United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
KELVIN A. CANADA, Plaintiff,
CHRISTOPHER GILBERT, ET AL., Defendants.
A. Canada, Pro Se Plaintiff.
P. Jones United States District Judge
plaintiff, Kelvin A. Canada, an inmate proceeding pro se,
filed this prisoner civil rights action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Canada alleges that Virginia prison officials
misused body cavity searches and strip cell conditions and
destroyed his personal property items in retaliation for a
petition he wrote to administrators about prison conditions.
He has also submitted a Supplemental Complaint alleging
imposition of an excessive fine. After review of Canada's
submissions, I conclude that this action must be summarily
was incarcerated for several years at Red Onion State Prison
(“Red Onion”) in Pound, Virginia, where the
constitutional violations alleged in his Complaint allegedly
arose. He separates his allegations into four
of Recreation and Showers.
January 7, 2016, Officers S. Patrick and N. Stephens came to
Canada's cell for routine shower procedures that required
Canada to place his shower items in the tray box and submit
to a visual body cavity search. After Canada did so, Patrick
ordered: “Turn around, face the back wall and spread
your buttocks open again.” (Compl. 7, ECF No. 1.)
Canada said, “I've already spread my buttocks
once.” (Id.) Canada claims that Stephens then
shut the tray box and denied Canada a shower. When Canada
asked why, Stephens allegedly replied, “Because you
shouldn't of put my name in your damn
Petition.” (Id. at 8.)
alleges that he complained to Sargent Hall about missing his
shower and was told that he had been denied a shower for not
spreading his buttocks. Canada allegedly told Hall,
“That's a lie, I complied with the strip-search and
spread my buttocks. I've been at Red Onion for 17-years
on segregation. I know what the (strip search) protocol
is.” (Id. at 9.) Hall allegedly placed Canada
on “strip-cell for threatening staff, ” which
Canada denied doing. Canada claims that Hall then said,
“In my eyes and ears you did when you wrote that
(petition).” (Id. at 10.)
Jesse Wagner interviewed Canada on January 29 about his
grievances against officers at Red Onion. Wagner told Canada,
“The policy of Red Onion says prisoners must comply
with the (strip-search) procedure” in order to leave
their cells, and “[i]f an officer tells you to spread
your buttocks, and it's not to his approval you must do
it again. If you don't comply, you w[on't] come out
[of] your cell for (rec) or (shower).” (Id. at
14, 15.) Canada claims that Wagner misstated VDOC policy.
also claims that on February 4, he asked Sargent Jordan
Fleming why he had denied recreation and showers to Inmates
Rivera and Davis. Fleming allegedly stated, “[Y]ou
ain't going to (rec) or (shower) either for speaking up
for [them] and for writing that petition. . . . As long as
I'm taking up the (rec) [and] (shower) list you will
never come out [of] that cell for nothing.”
(Id. at 19.)
February 9, 2016, Officers J. Lovell and J.T. Fleming
allegedly denied Canada a shower “for the same typical
bogus reason that was used on Jan. 7, 2016.”
(Id. at 20.) Canada alleges that various officers
denied him showers or recreation in this manner on February
12, 13, 23, and 28, and March 12, 2016. Each time, the
officer(s) allegedly cited Canada's failure to comply
with some procedure.
contends that officers retaliated against him using false
accusations of failure to comply with search procedures to
deny him showers and recreation. He also claims that the
strip search procedures at Red Onion were dehumanizing and
degrading, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
Placement in Strip Cell.
complaint, Canada also alleges that on January 7, 2016,
Sargent Hall placed Canada on strip cell for eight and a half
hours “with nothing but a pair of ‘boxers'
on, ” after accusing him of stating, “I'm
going to fuck your staff up.” (Id. at 31.)
Canada allegedly denies making any such threat. While on
strip cell, Canada was denied sheets, blankets, a mattress,
soap, toilet paper, socks, and toothpaste, and could not wash
his hands before eating his lunch. He alleges that he had to
exercise to keep warm.
contends that Hall placed him on strip cell to retaliate
against him for writing the petition. Canada also argues that
strip cell was cruel and unusual punishment for a minor
infraction, such as a verbal threat, and that Hall's
actions denied him due process and violated VDOC policy.
Destruction of Property.
alleges that on February 9, 2016, an officer refused him a
shower, stating that he had not complied with strip search
procedures. Canada complained, and Sargent Hall allegedly
placed him on strip cell “for no reason.”
(Id. at 38.) In frustration, Canada threw feces at
the officers, who then placed him in restraints in a nearby
cell. Canada insists that when he left his cell, his personal
property was packed up in bags on his bottom bunk. When he
was released from ambulatory restraints, however, the
property inventory sheet indicated that “2 bags of
Canada's property had feces at the bottom of them and had
to be red-bagged in a ‘bio-hazard' bag.”
(Id. at 41.) The items in these bags allegedly
included five family photo albums, a battery charger, eight
rechargeable batteries, a prayer rug, a pair of Reebok shower
shoes, a medical therapy ball, and six books. Canada values
the property at $60, 878. (Id. at 49.)
denies that his property bags could have been exposed to the
feces that landed inside his tray box and in front of his
cell door. He contends that the officers purposely placed his
property on the floor in retaliation so ...