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Moore v. District of Columbia

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

February 5, 2015

ANGELIQUE MOORE, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants

Page 122

For ANGELIQUE MOORE, ERIC MOORE, Plaintiffs: Omid Safa-Esfahani, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jason Drew Wallach, DICKSTEIN SHAPIRO LLP, Washington, DC.

For DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, JOHN ALTER, Officer, MICHAEL CALLAHAN, Officer, JEREMY SHARPTON, Officer, HILARY DOSSEN, Officer, TONY COLES, Defendants: Robert A. DeBerardinis, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, DC.

Page 123

MEMORANDUM OPINION

BERYL A. HOWELL, United States District Judge.

Pending before the Court is a motion for partial summary judgment, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, filed by the defendants, the District of Columbia and five officers of the Metropolitan Police Department (" MPD" )[1] (collectively, " defendants" ), on eight of the sixteen

Page 124

claims asserted by the plaintiffs, Angelique Moore and her son Eric Moore, arising from an incident with the police that occurred in April 2011. For the reasons set out below, this motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

The claims in this case stem from an altercation between the plaintiffs and the defendant MPD officers on April 1, 2011. The parties agree that this incident began when nineteen year old Mr. Moore[2] was riding his bike along the sidewalk in front of a family friend's home, which was next door to a barbershop, where the five defendant police officers had just executed a search warrant. Second Am. Compl. (" SAC" ) ¶ ¶ 7-9, ECF No. 16; Defs.' Mot. Supp. Partial Summ. J. (" Defs.' Mot." ), Ex. 1 (Dep. Of Eric Moore (" E. Moore Dep." ) at 10:8-20), ECF No. 28-1. As Mr. Moore passed the barbershop, he claims that Lieutenant John Alter " stood in [his] path," prompting Mr. Moore to " change[] course to ride safely around Lieutenant. Alter and to avoid making contact with the officer." SAC ¶ 10. According to the plaintiffs, words were then exchanged between Mr. Moore and the Lieutenant Alter. The latter allegedly told Mr. Moore " to watch where he was going," prompting Mr. Moore to respond that Lieutenant Alter saw him riding on the sidewalk, moved into Mr. Moore's path, and could have moved out of the way. SAC ¶ 11; E. Moore Dep. at 20:19-20.

The plaintiffs claim that Lieutenant Alter then approached and assaulted Mr. Moore by deliberately bumping Mr. Moore and knocking a baseball cap off of Mr. Moore's head. SAC ¶ 12; see also Defs.' Stm. Of Undisputed Material Facts (" Defs.' SMF" ) ¶ 1, ECF No. 28; Pls.' Resp. to Defs.' SMF (" Pls.' Resp. SMF" ) ¶ 1, ECF No. 29. Lieutenant Alter denies that this physical contact occurred. Pls.' Resp. SMF ¶ 1. Mr. Moore protested that Lieutenant Alter had no right to touch him, to which Lieutenant Alter allegedly stated " that he could do whatever he wanted and then threatened to impound Mr. Moore's bicycle at the Seventh District police station if Mr. Moore continued to speak." SAC ¶ 13; see also Pls.' Resp. SMF ¶ 1. After further protest from Mr. Moore, Lieutenant Alter allegedly " abruptly snatched the bicycle from Mr. Moore and threw it onto the lawn" of the Moores' friends' residence, next door to the barbershop. SAC ¶ 14; E. Moore Dep. at 22:7-9.

This alleged encounter of a young man talking back to a police officer was the trigger for an escalating series of unfortunate events. Mr. Moore then called his mother, Ms. Moore, on his cell phone to report his encounter with Lieutenant Alter. Defs.' SMF ¶ 2; Pls.' Resp. SMF ¶ 2 (" Undisputed" ). At his mother's request, Mr. Moore tried to get Lieutenant Alter to speak by telephone with Ms. Moore, but Lieutenant Alter refused to speak with Ms. Moore. SAC ¶ 16; see also Pls.' Resp. SMF ¶ 3; E. Moore Dep. 25:16-26:5; Pls.' Mem. Opp'n Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. (" Pls.' Opp'n" ), Ex. 2 (Dep. Of Michael Callahan (" Callahan Dep." ) at 34:7-12), ECF No. 29-2. Lieutenant Alter disputes this allegation and claims that he spoke to Ms. Moore by telephone. Pls.' Resp. SMF ¶ 3. Ms. Moore told her son to wait at the scene and that she would join him. Defs.' SMF ¶ 3; Pls.' Resp. SMF ¶ 3.

After traveling about six blocks to the scene, Ms. Moore tried to speak to Lieutenant Alter ...


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