United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
V. HODGES COLUMBIA, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Gathers (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis, is an inmate incarcerated at York County
Detention Center (“YCDC”). He filed this
complaint alleging a violation of his constitutional rights
by City of Rock Hill Police Officers Ryan Thomas
(“Thomas”), Luke Boiling (“Boiling”),
Daniel Popov (“Popov”); city attorney Paul L.
Dillingham (“Dillingham”); York County attorney
Michael Kendree (“Kendree”); and the employees
and agents of York County, City of Rock Hill Police
Department, City of Rock Hill Municipal Court, and the York
County Public Defender.
to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local
Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.), the undersigned is
authorized to review such complaints for relief and submit
findings and recommendations to the district judge. For the
reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that the
district judge dismiss the complaint in this case without
prejudice and without issuance and service of process as to
Paul L. Dillingham, Michael Kendree, York County, City of
Rock Hill Police Department, City of Rock Hill Municipal
Court, and the York County Public Defender.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
complaint, Plaintiff alleges claims of unreasonable search
and seizure, violation of due process, cruel and unusual
punishment, and equal protection violations. [ECF No. 1].
Plaintiff alleges Thomas accused him of entering a First
Citizens Bank on March 14, 2017, at approximately 3:47 p.m.,
and demanding money from the cashiers at gunpoint.
Id. at 7. Thomas alleged the cashiers gave Plaintiff
a dye pack and cash that included four $20 bills whose serial
numbers had been previously documented. Id. at 10.
Thomas claimed Plaintiff then exited the bank and left a gray
plastic Walmart bag on the countertop. Id. Plaintiff
states Popov collected the plastic grocery bag and tested it
at the scene for DNA. Id. at 11. Plaintiff alleges
the DNA test was negative for his DNA and contends his DNA
was also not found at the scene of the robbery. Id.
Plaintiff claims Popov did not report any additional evidence
recovered from inside the bag. Id. Plaintiff alleges
Rock Hill police detectives located witness Kayla Brown, who
told the detectives she noticed a tan SUV “backed
in” at the apartment complex near the bank.
Id. at 11-12.
claims on the evening of the robbery, he was parking a gold
Ford Explorer at an apartment complex when Boiling approached
his vehicle. Id. at 12-13. Plaintiff alleges Boiling
falsely told him that he had received information that
Plaintiff had been selling drugs at the complex. Id.
at 13. Plaintiff claims Boiling asked for his identification
and sought permission to search his vehicle. Id.
Plaintiff states he did not consent to a search, and Boiling
placed him in handcuffs and took him to the rear of the
vehicle. Id. Plaintiff claims Boiling indicated he
observed an open container of beer in Plaintiff's vehicle
and proceeded to search the interior. Id. at 14.
Plaintiff states Boiling reported that he found a large sum
of money in the passenger seat compartment. Id.
Plaintiff claims Boiling also reported that he found .5 grams
of cocaine and 2.8 grams of crack in the vehicle.
Id. at 15. Plaintiff states Popov responded to the
scene and photographed the exterior of the vehicle.
Id. at 17. Plaintiff was arrested and subsequently
charged with drug offenses. Id. at 16, 19.
alleges after his vehicle was taken to the police warehouse,
where Popov claimed to have recovered $1, 130 from it.
Id. at 14. Plaintiff claims Thomas reported that
three $20 bills from the bank robbery, matched by serial
number, were recovered from the money taken from
Plaintiff's vehicle. Id. at 15. Plaintiff claims
once the vehicle was at the police warehouse, Popov acted
without a warrant and photographed the interior of the
vehicle and searched the vehicle a second time. Id.
at 17. Plaintiff argues the photographs show that the drugs
were never inside the vehicle during the initial search.
Id. Plaintiff alleges Popov staged the drugs during
the second search of the vehicle. Id.
states he was processed at the city jail and his possessions,
including a pair of black jeans, were placed into property.
Id. at 18. Plaintiff argues Thomas indicated a $20
bill was removed from Plaintiff's pants pocket and the
$20 bill matched the serial numbers of the money taken from
the bank. Id. Plaintiff alleges that on March 15,
2017, he was arraigned on the drug charges and Thomas
determined Plaintiff should be charged with the March 14 bank
robbery. Id. at 20-21. On March 16, 2017, a Rock
Hill Municipal court judge issued three warrants charging
Plaintiff with entering a bank with intent to steal,
possession of a firearm during a violent crime, and
possession of firearm by a person convicted of a crime of
violence. Id. at 21. Plaintiff alleges the warrant
prepared by Thomas claimed Plaintiff pointed a handgun at a
bank employee, demanded money from her, and left with $1,
820. Id. Plaintiff contends Thomas took an oath
affirming that he based the warrants on his information and
belief. Id. at 22.
claims on March 16, 2017, detective Robert Smith was informed
that an individual made a payment to the Rock Hill electrical
central collections department with fifteen $20 bills covered
in red dye. Id. Plaintiff states Thomas released the
money from police custody without further investigation.
Id. Plaintiff claims he was arraigned on the bank
robbery charges on this same day. Id. at 22-23.
Plaintiff says he was denied bond, with no reason given, and
committed to the YCDC on the pending robbery charges.
Id. at 23. Plaintiff states he had a subsequent bond
hearing on May 4, 2017, and he was again denied bond.
Id. at 23-24.
states a probable cause hearing was conducted on the robbery
warrants on October 24, 2017, at which Thomas testified.
Id. at 24. Plaintiff states the presiding judge
determined that probable cause existed to continue
prosecuting Plaintiff on the pending robbery charges.
Id. at 25. Plaintiff states that on this same day
the presiding judge appointed York County public defender
Philip Smith to represent him. Id. at 26. Plaintiff
claims he asked Smith to file motions challenging the stop
and search of his vehicle, but that Smith told him the public
defender's office would not file any motions concerning
the illegal search. Id. at 27. Plaintiff says Smith
has not replied to any of his correspondence. Id. at
states that on December 29, 2017, a City of Rock Hill
Municipal Court Judge signed fifteen warrants without
probable cause to arrest him. Id. Plaintiff claims
on January 3, 2018, Thomas charged Plaintiff with seven
counts of armed robbery and eight counts of possession of a
weapon. Id. Plaintiff states he was again denied
bond. Id. at 29. Plaintiff alleges he filed a
complaint against Smith on February 8, 2018, concerning his
lack of representation and his refusal to schedule
Plaintiff's probable cause hearing following his
arraignment. Id. at 30.
contends he has been detained at the YCDC for twelve months
due to defendants' conduct. Id. at 30. Plaintiff
seeks monetary damages. Id. at 37.