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Anderson v. Flemming

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

January 12, 2018



          F. Keith Ball United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. Procedural Background

         Earl Lewis Anderson, Jr. is a pretrial detainee being held at the Holmes-Humphreys County Correctional Facility. He is proceeding pro se and has been granted in forma pauperis status. Anderson brought this action complaining of a variety of actions by numerous defendants including law enforcement officers, deputy clerks with the Holmes County Justice Court, and the Attorney General of Mississippi. The district judge referred the matter to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). On September 19, 2017, the undersigned held a hearing for the purpose of clarifying Anderson's claims and determining whether any should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).[1] Also before the Court are Anderson's motion for summary judgment and to consolidate [48], his motion to be transferred to federal custody [60], his motion to amend his complaint [71], and the motion of Defendant Joshua Macko to dismiss, or alternatively, for judgment on the pleadings [52]. Having considered Anderson's initial complaint [1], his amended complaint [36], his testimony at the hearing, and the pending motions and responses, the undersigned recommends that Anderson's motions be denied, that Defendant Macko's motion be granted, and that all remaining claims be dismissed except for Anderson's claims of excessive force against Defendants Maurice Flemming, Eddie Edison, Faben Riley, and Marcus Bennett arising out of the incident of February 2, 2014.

         II. Allegations

         The Traffic Stop and Arrest of February 2, 2014.

         On February 2, 2014, Maurice Flemming, an officer with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (MDPS), made a traffic stop of Anderson while Anderson was driving his commercial truck. Anderson's version of the relevant events is as follows. Flemming questioned him as to why Anderson's truck had been at the home of Flemming's girlfriend. Because Anderson did not know Flemming, Anderson asked him who he was and why he had stopped him. Flemming responded by drawing his weapon, opening the truck's door, and grabbing Anderson by the neck. Anderson, fearing for his life, pulled away and drove to the home of the Holmes County Sheriff, Willie March. En route, Anderson called Sheriff March and alerted him to the situation. When Anderson arrived at Sheriff March's house, Flemming and other officers were waiting on him. Two of the other officers, Eddie Edison and Joshua Macko, tasered him upon the order of Flemming. Flemming then assaulted Anderson. Thereafter, Anderson was taken to the Holmes-Humphreys County Correctional Facility, where he was beaten several times over a five-hour period. Anderson alleges that Defendants Riley, Bennett, and Griffin also participated in one or more of these assaults.

         Anderson was prosecuted in the Justice Court of Holmes County in connection with the events of February 2, 2014, and was convicted of the misdemeanor offenses of reckless driving, first offense DUI, disregard to traffic safety, and resisting arrest. Anderson appealed these convictions, which bore the action numbers of 14-0046, 14-0047, 14-0048, and 14-0049, to the Circuit Court of Holmes County. See [48-2] and [49-4]. The status of those appeals is unclear. In August of 2014, Anderson was indicted in cause no. 14-0059 in the Circuit Court of Holmes County for felony fleeing from a law enforcement officer. The indictment indicates that the charges arise out of the traffic stop of February 2, 2014. [49-7]. Anderson is awaiting trial on the indictment.

         The incident of August 8, 2014.

         Anderson alleges that on August 8, 2014, two Tchula police officers, Kenneth Hampton and Willie Phillips, fired over 40 rounds into Anderson's vehicle and into an occupied trailer at a deer camp. According to Anderson, Defendant Edison was also involved in this incident. In February of 2015, Anderson was indicted in the Circuit Court of Holmes County on two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. The indictment, bearing cause number 15-0021, charges that on August 8, 2014, Anderson attempted to hit Officer Kenneth Hampton with a motor vehicle. [48-3]. According to the documents submitted by Anderson, that indictment was remanded to the file and Anderson was re-indicted on the charges in cause no. 16-0157. [48-4]. Anderson is awaiting trial on this latter indictment.

         The Conspiracy.

         Patricia Watts Dean is a deputy clerk in the Holmes County Justice Court. Anderson states that Dean and Maurice Flemming work in the same office and that he has seen a photo in which Flemming and Dean are hugging. According to Anderson, Dean has told Anderson that he is the father of her daughter, Crystal Dean, and for over thirty years has been threatening him verbally and extorting money from him. Anderson contends that the incidents involving Flemming and other law enforcement officers described above, and the related criminal proceedings, are all connected and are part of a conspiracy between Dean and the other defendants to harass him and falsely accuse him of wrongdoing.

         III. Analysis of Claims

         Anderson has not alleged any basis for federal jurisdiction. Clearly, the only possible basis is pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1983. It is within the framework of that statute that the undersigned has analyzed Anderson's claims.

         Anderson's allegations of excessive force in connection with the incident of February 2, 2014, state claims under § 1983. The defendants whom he has identified as being directly involved in his alleged assaults on that day are Maurice Flemming, Eddie Edison, Joshua Macko, Faben Riley, Marcus Bennett, and Lonnie Griffin. For the reasons stated below, the undersigned recommends that the claims against Defendants Macko and Griffin be dismissed. The undersigned recommends that the remaining excessive force claims be stayed pending completion of the related criminal proceedings. ...

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