United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BERNARD M. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a pre-trial detainee appearing pro se and in forma pauperis,
has filed a Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
Guthrie Police Department and Guthrie Police Detective Mark
Bruning. [Doc. No. 1]. United States District Judge Robin J.
Cauthron has referred the matter for initial proceedings
consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and (C). For
the reasons set forth below, it is recommended that, on
screening, the Court dismiss the claims against the Guthrie
Police Department and stay the claims against Detective
Plaintiff's Claims and Relevant
to Plaintiff, Detective Bruning illegally entered his home on
November 8, 2017, seized cell phones, and then gave
“false and misleading testimony” to secure a
search warrant for Plaintiff's home. Comp. at 6-7,
After the search, Plaintiff was charged in Logan County
District Court, Case No. CF-2017-397, with (Count I) unlawful
possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to
distribute within 2000 feet of a school, after a former
felony conviction (AFC); (Count II) possession of a firearm
during commission of a felony, AFC; (Count III) possession of
a firearm after a former felony conviction, AFC; and (Count
IV) knowingly concealing stolen property. See Id. at
8; see also Oklahoma Supreme Court Network, Case No.
CF-2017-397 (Logan Cnty. Dist. Ct. filed November 15,
2017). Then, during Plaintiff's preliminary
hearing, Detective Bruning allegedly gave perjured testimony.
See Compl. at 7-8. The Court judicially notices that
the state district court found sufficient probable cause at
Plaintiff's February 27, 2018 preliminary hearing and he
is currently awaiting trial.
accuses Defendants of illegal search and seizure, obstruction
of justice, false imprisonment, and invasion of privacy.
See Id. at 6-10. While Plaintiff asks this Court to
have Detective Bruning charged with a crime and fired from
the Guthrie Police Department, he only requests these acts
“[i]f it is within the Court[']s power.”
Id. at 9. It is not, and because Plaintiff focuses
on his request for monetary relief, and does not ask for
release from confinement or other injunctive relief, see
Id. at 9-10, the Court construes Plaintiff's 1983
claims against Defendants as requesting only money damages.
Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis and has sued
government officials, the Court has a duty to screen the
Complaint and dismiss any portion that is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant immune
from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1915A(a), (b), 1915(e)(2)(B).
a Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) review, the Court must accept
Plaintiff's allegations as true and construe them, and
any reasonable inferences to be drawn from them, in the light
most favorable to him. See Mink v. Knox, 613 F.3d
995, 1000 (10th Cir. 2010). “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); see
also Gee v. Pacheco, 627 F.3d 1178, 1184 (10th Cir.
Court should dismiss Plaintiff's claims against the
Guthrie Police Department with prejudice, and should stay his
claims against Detective Bruning.
Defendant Guthrie Police Department
Court should first dismiss Plaintiff's claims against the
Guthrie Police Department, because this Defendant is not a
suable entity under § 1983. See, e.g., Moore v.
Diggins, 633 Fed.Appx. 672, 677 (10th Cir. 2015)
(holding the Denver Sheriff's Department “is not a
suable entity under § 1983” and citing
Martinez v. Winner, 771 F.2d 424, 444 (10th Cir.
1985) as “dismissing § 1983 claims against the
City of Denver Police Department because it was not a
separate suable entity”); Lindsey v. Thomson,
275 Fed.Appx. 744, 747 (10th Cir. 2007) (affirming dismissal
of § 1983 claims against police departments and county
sheriff's department, noting defendants were “not
legally suable entities”). As such, Plaintiff's
claims against the Guthrie Police Department should be
dismissed with prejudice on screening. See Bell v. City
of Hollis Police Dep't, No. CIV-17-518-F, 2017 WL
5247479, at *1 (W.D. Okla. May 11, 2017) (unpublished
district court order) (“The City of Hollis Police
Department is not a suable entity for purposes of § 1983
as it lacks identity apart from the municipality. Therefore,
to the extent plaintiff is alleging a § 1983 claim
against defendant, the court finds that such claim should be
dismissed . . . [on screening].”).