United States District Court, D. Colorado
Michael E. Hegarty, United States Magistrate Judge
Pescador, Arguello, and Jones (collectively, “CDOC
Defendants”) seek summary judgment 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. 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.
Court makes the following findings of fact viewed in the
light most favorable to Plaintiff, who is the non-moving
party in this matter.
May 23, 2017, at approximately 4:30 p.m. Defendant Michael
Jones 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.
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.
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.
Plaintiff concedes that he “grabbed” the
handcuffs Jones left on the table. Declaration of Christopher
Sanchez, August 6, 2019 (“Sanchez Decl.”) at 2.
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.
Jones verbally commanded the Plaintiff to put down the
restraints. Jones Aff. ¶ 9.
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.
Jones observed Plaintiff tossing the restraints around. Jones
Aff. ¶ 10.
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. ¶¶
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.
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.
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
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.