United States District Court, D. Columbia
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
O'CHAUNCEY MADDUX, Plaintiff: Gregory L. Lattimer, LEAD
ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICES OF GREGORY L. LATTIMER, PLLC,
Washington, DC; Malik Shabazz, LEAD ATTORNEY, SHABAZZ LAW
GROUP/ B.L.F.J., Washington, DC.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, A municipal corporation, ROBERT
HAMRICH, Officer, 5th District Police Station, Defendants:
Michael K. Addo, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY
GENERAL/DC, Washington, DC.
OPINION AND ORDER
Mehta, United States District Judge.
O'Chauncey Maddux claims that, on November 14, 2013, he
was assaulted, battered, and falsely imprisoned by members of
the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department. The
incident left him with a broken hand. Plaintiff brought suit
against the District of Columbia and the two police officers
who he alleges unlawfully seized and injured him, Officer
Robert Hamrick and Officer Maurice McDonald. Plaintiff,
however, never served Officer McDonald with his Complaint,
leaving only the District and Officer Hamrick as the
defendants before the court. Defendants now seek entry of
summary judgment in their favor on three of
Plaintiff's claims: (1) excessive force and unlawful
seizure in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2) assault
and battery; and (3) false imprisonment.
considering the parties' arguments, the court grants
summary judgment in favor of Officer Hamrick on the excessive
force component of Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim. It
also grants summary judgment in favor of the District on the
aspect of Plaintiff's assault and battery claim that
relies on the conduct of Officer McDonald. However, the court
denies Defendants' Motion as to: (1) the unlawful seizure
component of Plaintiff's claim under Section 1983 against
Officer Hamrick; (2) Plaintiff's assault and battery
claim against Officer Hamrick and the District; and (3)
Plaintiff's false imprisonment claim against Officer
Hamrick and the District.
facts in this case are substantially in dispute. The court,
therefore, separately sets forth below the versions of the
facts as asserted by Officers Robert Hamrick
and Maurice McDonald, on the one hand, and by Plaintiff and
his father, on the other.
The Officers' Version of Events
to Officers Hamrick and McDonald, they were on warrant duty
on the afternoon of November 14, 2013, when they approached a
McDonald's restaurant located at 4900 South Dakota Avenue
in Northeast Washington, D.C. See Deposition of
Robert Hamrick, ECF No. 22-5, at 11:11-12:14 [hereinafter
Hamrick Dep.]. Hamrick testified that, when he and McDonald
arrived on the scene, a group of school-aged kids whom they
had seen outside the restaurant earlier in the day were still
there. Id. at 12:12-13:22. (McDonald, on the other
hand, could not recall whether he had seen any juveniles
earlier in the day at the McDonald's. Deposition of
Maurice McDonald, ECF No. 22-7, at 15:7-17 [hereinafter
McDonald Dep.].) Hamrick and McDonald sought assistance from
D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Truancy
Officers--specialized officers tasked with investigating
juveniles for their absence from school. After Truancy
Officers Kenneth Parker and Irene Smith arrived at the
McDonald's, Hamrick and McDonald pulled their car into
the restaurant parking lot to provide assistance. Hamrick
Dep. at 20:5-21:11; McDonald Dep. at 39:17-22. According to
Hamrick, as he began walking toward the McDonald's, he
observed Plaintiff walking away from the restaurant and
toward an alley. Hamrick Dep. at 34:1-8. He suspected that
Plaintiff was between the ages of 12 and 16. Id. at
approached Plaintiff and asked Plaintiff to walk toward him.
Plaintiff asked why, and Hamrick told Plaintiff that he
looked like a truant and that he needed to verify
Plaintiff's age. Id. at 35:7-14. Plaintiff
stopped walking and responded that he was 19 years old.
Id. at 35:16-17. Hamrick, however, did not believe
Plaintiff and continued to ask him questions in order to
verify his age, including asking for identification.
Id. at 26:6-26:7, 35:16-22. Plaintiff did not have
any form of identification with him. Id. at 46:8-10.
Officer Hamrick explained that he would need to conduct a
truancy investigation to verify Plaintiff's age.
Id. at 53:19-54:6.
after Hamrick stopped Plaintiff, Truancy Officer Smith
approached. According to Hamrick, Smith agreed with him that
Plaintiff " looked to be a truant." Id. at
60:13-14. She explained to Plaintiff that they needed to
conduct a truancy investigation. Id. at 59:11-60:21.
Hamrick testified that, at the point Smith confirmed
Plaintiff looked like a truant, Plaintiff was not free to
leave until the officers completed their investigation.
Id. at 60:13-21. Before then, he could have walked
away. Id. at 55:13-57:3.
McDonald had approached another youth, named D'Andre, who
initially was seen with Plaintiff, but who had walked toward
and then entered a car parked in the McDonald's parking
lot. McDonald Dep. at 39:17-40:11, 56:20-57:5. Inside the car
was Chauncey Leroy Maddux--Plaintiff's father.
Id. According to McDonald, Leroy Maddux became irate
when McDonald tried to question D'Andre. Id. at
57:1-4. Leroy Maddux claimed that D'Andre was his son,
" went on a rant," and " threated to sue"
the police. Id. at 59:18-60:3. McDonald continued to
try to question D'Andre but eventually deferred to
Truancy Officer Parker, who was accompanying McDonald.
Id. at 65:3-6. D'Andre ultimately produced
proved his age, but demonstrated that Leroy Maddux was not
his father. Id. at 59:21-60:3. Leroy Maddux then
instead claimed to be D'Andre's legal guardian.
Id. at 60:1-3.
Leroy Maddux left his car and intervened in the ongoing
conversation between Hamrick and Plaintiff. Hamrick Dep. at
36:7. Leroy Maddux told Hamrick that Plaintiff was his son.
Id. at 43:21-44:1. According to Hamrick, the
officers did not believe Leroy Maddux because he had "
claimed every child that we had stopped . . . w[as] his son[
]." Id. at 43:19-44:7. Hamrick testified that
Leroy Maddux's presence made Plaintiff increasingly
unruly, combative, and uncooperative. Id. at
53:15-54:6. Plaintiff became verbally aggressive and balled
his fists, id. at 48:17-21, and this behavior led
Hamrick to take out his handcuffs. Id. at 61:9-11.
Hamrick explained to Plaintiff that he was going to handcuff
him because Plaintiff was agitated, which caused Plaintiff to
calm down and cooperate. Id. at 65:1-21. According
to Hamrick, Plaintiff voluntarily " handed" him his
left arm to be handcuffed, id. at 65:8-12, and then
" handed" him his right arm, id. at
65:22-66:2. Hamrick told Plaintiff that he was not under
arrest. Id. at 65:2-5. As Hamrick handcuffed
Plaintiff, Plaintiff informed Hamrick that his right hand had
been injured and in a cast, which had since been removed, but
the arm still bothered him. Id. at 66:6-13.
According to Hamrick, he had not touched Plaintiff prior to
handcuffing him. Id. at 49:8-18.
testimony minimally corroborated the foregoing events.
McDonald stated that he followed Leroy Maddux to where
Plaintiff and Hamrick were standing and heard Leroy Maddux
repeatedly say that Plaintiff was his son. McDonald Dep. at
71:1-3. McDonald said that both Leroy Maddux and the youth he
claimed was his son were " getting irate."
Id. at 73:1-2. McDonald recalled that the youth--who
McDonald was unable to identify during his deposition,
id. at 74:14-18--was placed in handcuffs while
McDonald tried to calm down Leroy Maddux, id. at
73:3-4. McDonald did not recall personally handcuffing the
youth. Id. at 73:12-14.
to Hamrick, after Plaintiff was handcuffed, the officers
walked him to Hamrick's police car and placed him inside,
leaving the door open. Hamrick Dep. at 66:14-67:2. While
Plaintiff remained in the car, Hamrick ran a database search,
based on information Plaintiff provided, in order to confirm
Plaintiff's identity. Id. at 76:1-7. Hamrick
verified that Plaintiff had no outstanding warrants.
Id. at 76:8-9. Also, during this time, Parker saw
Plaintiff and confirmed that Plaintiff was not a truant.
Id. at 77:5-9.
Plaintiff's and Leroy Maddux's Version of
and his father, Leroy Maddux, recounted a very different
series of events. Plaintiff testified that, shortly after
leaving the McDonald's, he began to walk toward his
father's car when Hamrick and a female Truancy Officer
approached him. Deposition of O'Chauncey Maddux, ECF No.
20-2, at 34:6-11, 54:21-22 [hereinafter Pl. Dep.]. Hamrick
said: " Stop. This is a truancy investigation."
Id. at 34:10-13. Plaintiff responded that he was
over the age of 18, insisting " that has nothing to do
with me," and continued walking. Id. at
34:14-22. Hamrick then put his hand on Plaintiff and said
" stop, motherfucker." Id. at 35:7-9,
55:8. Plaintiff stopped as ordered, but continued to tell
Hamrick that he was over 18 and that " this has nothing
to do with me." Id. at 35:7-18. Plaintiff then
leaned against a parked car to demonstrate that he did not
intend to run. Id. at 62:10-18. Nevertheless,
Hamrick continued to berate and curse at him. Id. at
36:2-5, 52:14-19, 62:19-63:2.
According to Plaintiff, the female truancy officer who was
with Hamrick--Smith--had stopped him in the past, when he was
in high school, for truancy investigations. Id. at
36:12-37:1. Plaintiff stated that Smith had stopped him
" [m]ore than enough times for [her] to recognize me and
know my age." Id. at 36:18-19, 39:2-5.
Plaintiff testified that he told Hamrick that the Truancy
Officer could confirm that he was older than 18. Id.
at 44:10-13. But despite her history with Plaintiff, Smith
remained silent the entire time. Id. at 36:6-8,
Hamrick asked Plaintiff for identification. Id. at
45:7-13. Plaintiff responded that he would have to ask his
father to verify his age and pointed out that his father was
nearby. Id. Hamrick then grabbed Plaintiff's
left arm, walked him to another car, and placed him against
the back of it. Id. at 45:14-17, 63:16-64:20,
65:3-11. Hamrick pulled out his handcuffs and ordered
Plaintiff to put his hands behind his back. Id. at
67:6-8. Plaintiff complied, but told Hamrick about his
injured hand. Id. at 67:16-21.
Hamrick could handcuff him, McDonald walked toward Plaintiff,
" huffing and pouting and, like, just angry," and
grabbed the handcuffs from Hamrick. Id. at
45:17-46:3, 48:5-20, 68:1-8. Plaintiff said to McDonald:
" Can you please watch my hand[?] I don't want you
to do anything to harm it." Id. at 46:4-6.
McDonald-- not Hamrick --then took Plaintiff's
right hand and twisted it, while handcuffing him.
Id. at 46:7-13, 68:9-69:6. Plaintiff heard a "
pop" sound and exclaimed that his hand was broken.
Id. at 46:11-16. McDonald nevertheless handcuffed
Plaintiff and then walked him to his police car. Id.
at 70:1-9, 71:15-19. According to Plaintiff, his father
approached only after he was in handcuffs. Id. at
father's recollection of the sequence of events differs
somewhat from that of his son. Leroy Maddux testified that he
left his car after he saw Hamrick grab his son and walk him
toward a car. Deposition of Chauncey Leroy Maddux, ECF No.
20-3, at 55:20-56:8, 59:18-60:14 [hereinafter Leroy Maddux
Dep.]. Truancy Officer Smith was with Hamrick, but McDonald
was not. Id. at 61:10-62:2. Leroy Maddux asked
Hamrick what was happening, and Hamrick responded that
Plaintiff fit the description of a suspect who had committed
a crime earlier that morning, but refused to disclose the
alleged crime. Id. at 62:9-63:2, 68:6-16. McDonald
then approached Leroy Maddux, who continued to talk to
Hamrick, and told him to back up. Id. at 69:1-70:21.
McDonald told Hamrick to " watch the perp" --by
which he meant Leroy Maddux--took the handcuffs from Hamrick,
and handcuffed Plaintiff. Id. at 77:18-79:22. Leroy
Maddux heard his son say: " [They] broke my hand."
Id. at 83:21-22. As the officers took Plaintiff to
the police car, Hamrick ...