United States District Court for the District of Columbia
May 3, 2005.
TUNC M. KIVANC, Plaintiff,
CHARLES RAMSEY, Chief, Metropolitan Police Department, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: PAUL FRIEDMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motion of defendants
Diane Groomes and Richard Ehrlich for summary judgment as to
plaintiff's constitutional claims.*fn1 Upon consideration of
defendants' motion, plaintiff's opposition, and defendants'
reply, the Court concludes that defendants' motion must be
Plaintiff Mr. Tunc Kivanc alleges that at approximately 3:15
a.m. on September 1, 2001, he left Cities restaurant, located at
2424 18th Street, N.W., retrieved his car from the valet and then
parked it in a legal space so that he could make plans with his
friends who were waiting for their cars. See Complaint ¶ 13.
Mr. Kivanc then claims to have made eye contact with Lieutenant
Diane Groomes who was in her vehicle in traffic. See id. ¶
14. Mr. Kivanc alleges that Lt. Groomes was shouting at him to
"get out of here," and so he moved towards his car and asked her if there was a problem with where the car was parked.
See id. ¶ 15. Mr. Kivanc claims that Lt. Groomes "became
infuriated," got out of her car and threatened to take Mr. Kivanc
to jail. See id. ¶ 16. Mr. Kivanc alleges that as he prepared
to move his car. Lt. Groomes punched him through the open window
of his car, pulled him from the car and said he would go to jail.
See id. ¶ 17. Lt. Groomes then called for more officers.
See id. ¶ 18.
Officer Richard Ehrlich arrived and allegedly yelled at Mr.
Kivanc to stop resisting and to get on the ground. See
Complaint ¶ 19. Mr. Kivanc claims that he was not resisting.
See id. Mr. Kivanc claims that Officer Ehrlich then began to
hit him, ripped his shirt, pushed him onto his car and threw him
to the ground with the help of two other officer, one of whom
shocked Mr. Kivanc with a stun gun. See id. ¶ 20. The
officers allegedly continued to punch, kick and hit Mr. Kivanc as
he lay on the payment. See id. ¶ 20. Mr. Kivanc was then put
into a police car and driven to the Adams Morgan Precinct. See
id. ¶ 23. Mr. Kivanc was told that he had been arrested for
assault on a police officer and spent the night in jail without
being permitted to contact counsel. See id. ¶ 24. The next
morning he was escorted to a courtroom where he was told that all
charges had been dropped. See id. ¶ 25.
Defendants Diane Groomes and Richard Ehrlich have moved for
summary judgment with respect to plaintiff's constitutional
claims pursuant to Section 1983. See Memorandum of Points and
Authorities in Support of Defendants Diane Groomes and Richard
Ehrlich's Motion for Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff's
Constitutional Claims at 1. Defendants claim that Lt. Groomes had
a reasonable belief that plaintiff was violating the laws of the
District of Columbia specifically, that she had probable cause to arrest
him for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. See id. at
11. For purposes of summary judgment, however, the Court must
find that there is "no genuine issue as to any material fact."
FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). Defendants ignore plaintiff's version of
events and instead insist that "plaintiff has failed to cite any
disputed facts that would otherwise dispute the impressions and
beliefs shared by Defendants at the scene of the incident."
Defendants Diane Groomes and Richard Ehrlich's Reply to
Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
as to Plaintiff's Constitutional Claims at 1-2. Defendants do not
argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity under
plaintiff's version of the facts, but rather say only that
"plaintiff has offered no evidence that Defendants' own
impressions gave them no reason to believe that plaintiff was
involved in any criminal activity." Id. at 2. Defendants' own
explanation of the law, however, clearly states that qualified
immunity shields an officer from liability so long as a
"reasonable officer possessing the same information could have
believed that his conduct was lawful." Id. at 3. Because there
are serious material disputes as to what actually took place on
September 1, 2001, defendants' motion for summary judgment must
be denied. Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED that Defendants Diane Groomes and Richard Ehrlich's
Motion for Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff's Constitutional
Claims  is DENIED.