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Crockett v. Portland Police

United States District Court, D. Oregon

October 23, 2019

CHUCK CROCKETT, Plaintiff,
v.
PORTLAND POLICE and CITY OF PORTLAND, Defendants.

          Chuck Crockett, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Ryan C. Bailey, City of Portland, City Attorney's Office, Attorney for Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          MARCO A. HERNÁNDEZ, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Chuck Crockett brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants City of Portland and Portland Police, alleging violations of his Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as tort claims arising from Defendants' alleged violation of state and federal laws. Defendants move to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff moves to remand to state court and for sanctions. The Court denies Plaintiff's motion to remand and motion for sanctions and grants Defendants' motion to dismiss in part. Plaintiff is granted leave to amend his First Amended Complaint.

         BACKGROUND

         The court takes the facts from Plaintiff's Tort Claim (“first amended complaint” or “FAC”). On March 15, 2019, Plaintiff Chuck Crockett entered the North Portland Police Precinct to report a hate crime. First Am. Compl. 1[1], ECF 10. Plaintiff alleges that he asked the desk clerk to get an officer to take his report. Id. The desk clerk told Plaintiff that no officers were available to take his report and instructed him to call the non-emergency line to report the crime. Id. Plaintiff told the desk clerk that he could see that two officers behind the clerk were doing nothing and asked that one of them take his report. Id. The clerk told Plaintiff a second time that no officers were available to take his report and told him to call the non-emergency line. Id. Plaintiff began to argue with the clerk about the clerk's refusal to summon an officer to take his report. Id. Plaintiff told the clerk that a Caucasian male had been driving around in his car trying to assault African Americans and that the man posed an immediate threat to the public. Id. According to Plaintiff, the clerk denied that the situation described by Plaintiff was an emergency and again instructed Plaintiff to call the non-emergency line to report the crime. Id.

         Plaintiff asserts that during his argument with the clerk, several Portland Police officers passed by, and the clerk did not ask any of them to take Plaintiff's report. Id. at 2. Plaintiff tried to stop one of the officers, who refused to take his report. Id. Plaintiff told the officer that the “encounter was [b]ullshit and racist.” Id. Plaintiff went outside and began to tell the officers who were outside the precinct that he was trying to report a hate crime and was being ignored. Id. The officers ignored him. Id. Plaintiff began to yell at officers to get their attention, and the officers continued to ignore him. Id. Eventually, Plaintiff found an African American officer who agreed to take his report. Id. According to Plaintiff, the officer who took his report and the sergeant on shift told Plaintiff that “the incident should have never taken place.” Id. Plaintiff claims Portland Police did not properly investigate the man he reported to have committed the hate crime. Id. at 4.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his rights under the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments and perpetuated a pattern of racism in violation of Title III and VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Id. at 2. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he was discriminated against because of his race when Caucasian police officers refused to take his report of the hate crime and alleges that he has been subjected to involuntary servitude because he is forced to pay taxes for government services that oppress him. Id. at 3-4. Plaintiff also alleges an act of domestic terrorism[2], id. at 3, and alleges that under Oregon Revised Statute (“O.R.S.”) § 199.410, a service agency for African Americans must be established. Id. at 4.

         STANDARDS

         I. Removal and Remand

         A federal district court has original jurisdiction over all civil actions “arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. When a federal district court has original jurisdiction over a civil case, the court has supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that arise from the same case or controversy. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). If a district court has original jurisdiction over a civil case, the defendant may remove it from state court to the district court for the district and division that encompasses the place where the state court action is pending. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). A defendant must remove an action from a state court to a federal district court within thirty days of service or receipt by the defendant of a copy of the initial pleading setting out the plaintiff's claims for relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1446. A plaintiff must file a motion to remand the case on any basis other than lack of subject matter jurisdiction within thirty days of filing of the notice of removal. 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c). A plaintiff can move to remand based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction any time before final judgment. Id.

         II. Motion to Dismiss

         A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim may be granted only when there is no cognizable legal theory to support the claim or when the complaint lacks sufficient factual allegations to state a facially plausible claim for relief. Shroyer v. New Cingular Wireless Servs., Inc., 622 F.3d 1035, 1041 (9th Cir. 2010). In evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint's factual allegations, the court must accept all material facts alleged in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Wilson v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 668 F.3d 1136, 1140 (9th Cir. 2012). However, the court need not accept conclusory allegations as truthful. Holden v. Hagopian, 978 F.2d 1115, 1121 (9th Cir. 1992).

         The Court will grant a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) if the plaintiff alleges the “grounds” of his “entitlement to relief” with nothing “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action[.]” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, . . . on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Id. (citations and footnote omitted).

         To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face[, ]” meaning “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotation omitted). Additionally, “only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss.” Id. The complaint must contain “well-pleaded facts” which “permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 679. The court must liberally construe a pro se plaintiff's pleadings. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam) (citing Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972)). In doing so, the court gives the plaintiff the benefit of the doubt and must give the plaintiff leave to amend the pleadings “unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment.” Broughton v. Cutter Labs, 622 F.2d 458, 460 (9th Cir. 1980).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Plaintiff's Motion to Remand and ...


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