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Causey v. Indianapolis Police Department

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

December 12, 2017

TYRONE G. CAUSEY, Plaintiff,


          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         Plaintiff Tyrone Causey filed this civil rights action against the Indianapolis Police Department, Indianapolis Swat Team and the Attorney General's Office. He seeks 150 million dollars.

         I. Screening Standard

         Because the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the complaint is now subject to the screening requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). This statute provides that a court shall dismiss a case at any time if the court determines that the action (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. In determining whether the complaint states a claim, the Court applies the same standard as when addressing a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir. 2006). To survive dismissal,

[the] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. 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.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) can be based only on the complaint itself, documents attached to the complaint, documents that are critical to the complaint and referred to in it, and information that is subject to proper judicial notice.” Geinosky v. City of Chicago, 675 F.3d 743, 745 n. 1 (7th Cir. 2012) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c) and collecting cases). In evaluating the complaint the Court may take judicial notice of court records. See McCree v. Grissom, 657 F.3d 623, 624 (7th Cir. 2011) (stating that a court may take judicial notice of its records); In re Salem, 465 F.3d 767, 771 (7th Cir. 2006) (citing cases). In this instance, the Court considered the state appellate court opinion referenced in Mr. Causey's complaint; that is, Causey v. State, 45 N.E.3d 1239, 1240 (Ind.Ct.App. 2015).

         Pro se complaints such as that filed by the plaintiff are construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Obriecht v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d 489, 491 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008).

         II. The Complaint

         The exhibit attached to the complaint is Mr. Causey's diary of events which form the factual basis for his claims. See dkt. 1-1. Mr. Causey explains that his problems began on January 19, 2014. On that day the police were called to his apartment after an argument led to “a lot of commotion” including screaming, pushing and shoving. Dkt. 1-1 at 2. The argument involved visitors and when they refused to leave, Mr. Causey physically pushed them out ‘like a bouncer at a club.” Dkt. 1-1 at 2. One of the visitors, Shawnda, pulled a knife on Mr. Causey. The knife was pulled out of her hand and thrown under the couch.

         After being kicked out of the apartment, Shawnda called the police saying that there was a man inside the apartment with no shirt on and with guns and knives in the home.

         Ultimately, Mr. Causey's live-in girlfriend and her son drove the visitors, including Shawnda, to a hotel.

         Mr. Causey was alone in his apartment at 3428 Leatherbury Lane when police arrived. Based on the report they received they wanted to enter the home to confirm that there were no hostages inside. Mr. Causey refused to allow them to enter. The SWAT team was called and Mr. Causey was forced out of his home when smoke bombs were thrown into his windows. The SWAT team put assault rifles in Mr. Causey's face. He was arrested, placed in handcuffs and his home was searched without a warrant.

         Mr. Causey was convicted of Intimidation on the Police, a Class D Felony, on January 21, 2015. On March 12, 2015, the “trial court sentenced him to 545 days, with 180 days executed on home detention and 365 days on probation.” Causey v. State, 45 N.E.3d 1239, 1240 (Ind.Ct.App. 2015). Causey appealed and his conviction was overturned on November 21, 2015.

         As a result of the defendants' conduct Mr. Causey suffers from post-traumatic stress, was incarcerated, and lost his job. Mr. Causey states that he wants ...

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