United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on review of Plaintiff's
amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). After
review, the Court finds that process should issue on
Defendants Justin Jones and Keith Coleman.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to dismiss a
complaint filed in forma pauperis if it is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. To state a claim for relief, a complaint must plead
more than “legal conclusions” and
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action [that are] supported by mere conclusory
statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). A plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim
for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of
misconduct.” Id. at 679. “A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. at 678. Determining whether a complaint states a
plausible claim for relief is a context-specific task that
requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense. Id. at 679.
reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the
Court accepts the well-pled facts as true. Furthermore,
because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court liberally
construes the allegations.
Complaint Plaintiff brings this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of his Fourth
Amendment right to be free from excessive use of force.
Defendants Justin Jones and Keith Coleman are or were police
officers with the St. Louis County Police Department (the
“Department”). Plaintiff also names the
Department and St. Louis County General Counsel
(“General Counsel”) as defendants.
August 23, 2017, Jones ordered Plaintiff to pull his car to
the side of the road. Jones was allegedly searching for a
burglary suspect. When Jones approached Plaintiff, Jones
pulled his gun and threatened to shoot Plaintiff in the head.
Plaintiff ignored the threat and challenged Jones to shoot
him. Plaintiff and Jones were about twelve to fifteen feet
apart. Coleman was present as well.
then turned and walked in the opposite direction. Jones
holstered his weapon and tackled plaintiff from behind. Jones
began beating Plaintiff while Coleman stood by and watched.
Plaintiff says Jones beat him “beyond
recognition.” Eventually, Coleman shot Plaintiff with a
Taser and arrested him.
is suing General Counsel under the doctrine of respondeat
complaint states a plausible claim for relief against Jones
and Coleman in their individual capacities. As a result, the
Court will order the Clerk to serve them with process.
a government official in his or her official capacity is the
equivalent of naming the government entity that employs the
official. Will v. Michigan Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). To state a claim against
a municipality or a government official in his or her
official capacity, a plaintiff must allege that a policy or
custom of the government entity is responsible for the
alleged constitutional violation. Monell v. Dep't of
Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978). The
instant complaint does not contain any allegations that a
policy or custom of a government entity was responsible for
the alleged violations of plaintiff's constitutional
rights. Therefore, Plaintiff's official-capacity claims
cause of action against the Department is frivolous because
municipal departments are not subject to suit under §
1983. Ketchum v. City of West Memphis, Ark., 974
F.2d 81, 82 (1992).
under § 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct
responsibility for, the alleged deprivation of rights.”
Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir.
1990); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676
(2009) (“Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to
Bivens and § 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead
that each Government-official defendant, through the
official's own individual actions, has violated the