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Creaig v. Camden County Police Department

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 13, 2018

ANDRE CREAIG, Plaintiff,
v.
CAMDEN COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT; DETECTIVE ANGEL CAMACHO, Defendants.

          Andre Creaig, Plaintiff Pro Se

          OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Andre Creaig's (“Plaintiff”), submission of a civil rights complaint. Docket Entry 1. At this time, the Court must review the complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that the complaint will be dismissed without prejudice, with the exception of two claims that shall be dismissed with prejudice.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings this civil rights action against the Camden County Police Department (“CCPD”) and Detective Angel Camacho. The following factual allegations are taken from the complaint and are accepted for purposes of this screening only. The Court has made no findings as to the truth of Plaintiff's allegations.

         Plaintiff, formerly a prisoner at South Woods State Prison, alleges that CCPD and Detective Camacho “failed to charge victim/purp [sic] during questioning for implicating themselves first hand in criminal activity against myself the accused” on February 12, 2017. Complaint ¶ 3(d). He goes on to state that “officials underminded [sic] the fact that during questioning the accuser to detectives that they broke the window and gained entry to the home in which I was residing not charging accusers of crimes implicated by themselves in police report . . . .” Id. ¶ 3(e). He later alleges Detective Camacho “pursue[d] victim and witnesses['] bogus accounts of aggravated Assault in the 3rd degree when based off of alledged [sic] victim's statement of breaking and entry, [burglary], and [vandalism] of breaking a window to a home which was secure as well as inhabited by myself . . . .” Declaration ¶ 5. He states the police did not “question[] the alterior [sic] motives of alledged [sic] victim an actual negligence of Justice has [occurred] . . . .” Id. He included a portion of a transcript where an unidentified person with the initials CF was speaking with someone with the initials AC, presumably Detective Angel Camacho. CF stated he and his girlfriend, Diamond, “banged on the door; we banged on the door like who in there? Like somebody in there locked the door” and they “broke the window” so Diamond could “climb through the window . . . to unlock the door.” Complaint Exhibit A.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal

         Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996) (“PLRA”), district courts must review complaints in those civil actions in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), or brings a claim with respect to prison conditions, see 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. The PLRA directs district courts to sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 because Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis.[1]

         In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the Court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007) (following Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); see also United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992). According to the Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, “a pleading that offers ‘labels or conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim, [2] the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMS Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). “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.” Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Moreover, while pro se pleadings are liberally construed, “pro se litigants still must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a claim.” Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted) (emphasis added).

         B. Section 1983 Actions

         A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for certain violations of his constitutional rights. Section 1983 provides in relevant part:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory ... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the ...

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