United States District Court, District of Columbia
BRANDON MONTGOMERY, as personal representative for the estate of Gary Montgomery, Plaintiff,
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, et al., Defendants.
D. BATES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
2012, Gary Montgomery was charged in Superior Court with
first-degree murder for fatally stabbing Deoni JaParker Jones
at a bus stop in Washington, D.C. After initially being held
at the D.C. Jail, Montgomery spent much of the next five
years confined at a psychiatric hospital while proceedings
regarding his competency to stand trial unfolded. After
finally being determined competent, Montgomery was acquitted
at trial in 2017. He died shortly thereafter. Plaintiff
Brandon Montgomery, as personal representative for the estate
of Gary Montgomery, has brought this action against the
District of Columbia and several Metropolitan Police
Department officers (collectively "defendants").
Plaintiff alleges that defendants committed various
constitutional and statutory violations related to their
investigation and detention of Montgomery. Currently pending
before this Court is  defendants' partial motion to
dismiss four counts of the complaint. For the reasons that
follow, the Court will grant in part and deny in part
February 2, 2012, at approximately 8:12 p.m., Deoni JaParker
Jones was stabbed in the head and killed while sitting at a
bus stop in northeast Washington, D.C. Compl. [ECF No. 1]
¶ 36. A nearby motorist, Jermaine Jackson, witnessed the
murder and provided his account to the Metropolitan Police
Department ("MPD") a few hours later. Id.
¶¶ 37, 40. According to Jackson, the killer was
between 5'9 and 6'O tall, between thirty and forty
years old, and dressed in a gray hoodie under a black puffy
jacket. Id. ¶ 41. After Jones was stabbed,
Jackson exited his car and fought with the killer to prevent
him from escaping, punching him to the ground and stomping on
his head several times. Id. ¶¶ 39, 42. The
killer eventually escaped. Id. ¶39. Video
footage from the interior of America's Best Wings, a
business establishment a few blocks from where the murder
occurred, showed a person fitting Jackson's description
running in the opposite direction of the murder scene.
Id. ¶ 56.
next day, MPD released a different video to the public that
showed a man crossing a street in the area of the murder a
few minutes before it occurred. Id. ¶ 48. After
releasing the video, MPD received several phone calls from
individuals identifying the man as Gary Montgomery.
Id. ¶ 62. Montgomery, then fifty-five years
old, was a mentally disabled resident of the District of
Columbia ("the District") who had suffered from
Schizophrenia for most of his adult life. Id¶3l.
Montgomery was identifiable to his neighbors based on his
"prominent limp" and "distinctive
clothing." Id. ¶63.
first interrogated Montgomery in connection with Jones's
murder on February 4, 2012. Id. ¶¶ 65, 71.
Photographs and video footage captured by MPD that day show
Montgomery wearing a light brown jacket, khaki pants, and
white tennis shoes, which Montgomery said he had been wearing
for several days and which matched the clothing worn by the
man crossing the street in the released video. Id.
¶¶ 72-74. Despite Jackson's account of the
murder and his fight with the killer, Montgomery "did
not appear to be 3O[-]4O years old," and his "face
was unblemished and free of any bruises or injuries."
Id. ¶ 46.
Officers Brian Wise and Hosam Nasr conducted the
interrogation of Montgomery, which lasted for nearly six
hours. Id. ¶ 108. The officers used the Reid
technique, id ¶ 109, "a method of interrogation . .
. aimed at extracting confessions and evaluating suspect
credibility." United States v. Jacques, 744
F.3d 804, 808 n.l (1st Cir. 2014); see United States v.
Preston, 751 F.3d 1008, 1023 & a 19 (9th Cir. 2014)
("The 'Reid method,' named for the manual of
which [John E.] Reid was a coauthor, is widely used by law
enforcement agencies."). Throughout the interrogation,
"Montgomery repeatedly showed signs of psychosis
manifested by disorganized and jumbled thoughts," and
provided responses to questions that "frequently had no
apparent meaning." Compl. ¶¶ 113-14.
Montgomery's mental illness limited his "ability to
understand information and to communicate information"
throughout the interrogation. Id. ¶ 115. At one
point, Officer Wise inquired whether Montgomery had a mental
illness. Id. ¶ H6- The officers nevertheless
did not "make any modification or accommodation to their
interrogation of . . . Montgomery to ensure he was able to
communicate and understand the information given to
him." Id. ¶23.
February 7, Officer Wise interviewed Mark Johnson, who a
member of the public had also identified as possibly being
the person in the released video. Id. ¶¶
79, 81. Johnson told Wise that, around the time of the
murder, he was buying heroin near the bus stop where Jones
was killed. Id. ¶ 81. When Wise showed Johnson
a picture of Montgomery, Johnson told Wise he recognized
Montgomery from the neighborhood but did not say Montgomery
was with him on the night of the murder. Id. ¶
point between February 4 and 10, MPD arrested Montgomery,
after which Officers Wise and Nasr interrogated him for a
second time. See id ¶¶ 2, 92. During the
second interrogation, Montgomery was "in an active
psychotic state[, ] hearing voices and speaking to voices he
heard." Id. ¶ 117. As with the first
interrogation, Montgomery's ability to understand the
officers' statements and communicate with them was
limited, id ¶ 115, but no accommodations for his mental
illness were made, id ¶ 23.
February 23, the D.C. Superior Court held a preliminary
detention hearing pursuant to section 23-1325(a) of the D.C.
Code, which authorizes pretrial detention of defendants
charged with certain serious crimes, including first-degree
murder, upon a showing of (1) probable cause to believe that
the defendant committed the offense and (2) clear and
convincing evidence that no conditions of release will
reasonably assure the safety of the community. Jeffers v.
United States, 208 A.3d 357, 359 (D.C. 2019); see
United States v. Montgomery, 2012 CF1 002614 (D.C.
Sup. Ct. Feb. 11, 2012); Compl. ¶ 53. When the government
asked Officer Nasr, who testified at the hearing, whether
anyone aside from Montgomery was near Jones in the minutes
leading up to her death, Nasr said no. Compl. ¶53.
Nasr's testimony was knowingly false, plaintiff alleges,
because at the time, MPD possessed footage showing another
man sitting next to Jones at the bus stop in the moments
before her death-footage that it had not yet disclosed to the
public or to Montgomery's defense counsel. Id.
¶¶ 53-54, 92. The hearing resulted in a finding
that pretrial detention was warranted. See Seventh
Docket Entry of Feb. 23, 2012, Montgomery, 2012 CF1
was indicted on November 7, 2012. First Docket Entry of Nov.
7, 2012, Montgomery, 2012 CF1 002614. Shortly
thereafter, Montgomery's defense counsel submitted a
written request to the government for material covered under
Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).,  Compl.
¶¶ 92-93. In response, the government represented
that it would disclose a surveillance DVD, but no such DVD
was included in the materials Montgomery's counsel
received. Id. ¶¶92, 95- In early
2013, the Superior Court ordered that Montgomery be moved
from the D.C. Jail to a psychiatric hospital and examined for
competency to stand trial. Fifth Docket Entry of Jan. 29,
2013, Montgomery, 2012 CF1 002614. Montgomery was
initially found competent to stand trial, but his competency
status changed several times over the next few years.
See Docket Entries of Apr. 5, 2013-Nov. 29, 2016,
Montgomery, 2012 CF1 002614. In late 2016,
Montgomery was again found competent and a jury trial was
scheduled for July 31, 2017. Seventh Docket Entry of Nov. 29,
2016, Montgomery, 2012 CF1 002614.
counsel made an additional request for Brady
material in June 2017. Compl. ¶ 94. In the week
preceding the trial, the government disclosed Jackson's
eyewitness account of Jones's murder, the America's
Best Wings video showing a person fitting Jackson's
description of the killer, and details of MPD's interview
of Johnson. Id. ¶¶ 60, 85, 90.
two-week trial beginning on July 31, 2017, a jury acquitted
Montgomery of first-degree murder. Id. ¶¶
1, 3; Fifth Docket Entry of Aug. 16, 2017,
Montgomery, 2012 CF1 002614. Shortly after his
release, Montgomery died at sixty-one years of age. Compl.
August 16, 2018, Brandon Montgomery, as personal
representative for Montgomery's estate, filed the present
lawsuit. Id. at 7, 39. The complaint consists of
nine counts alleging various constitutional and statutory
violations committed by the District, Officer Wise, Officer
Nasr, and others. Id. ¶¶132-199.
Defendants move to dismiss four of the nine counts: Count IV
(claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging Officers Wise and
Nasr violated Montgomery's due process rights under
Brady); Count VII (claim under section 1983 against
the District alleging municipal liability for various
constitutional violations under Monell v. Dep't of
Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978)); Count Vin (claim
under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act
("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12132); and Count IX
(claim under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C.
§ 794(a)). Defs.' Mot. for Partial Dismissal of the
Compl. ("Mot") [ECF No. 10] at 1. The motion to
dismiss is fully briefed and ripe for resolution.
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted). Plausibility requires
"more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully." Id. (citation omitted).
"Legal conclusions cast in the form of factual
allegations" are insufficient. Browning v.
Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (citation
and internal quotation marks omitted). A court must accept
factual allegations as true and grant the ...