D.C. Judge Tosses Claims |of Man Shot by Officer

     WASHINGTON, D.C. (CN) – A man who was allegedly shot in the back by a Washington, D.C. police officer and restrained while receiving medical treatment did not have his constitutional rights violated, a federal judge ruled.
     The June 2 ruling by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell came in response to a motion for partial dismissal by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department of a lawsuit filed by Andre Young, who claims he was unarmed and cooperating with police when he was shot in the back by Officer Thurman Powell on Dec. 27, 2013.
     Young further accused Powell, the police department and the District of Columbia of violating his constitutional and common law rights by restraining him with “shackles and a belly chain” while he was in the hospital being treated for the gunshot wound.
     The complaint alleges that the police violated Young’s Fourth Amendment rights by “seizing him without probable cause and using excessive force,” and says that his being handcuffed, arrested and restrained after he was shot constitutes infringement of his Eighth Amendment rights.
     Young also contends the police and Officer Powell are both liable “under common law claims of assault and battery” for use of excessive force, failure to properly train and supervise Powell, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     The defendants moved to dismiss all of Young’s constitutional and common law claims, except the one alleging that Powell used excessive force in the arrest and shooting. They also did not challenge the assault and battery allegation against either party.
     They argued that Young’s Eighth Amendment claim must failed because since Powell was acting as a government official at the time of the shooting, his actions were protected by qualified immunity.
     In order to claim a constitutional violation against Powell, the defendants argued, Young would have had to prove that the officer violated “clearly established” police procedure.
     Judge Howell agreed, ruling that Young “failed to meet [the] exacting standard in his pleading to defeat the qualified immunity defense.”
     “There [was no] clearly established regarding the use of handcuffs and the shackling of a pre-trial detainee during hospital treatment,” Howell wrote.
     The judge went on to dismiss Young’s claims against the D.C. Police Department for alleged violations of both the Fourth and Eighth constitutional amendments, finding that Young failed to present “sufficient factual allegations” proving that police policy was the “moving force” behind Powell’s actions.
     Young’s “barebones and conclusory allegation” that his shooting was caused by the Police Department’s failure to properly train its officers is also without merit, the judge said.
     Finally, Howell said Young’s claim of excessive force against the defendants is cancelled out by his virtually identical claim of assault and battery, both of which were predicated on Powell’s alleged discharging of his gun.
     The defendants did not challenge Young’s assault and battery claim, but were correct in their motion to dismiss the duplicative excessive force claim, the judge said.
     She did, however, deny the defendants’ motion to dismiss the claim on the gorunds of “insufficient service” against Powell, finding that Young properly served the officer with notice of the lawsuit.

%d bloggers like this: