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Lindsey v. Butler

United States District Court, S.D. New York

August 29, 2014

ANTHONY LINDSEY, Plaintiff, -
v.
- DETECTIVE SEAN BUTLER, DETECTIVE RICHARD WERNER, RAYMOND KELLY, Commissioner of the N.Y.P.D., and CITY OF NEW YORK, Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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August 29, 2014, Filed

Anthony Lindsey, Plaintiff, Pro se, Comstock, NY.

For Detective Sean Butler, Defendant: Melanie Mary Speight, LEAD ATTORNEY, New York City Law Department, New York, NY; Max Oliver McCann, NYC Law Department, Office of the Corporation Counsel (NYC), New York, NY.

For Commissioner Raymond Kelly, N.Y.P.D., Defendant: Melanie Mary Speight, LEAD ATTORNEY, New York City Law Department, New York, NY.

Edgardo Ramos, United States District Judge.

OPINION

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OPINION AND ORDER

Ramos, D.J.:

Pro se plaintiff Anthony Lindsey (" Plaintiff' or " Lindsey" ) brings this suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Lindsey alleges that on December 16, 2008, Detective Sean Butler, Detective Richard Werner,[1] Commissioner Raymond Kelly, and the City of New York (collectively, " Defendants" ) violated his constitutional rights during post-arrest questioning at the New York Police Department's (" NYPD" ) Manhattan Robbery Squad Building.[2] Plaintiff claims that his rights under the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments were violated because NYPD officers forcibly shaved his facial hair, which he is required to maintain in keeping with his Muslim faith. Pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint (" Am. Compl" ). Doc. 41. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

I. Background[3]

a. Factual Background

Plaintiff, a practicing Black Sunni Muslim, was arrested on December 16, 2008,

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by Detective Sean Butler (" Detective Butler" ) and Detective Richard Werner (" Detective Werner" ) of the NYPD. Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 8, 10. Plaintiff was transported to the NYPD's Sixth Precinct before being transferred to the Manhattan Robbery Squad Building. Id. ¶ 11.

At a certain point during several hours of questioning, Detectives Butler and Werner arranged for a police lineup. Id. ¶ 29. When the " fillers" arrived for the lineup, the detectives realized that they were all " clean shaven and none were similar to Plaintiff." Id. Because the detectives " could not place [Plaintiff] in the line-up where Plaintiff was [the] only one with facial hair," they asked Lindsey " if he would forfeit his religious rights and allow them to shave his face." Id. Plaintiff objected, " NO!" Id. Lindsey also requested counsel. Id.

Later in the questioning, Lindsey asked Detective Butler if he could use the bathroom. Id. Three or four unidentified officers allegedly rear-cuffed Lindsey upon his exiting the bathroom and forcefully knocked him to the floor while Detective Werner " forcibly shaved Plaintiff['s] facial hair." Id. Despite Plaintiff's objections and request to contact counsel, Detective Butler commanded that Lindsey be shaved. Id. ¶ 12. Specifically, according to Plaintiff, " Detective Sean Butler gave the Order to Detective Richard Werner to shave plaintiff['s] facial hair which was then done." P1. Opp. Mem. L. 1.

In addition to being forcibly shaven, Plaintiff suffered " various injuries" as a result of Defendants' conduct, including a mild concussion from being slammed on the floor and lower back pain. Am. Compl. ¶ 21. Detective Butler denied Plaintiff's requests for medical attention, " stating that there is no medical here and you're not getting medical assistance or [a]ttention" Id.

Plaintiff alleges that former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly (" Commissioner Kelly" ) " excersized [ sic ] deliberate indifference in his position as Commissioner, where he knew that his subordinates had been following his unwritten policies and practices to use excessive force upon Plaintiff a Muslim to forcefully shave a Muslim Beard without seeking a court order for permission to do this . . . as required by law." Id. ¶ 32.

Lindsey further alleges that all of the defendants are " Pro-White officials of the city, acting with racial [a]nimus while attacking Plaintiff who is [a] Black Sunni Muslim by forcefully shaving his facial hair with no right to do so." Id. ¶ 27.

b. Procedural Background

Plaintiff requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis on December 12, 2011, and filed the original complaint that day. Doc. 2. The original complaint brought claims under the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

Defendants moved to dismiss the original complaint on November 30, 2012 pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Doc. 24. Plaintiff did not file an opposition to the motion to dismiss, but did file a submission on January 18, 2013 entitled " Motion to Amend Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)," which attached a proposed amended complaint. On January 23, 2013, Defendants opposed Plaintiff's motion to amend, arguing that the proposed amended complaint would be futile.

On June 24, 2013, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion to amend with respect to the First Amendment claim and the Fourteenth Amendment due process claim, but denied the motion with respect to the claims under the Equal Protection Clause and the Fifth ...


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