Judge John M. Facciola recommends summary judgment
In a sharp rejection of the District of Columbia, Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola has recommended the Court find that there was no particularized probable cause to arrest each of the nearly 700 class members swept up in the April 15, 2000 mass arrest. The Magistrate Judge found the District's arguments to be so lacking in substance as to be "fanciful" and wrote that it it is "nothing short of ludicrous" to suggest that probable cause existed for the arrest of each of the nearly 700 arrestees.
MPD Use and Tolerance of Use of Excessive Force Against Protestors
The Report recommends that the Court deny the District of Columbia's motion to dismiss the claims of Brian Edwards-Tiekart and Sasha Wright, who were brutally beaten by police officers who had first removed their badges and nametags to avoid identification and responsibility.
The Court acknowledged the PCJF's submission of evidence that: High ranking MPD officials were aware of and tolerated the practice of officers removing their badges and nameplates so as to prevent subsequent identification; that the MPD lacked adequate requirements for the reporting of the use of force by its officers; that it was the procedure of the MPD to suspend during protests certain existing obligations requiring reporting of police use of force; that when force was used at demonstrations, MPD "routinely violated" the requirement that alleged misconduct be investigated; and that the officers in the unit that attacked Edwards-Tiekart and Wrights were minimally trained.
MPD Raid and Closure of the Convergence Center
The Report recommends that the Court deny the District of Columbia's motion to dismiss the claims of persons and groups who were harmed by the raid and closure of protestors' Convergence Center and central meeting facility.
The Magistrate Judge reported that plaintiffs' evidence, credited by a jury, would support the claim that the raid and closure of the Convergence Center was the result of coordinated action between the FBI, the MPD and the Fire Department anhd was not motivated by concerns about the Fire Code.
The Magistrate Judge acknowledged the evidence, including that: The FBI placed the Center under surveillance and the MPD placed in it an undercover agent. The combined surveillance did not uncover illagel activity and an Assistant U.S. Attorney determined there was no probable cuase to pursue a search warrant. In response, Christopher Combs, an FBI Agent, contacted a Fire Department official, James Talbert, to determine whether the "Fire Marshall could be used to hain entry into the [Convergence Center]." Talbert promised to provide assistance and was instructed by Combs to "do the fire inspection and determine if illegal activity was going on there."
According to the Magistrate Judge, "This evidence, if credited, could establish a violation of the constitutional rights of the occupants of the Center"