United States District Court, District of Columbia
JAMAL B. ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION, [DKT. ## 23, 27]
RICHARD J. LEON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jamal B. Robinson ("plaintiff or "Robinson")
is a former Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD")
officer in the District of Columbia. He filed this lawsuit
against two other members of the MPD-Detective Scott Pinto
and Officer Maurice Clifford-and the District of Columbia
(collectively, "defendants"), alleging that on
November 6, 2013, while Robinson was off duty, Detective
Pinto and Officer Clifford detained him without legal
justification and employed excessive force against him in
violation of Robinson's constitutional rights and
District of Columbia laws against false arrest and assault
and battery. The District of Columbia is liable, according to
Robinson, for negligently training and supervising Pinto and
Clifford. Defendants have moved for summary judgment on all
pending claims. Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. ("Defs.'
Mot.") [Dkt. # 23].
consideration of the briefing, the record,  and the relevant
law, the Court GRANTS defendants' motion for summary
judgment for the reasons stated below.
November 6, 2013, at about 6:20 pm, Robinson was seated on a
low retaining wall outside of a vacant house in Southeast
Washington, D.C. Defs.' Stmt. Mat. Facts
("Defs.' SOMF") ¶¶ 9, 13 [Dkt.
# 23-2]; Pl.'s Stmt. Relevant Facts ¶ 3
[Dkt. # 24]. Because he was employed as a police officer at
the time, Robinson was carrying MPD credentials in his back
pocket and wearing a police badge on the front of his right
hip under an open jacket. Id. ¶¶ 1, 18,
63; Defs.'Mot. Ex. 1 at 80:1-6, 81:1-7 [Dkt. #
23-4]. But Robinson was off duty and dressed in civilian
clothing, so passersby would not have recognized him as an
MPD officer unless they happened to catch a glimpse of his
badge. Defs.' SOMF ¶ 18.
and Clifford, also MPD officers, were on duty that day,
patrolling Southeast Washington and conducting gun
interdiction operations with fellow MPD Officer Ryan Roe.
Defs.' SOMF ¶¶ 9, 11. On their patrol, Pinto
and Clifford observed Robinson seated on the wall and talking
to an individual-who turned out to be Robinson's
brother-in an improperly parked car with heavily tinted
windows. Id. ¶¶ 13-17. The vacant house
behind Robinson had a no trespassing sign posted on the door.
Id. ¶ 13; Defs.' Mot. Ex. 1 at 50:7- 12.
Pinto and Clifford both had over a decade of experience as
MPD officers and, based on that experience, believed that
abandoned houses are sometimes used to store weapons and
drugs. Defs.' SOMF ¶¶ 2, 4, 20. They stopped
their vehicle to investigate. Id. ¶¶
exiting the vehicle, Pinto, Clifford, and Roe approached
Robinson and asked him to stand up and submit to a search.
Defs.' Mot. Ex. 1 at 66:4-6. Robinson declined, so the
other officers asked whether he was carrying any weapons.
Id. at 66:7-13. Although off duty, Robinson was
carrying his gun, and he truthfully responded that he was
armed. Id. at 66:14-17. Importantly, Robinson told
Pinto, Clifford, and Roe that he had a gun before he
told them that he was a member of the MPD. Id. at
hearing that Robinson was carrying a gun, the other officers
tackled him to the ground and placed him in handcuffs.
Defs.' SOMF ¶ 45; Defs.' Mot. Ex. 1 at
66:18-67:10. During the handcuffing, a police officer lay on
top of Robinson, an officer briefly placed a knee on
Robinson's neck, and an officer applied an arm bar to one
of Robinson's arms. Defs.' SOMF ¶42; Defs.'
Mot. Ex. 1 at 75:6-18. Robinson concedes, however, that the
entire process was "pretty fast." Defs.' Mot.
Ex. 1 at 78:2-6. The officers were able to apply the
handcuffs "immediately," and in Robinson's
opinion, no officer contacted his body for longer than
necessary. Id. at 78:2-6, 79:2-6, 227:18-228:3. The
entire handcuffing process took "under a minute."
Id. at 78:2-6.
he was handcuffed, Robinson repeatedly told Pinto, Clifford,
and Roe that he was an MPD officer. Defs.' Mot. Ex. 1 at
78:7-9. The on-duty officers searched Robinson, removed his
weapon, found the MPD credentials in his back pocket, and sat
him up. Defs.' SOMF ¶¶ 54, 63; Defs.' Mot.
Ex. 1 at 79:22-80:6. Clifford then called their supervisors.
Defs.' SOMF ¶ 61.
recalls that the supervising officers took over an hour to
arrive at the scene and that he remained in handcuffs for the
entire wait. Defs.' SOMF ¶¶ 65-66. After they
arrived, the supervisors released Robinson without charges.
Id. ¶ 68. Robinson's brother was arrested
for operating a vehicle with a suspended license and was
issued tickets for parking illegally and for a window tint
violation. Id. ¶¶ 75-76.
following the incident, Pinto, Clifford, and Roe provided
statements to MPD Internal Affairs, prompting an
investigation into both their conduct and Robinson's
conduct. Defs.' SOMF ¶¶ 77, 79. Internal
Affairs subsequently issued a report concluding that Robinson
engaged in misconduct by failing to inform Pinto, Clifford,
and Roe that he was an MPD officer before announcing that he
was carrying a weapon. Id. ¶ 80. In a separate
report, Internal Affairs determined that the on-duty
officers' use of force during the incident was justified.
Id. ¶ 81.
MPD's internal investigation concluded, Robinson filed
this lawsuit in the Superior Court of the District of
Columbia. Notice of Removal ¶ 1 [Dkt. # 1]. Defendants
timely removed the case to this Court, see id., and
on February 12, 2015, Robinson filed an Amended Complaint
[Dkt. # 8], which remains the operative pleading.
amended complaint alleges three causes of action under
District of Columbia tort law and two causes of action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. On June 17, 2015, 1 dismissed Count V
of the amended complaint as conceded, leaving claims for
false arrest, assault and battery, and negligent training and
supervision under District of Columbia law, and a claim under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of Robinson's
Fourth Amendment rights. Defendants have moved for summary
judgment on all four remaining claims, and their motion is