United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
action involves a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in which
plaintiff Tajuan Holloman (“Holloman” or
“plaintiff”) alleges that defendants Correction
Officer Frank Maine (“CO Maine”) and Sergeant
Aaron Gill (“Sgt. Gill”) (collectively
“defendants”) used excessive force against him
while he was a pretrial detainee in violation of his rights
under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Court presided over a two-day bench trial in late November,
2018. The Court now publishes its findings of fact and
conclusions of law pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a).
Findings of Fact
The Parties and Setting
Tajuan Holloman was a pretrial detainee housed at the
Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center
(“Souza-Baranowski”), a maximum security state
prison in Shirley, Massachusetts, on June 27, 2012.
Souza-Baranowski houses prisoners assigned to the highest
security level of the prison system, as well as pretrial
detainees who have previously served time in the state penal
Souza-Baranowski housed approximately 1, 400 inmates and
employed approximately 500 Massachusetts Department of
Correction (“DOC”) staff in 2012.
Souza-Baranowski has approximately 365 video cameras
throughout the prison facility that record 24 hours a day.
The cameras typically store between 10 to 14 days of footage
and can store up to a maximum of about 20 days of footage
depending on the location and amount of movement recorded.
The cameras automatically tape over older footage to
accommodate new recordings as the hard drive reaches
capacity. DOC personnel assigned to Inter Perimeter Security
have the ability to download and save video recordings to an
external hard drive or medium upon request but apparently
there is no way to preserve video on the video recording
personnel with authority over inmates are organized in a
paramilitary structure, i.e. a strict chain-of-command with
assigned posts and responsibilities. That structure includes,
in ascending order of rank, Corrections Officer
(“CO”), Sergeant (“Sgt.”), Lieutenant
(“Lt.”) and Captain. A Superintendent supervises
the entire prison.
Frank Maine and Sgt. Aaron Gill are correctional personnel
employed by the DOC and were assigned to Souza-Baranowski on
June 27, 2012.
The Incident on June 27, 2012
June 25, 2012, an officer at Souza-Baranowski was stabbed and
seriously injured by an inmate. Correctional staff responding
to the stabbing were also assaulted and injured by inmates.
8. As a
result of that incident, Souza-Baranowski was placed on
institutional lock-down by order of the Superintendent.
During such a lock-down, inmates are not allowed out of their
cells except for court appearances and medical visits.
Inmates are not allowed showers and are fed in their cells.
Correctional staff have no discretion to permit showers
during a lock-down.
During a lock-down, inmates with scheduled court appearances
are escorted from their cell blocks to “booking”
where they are processed and await transportation to court.
They are escorted by a transport team that consists of at
least two security staff.
June 27, 2012, Souza-Baranowski was still on lock-down.
Holloman was housed on the second tier of the M2 cell block
and had a court hearing scheduled for that morning. He was to
be transported to Suffolk Superior Court by the Suffolk
County Sheriff's Department.
Maine and CO Anthony Basso were the two block officers
assigned to M2 that morning for the 7 A.M.-3 P.M. shift.
some point in the early morning of June 27th,
plaintiff requested that he be allowed to take a shower
before his court appearance. That request was denied but he
was advised to ask an officer on the 7 A.M.-3 P.M. shift.
Later that morning, at about 8:00 A.M., CO Maine remotely
opened the door to plaintiff's cell and told him to get
ready for court. Plaintiff walked to the railing just outside
his cell and called to CO Maine, who was located in the
control station on the floor below, to request a shower.
Plaintiff was dressed in a tank top and shower slippers.
is unclear why CO Maine remotely opened plaintiff's cell
door at that particular time to allow plaintiff to leave his
cell unaccompanied, rather than escort plaintiff from his
cell to the entrance of M2 block. In any event, it was
understood that plaintiff was to be escorted to
“booking” to await transportation to court.
Maine told plaintiff that no showers were allowed because of
the lock-down and ordered him to return to his cell to get
dressed for court. Plaintiff demanded a shower, requested to
speak to a supervisor and refused to return to his cell. CO
Maine ordered plaintiff to return to his cell several more
times but Holloman refused to comply with those direct
Maine called the Level 2 corridor for assistance where both
Sgt. Gill and Lt. Donald Ferrara (“Lt. Ferrara”)
were assigned that morning. Sgt. Gill took the call from CO
Sgt. Gill promptly proceeded to M2 cell block by himself and
ascended the stairs to the second tier with CO Maine where
they encountered plaintiff in front of his cell. Holloman
again requested that he be allowed to take a shower but Sgt.
Gill denied the request due to the lock-down.
Sgt. Gill ordered plaintiff to get dressed and to get his
legal materials together for court but Holloman refused.
Sgt. Gill then ordered plaintiff to “cuff-up”,
i.e. turn around and place his hands behind his back so
restraints could be placed around his wrists. ...