United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ROSLYNN R. MAUSKOPF, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Michael Perkins, who is incarcerated on Rikers Island,
commenced this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Perkins' request to proceed in
forma pauperis is granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915. The claims against the City of New York and the Police
Commissioner are dismissed sua sponte. The claims
against the remaining police officers may proceed.
following facts are taken from the Amended Complaint and are
assumed to be true for purposes of this Order. On August 9,
2015, Jordan Card was the alleged victim of a robbery.
(Amend. Compl. at 3.) That same day, defendant Police Officer
Valenzuela showed Card a single photograph of
Perkins, and Card positively identified him as the individual
who robbed him. (Id.) Thereafter, defendant Police
Officer LaFemina showed Card a photo array containing
Perkins' photograph in the fourth slot. (Id.) On
August 23, 2015, LaFemina asked Perkins to participate in a
lineup, and he refused. (Id. at 4.) At that point,
“police officer LaFemina #11439 and several other
police officers assaulted the Plaintiff and forced the
Plaintiff to partake in said lineup by handcuffing the
Plaintiff to the wall and placing leg irons on the
Plaintiff's ankles . . . and forced the Plaintiff to sit
in position number four just as he place[d] the single
photograph of the Plaintiff in slot number four of the photo
Complaint further alleges that Defendant Sergeant Jackson
failed to properly supervise his subordinates and that the
“Commander and Chief or Commissioner is named as
defendants due to their failure to properly train the
officers.” (Id.) Perkins alleges that the
defendants' conduct violated his constitutional rights
under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments and seeks $16,
500, 000 in damages. (Id. at 4-5.)
civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
government entity or its officers, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
requires the district court to “identify cognizable
claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the
complaint, if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, or fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see Abbas v.
Dixon, 480 F.3d 636, 639 (2d Cir. 2007). Where a
complaint is brought in forma pauperis, a district
court must dismiss the case if it “is frivolous or
malicious; fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
document filed pro se is to be liberally construed,
and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded,
must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted). If a liberal reading of the complaint
“gives any indication that a valid claim might be
stated, ” the district court must grant leave to amend
the complaint. See Cuoco v. Moritsugu, 222 F.3d 99,
112 (2d Cir. 2000).
complaint alleges the jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to
the Civil Rights Acts, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(“§ 1983”). In order to maintain a §
1983 action, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements.
First, “the conduct complained of must have been
committed by a person acting under color of state law.”
Pitchell v. Callan, 13 F.3d 545, 547 (2d Cir. 1994).
Second, “the conduct complained of must have deprived a
person of rights, privileges or immunities secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States.”
Id. A § 1983 plaintiff seeking to recover money
damages must establish that the named defendants were
personally involved in the alleged wrongdoing. Farrell v.
Burke, 449 F.3d 470, 484 (2d Cir. 2006) (quoting
Wright v. Smith, 21 F.3d 496, 501 (2d Cir. 1994).
“Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to . . .
§ 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead that each
Government-official defendant, through the official's own
individual actions, has violated the Constitution.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009).
only allegation against the Police Commissioner is the vague
assertion of a “failure to properly train the
officers.” However, “[t]o state a claim under
§ 1983 for failure to train, a complaint must allege
that the supervisor's failure to train his employees
amounts to deliberate indifference to the rights of persons
with whom the employees came into contact.”
Schnitter v. City of Rochester, 931 F.Supp.2d 469,
475 (W.D.N.Y. 2013), aff'd, 556 F. App'x 5
(2d Cir. 2014), (quoting Connick v. Thompson, 563
U.S. 51, 60 (2011) (alterations, quotation marks, and
additional citations omitted). Perkins' conclusory
assertion, unsupported by any factual allegations that the
Commissioner failed to properly train police officers, is
insufficient to establish personal involvement in the alleged
violation of Perkins' constitutional rights. See Cox
v. Fischer, No. 13-CV-743M, 2014 WL 843897, at *2
(W.D.N.Y. Feb. 27, 2014) (collecting cases). Accordingly, the
Police Commissioner is dismissed as a defendant.
municipality, such as the City of New York, can be liable
under § 1983 only if a plaintiff can show that a
municipal policy or custom caused the deprivation of his or
her constitutional rights. See Monell v. Dep't of
Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978); Cash v.
County of Erie, 654 F.3d 324, 333 (2d Cir. 2011)
(“[T]o establish municipal liability under § 1983,
a plaintiff must prove that action pursuant to official
municipal policy caused the alleged constitutional
injury.” (citation and internal quotation marks
omitted)), cert. denied, 132 S.Ct. 1741 (2012).
Proof of a single incident of unconstitutional activity is
not sufficient to impose liability on a municipality unless
proof of the incident includes proof that it was caused by an
existing, unconstitutional municipal policy that can be
attributed to a municipal policymaker. City of Oklahoma
City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 823 (1985). In this case,
Perkins has not alleged any unconstitutional policy or
custom. Accordingly, the City of New York is dismissed as a