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Snider v. Austin Police Department

United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division

June 4, 2019

JARED SNIDER § Travis County No. 1906387
v.
AUSTIN POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al.

          THE HONORABLE LEE YEAKEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          ANDREW W. AUSTIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The Magistrate Judge submits this Report and Recommendation to the District Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b) and Rule 1(f) of Appendix C of the Local Court. Before the Court are Plaintiff's complaint, more definite statement, and supplements. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         At the time he filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff was confined in the Travis County Jail. Plaintiff alleges Austin Police Officers Gallenkamp and Hanson arrested him for something he did not do. Plaintiff sues the Austin Police Department, Officer Gallenkamp, and Officer Hanson. Plaintiff requests the Court to dismiss the pending criminal charges against him and to award him an unspecified amount of monetary damages.

         After review of Plaintiff's complaint, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file a more definite statement. Plaintiff clarifies he is currently incarcerated on a pending criminal charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Plaintiff asserts Officer Gallenkamp and Hanson questioned and searched him at the scene of the crime. Plaintiff maintains he was not found to be in possession of a knife. Plaintiff states he was the person who called 911, and had the officers reviewed the video footage from the Halo cameras, they would have discovered the alleged victim was the perpetrator of the crime.

         DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

         A. Standard Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

         An in forma pauperis proceeding may be dismissed sua sponte under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) if the court determines the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from suit. A dismissal for frivolousness or maliciousness may occur at any time, before or after service of process and before or after the defendant's answer. Green v. McKaskle, 788 F.2d 1116, 1119 (5th Cir. 1986).

         When reviewing a plaintiff's complaint, the court must construe plaintiff's allegations as liberally as possible. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). However, the petitioner's pro se status does not offer him “an impenetrable shield, for one acting pro se has no license to harass others, clog the judicial machinery with meritless litigation and abuse already overloaded court dockets.” Farguson v. MBank Houston, N.A., 808 F.2d 358, 359 (5th Cir. 1986).

         B. Austin Police Department

         The Austin Police Department is not a legal entity capable of being sued. See Guidry v. Jefferson County Detention Center, 868 F.Supp. 189, 191 (E.D. Tex. 1994) (holding that the Jefferson County Detention Center is not a legal entity subject to suit); Darby v. Pasadena Police Dep't, 939 F.2d 311 (5th Cir. 1991) (holding that police and sheriff's departments are governmental subdivisions without capacity for independent legal action). Therefore, Plaintiff's claims against the Austin Police Department should be dismissed.

         C. Police Officers

         Construing Plaintiff's complaint liberally, Plaintiff may be asserting a Fourth Amendment claim against Officers ...


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