May 13, 2010
When Steven Met Barbara
What happens when a private citizen is rear-ended by a D.C. Metropolitan Police detective who is driving her son to school?
In one instance, the citizen ends up getting arrested and charged with reckless driving. The citizen was tried and acquitted of the charges. He then sued the detective and the arresting officer for false arrest, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He also sued the city for negligent supervision. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals today affirmed the award of damages to the citizen.
The plaintiff was a clinical psychologist at Walter Reed Hospital who was driving a silver Porsche. He was hit by the detective, driving a green Honda. The detective got angry and profane, admitting that she had a high level of "pissivity." This presumably is in contrast to a level of "passivity." A police officer responded and arrested the clinical psychologist after what could fairly be characterized as an inadequate investigation, which appears to have consisted of siding with the detective.
The court rejected the District's appeal on the issue of allegedly inconsistent jury verdicts. The court also agreed that the detective could not be liable for false arrest and malicious prosecution, as she left to take her son to school. The arresting officer was liable as was the District for failure to supervise. (Mike Frisch)
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Cops harassing civilians is something that does happen, esp. on Long Island. It's scary. And look what this person had to go through to be made whole because some corrupt cops, and an apparently corrupt D.A.'s office (since there was a prosecution and a trial), wanted to show what they could do. Unbelievable.
BTW, in NY and probably elsewhere when you rear-end a car (at least a stopped or stopping car), there is a presumption of negligence created against YOU, not the rear-ended vehicle. Also, on Long Island it would be the detective driving the Porsche (since average take home pay for Nassau and Suffolk cops is $100,000 or more).
Posted by: Tom Smiley | May 17, 2010 6:49:48 AM