Where a detainee claimed a prison official grabbed him by the throat, slammed his head into the van and slapped him, while he was secured in handcuffs and leg restraints and therefore was only a limited threat to the security of the jail or other officers, the official’s motion for summary judgment was denied.
Jonathan Arn, a former federal detainee proceeding pro se, contends that Jeffrey Whitehead used excessive force against his person in violation of the of his rights under the Eighth Amendment. Whitehead has moved for summary judgment.
Arn insists that after being choked, his throat was swollen and bruised. Additionally, Arn contends that he had scars from having his head slammed into the van. These circumstances suggest that the amount of force employed was more than nontrivial and is sufficient to satisfy the objective component of his excessive force claim.
Furthermore, according to Arn’s account, he was compliant with Whitehead’s directions and no need for the application of any force existed. Further, Arn was secured in handcuffs and leg restraints and therefore was only a limited threat to the security of the jail or other officers
Nevertheless, in a fit of anger, Whitehead, grabbed Arn by the throat, slammed his head into the van and slapped him. Based on these facts, a rational jury could conclude that that the force used against Arn was done maliciously and sadistically merely to cause harm, rather than a good faith effort to restore discipline.
Defendant’s motion for summary judgment denied.
Arn v. Whitehead, Case No. 3:21-cv-763, Nov. 3, 2022. EDVA at Richmond (Gibney). VLW 022-3-497. 7 pp.