United States District Court, D. Columbia
Marilu Romero-Hernandez, Plaintiff: Laura E. Varela-Addeo,
LEAD ATTORNEY, THE LAW OFFICES OF GARY M. GILBERT &
ASSOCIATES, Silver Spring, MD USA; Lauren Cole Daniel, LEAD
ATTORNEY, S. Zachary Fayne, John Arak Freedman, ARNOLD &
PORTER LLP, Washington, DC USA.
District of Columbia, Defendant: Joseph Alfonso Gonzalez,
LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL/DC, Washington, DC
USA; Portia M. Roundtree, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE
ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, DC
S. CHUTKAN, J.
the court is Plaintiff's Motion for U Visa Certification.
Upon consideration of the motion, Defendant District of
Columbia's opposition thereto, and Plaintiff's reply
in support thereof, and for the following reasons, the motion
motion arises from a now-settled civil suit relating to a
November 22, 2012 altercation between patrons at Sabor Latino
Bar and Grill in Washington, D.C. that resulted in police
being called to the restaurant. Plaintiff alleges that
District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department ("
MPD" ) Officer Joshua Arana-Jimenez hit her in the face,
knocking her to the ground, then pinned her down and punched
her repeatedly in the face with a closed fist. (Mem. of Law
in Supp. of Pl.'s Mot. for U Visa Certification, May 1,
2015 (" Mot." ) at 4-5). Plaintiff also alleges
that, thereafter, several MPD officers removed her from the
restaurant, and in the process " slammed" her head
against both a door and a window. ( Id. at 5-6).
Plaintiff claims that she suffered severe bodily harm and
psychological injuries as a result of these actions (
id. at 6-7), which she claims constituted felonious
assault and deprivation
of constitutional rights under color of law in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 242 ( id. at 12-15). The District
disputes Plaintiff's version of events. (Def.'s
Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for U Visa Certification, May 20,
2015 (" Opp." ) at 8).
November 2013, Plaintiff filed her underlying civil lawsuit
against the District, eight named MPD officers, ten unknown
MPD officers, and GC Latin Productions, which operates Sabor
Latino Bar and Grill. In October 2014, Plaintiff amended her
complaint, adding a named MPD officer. Plaintiff's
amended complaint alleged the deprivation of her
constitutional rights under color of law in violation of 42
U.S.C. § 1983 based on the MPD officers' use of
excessive force in violation of the Fourth and Fifth
Amendments. (Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 51-66). Plaintiff also
brought common law claims of assault and battery, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and negligent supervision.
( Id. ¶ ¶ 67-86).
any dispositive motions were filed in the civil litigation,
the parties settled and voluntarily dismissed the case.
is no existing criminal case relating to the November 22,
2012 incident (the " Incident" ). While Plaintiff
was initially charged with misdemeanor assault on a police
officer, that charge was dismissed in June 2013 after she
complied with the conditions of a deferred prosecution
agreement. (Opp. Ex. 1).
officers have been charged with any crime or infraction
arising out of the Incident. In December 2013, the Civil
Rights Unit of the United States Attorney's Office for
the District of Columbia stated that, after considering
" the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged
misconduct" by Officer Arana-Jimenez and two other MPD
officers named as defendants in Plaintiff's civil suit,
it had " decided to decline criminal prosecution of
[those] officers or any other officer" for the roles
they played in the Incident. ( Id. Ex. 2).
Internal Affairs Investigative Report concerning the alleged
use of force by Officer Arana-Jimenez and another MPD officer
during the Incident also states, under the heading "
INVOLVED SUBJECT STATEMENT(S)," that Plaintiff had
retained legal counsel, made public her intent to pursue
civil litigation and " declined to be interviewed."
( Id. Ex. 3). Plaintiff claims that neither she nor
her counsel were ever contacted by MPD Internal Affairs to
participate in an interview, and therefore reads the
Investigative Report to mean that " Internal Affairs
assumed that because Plaintiff filed this civil lawsuit, she
would not cooperate with the investigation." (Pl.'s
Reply to Def.'s Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for U Visa
Certification, May 28, 2015 (" Reply" ) at 4-5).
Plaintiff also notes that,
to the extent MPD sought to contact [her] prior to this civil
lawsuit, it is entirely understandable that [she] may have
been hesitant to cooperate in an investigation performed by
the very same entity whose officers had violently assaulted
her and then charged her with a crime, ...