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Tarik-El v. Conley

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

September 19, 2017

DERRICK DION NEELY-BEY TARIK-EL, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER CONLEY, et al., Defendants.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          HON. WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Plaintiff Derrick Neely-Bey Tarik-El (“Mr. Tarik-El”), an Indiana prisoner incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional Facility (“Pendleton”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He seeks an award of monetary damages against the defendants in their individual capacities for allegedly violating his First Amendment rights to practice his religion when the defendants enforced a Moorish Science Temple of America resolution that prohibited him from teaching, facilitating, or serving in the operation of religious services. The defendants are Daniel Conley, Richard Sidwell and Chaplain David Smith.

         The defendants moved for summary judgment. The plaintiff filed a response in opposition and the defendants replied. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment, Dkt. No. 70, is granted.

         I. Undisputed Facts[1]

         Construed in a manner most favorable to Mr. Tarik-El, the following facts are undisputed for purposes of summary judgment:

         In 2013, Mr. Tarik-El submitted an affidavit to former Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”) Commissioner Bruce Lemon which challenged the IDOC's authority to hold him in prison. He stated in the affidavit “I Derrick D. Neely-Bey Tarik-El, am a Sovereign Moorish National of the Missouri Republic of Nativity, thus of America (Al Morocco), and a Moorish American.” Dkt. [70]-3. In this affidavit, Mr. Tarik-El challenged the IDOC's jurisdiction to incarcerate him.

         On Sunday, April 6, 2014, Brother M. Doles Bey, Minister Volunteer, sent a memorandum to David Libel, IDOC Director of Religious Services; IDOC Chaplains Alan McCraine and David Smith; Pendleton Superintendent Wendy Knight; and Offenders B. Crosby-Bey and Tarik-El. Dkt. [1]-1, pp. 7-8. This memorandum contained a resolution issued by the Moorish Science Temple of America (“MSTA”) that informed the recipients that Mr. Tarik-El was no longer permitted to teach, facilitate, or serve in the operation of the MSTA because he was designated with a Security Threat Group (“STG”). He was to be considered a guest and, as such, was permitted to participate in Sunday school but was prohibited from dominating, debating, or giving instruction as to the operation of the Temple. As a guest, Mr. Tarik-El was also not permitted to participate in Friday Holy Day Service. The resolution informed Mr. Tarik-El that any violation of the memorandum would permit IDOC to punish any violations with any policies IDOC had in place. Dkt. No. 1-1, pp. 7-9.

         On March 23, 2015, Chaplain David Smith sent a memorandum to Mr. Tarik-El that stated “I will need you to understand that by returning to [the MST of A] group you agree to fully cooperate with and follow the April 6 2014 sanction placed on you by MST of A, Inc.” Dkt. No. 1-1, p. 3. The memorandum set forth the restrictions contained in the MSTA resolution which included:

Namely,
1 You are recognized as a guest of MST of A.
2. You will not stand, speak or facilitate any of the Friday/Holy Day Service -just listen to the Instructions of the Prophet.
3. On Monday meetings, you may only address the group when recognized by the person presiding over the meeting.
4. When speaking you must not debate, mstructa dominate or speak against the teaching of the Prophet, MST of A, ...

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