United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
DEMETRIUS X. RICHMOND, Plaintiff,
ST. LOUIS CITY, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon review of a civil complaint
and a certified inmate account statement filed by plaintiff
Demetrius X. Richmond, a prisoner. While plaintiff did not
file a separate motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis, the Court will construe plaintiffs filing of a
certified inmate account statement as his request for leave
to proceed in forma pauperis in this action. The Court will
grant plaintiff such leave, and will not assess an initial
partial filing fee at this time. Additionally, the Court will
dismiss the complaint because it is duplicative of an action
that is currently pending in this Court.
is a pretrial detainee in the St. Charles County Department
of Corrections. He initiated this action on November 25, 2019
by filing a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against the City of St. Louis and its Police Department, and
St. Louis City Police Officers Michael T. Minor, Archie Shaw,
Derrick P. Fryre and Nijauh J. Woodard. Plaintiff states that
he sues the defendants in their official capacities only. He
alleges as follows.
December 22, 2016, Officers Minor, Shaw, Fryre and Woodard
surrounded plaintiffs car after he crashed on Ohio Street in
St. Louis City. The officers pulled him from his car and
handcuffed him, and then repeatedly kicked and punched him in
the face and tased him, all while he was handcuffed. They
then took him to the hospital where doctors photographed his
injuries. As a result of the officers' actions, plaintiff
suffered permanent eye damage, vision loss, facial injuries,
and mental stress.
asserts in a conclusory manner that "the St. Louis City
Police Department has a history of letting its officers"
assault people during arrests. He seeks $5 million for
nominal damages, $2 million for compensatory damages, and $5
million for punitive damages.
November 8, 2018, plaintiff filed a complaint pro se and in
forma pauperis in this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against Officers Minor, Shaw, Fryre and Woodard. See
Richmond v. Minor, et al., No. 4:18-cv-1905-SNLJ (E.D.
Mo. Nov. 8, 2018) (hereafter "Richmond
I"). At the time he filed that complaint, he was a
pretrial detainee in the St. Charles County Department of
Corrections. Plaintiff sued the officers in their individual
and official capacities. There, as here, plaintiff alleged
that on December 22, 2016, Officers Minor, Shaw, Fryre and
Woodard surrounded his car after he crashed on Ohio Street in
St. Louis City, pulled him from the car, handcuffed him, and
repeatedly kicked, punched and tased him while he was
handcuffed. He alleged they then took him to the hospital
where doctors photographed his injuries. Plaintiff asserted
in a conclusory manner that the St. Louis City Police
Department has a history of letting its officers assault
people during arrests. Plaintiff alleged he suffered
permanent eye damage, vision loss, facial injuries, and
mental stress, and he sought $5 million for nominal damages,
$2 million for compensatory damages, and $5 million for
August 6, 2019, the Honorable Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr.
entered a Memorandum and Order in which he determined that
plaintiff failed to state an official capacity claim against
any of the defendants because he failed to plead facts
permitting the inference that his constitutional rights were
violated due to an unconstitutional policy or custom. Judge
Limbaugh also determined that plaintiffs individual capacity
claims against Officers Minor, Shaw, Fryre and Woodard
survived initial review, and ordered that service of process
be effected upon them. As of the date of this Memorandum and
Order, that case remains pending.
complaint at bar, plaintiff names the same police officer
defendants he named in Richmond I and asserts
identical claims against them. While plaintiff now adds the
City of St. Louis and its Police Department as defendants,
this does not change the fact that the claims and issues
plaintiff presents here are identical to those in
Richmond I, and can all be addressed there. This
action will therefore be dismissed as duplicative of that
pending action. See Aziz v. Burrows, 976 F.2d 1158,
1158-59 (8th Cir. 1992) (affirming 28 U.S.C. § 1915
dismissal on ground that "district courts may dismiss a
duplicative complaint raising issues directly related to
issues in another pending action brought by the same
this action was not duplicative of Richmond I, it
would be subject to dismissal. The St. Louis City Police
Department is not an entity that can be directly sued under
§ 1983. See Ketchum v. City of West Memphis,
Ark., 974 F.2d 81, 82 (8th Cir. 1992) (entities such as
police departments "are not juridical entities suable as
such. They are simply departments or subdivisions of the City
government."). Additionally, the complaint fails to
plead facts supporting the inference that plaintiffs
constitutional rights were violated due to an
unconstitutional policy or custom, or that the City of St.
Louis failed to train its employees. Instead, as in
Richmond I, the complaint focuses on a single
instance of alleged excessive force committed by four police
officers on December 22, 2019. Therefore, the complaint fails
to state an official capacity claim against any individual
defendant, and fails to state a cause of action against the
City of St. Louis under Monell v. Dept. of Social
Services of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff may
proceed in forma pauperis in this action. The Court will not
assess an initial partial filing fee at this time.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED
without prejudice. A separate order of ...