United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS FOR
GUIROLA, JR. CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT are Motions for Summary Judgment and Qualified
Immunity filed by Defendants Randy Vinson  and Douglas
McBride . Vinson and McBride were police officers for the
City of Wiggins, Mississippi when the events at issue in this
civil rights lawsuit occurred. They assert they are immune
from Plaintiff Daphine Alford's claims against them in
their individual capacities. The issues have been fully
briefed. After due consideration, the Court finds that Vinson
and McBride have shown they are entitled to qualified
immunity. Additionally, to the extent Alford alleged state
law claims against Vinson and McBride, the Mississippi Tort
Claims Act provides immunity from those claims. Accordingly,
the Motions will be granted and the claims against Vinson and
case arises out of events occurring in the late evening of
January 24, 2013. Alford, a black female, alleges that on
that night she was standing on a street corner in Wiggins,
Mississippi, conversing with her male companion. She alleges
she was arrested by Wiggins Police Officers Randy Vinson and
Douglas McBride, both white, even though “[s]he was not
a suspect, not acting suspiciously and was not observed
committing any criminal act.” (Compl. 10, ECF No. 1).
After her arrest, she was “crudely, improperly and
illegally searched, ” whereupon the officers found
“narcotic paraphernalia.” (Id.). She was
then “roughly manhandled, ” handcuffed and forced
into the police vehicle for transport to the Stone County
Correctional Facility. (Id. at 11).
reaching the Correctional Facility, Alford alleges that
Officer Vinson “intentionally tripped and twisted her
off-balance causing her to unexpectedly fall forward, face
first, directly into the pavement with the blunt impact
injuring her head, face, teeth and body.”
(Id.). She alleges that Vinson and McBride dragged
her into the Correctional Facility while she loudly cried out
from the intense pain. (Id.).
the Correctional Facility, Alford alleges she was manhandled
into a small jail cell, where she was forced to the floor.
She alleges Vinson kneeled on her face, jaw, and neck to keep
her down as she was stripped naked, and Vinson touched her
inappropriately while “the other Wiggins officer
watched.” (Id.). Later, Vinson, who had moved
to a different area, returned to the area of the cell,
where Ms. Alford was protesting what they had done to her.
When [Alford] saw Officer Vinson staring at her she became
completely emotionally overcome and outraged by what he had
just done to her. A Corrections Officer then sprayed pepper
spray . . . in [Alford's] face and body even though she
was nude, required medical attention for her injuries and was
not a threat to anyone.
(Id. at 13).
alleges she was only able to wash the pepper spray from her
body using “a dirty cell commode's unsanitary
toilet water.” (Id.). Her pleas for help and
assistance were ignored by “the two Wiggins
Officers” while they were nearby writing up false
criminal charges against her. (Id.).
and McBride have provided evidence concerning the incident in
the form of videos from the patrol car and inside the Stone
County Correctional Facility. The patrol car video does not
show the officers' initial contact with Alford, but once
she is in the back of the car her commentary can be heard.
She accuses the officers of bruising her face, calls them
“white boy, ” “cracker, ” and
“motherfucker, ” and tells them she had been on
crack since she had been in Wiggins. Once the car arrives at
the Correctional Facility, the video shows Alford resisting
the officer's attempts to make her walk to the receiving
door, and his move to bring her to the ground. He is holding
her shoulders as he does so, and she swings down to hit the
ground on her side. The two officers help Alford to her feet
and they proceed to the entrance.
Alford is brought through the door, she is clearly resisting
and sits down on the ground. She can be seen struggling
against the officers as they clear the detox cell of an
occupant. Two female correctional officers enter the cell
wearing latex gloves, followed by a third. Shortly
thereafter, the two police officers leave. About five minutes
later, the three female correctional officers leave the cell.
Alford appears naked in the door window, and an object can be
seen flying past the window. Five correctional officers
gather in front of the door, and one readies what appears to
be a spray can. As the officers enter, Alford pushes her way
out of the cell, but is pulled back in by one of the
officers. There is a struggle inside of the cell involving
all five correctional officers and Alford, during which the
mattress and other items are removed. The officers then
leave, and it appears that Alford has been subdued, as she
does not appear in the window for the remaining few minutes
of the video.
officers also provided Alford's deposition testimony
explaining her version of the events of that night. She
testified that she had gone to “The District” in
Wiggins, where drug activity goes on. (Alford Dep. 35-36, ECF
No. 56-1). She went there to buy crack cocaine. (Id.
at 38). She was there six hours, during which time she did
crack and drank alcohol. (Id. at 39-40). She was
walking and drinking gin with her friend “Jethro”
when officers Vinson and McBride approached them.
(Id. at 43, 47). Vinson spoke to
“Jethro” while McBride asked her her name.
(Id. at 46). Vinson told McBride not to worry about
Alford, because “[s]he's just an old nothing crack
head.” (Id. at 49). Alford became upset at
this comment and cursed at Vinson (“I probably said
something to [the] effect” of I'm going to kick
your ass), “and that's when the handcuffs came
out.” (Id. at 49, 50). The officers forced her
to the patrol car and handcuffed her. (Id. at 50).
Vinson searched her and found a crack pipe in her pocket.
(Id. at 51). The officers wanted to inspect her
shoes as well, so as she got into the car she kicked her
shoes off toward Vinson. (Id. at 53).
drive to the Correctional Facility, Alford testified she was
“yelling. I'm screaming. I'm talking about
them. I'm talking about how they should be ashamed,
don't know how their wives deal with them, all kind of
things. They never said a word the whole time.”
(Id. at 58). Officer Vinson took her out of the car
at the Correctional Facility, and [h]e “goes,
‘Stop spitting. Stop spitting.' And then all of the
sudden, he trips me.” (Id. at 63). She
testified she landed on her face and chipped her teeth.
(Id. at 65).
testified that Vinson and McBride forcefully picked her up
and brought her into the female detox room, which she was
familiar with because she been in the room about ten times
previously. (Id. at 70-72). She was “agitated
because of what happened to my teeth.” (Id. at
75). Vinson pinned her down in the far corner of the room
with his knee in her jaw, and “I'm thinking my jaw
is about to break any minute.” (Id. at 76).
Alford was stripped from the waist down, and told Vinson she
would stop struggling. (Id. at 76-77, 85). Vinson
“unpinned” her, and “I just kind of freaked
out. I just grabbed the tray and just started, you know
swinging the tray and trying to defend myself because I
didn't know what they were gonna do next.”
(Id. at 77, 79). “I was just screaming and
hollering, doing this number with the tray (demonstrating). I
didn't hit anybody . . . . I guess by me doing that, [the
corrections officer] just automatically just pulled out her
mace.” (Id. at 80-81).
claims are pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 under the Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendments for excessive force, and false
arrest, detention, imprisonment, and prosecution. (Compl.
30-31, ECF No. 1). Additionally, she alleges the officers
were engaged in a conspiracy to abuse minorities pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1985. (Id. at 31). She may also
have made state law tort claims, although none are explicitly
set out in the Complaint. Vinson and McBride move for summary
judgment on all of the claims, asserting the defense of