THE SUPREME COURT OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
Cite as Alaphen v. Municipality of Moen,
2 FSM Intrm. 279 (Truk 1981)
[2 FSM Intrm. 279]
MUNICIPALITY OF MOEN,
CIVIL CASE NO. 1986-1020
FINDING OF FACTS AND
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Before Richard H. Benson
December 23, 1986
For the Plaintiff: Jeanne H. Rayphand
Truk, FSM 96942
For the Defendant: Maketo Robert (after default)
P.O. Box 979
Pohnpei, FSM 96941
* * * *
A municipality which employs untrained persons as police officers, fails to train them and authorizes their use of excessive force and summary punishment, will be held responsible for their actions in stripping a prisoner, handcuffing his leg to a table and his arms behind his back, then kicking and abusing him. Alaphen v. Municipality of Moen, 2 FSM Intrm. 279, 280 (Truk 1986).
* * * *
RICHARD H. BENSON, Associate Justice:
This is an action seeking recovery for the deprivation by the defendant of the civil rights of the plaintiff. The action is authorized by Chapter 7
[2 FSM Intrm. 280]
of Title 11 of the Code of the Federated States of Micronesia.
The defendant did not appear, and its default was duly entered. On December 18, 1986 a hearing on the issue of damages was held in open court and the testimony of the plaintiff was received pursuant to Rule 55(b) of the Rules of Civil Procedure. The defendant was represented by counsel at this hearing. The allegations of the complaint as to liability are taken as true.
The allegations of the complaint are that while the plaintiff was under arrest and detained in the Municipal office on Moen, he was subjected to unreasonable and excessive force, to summary punishment and humiliation; and that the defendant municipality employs untrained persons as police officers, fails to train them or alternatively gives them inadequate training, authorizes the use of excessive force in detention, the stripping of prisoners; and the imposition of summary punishment and humiliation.
Because of such employment of untrained persons, and of such failure to train, or adequately train, its police officers, authorizing the use of excessive force, and permitting the stripping of detainees and infliction of punishment and humiliation the municipality is responsible for the unlawful acts of the officers.
The allegations establish that the plaintiff was subjected to beating and excessive and unreasonable force during detention, and was summarily punished and humiliated.
Findings of Fact
The plaintiff, now 20 years of age, and then a 10th grade student, was under arrest and being detained by the Moen Municipal police at the municipal office in the evening of January 3, 1986. He was stripped of all his clothes and handcuffed to a leg of a table while lying on the floor of the office with his arms behind his back. The handcuffs were tight. The plaintiff was kicked repeatedly in the face, the back and the chest. The police officer clamped handcuffs on the plaintiff's penis. At this place he was observed by others looking in the windows and laughing. The plaintiff remained in this position and under the same circumstances until his release later the same evening.
The handcuffs caused pain, numbness and swelling.
The plaintiff went to the hospital for care of his wrists. He received massage. Skin was off his penis. The plaintiff stopped going to school because of his eyes being swollen and dark from bruises, and from the embarrassment this caused.
Conclusions of Law
The defendant unlawfully deprived the plaintiff of the enjoyment of his civil rights. The plaintiff is entitled to damages for the deprivation as follows:
[2 FSM Intrm. 281]
for pain and suffering $2,000.00
for the unlawful infliction of
punishment and humiliation 1,800.00
Reasonable attorney's fees will also be awarded to the plaintiff.
Let judgment be entered accordingly.