United States District Court, District of Columbia
N. McFADDEN, U.S.D.J.
Elshazli has sued the D.C. Government and two of its police
officers for alleged misconduct relating to his recent
arrest. He brought claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Metropolitan Police Officers John Javelle and Matthew Konkol,
alleging that they used excessive force in violation of his
Fourth Amendment rights. Compl. 7-10. He also brought a
negligence claim against the officers and the District of
Columbia, alleging that the officers violated a national
standard of care by improperly using a tactical
“takedown” and applying handcuffs too tightly
during his arrest. Compl. 10-11.
officers filed for summary judgment on the § 1983 claim
based on qualified immunity,  and the District and officers
moved to dismiss the negligence count for failure to state a
claim. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. & Mot. to Dismiss
(“Defs.' Mot.”) 1, ECF No. 10. In support of
their Motion for Summary Judgment, the officers submitted
bodycam footage for three officers on the scene during
Elshazli's arrest, including videos from Officers
Javelle, Konkol, and Joseph Quinlan. Defs.' Mot., Ex.
on the video record, no reasonable jury could find that the
officers violated Elshazli's Fourth Amendment rights by
using excessive force during his arrest. So the officers'
Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted. More, because
Elshazli fails to state a claim for negligence and because
the Court may decline supplemental jurisdiction over the
local common law claim, the Court will dismiss Count II of
to Elshazli's Complaint, shortly after midnight one
morning in early February 2018, he was driving his car when
Officers Javelle and Konkol pulled him over. Compl. 4.
Elshazli “stopped his vehicle without incident or
delay.” Id. Elshazli alleges that the officers
informed him that he had an outstanding arrest warrant in
Virginia and then ordered him out of his car. Id.
Elshazli complied, but “questioned the validity of the
warrant and whether or not the Defendant officers had the
correct person.” Id.
after he questioned the warrant, the officers
“aggressively tackled” Elshazli to the ground,
injuring his left shoulder. Id. at 5. While Elshazli
lay on the ground, he claims that the officers climbed on top
of him and “unnecessarily twist[ed] his left arm . . .
causing further injury and pain to his left shoulder.”
Id. He contends he continually questioned why the
officers tackled him. Id. After the officers
handcuffed him, Elshazli alleges that he complained to the
officers that the cuffs were too tight. Id. They
ignored him. Id.
says he continued to complain about the tightness of the
handcuffs and pain in his arm and shoulder after he was
placed in the police cruiser. Id. After the police
booked Elshazli, they took him to Howard University Hospital.
Id. He was diagnosed with “severe soft tissue
swelling of the elbow” and given painkillers and
x-rays. Id. at 5-6. Once Elshazli was released from
custody, he sought more treatment for his injuries.
Id. at 6. His doctors recommended he undergo
shoulder surgery. Id.
bodycam video footage submitted by the officers tells a
different story. Officers Javelle and Konkol stopped
Elshazli's van after discovering that he had an
outstanding, extraditable warrant from Virginia. Defs.'
Mot., Ex. 1 at 2:03-2:15. The officers approached the van,
and Elshazli asked why they stopped him. Id. at
2:36-2:37. Officer Javelle promised to “tell him in a
second, ” and asked to see Elshazli's driver's
license. Id. at 2:44. After confirming
Elshazli's identity, Javelle asked Elshazli to step out
of the car. Id. at 2:53. Elshazli did so,
id. at 3:01, but, contrary to his Complaint, he did
not question the validity of the arrest warrant since the
officers had not yet told him that there was a warrant.
divergence in the stories grows from there. Once the officers
and Elshazli reached the back of the van, the officers did
not “immediately” or aggressively tackle Elshazli
to the ground. Rather, while the officers were standing at
the rear of the vehicle, the video shows Konkol taking hold
of Elshazli's right wrist. Id. at 3:13. Javelle
reached for Elshazli's left arm and started to tell him
to put his hands behind his back, but Elshazli pulled his arm
away. Id. at 3:17. At that point, Konkol told
Elshazli, “Don't resist, ” and a moment
later, “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!”
Defs.' Mot., Ex. 2 at 2:46-2:49. The officers, apparently
struggling, turned Elshazli around to face the van and
Elshazli placed his right hand against the back windshield.
Id. at 2:49-2:57. Officer Konkol reached for
Elshazli's right hand and began pulling it back.
Id. at 3:04. But Elshazli yelled, “No, wait a
minute!” and pulled his hand away, placing it again on
the van. Id. at 3:05-3:07. The video then shows a
struggle between Elshazli and Konkol as Konkol tried to peel
Elshazli's hand off the back windshield to secure his arm
behind his back. Id. at 3:07-3:14.
Officer Quinlin pulled up and ran over to where Javelle and
Konkol were struggling with Elshazli. Defs.' Mot., Ex. 3
at 2:13-2:20. Quinlin yelled “Put him down! Put him
down!” and began moving the other officers' legs to
clear a space on the ground. Id. at 2:28-2:35.
Quinlin then grabbed Elshazli's legs, Javelle and Konkol
held Elshazli's arms, and the officers put Elshazli
face-down on the ground. Id. at 2:36-2:40; Ex. 2 at
3:19-3:22. While on the ground, Elshazli can be seen holding
his right hand near his face, Ex. 1 at 4:14, and trying to
pull his legs away from Quinlin's grasp, Ex. 3 at 2:49.
Officer Javelle, kneeling to Elshazli's right, told him
to “give us your other arm” and reached for
Elshazli's right arm. Ex. 1 at 4:10. Elshazli did not do
so. Instead, he again pulled his arm away, trying to tuck it
beneath his face or chest. Id. at 4:13-4:17. The
videos show the officers collectively struggling to prop
Elshazli up to pull his hand out from under him. Id.
at 4:18-4:33; Ex. 2 at 3:58-4:07. The officers repeatedly
told Elshazli to “give us your other arm” and to
“stop resisting.” Ex. 1 at 4:10-4:25. About one
and half minutes after initiating the arrest, the video shows
one of the officers successfully pulling Elshazli's right
arm behind his back and Officer Javelle securing the
handcuffs. Id. at 4:39-4:55.
prevail on a motion for summary judgment, a movant must show
that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986);
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
A material fact is “genuine” if “a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In cases
involving allegations of police officers' use of
excessive force, “a defendant's motion for summary
judgment is to be denied only when, viewing the facts in the
record and all reasonable inferences derived therefrom in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, a reasonable jury