University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name S.H. v. District of Columbia PN-DC-0009
Docket / Court 1:14-cv-01317 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization Equal Justice Under Law
Case Summary
On August 4, 2014, a mother of three minor daughters, those minor daughters (ages 7, 11, and 13 at the time of the incident), and her brother filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On August 4, 2014, a mother of three minor daughters, those minor daughters (ages 7, 11, and 13 at the time of the incident), and her brother filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, represented by a public interest attorney, asked the court for compensatory relief, claiming that their Fourth Amendment rights were violated during a "violent nighttime home invasion" by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that, in response to a traffic stop of an individual not living in their home that occurred thirteen days prior, twenty heavily armed MPD officers stormed their home brandishing shields, machine guns, handguns, and body armor in a military-style raid.

On April 5, 2013, MPD officers conducted a traffic stop and found contraband on the biological father of one of the daughters whose license stated that he lived at the plaintiffs' address. The complaint alleges that despite the MPD being told that the suspect did not live at the address and that there was no evidence of the suspect being a drug dealer, the police obtained a search warrant based on those causes. There were no facts connecting the home to the drug activity that was claimed to be occurring there. The complaint claims that obtaining a warrant in this case is reflective of systematic problems with the police procedures for obtaining search warrants that allow police to obtain warrants based on vague statements of their "training" and "expertise," even in the absence of facts.

On April 18, 2013, shortly after 10:00 p.m., the police conducted the raid of plaintiffs' home. The plaintiffs claim that the police burst into the home with shields and weapons and that the mother and two daughters were kept on a couch downstairs. The police handcuffed the younger brother of the mother and pointed guns at his head even though nothing illegal was found on his person or in his room. The police also threw open the shower curtain while the third daughter, an 11-year-old, was showering and pointed a gun at her. Nothing illegal was found in the home.

As of February 2015, this case is ongoing.

Brian Dressel - 02/08/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Aggressive behavior
Excessive force
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Juveniles
Pattern or Practice
Racial profiling
Search policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) The District of Columbia
Plaintiff Description Mother of three minor daughters; those minor daughters, aged 7, 11, and 13 at the time of the incident; and the teenage brother of the mother.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Equal Justice Under Law
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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 ]

  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)
1:14-cv-01317 (D.D.C.) 02/04/2015
PN-DC-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 08/04/2014
PN-DC-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Moss, Randolph Daniel (D.D.C.)
PN-DC-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Karakatsanis, Alec (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0009-0001 | PN-DC-0009-9000
Telfeyan, Phil (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Finkhousen, Aaron J. (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0009-9000
Gonzalez, Joseph A. (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0009-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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