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KIVANC v. RAMSEY

United States District Court for the District of Columbia


May 3, 2005.

TUNC M. KIVANC, Plaintiff,
v.
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 denied.

I. BACKGROUND

  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.

  II. DISCUSSION

  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 [58] is DENIED.

  SO ORDERED.


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