United States District Court, D. Minnesota
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KATHERINE MENENDEZ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
DeJuan Haywood Haggins sued the defendants Ramsey County and
several corrections officers (collectively,
“Defendants”) in their official and individual
capacities, alleging that he was subjected to excessive force
while in Ramsey County custody. The Defendants have filed a
motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 125.) After careful
review of the record and all submissions, the Court
recommends that the Defendants' motion be
GRANTED, and this case dismissed.
The Transfer of Mr. Haggins
2009, when the alleged incident occurred, Mr. Haggins was
incarcerated at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater
(“MCF-Stillwater”). On February 23, he was
briefly transferred to the Ramsey County Adult Detention
Center (“ADC”) for a hearing in a criminal case
in Ramsey County District Court. (Affidavit of Robert Roche,
Ex. B.; Amend. Compl., ECF No. 5.) Mr. Haggins had a long
history of disruptive and violent behavior at ADC, including
making violent threats to other inmates and staff members and
actually assaulting both inmates and staff. (Affidavit of
Brad Lindberg, Exs. A, B.) His violent behavior is so
consistent and extreme that any time he is in custody in
Ramsey County, he is required to be housed in a restricted
area for the protection of others. (Lindberg Aff.
¶¶ 3, 4.) Additionally, staff must always move Mr.
Haggins in full restraints with a two-officer escort.
(Id.) ADC staff were ordered to treat Mr. Haggins as
dangerous when interacting with him. (Id.
¶¶ 2- 4, Ex. A.)
February 23, 2009, officers responded to reports of Mr.
Haggins causing a disturbance in the open booking area of the
ADC. (Roche Aff. Ex. F.) They were asked to move Mr. Haggins
to segregation because of the disturbance. (Id.)
When they arrived, they spoke with Mr. Haggins through a door
and asked if he would cooperate. (Id.) He responded
with threats to the staff. (Id.) Officers then asked
Mr. Haggins to turn around, place his hands behind his back,
and place his hands through the food pass so that he could be
handcuffed. (Id.). Instead, Mr. Haggins moved to the
back of the cell, so the officers opened the door in order to
restrain him. (Id.) As officers approached, Mr.
Haggins took a “fighting stance, ” at which point
the officers took Mr. Haggins to the ground to be cuffed.
Mr. Haggins's Alleged Injuries
report of the incident on February 23 stated that no injuries
were sustained by either staff or Mr. Haggins. (Id.)
However, Mr. Haggins claimed numerous injuries following the
incident, including a “busted” lip, black eye,
whiplash, bruising on his torso, a broken tooth, and a bloody
nose. (Amend. Compl., ECF No. 5.) Mr. Haggins was sent to the
Transfer Release Area of the ADC to be transported to the
Ramsey county Courthouse. (Affidavit of Michael Harer,
¶¶ 2-3, Ex. A.) Officer Michael Harer, who was
present with Mr. Haggins on February 23, 2009, did not
observe any sign of injuries on Mr. Haggins. (Id.)
Further, had there been visible injuries, Officer Harer would
not have released Mr. Haggins for transportation to the
courthouse until he had been seen by medical staff.
after the incident, Mr. Haggins appeared in front of Ramsey
County Judge Rosanne Nathanson and told her that he had been
“rumbling” with “six or seven”
corrections officers earlier that morning, and that “if
I was a white guy, I'd have a lot of bruises on me right
now-believe that.” (Haggins Ex. F, ECF No. 150.) Judge
Nathanson gave a deposition in this case and testified that
although she was within a few feet of Mr. Haggins, she did
not note any visible injuries. (Roche Aff. Ex. I, 24:6-20.)
She further testified that, had she noticed any injuries, she
would have made a record of the injuries and tried to find
out where they had come from. (Id., 25:1-14.)
Further, she would have expected Mr. Haggins's attorney,
Michael Davis, to note for the record if it had appeared that
Mr. Haggins had been harmed. (Id., 30:24-31:4.)
There is no indication on the record of the February 23, 2009
proceeding that Mr. Davis, the prosecutor Daniel Vlieger, or
Judge Nathanson noted any obvious sign of harm on Mr.
Haggins was returned to MCF-Stillwater that same day, where
he interacted with corrections officer Bryan Milliron.
Officer Milliron had received a report of the incident at the
ADC, but did not recall observing any injuries on Mr.
Haggins. (Affidavit of Bryan Milliron, ¶ 3.) Mr. Haggins
states that Officer Milliron and he conversed about an injury
to the inside of Mr. Haggins's lip (ECF No. 145), but
there is no record of this. Officer Milliron states that had
Mr. Haggins reported any injuries, he would have been taken
for an evaluation at health services, where a record would
have been made. (Milliron Aff., ¶ 3.)
Haggins also met with Clinical Program Therapist Paige Berg
twice in the days after the February 23 incident. On February
24, 2009, Mr. Haggins met with Ms. Berg and reported no
incident or injuries. (Affidavit of Paige Berg, Ex. A.) On
February 26, 2009, Mr. Haggins told Ms. Berg about “an
altercation” at the ADC, but again did not report any
injuries. (Berg. Aff. Ex. C.) Ms. Berg also noted no visible
injuries on either occasion.
Haggins brought an excessive force claim against Ramsey
County and the correctional officers involved in the incident
at the ADC. (ECF No. 5) The Defendants now move for summary
judgment. (ECF No. 123.)