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Case Name Horse v. District of Columbia PN-DC-0013
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-01216 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Policing
Speech and Religious Freedom
Special Collection Strip Search Cases
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On June 21, 2017 plaintiffs, including a photojournalist, a practicing attorney (who was acting as a legal observer on the day of the events), and two demonstrators filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. Another female demonstrator and her 10-year-old son ... read more >
On June 21, 2017 plaintiffs, including a photojournalist, a practicing attorney (who was acting as a legal observer on the day of the events), and two demonstrators filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia. Another female demonstrator and her 10-year-old son joined the suit through an amended complaint on January 3, 2018.

The plaintiffs sued the District of Columbia, the individual police officers who committed the alleged acts, the police officers’ supervisors, and the chief of D.C. police. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU, sought compensatory and punitive damages, plus costs. They claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that defendants violated their rights under the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments, and various D.C. laws.

The plaintiffs alleged that on morning of Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, they traveled to DC to peacefully demonstrate and document the demonstrations protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump. After several acts of vandalism performed by third parties, the plaintiffs claim that the police took several illegal actions against them. Plaintiffs allege that defendants failed to give dispersal orders before firing chemical irritants on the crowd and chasing them toward an enclosed street corner. The plaintiffs claim defendants falsely imprisoned the plaintiffs, along with 200 other individuals, violating D.C.’s First Amendment Assemblies Act and their protected free speech. Defendants used a practice called “kettling” where plaintiffs claim they were kept up to 9-10 hours, they were denied access to food, water, or toilet services. Plaintiffs claim defendants intentionally trapped plaintiffs before sealing off the kettle preventing escape, and continued to use chemical irritants on plaintiffs after they were trapped in the "kettle."

The plaintiff mother, son, and legal observer, who were outside of the “kettle” allege that they peaceably observed and protested the kettling of the other demonstrators. Plaintiffs state that then without any dispersal order, defendants fired chemical irritants on the crowd and charged them, spraying demonstrators, including the 10-year-old plaintiff and knocking him to the ground.

After being taken out of the kettle the plaintiffs claim defendants physically injured their wrists causing one plaintiff's wrist to bleed from the zipties and were left this way for several hours. Moreover, during processing two plaintiffs claim defendants subjected them to unreasonable searches via rectal probing with no just cause.

After the complaint was submitted, the case was assigned to Judge Amy Berman Jackson, and as of January 19, 2018 the case is still ongoing.

Will McCartney - 01/17/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Aggressive behavior
Conditions of confinement
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
False arrest
Over/Unlawful Detention
Pepper/OC spray
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Strip search policy
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) District of Columbia
Plaintiff Description Peaceful demonstrators, a photojournalist, and legal observer protesting the inauguration of President Trump.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
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
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
http://law.duke.edu/journals/lcp
Date: Spring 2008
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis Faculty)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:17-cv-01216 (D.D.C.)
PN-DC-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/04/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Damages [ECF# 1]
PN-DC-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Damages [ECF# 29]
PN-DC-0013-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/03/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Jackson, Amy Berman (D.D.C.)
PN-DC-0013-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Knizhnik, Shana (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0013-0001 | PN-DC-0013-0002
Michelman, Scott (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0013-0001 | PN-DC-0013-0002 | PN-DC-0013-9000
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0013-0001 | PN-DC-0013-0002 | PN-DC-0013-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Blecher, Matthew Robert (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0013-9000
Johnson, Eric Uriol (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0013-9000
Montee, Amanda (District of Columbia)
PN-DC-0013-9000

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