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Case Name U.S. v. Prince George's County, Maryland PN-MD-0001
Docket / Court 8:04-cv-00185-RWT ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
In July 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice [DOJ] initiated an investigation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141 of alleged misconduct by the Canine Section of the Prince George's County Police Department [PGPD]. The investigation followed some eighteen civil rights lawsuits filed between 1993 through ... read more >
In July 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice [DOJ] initiated an investigation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141 of alleged misconduct by the Canine Section of the Prince George's County Police Department [PGPD]. The investigation followed some eighteen civil rights lawsuits filed between 1993 through 1998 by individuals that alleged dog attacks by the PGPD's canine unit. In October 2000, the DOJ expanded the scope of its investigation to include broader allegations of excessive force. The DOJ and the FBI also launched a criminal investigation which resulted in the federal indictment of two PGPD officers on charges that they ordered a police dog to attack an unarmed homeless man. See U.S. v. Mohr, 318 F.3d 613 (4th Cir. 2003).

Following the DOJ's investigation, DOJ, PGPD and local FOP officials met and negotiated agreements to address all of the DOJ's concerns. The settlement agreements took the form of a Memorandum of Agreement [MOA] as to allegations of excessive force and a Consent Decree as to PGPD's Canine Section.

On January 22, 2004, the DOJ filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court District of Maryland (Greenbelt) along with a joint motion to lodge the proposed Consent Decree. On March 11, 2004, the District Court (Judge Roger W. Titus) approved and entered the Consent Decree.

The MOA and the Consent decree required widespread reform to PGPD's use of canines and force. The agreements required the PGPD to implement the following reform measures:

• revisions to use of force policies and training protocol, including documentation and review of all use of force incidents

• creation of a board to review all firearm discharges

• changes to the department's receipt, investigation and review of citizen complaints

• implemention of a guard and bark methodology for canines, thereby restricting the use of biting

• monitoring and review of all canine deployments and biting incidents

• appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance with the MOA.

Eduardo Gonzalez and the Alexander Group Independent Monitor Team (AG-IMT) were selected to serve as the independent monitor.

Both agreements were set to expire three years after their effective dates, provided that the PGPD had been in substantial compliance with all provisions for at least two years.

On February 2, 2007, the parties filed a joint motion to terminate the consent decree.

On February 12, 2007, the Court granted the motion stating that PGPD had a) complied fully with the consent decree, and b) eliminated the last vestiges of unlawful behavior and had thus satisfied the decree.

Dan Dalton - 01/18/2007
Andrew Steiger - 02/11/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Excessive force
Improper use of canines
Pepper/OC spray
Racial profiling
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Defendant(s) Prince George's County Police Department
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
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 Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2004 - 2007
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)
8:04-cv-00185-RWT (D. Md.) 02/12/2007
PN-MD-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 01/22/2004
PN-MD-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Memorandum of Agreement 01/22/2004
PN-MD-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Consent Decree 01/22/2004
PN-MD-0001-0003 PDF | Detail
Justice Department Signs Agreement Governing Use of Canines and Force with Prince George's County 01/22/2004
PN-MD-0001-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Memorandum of Agreement - 3rd. Status Report 12/22/2004
PN-MD-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Joint Motion and Memorandum for Termination of Consent Decree 02/02/2007
PN-MD-0001-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order for Termination of Consent Decree 02/12/2007 (D. Md.)
PN-MD-0001-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Titus, Roger W. (D. Md.)
PN-MD-0001-0006 | PN-MD-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)
PN-MD-0001-0001 | PN-MD-0001-0002 | PN-MD-0001-0003 | PN-MD-0001-9000
Ashcroft, John (District of Columbia)
PN-MD-0001-0001
Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)
PN-MD-0001-0002 | PN-MD-0001-0003 | PN-MD-0001-0005 | PN-MD-0001-9000
Dibiagio, Thomas M. (Maryland)
PN-MD-0001-0001 | PN-MD-0001-0002 | PN-MD-0001-0003
Gonzalez, Gregory (District of Columbia)
PN-MD-0001-0001 | PN-MD-0001-0002 | PN-MD-0001-0003 | PN-MD-0001-0005 | PN-MD-0001-9000
Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)
PN-MD-0001-0005
Kim, Wan J. (District of Columbia)
PN-MD-0001-0005
Rosenstein, Rod J. (Maryland)
PN-MD-0001-0005
Schlozman, Bradley (District of Columbia)
PN-MD-0001-0001 | PN-MD-0001-0002 | PN-MD-0001-0003 | PN-MD-0001-9000
Subramanian, Sandhya L. (District of Columbia)
PN-MD-0001-0001 | PN-MD-0001-0002 | PN-MD-0001-0003 | PN-MD-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Crawford, Mary C. (Maryland)
PN-MD-0001-0002 | PN-MD-0001-0003 | PN-MD-0001-0005 | PN-MD-0001-9000
Whitacre, David (Maryland)
PN-MD-0001-0001 | PN-MD-0001-0002 | PN-MD-0001-0003 | PN-MD-0001-9000
Other Lawyers Johnson, Iain D. (Illinois)
PN-MD-0001-0005

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