head
into the wall, slamming his face into the floor, and punching
him in the head and ribs. Id. Mathis states that he
sustained bruised ribs and knots on his head and face as a
do not dispute that Officer Kato was working in the Master
Control Room on December 11, 2017. See ECF 17-1 at
5. In his Affidavit, Kato stated that during that afternoon,
he remotely opened the door to F-block to allow another
inmate to go to the Medical Unit. See Infraction
Report, ECF 17-8; Kato Affidavit, ECF 17-9. After the inmate
exited, Mathis held the door open and refused to allow it to
close. Id. Mathis was ordered to enter the block
several times but refused to go in. Id. Thereafter,
Kato called down to processing and informed Officer Ross
McIntyre, the Officer-In Charge, that Mathis was refusing to
allow the main door to F-block to be closed. Id.
McIntyre directed Corrections Officer II Lisa Stacy to report
to the Control Room and ordered Kato to come down to the
floor. Id. Officers Kato, McIntyre, and Tyler then
collectively ordered Mathis to “lock-in” three
separate times but he refused. Id.
Kato grabbed Mathis' elbow and said, “Come on and
lock-in!” Id. Mathis instead tensed his body
and made a fist. Id. Kato quickly ordered Mathis to
put his hands behind his back so that he could be handcuffed.
Id. When Mathis pulled away, Kato placed him in a
bear hug and took him to the floor with assistance from the
other officers. Id. Kato held Mathis down while the
other officers handcuffed him. Id. The officers then
escorted Mathis to the Interview Room, placed him inside, and
locked him to the restraint bar on the wall, for the
officers' safety as well as his own. Id.
According to Kato, medical staff were notified and Mathis was
later medically cleared by HSA Montre Brown. Id.
After being seen by medical, Mathis threatened the officers,
saying that he would “shoot them with a gun” when
he got out, that he lived nearby, and he “would find
[them].” Id. Mathis was later returned to his
cell and kept on lockdown, which had already been ordered
because of another incident. Id.
claims that on January 5, 2018, he wrote Warden Hickman to
ask why he was sanctioned for rules that other inmates
violate and for which they receive no consequences. ECF 1 at
4. Mathis alleges that Warden Hickman has discriminated
against him because the Warden's response on January 8,
2018 stated, “it is none of your concern or any of your
business.” Id. Mathis attached a copy of that
correspondence as an exhibit. ECF 14 at 2. The Warden stated
in the letter that SCDC staff took Mathis off lock down early
last time and informed him that if his behavior did not
improve, he would not be given any special attention. See
Id. According to the Warden, Mathis not only
“mess[ed] up on the blocks [he] received another
infraction while on lock down” and, therefore, SCDC
staff may look at his request to be removed from lock down at
a later date. Id.
final claim relates to an incident that took place on January
11, 2018. ECF 1 at 5-6. He claims that at approximately 6:20
a.m., Officer Matthews came to his cell to deliver breakfast
but would not hand over Mathis' juice. Id.
According to Mathis, Matthews left the cell door open and
instructed Mathis to “go get [the juice].”
Id. CO II Torney then came by and asked Mathis to go
back into his cell. Id. Mathis states that after he
entered his cell, Torney followed, locked the door, then
drive stunned him in the arm with a taser. Id. When
Mathis asked to see a supervisor, Torney directed him to
“cuff up.” Id. Torney then tackled
Mathis with the help of two other officers, dragged him out
of the cell, and placed him in a holding cell next to the
nurse's station. Id. Mathis claims that he asked
for medical attention while sticking his arm out of a slot,
but Officer Matthews drive stunned him again. Id.
do not dispute that Officer Matthews delivered a food tray to
Mathis on the morning of January 11, 2018. See
Torney Narrative, ECF 17-10; Matthews Affidavit, ECF 17-12.
When the door to the block opened, Matthews entered and
handed Mathis his tray. Mathis then proceeded to walk past
Matthews, holding his tray in one hand and two empty cups in
the other. Id. Matthews twice ordered Mathis to
stop, but Mathis continued to walk away. Id.
Matthews took hold of Mathis' right arm and escorted him
back to his cell. Id. Once Mathis was in his cell,
he handed the empty cups to the officer and began shouting.
time, Officer Torney, who had been in the Control Room, came
into the block and told Mathis to back up. Id.;
see also Incident Report, ECF 17-11; Torney
Affidavit, ECF 17-12. Torney repeatedly told Mathis to back
up and Mathis finally complied. Id. Torney told
Mathis to give him the tray and that he would ensure that
Mathis got his juice. Id. While Torney was placing
the tray in the dayroom, Mathis moved forward so that half of
his body was outside of the cell. Id. Torney ordered
Mathis to go back into the cell, but Mathis refused.
Id. Despite repeated commands, Mathis refused to
move and became more aggressive, tensing his body and
directly facing Torney. Id. Torney grabbed
Mathis' shoulder and pushed him into the cell towards the
bunk, while Officers Matthews and Phillips stepped in to
assist in handcuffing him. Id. Once Mathis was
handcuffed, he was escorted to the processing area, during
which time he remained combative, flipping over a mop bucket
and a stack of food trays, and causing Officer Phillips to
fall to the floor. Id. Once the officers reached
processing, Mathis attempted to enter the Nurse's Office,
but was held back. Id. The officers placed Mathis in
the holding cell and reported the incident. Id.
the above incidents resulted in a separate Notice of
Infraction, as well as separate Use of Force Reports. As to
the first incident, the Infraction Hearing was held on
December 5, 2017, and was conducted by Officer Travis
Whittington. See Notice of Infraction, ECF 17-14;
Adjustment Hearing, ECF 17-15, 17-16; Infraction Report, ECF
17-17. Mathis was found guilty of violating rules 1
(assault), 7 (threats), 8 (resisting/interfering), 17
(disobeying an order), and 21 (disrespect). Id.;
see also SCDC Inmate Handbook, ECF 17-5.
second Infraction Hearing, held on December 13, 2017, was
conducted by Lieutenant Bruce Parkinson. See Notice
of Infraction, ECF 17-18; Adjustment Hearing, ECF 17-19,
17-20; Infraction Report, ECF 17-21. Mathis refused to appear
at the hearing and the waiver form, which Mathis refused to
sign, was completed by staff. Id. Mathis was found
guilty of the infractions and, as discipline, he received 110
days on lockdown. Id.
third hearing, held on January 16, 2018, was also conducted
by Lieutenant Parkinson. See Notice of Infraction,
ECF 17-23; Adjustment Hearing, ECF 17-24, 17-25; Infraction
Report, ECF 17-26. Mathis again received discipline in the
form of lockdown. Id.
medical records do not indicate that he sustained any
significant injuries in his altercations with the officers.
See ECF 17-27. On December 1, 2017, a nurse noted
that Mathis' bruises from the taser were cleaned and
bandaged, and that Mathis “d[id] not have any
complaints” at the time. Id. at 1-2. Mathis
was checked for bruises and, while restrained in the portable
restraint unit, his respiration was monitored and his range
of motion was checked upon release from restraint.
Id. He was then cleared to shower. Id. On
December 12, 2017, Mathis was prescribed Motrin and directed
to apply ice to the taser-contacted area for two days.
Id. at 3. Mathis was also seen by medical staff on
January 18, 2018, for reasons unrelated to the incidents at
issue here. Id.; see ECF 17-1 at 8 n.2
(stating that any information contained in the medical
records that is unrelated to Mathis' claims has been
use of force was reviewed by Warden Hickman. See Use
of Force Reports, ECF 17-28, 17-29, 17-30. As to each
incident, he found “the use of force was justified as
outlined by the Policy of the Somerset County Detention
Center in preventing injury to the inmate and the destruction
of property.” Id.
February 15, 2018, Mathis was transferred from SCDC to the
Division of Correction. See ...