University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name DOJ Investigation of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department PN-DC-0001
Docket / Court No Court Case ( No Court )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In January 1999, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey requested that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) review the incidents and handling of the use of force by officers of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). That request followed the publication of ... read more >
In January 1999, D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey requested that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) review the incidents and handling of the use of force by officers of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). That request followed the publication of a five-part Washington Post series in November 1998, focusing on MPD's use of force. In that series, the Post noted that "the District of Columbia's Metropolitan Police Department have shot and killed more people per resident in the 1990s than any other large American city police force."

The DOJ examined the MPD's use of force policies and analyzed all reported incidents involving the use of force, as well as all complaints of excessive force and brutality for the period of 1994 to early 1999.

Through analysis of a random sample, the DOJ determined that in approximately 15% of the use of force incidents, the force used by MPD officers was excessive, compared to an expected occurrence rate of 1 to 2%. Other DOJ findings included disproportionate incidents of force used by off-duty officers (14% of incidents); subjects being charged with "assault on a police officer" when force was deployed (1/3 of incidents); incidents of a gun not found on the subject, despite officers reporting that subject appeared to be reaching for a weapon (22% of incidents); and excessive incidents of police dog bites (bites occurring in 70% of canine deployments, compared to an expected bite rate of 10%). The DOJ determined that MPD lacked a comprehensive program to minimize the use of excessive force, had an inadequate system for investigating citizen complaints of officer misconduct, and had significant deficiencies in its training program.

On June 13, 2001, the MDP and DOJ entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA), pursuant to the DOJ's authority granted by 42 U.S.C. §14141, to implement changes in the MPD regarding the use of force and related issues, including investigation of citizen complaints of officer misconduct. On April 9, 2002, the DOJ and MPD selected Michael R. Bromwich and his team to act as the independent monitor to oversee MPD's compliance and implementation of the MOA.

The independent monitor issued twenty-four quarterly reports, assessing the progress made by the MPD in complying with the MOA. On April 1, 2008, the independent monitor recommended that the MOA be terminated early in light of their assessment that the City and MPD achieved substantial compliance with more than 80% of the MOA's 126 substantive provisions. On April 7, 2008, DOJ approved their recommendation, and both the MOA and the independent monitoring of the City and MPD ended.

Dan Dalton - 12/28/2006
Jessica Kincaid - 04/09/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
False arrest
Improper use of canines
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Pepper/OC spray
Racial profiling
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) Washington Metropolitan Police Dept.
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2001 - 2008
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Implementing §14141 “Pattern or Practice” Reform: Evidence from Four Police Departments
Written: Oct. 01, 2009
By: Joshua M. Chanin (University of San Diego)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Re: Dept. of Justice Investigation of Use of Force by the Washington Metroplitan Police Dept.
PN-DC-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Memorandum of Agreement 06/13/2001
PN-DC-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Attorney General News Conference with DC Mayor Anthony Williams and DC Police Chief Charles Ramsey 06/13/2001
PN-DC-0001-0026 PDF | Detail
Special Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 06/12/2002
PN-DC-0001-0003 PDF | Detail
First Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 08/01/2002
PN-DC-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Joint Modification No. 1 to June 13, 2001 Memorandum of Agreement 09/30/2002
PN-DC-0001-0023 PDF | Detail
Second Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 10/29/2002
PN-DC-0001-0005 PDF | Detail
Third Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 01/30/2003
PN-DC-0001-0006 PDF | Detail
Summary Compliance Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 02/24/2003
PN-DC-0001-0007 PDF | Detail
Fourth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 04/29/2003
PN-DC-0001-0008 PDF | Detail
Fifth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 07/31/2003
PN-DC-0001-0009 PDF | Detail
Joint Modification No. 2 to June 13, 2001 Memorandum of Agreement 09/30/2003
PN-DC-0001-0024 PDF | Detail
Sixth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 10/30/2003
PN-DC-0001-0010 PDF | Detail
Seventh Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 01/30/2004
PN-DC-0001-0011 PDF | Detail
Eighth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 05/13/2004
PN-DC-0001-0012 PDF | Detail
Ninth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 07/28/2004
PN-DC-0001-0013 PDF | Detail
Tenth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 11/12/2004
PN-DC-0001-0014 PDF | Detail
Eleventh Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 01/31/2005
PN-DC-0001-0015 PDF | Detail
Joint Modification No. 3 to June 13, 2001 Memorandum of Agreement 03/01/2005
PN-DC-0001-0025 PDF | Detail
Twelfth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 04/29/2005
PN-DC-0001-0016 PDF | Detail
Thirteenth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 07/28/2005
PN-DC-0001-0017 PDF | Detail
Fourteenth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 10/31/2005
PN-DC-0001-0018 PDF | Detail
Fifteenth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 01/31/2006
PN-DC-0001-0019 PDF | Detail
Sixteenth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 04/27/2006
PN-DC-0001-0020 PDF | Detail
Seventeenth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 07/31/2006
PN-DC-0001-0021 PDF | Detail
Eighteenth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 10/30/2006
PN-DC-0001-0022 PDF | Detail
Nineteenth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 01/29/2007
PN-DC-0001-0027 PDF | Detail
Twentieth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 05/10/2007
PN-DC-0001-0028 PDF | Detail
Twenty-First Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 07/31/2007
PN-DC-0001-0029 PDF | Detail
Twenty-Second Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 10/30/2007
PN-DC-0001-0030 PDF | Detail
Twenty-Third Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 01/31/2008
PN-DC-0001-0031 PDF | Detail
Final (Twenty-Fourth) Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Metropolitan Police Department 06/13/2008
PN-DC-0001-0032 PDF | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters Bromwich, Michael R. (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0003 | PN-DC-0001-0004 | PN-DC-0001-0005 | PN-DC-0001-0006 | PN-DC-0001-0007 | PN-DC-0001-0008 | PN-DC-0001-0009 | PN-DC-0001-0010 | PN-DC-0001-0011 | PN-DC-0001-0012 | PN-DC-0001-0013 | PN-DC-0001-0014 | PN-DC-0001-0015 | PN-DC-0001-0016 | PN-DC-0001-0017 | PN-DC-0001-0018 | PN-DC-0001-0019 | PN-DC-0001-0020 | PN-DC-0001-0021 | PN-DC-0001-0022
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0001 | PN-DC-0001-0023 | PN-DC-0001-0024 | PN-DC-0001-0025
Gerhart, Sarah H. (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0025
Graybill, Lisa Shawn (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0023 | PN-DC-0001-0024
Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0023 | PN-DC-0001-0024 | PN-DC-0001-0025
Low, Daniel L. (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0024
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0001 | PN-DC-0001-0023
Schneider, Todd J. (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0025
Yeomans, William R. (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0001 | PN-DC-0001-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Rigsby, Robert (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0001 | PN-DC-0001-0002
Ryan, Terrence D. (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0002 | PN-DC-0001-0023 | PN-DC-0001-0024 | PN-DC-0001-0025
Wainstein, Kenneth L. (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0001-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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