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Sanchez v. Pescador

United States District Court, D. Colorado

October 29, 2019

CHRIS SANCHEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
PESCADOR, BENJAMIN ARGUELLO, MIKE JONES, SAMANTHA, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Michael E. Hegarty, United States Magistrate Judge

         Defendants Pescador, Arguello, and Jones (collectively, “CDOC Defendants”) seek summary judgment[1] on the Plaintiff's remaining claims of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment (Claims One and Two, construed as one excessive force claim against the CDOC Defendants) and deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment against Defendants Pescador and Arguello (Claim Three) in their individual capacities for monetary damages and in their official capacities for prospective injunctive relief.[2] In response, Plaintiff argues Defendants' illegal conduct violated clearly established law, and their proffered evidence demonstrates issues of material fact. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the CDOC Defendants' motion.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         The Court makes the following findings of fact viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, who is the non-moving party in this matter.

         1. On May 23, 2017, at approximately 4:30 p.m. Defendant Michael Jones[3] responded to a call from the Sterling Correctional Facility Living Unit (LU) 8 C pod; on arriving, Jones saw other officers struggle with Offender Jiovanni Sanchez (“J. Sanchez”) at a table in the unit. Affidavit of Michael Jones, July 15, 2019 (“Jones Aff.”), ¶ 3, Def. Ex. B.

         2. Jones observed Officer Friend apply a “mandibular angle” to J. Sanchez's right side while his table restraints were removed. Id. ¶ 5. Jones helped other officers escort J. Sanchez back to his cell. Id.

         3. At that time, Jones turned around and saw the Plaintiff, who was sitting at the same table at which J. Sanchez had been removed, take a pair of wrist restraints off the ring next to him at the table. Id. ¶8; Video 16:34:39 - 16:35:07, Def. Ex. D.[4]

         4. Plaintiff concedes that he “grabbed” the handcuffs Jones left on the table. Declaration of Christopher Sanchez, August 6, 2019 (“Sanchez Decl.”) at 2.

         5. Jones drew his Taser and pointed it at Plaintiff. Jones Aff. ¶ 8. Two other officers approached and surrounded Plaintiff on each side. Video 16:35:14 - 16:35:24.

         6. Jones verbally commanded the Plaintiff to put down the restraints. Jones Aff. ¶ 9.

         7. Plaintiff heard Jones say, “put down the cuffs, punk.” He was offended at the term “punk, ” and responded, “who the f- do you think that you're talking to?” Sanchez Decl. at 2.

         8. Jones observed Plaintiff tossing the restraints around. Jones Aff. ¶ 10.

         9. Another officer approached and at or after the time Jones deployed his Taser, the other officer deployed Oleoresin Capsicum (“OC”) spray to Plaintiff's head and neck area. Video 16:35:24 -16:35:37; Jones Decl. ¶¶ 11-12.

         10. Plaintiff dropped the restraints on the floor; he experienced pain in his eyes and lungs and “felt as if [he] was going to suffocate to death.” Sanchez Decl. at 2.

         11. The video reveals that Plaintiff's head disappeared at 16:35:27, but he raised his head and started moving his head and shoulders at 16:35:33.

         12. After J. Sanchez was removed from Unit 8 in a transport chair, officers removed the Plaintiff's table restraints and escorted the Plaintiff out of the unit by foot. Video 16:40:53 -16:42:22.

         13. During the entirety of the video, from 16:31:52 to 16:43:01, there is nothing indicating that any officer “held the Plaintiff upward and started beating him while he choked, ” particularly during the seven-to-eight minutes after they sprayed him.

         LEGAL ...


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