United States District Court, District of Columbia
P. Mehta United States District Judge
Abraham Evans filed this lawsuit against his former employer,
Defendant District of Columbia, alleging discriminatory
treatment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § et seq., and the District
of Columbia Human Rights Act, D.C. Code § 14.01.1 et
seq. Plaintiff-an African-American police officer who
worked in the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police
Department (“MPD”)-asserts that Defendant
terminated his employment on the basis of his race. Defendant
disagrees and instead contends that it fired Plaintiff
because he engaged in conduct that violated internal MPD
policies and lied to MPD investigators about that conduct.
matter is before the court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment. Having reviewed the pleadings and evidence,
the court finds that no reasonable factfinder could conclude
that Defendant discriminated against Plaintiff when it
terminated his employment. Accordingly, the court grants
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
2002, the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department
(“MPD”) hired Plaintiff as a police officer.
Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No.
25 [hereinafter Pl.'s Opp'n], at 2. Before his
termination in 2013, Plaintiff had received several
performance awards and had not been cited for any
performance-related issues. Id.
December 2008, MPD received a complaint that several on-duty
MPD officers were being paid to provide security for the
Calvert Woodley liquor store, which recently had been robbed.
Pl.'s Opp'n at 2-3; Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s
Stmt. of Material Facts, ECF No. 25 [hereinafter Pl.'s
Resp.], ¶ 1; Def.'s Stmt. of Material Facts, ECF No.
23 [hereinafter Def.'s Stmt.], ¶ 1. In response,
MPD's Internal Affairs Division and the FBI launched an
investigation into the allegations. Def.'s Stmt. ¶
2; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 2. As part of that investigation,
MPD officers set up surveillance at Calvert Woodley from
December 2008 through May 2009, which revealed that
Plaintiff, along with two other MPD officers, would arrive at
the liquor store around closing time, receive an envelope
from a store employee, and stand guard until the store
closed. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 3; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 3.
Based on the surveillance footage, MPD and FBI investigators
questioned several Calvert Woodley employees who admitted to
paying MPD officers, including Plaintiff, for extra security
during closing hours. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 4. The
investigators then targeted an MPD officer implicated in the
allegations, Officer Nathaniel Anderson, who eventually
admitted to accepting payment for providing security and
informed investigators that two other officers, including
Plaintiff, had done the same. Pl.'s Opp'n, Ex. 2,
Final Investigative Report for Abraham Evans, ECF No. 23-2
[hereinafter Evans Report], at 4-5.
United States Attorney's Office pursued criminal charges
against the implicated MPD officers. Id. at 1-2. On
November 21, 2010, Officer Anderson pleaded guilty to
illegally supplementing his salary and ultimately resigned
from MPD. Id. at 5. On January 21, 2011, Plaintiff
was indicted on charges of receiving illegal gratuities and
illegal supplementation of salary. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 5;
Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 5. A year later, however, prosecutors
moved to dismiss the indictment after discovering that
Plaintiff had provided security to the liquor store while on
unpaid lunch breaks, which meant that he had not supplemented
his income while on duty. Evans Report at 10.
dismissal of the indictment, MPD Internal Affairs continued
its investigation of Plaintiffs conduct to determine whether
to bring administrative charges. On February 22, 2012, MPD
investigators interviewed Plaintiff. Id. at 7.
Plaintiff claimed that his lieutenant had ordered him and the
other officers on his shift to provide extra security for
Calvert Woodley during its closing hours. Id.
Plaintiff flatly denied accepting any money in exchange for
providing those security services and explained that the
envelopes he was seen accepting on the surveillance footage
did not contain cash, but rather, discounts on certain
bottles of wine that he had purchased while on duty.
Id. at 8.
Internal Affairs issued its Final Investigative Report on
June 4, 2012. Id. at 1. The Report concluded that
Plaintiff had violated MPD policies by accepting unauthorized
employment and compensation; receiving gratuities while on
duty; and making false statements to both MPD and FBI
investigators during the course of their investigations.
Id. at 10-11; Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 6; Pl.'s
Resp. ¶ 6.
January 17, 2013, Plaintiff was afforded an Adverse Action
Hearing before a panel of three senior MPD officers:
Commander James Crane, Captain Marvin Lyons, and Captain
Andrew Wright (“the Panel”). Plaintiff was
represented by counsel and both sides were able to present
evidence and witnesses to the Panel. At the hearing, two
witnesses testified that they had personally paid Plaintiff
money in exchange for providing security services for Calvert
Woodley. Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 7; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 7.
The Panel ultimately found Plaintiff guilty of all three
charges and recommended his termination. Def.'s Stmt.
¶ 9; Pl.'s Resp. ¶ 9.
March 4, 2013, the MPD Human Resource Management Division
issued a Final Notice of Adverse Action, which formally
adopted the Panel's findings; notified Plaintiff that he
would be terminated effective April 19, 2013; and informed
him of his right to appeal to the MPD Chief of Police.
See Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of Mot. for Summ. J.,
ECF No. 23 [hereinafter Def.'s Mot.], Ex. 1, Final Notice
of Adverse Action for Abraham Evans, ECF No. 23-1
[hereinafter Evans Final Notice], at 3-4.
October 2, 2014, Plaintiff filed suit in this court, alleging
discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq., and
the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, D.C. Code §
14.01.1 et seq. See Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 38.
The crux of Plaintiff's discrimination claims is that the
MPD investigation leading to his termination was in fact
pretext for race discrimination and that other non-African
American officers had been treated more leniently than
Plaintiff for committing similar misconduct.
February 15, 2016, following discovery, Defendant filed a
Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that it had terminated
Plaintiff for a legitimate non-discriminatory reason-
specifically, his acts of misconduct and deceit, as detailed
in the Final Notice of Adverse Action. See
Def.'s Mot at 4-7. On April 11, 2016, Plaintiff filed his
Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment,
claiming that Defendant's proffered non-discriminatory
reason for terminating him was a pretext for discrimination.
See generally Pl.'s Opp'n. On May 13, ...