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Jones v. Chapman

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 7, 2017

TAWANDA JONES, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
NICHOLAS DAVID CHAPMAN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Ellen Lipton Hollander United States District Judge.

         This civil rights case arises from the unfortunate death of forty-four year old Tyrone A. West, Sr. (“Mr. West” or the “Decedent”) on July 18, 2013, following a traffic stop.[1] Tawanda Jones, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Tyrone A. West, Sr.; Nashay West; Tyrone West, Jr.; and T.W., a minor child, by Mary Agers, as Guardian and next friend of T.W., plaintiffs, filed an Amended Complaint (ECF 33) alleging, inter alia, that Mr. West died as a result of the use of excessive force by the police during an illegal traffic stop. See ECF 33, ¶¶ 3, 14.[2]

         In particular, plaintiffs filed suit against Baltimore City Police Officers Nicholas David Chapman; Jorge Omar Bernardez-Ruiz; Matthew Rea Cioffi; Eric Maurice Hinton; Alex Ryan Hashagen; Danielle Angela Lewis; Derrick Dewayne Beasley; and Latreese Nicole Lee (collectively, “BPD Officers” or “BPD Officer Defendants”). Plaintiffs also sued Anthony W. Batts, who was the Commissioner of the Baltimore City Police Department (“BPD”) at the relevant time. ECF 33, Amended Complaint, ¶ 10. In addition, plaintiffs sued David Lewis, an officer with the Morgan State University Campus Police (“MSU Police”), and Lance Hatcher, Chief of the MSU Police[3] (collectively, MSU Defendants). All defendants were sued in their official and individual capacities. Id. at 1-3, 25.

         The suit was instituted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on alleged violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the federal Constitution. Plaintiffs also claim violations of Articles 24 and 26 of the Maryland Declaration of Right, and assert various tort claims under Maryland law.[4] According to plaintiffs, Officers Chapman and Bernardez-Ruiz effected an illegal traffic stop of Mr. West, unnecessarily sprayed him with “pepper spray” (ECF 33, ¶ 21), and they, along with officers who responded to the scene, repeatedly beat Mr. West with batons and fists, until he became unconscious and then died. Id. ¶¶ 12-20, 26-31.

         The Amended Complaint (ECF 33) contains two claims and various counts within each “Claim, ” as follows. Claim I-Count I asserts a survival action by the Estate of Mr. West (“Estate”) against the BPD Officers and MSU Officer David Lewis for assault and battery. Claim I-Count II is a survival action by the Estate against BPD Officers and MSU Officer Lewis for false arrest. Claim I-Count III asserts a survival action by the Estate against BPD Officers and MSU Officer Lewis for false imprisonment. Claim I-Count IV asserts a survival action by the Estate against BPD Officers and MSU Officer Lewis for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, and Articles 24 and 26 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Claim I-Count V is a survival action by the Estate against Batts and Hatcher, in their official and individual capacities, “for negligent supervision, training and retention and custom or policy of deliberate indifference.” Id., ¶ 45. Claim I-Count VI sets forth a claim by the Estate against all defendants for funeral expenses. And, Claim II-Count I is a wrongful death claim lodged by the Decedent's children against all defendants.

         Batts and the BPD subsequently moved to bifurcate the claims against the individual police officers and to stay discovery as to the Monell claim. ECF 69. By Memorandum (ECF 84) and Order of September 15, 2016 (ECF 85), I granted that motion. Specifically, I bifurcated Claim I - Count V as to Batts and stayed Monell discovery.[5] Id.

         By Order of October 14, 2016 (ECF 90), Commissioner Kevin Davis was substituted for former Commissioner Batts, in his official capacity only, as to the Monell and supervisory claims. See ECF 89; ECF 90; see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(d). Based on the Court's prior rulings (ECF 28; ECF 29), the Amended Complaint (ECF 33), and the substitution of Commissioner Davis for former Commissioner Batts in his official capacity (ECF 89; ECF 90), the only claim remaining against Batts, in his individual capacity, and Commissioner Davis, in his official capacity, is “Claim I - Count V, ” the “survival action for negligent supervision, training and retention and custom or policy of deliberate indifference.” ECF 33, Amended Complaint, ¶¶ 64-76.[6] As indicated, that claim was bifurcated. See ECF 85.

         The BPD Officer Defendants have moved for summary judgment (ECF 97), supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 97-3) (collectively, “BPD Officers' Motion”) and numerous exhibits. See ECF 97-4 to 97-19; ECF 98 (Autopsy Report). Plaintiffs oppose the BPD Officers' Motion (ECF 106), supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 106-1) (collectively, “Opposition”), and several exhibits. See ECF 106-5 to 106-27. Defendants have replied (ECF 117, “Reply”), supported by additional exhibits. See ECF 117-2 to ECF 117-5.[7]

         MSU Officer David Lewis also filed a motion for summary judgment (ECF 100), in which he joined the BPD Officers' Motion.[8] Plaintiffs oppose the motion. ECF 101.[9]

         In addition, the BPD, former Commissioner Batts, and Commissioner Davis (“BPD Defendants”) have moved for partial summary judgment (ECF 99), supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 99-1) (collectively, “BPD Motion”) and several exhibits. ECF 99-3 to ECF 99-13.[10]Plaintiffs oppose the motion (ECF 103), supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 103-1) (collectively, “BPD Opposition”) and many exhibits. See ECF 103-3 to ECF 103-22. The BPD Defendants have replied (ECF 115, “BPD Reply”), supported by additional exhibits. See ECF 115-2 to ECF 115-5.

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the motions. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow I shall grant in part and deny in part the BPD Officers' Motion, which was joined by MSU Officer David Lewis. And, I shall grant in part and deny in part the BPD Motion.

         I. Factual Background[11]

         Corinthea Servance appears to be the only non-party witness to the initial encounter between Mr. West and BPD Officers Chapman and Bernardez-Ruiz.[12] She knew Mr. West as a “hack” cab driver. ECF 106-6, Deposition of Corinthea Servance (“Servance Dep.”) at 12:19-13:1. Because Ms. Servance does not drive, she would sometimes call Mr. West if she needed a ride. Id. at 13:2-13:11; 14:20-21.

         During the early evening of July 18, 2013, Ms. Servance contacted Mr. West for a ride. Id. at 15:11-16:11.[13] It was an “exceptionally hot” day in Baltimore. ECF 106-5, Deposition of Jorge Bernardez-Ruiz (“Bernardez-Ruiz Dep.”), at 14:11-13. Mr. West picked up Ms. Servance at the corner of Stonewood Road and Loch Raven Boulevard in Baltimore City, driving a green Mercedes. Servance Dep., ECF 106-6 at 17:11-13; 18:8-12. Although Ms. Servance initially planned to go to her home, she decided instead to go to her mother's home, which was in the vicinity. Id. at 18:16-18; 19:12-18. Mr. West began driving westbound on Stonewood towards Northwood Drive. Id. at 23:5-19. But, he missed the right turn onto Kitmore Road. Id. at 24:5-17. As a result, Mr. West stopped his car near the intersection of Kitmore Road and Northwood Drive to allow another vehicle to pass. Servance Dep., ECF 106-6 at 30:3-8; id. at 30:16-20; 28:18-29:1; 157:14-21. According to Ms. Servance, “the rear wheel of the car had not cleared the intersection.” Id. at 24:19-20; see also Id. at 30:16-20 (“He [was] in the intersection. The rear wheels hat [sic] not passed the curb. The front of the car was like at the curb. The rear of the wheels were still kind of in the intersection.”); id. at 31:7-9.

         At her deposition, Ms. Servance testified that she and Mr. West sat in the car for “a minute or two, ” while the vehicle was “stopped.” Id. at 158:9; id. at 158:12. She recalled, id. at 157:14-17: “We sat there because, as I said, it was a car going past, so we sat there. He ate like a piece of chicken or something and drank some water. I said [sic] the car, and we went down the street.” Then, Mr. West backed his vehicle into the intersection of Northwood Drive and Kitmore Road, so that he could make a turn onto Kitmore Road. Servance Dep., ECF 106-6 at 31:11-21. Servance stated, id. at 32:2-4: “We were in the intersection, so he backed more into the intersection we were currently sitting in so he could make the turn into Kitmore.” See also Id. at 158:15-18.

The following deposition testimony of Ms. Servance is pertinent, id. at 157:18-158:14:
Q. So it was at that point where the back of Mr. West's car was partially in the intersection of Kitmore and- A. Yeah. The car was still running. So we never parked and cut the motor off. But the back of the car, because he pulled, because he passed the street, so I said you went past Kitmore, you need to go down. He thought it was a one-way street because there's no line in the street.
Q. At the point that you parked, you were eating chicken and talking for a little bit before he backed up?
A. Maybe for like a minute or two, yeah. Wasn't a long period of time.
Q. But did you park the car temporarily?
A. We stopped the car.
Q. Stopped the car temporarily?
A. Yes.

         While Mr. West was on Northwood, he backed his vehicle into the intersection of Kitmore and Northwood. Officers Chapman and Bernardez-Ruiz were traveling on the same road, in an unmarked police car. Bernardez-Ruiz Dep., ECF 106-5 at 15:11-20; ECF 106-7, Deposition of Nicholas Chapman (“Chapman Dep.”), at 12:14-17. Bernardez-Ruiz did not remember the name of the street where he initially saw the Mercedes. ECF 106-5 at 15:8-10; see also Id. at 17:6-9 (stating that the driver of the Mercedes had made a right hand turn onto either Kelway or Kitmore). And, Chapman said: “I forget which road it was.” ECF 106-7 at 13:9. However, Ms. Servance was clear that Mr. West was on Northwood Drive. See, e.g., ECF 106-6 at 24:2-17, 30:9-11, 52:18-20.[14] And, in the parties' submissions, they seem to agree on the specific roads.

         The police vehicle was equipped with lights, but no siren, and the officers were in plain clothes with tactical vests. ECF 106-7 at 10:19-11:17. Both Bernardez-Ruiz, the driver, and Chapman agree that Bernardez-Ruiz had to drive around Mr. West's vehicle, into the opposing lane. Bernardez-Ruiz Dep., ECF 106-5 at 15:11-16:4; Chapman Dep., ECF 106-7 at 12:14-19; id. at 14:2-4.[15]

         Bernardez-Ruiz claims he had to drive around the Mercedes because it had stopped in the lane of traffic. ECF 106-5 at 16:2-12. After Bernardez-Ruiz passed the Mercedes, he saw Mr. West reverse his car and then back his car in an “unsafe” manner. ECF 106-5 at 16:1-17:3. According to Bernardez-Ruiz, Mr. West backed up “like almost an entire city block” before making the right turn onto Kitmore Road. Id. at 16:18-20. According to Officer Chapman, Bernardez-Ruiz had to go around Mr. West “into the other lane of traffic” because Mr. West was backing up his car into the intersection. ECF 106-7 at 12:14-19; id. at 14:1-8.

         Both Bernardez-Ruiz and Chapman concluded that Mr. West had committed a traffic violation, i.e., unsafe backing up. See, e.g., ECF 106-7 at 13:20-21; ECF 106-5 at 16:13-17:3. Chapman claimed that the backing maneuver was “unsafe” because “[i]t would be like driving down the road and then all of a sudden just putting it in reverse and going in reverse.” Id. at 13:10-14:8.[16] Similarly, Bernardez-Ruiz claimed the backing maneuver was unsafe and explained: “[T]here's a difference between backing up to do a parallel parking, and backing up like almost an entire city block.” ECF 106-5 at 18:20. As a result, they followed Mr. West on Kitmore Road and activated their lights in order to effect a traffic stop. Chapman Dep., ECF 106-7 at 13:10-21; Bernardez-Ruiz Dep., ECF 106-5 at 17:4-18:9.

         As Officers Bernardez-Ruiz and Chapman followed Mr. West on Kitmore Road, they observed Mr. West and the passenger, Ms. Servance, making movements that, in their view, suggested they were trying to conceal something in the vehicle. Chapman testified, ECF 106-7 at 15:15-16:2:

So when we were behind the vehicle, we could, or I would see both the passenger and Mr. West just moving around like they were trying to hand something off to each other. You could just tell, it was like they were trying to hide something. So our training experience [sic] says that if there is affirmative movements, that they maybe [sic] possibly trying to hide a gun or arm themselves with a gun.

         The following deposition testimony of Officer Bernardez-Ruiz is also pertinent, ECF 106-5 at 18:10-19:13:

Q. Did you ever see any indication regarding that car that it had observed your light?
A. Oh, yes, sir. I saw both passengers turn around and literally saw full face the same way I'm looking at you, they turned around and saw us and they started making movements. I even saw a dip on Mr. West.
Q. When you say dip, would you describe what you mean?
A. A dip. He lowered I'm going to say his right shoulder.
Q. Did you think that was unusual?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Why?

         A. According to our training and experience, any overt movement in the vehicle, once people realize a police presence, it maybe [sic] an indication of hiding something.

         Ms. Servance acknowledged the movement within the Mercedes. She explains that, while she and Mr. West were traveling on Kitmore Road, they were both eating chicken and wiping their hands. ECF 106-6 at 39:1-9; see also ECF 99-4, Servance Police Interview, July 18, 2013, at 5:6-8, 5:14-17, 6:1-14.

         Officers Chapman and Bernardez-Ruiz initiated a traffic stop at or near the intersection of Kitmore Road and Kelway Road. The parties agree that at the time of the stop it was still light outside. See Servance Dep., ECF 106-6 at 126:4-7 (“It was about 6, broad daylight.”); Bernardez-Ruiz Dep., ECF 106-5 at 14:5-10 (“It was light out”). Bernardez-Ruiz approached Mr. West's side of the vehicle; Chapman approached the passenger side. Ms. Servance described one officer as “Caucasian” and the other as “African American.” Servance Dep., ECF 106-6 at 67:10:[17] Servance stated: “[T]he white cop came on my side. He asked us did we have any drugs or anything in the car.” Id. at 67:13-15.

         Ms. Servance denied possession of drugs. Id. at 67:18-19. Further, she testified, id. at 67:20-68:7: “He asked me why was I moving, what did I put in my pocket, and I explained that I had my phone and my keys. He repeatedly asked me did I have any drugs, did I have any guns, and I told him no repeatedly. The black cop was engaging [Mr. West] in conversation, asked him did he have anything on him, any weapons in the car. No. Asked him did he object to a search of the car. He said no. The white cop asked me to step out the car.” Officers Chapman and Bernardez-Ruiz asked Mr. West and Ms. Servance to exit the vehicle and sit on the curb. Mr. West complied. Servance Dep., ECF 106-6 at 74:11-12; Bernardez-Ruiz Dep., ECF 106-5 at 21:19-22-4. Although Ms. Servance exited the vehicle, she refused to sit on the ground because she was wearing a suit. Servance Dep., ECF 106-6 at 69:9-14. As Officer Chapman put it, he then “started conducting a frisk of the vehicle to locate a possible weapon due to [their] observations.” Chapman Dep., ECF 106-7 at 18:20-19:1.[18]Officer Chapman stated that he did not ask for permission prior to conducting the “frisk” of the vehicle. Id. at 19:2-4. Nor did he find anything “of significance.” Id. at 19:5-7.

         While Officer Chapman searched the vehicle, Mr. West sat on the curb with his legs extended and crossed. He was six feet tall and weighed 237 pounds. ECF 97-16, Pl's Answer to Def. Interrog., Interrog. No. 9 at 2. And, according to Ms. Servance Mr. West “had muscles.” ECF 106-6 at 148:7.

         Ms. Servance stated that one of the officers asked Mr. West for permission to search the trunk of the vehicle and Mr. West responded, “‘go ahead.'” ECF 106-6 at 74:5-6. Similarly, Chapman claimed he asked for permission to search the trunk. ECF 106-7 at 18:19-19:17. He explained that he sought “permission” because Mr. West “had no access to it. So there is no way that he could have put a firearm in there.” Id. at 19:16-17. Chapman also stated that he never actually observed what was in the trunk because his attention was drawn away when he heard Officer Bernardez-Ruiz ask Mr. West about his sock. Id. at 19:17-20:5.

         Notably, as Mr. West sat on the curb, Officer Bernardez-Ruiz observed a “bulge” in Mr. West's sock about the size of a golf ball, with lumps. Bernardez-Ruiz Dep., ECF 106-5 at 23:12-16; id. at 24:5-12. Believing that Mr. West had “an illegal substance” in his sock, Officer Bernardez-Ruiz reached towards Mr. West's sock. Id. at 24:15-20.

         The parties agree that as Officer Bernardez-Ruiz reached for Mr. West's sock, Mr. West had physical contact with Officer Bernardez-Ruiz. Officer Bernardez-Ruiz stated that when he reached for the sock, Mr. West pushed him on the shoulders. ECF 106-5 at 24:18-25:12. However, Ms. Servance claims that Mr. West “didn't push [Bernardez-Ruiz] physically.” ECF 106-6 at 84:12-13. Rather, she described contact akin to a gesture by Mr. West to move Bernardez-Ruiz's hand away from the sock. Id. at 82:10-18; id. at 84:11-15; id. at 92:6-93:1; id. at 98:7-9. Servance stated, id. at 92:11-17: “It wasn't like [Mr. West] pushed him away in a physical contact. He may have moved his hand away from him or something, but it wasn't like in the way that you are perceiving, that I am perceiving you are making the statement like he pushed him physically.”

         Ms. Servance did not see Officer Bernardez-Ruiz look into Mr. West's sock, but she did see him reach towards Mr. West's foot area. ECF 106-6 at 78:6-13. She testified that after the officer reached towards the sock, the officer stood up, holding a plastic bag containing a green substance. ECF 106-6 at 78:13-79:7. Ms. Servance recalled that Officer Bernardez-Ruiz opened the bag and commented that there was cocaine inside. Id. at 80:3-5. According to Ms. Servance, Mr. West responded: “‘[Y]ou got a measly four bags.'” Id. at 79:19-20; see also Id. at 79:17-80:8. Moreover, she stated that when the bag was “opened up… you could see it was crack cocaine.” Id. at 80:9-13.

         According to Bernardez-Ruiz, the bag was recovered after Mr. West threw it. ECF 106-5 at 32:6-33:21. Officer Chapman stated that he “heard Officer Ruiz say let me see your sock.” ECF 106-7 at 19:18-19. But, he only “became aware” of the recovery of the cocaine “through the media.” Id. at 41:3-5. He said: “I don't think we were ever able to recover [the bag of CDS.]” Id. at 41:8-12. Chapman explained that he did not “believe that Officer Ruiz ever recovered it because Mr. West was fighting us the whole time.” Id. at 41:19-42:1.

         According to the defendants, the plastic bag contained thirteen green zip-lock baggies with a white rock substance. The substance was subsequently identified as cocaine. See ECF 97-19, BPD Lab Section Drug Analysis report.[19]

         After the discovery of the cocaine, the officers attempted to arrest Mr. West. Ms. Servance claims that Mr. West “consented” to being cuffed. ECF 106-6 at 109:15-16 (“[H]e was on the ground being cuffed and had consented”). Further, she testified, ECF 106-6 at 100:19-101:5:

At that point they approached Mr. West as to take out the handcuffs to try to arrest him. That was-- I don't want to say a confrontation, because they got him and they rolled him over on his back side because he was trying to stand up, and that's when they got him over on his stomach. The white cop put his knee, his left knee in the back of Mr. West.

         According to Ms. Servance, while Mr. West had his hands behind his back, id. at 83:10, and Chapman had his knee on Mr. West's back, id. at 101:3-5, Chapman sprayed Mr. West in his face and neck with “mace[].” ECF 106-6 at 109:16; see Id. at 83:11-17; 101:11; 102:10-11; 102:15-16.[20] Officers Chapman and Bernardez-Ruiz used the term “pepper spray.” See, e.g., ECF 106-5 at 28:2; ECF 106-7 at 23:7. The substance was actually Oleoresin Capsicum (“OC”). ECF 97-3 at 6.[21]

         The Fourth Circuit has said: “The effects of OC spray include (1) dilation of the capillaries and instant closing of the eyes through swelling of the eyelids, (2) immediate respiratory inflammation, including uncontrollable coughing, retching, shortness of breath and gasping for air with a gagging sensation in the throat, and (3) immediate burning sensations to the mucous membranes, skin and inside the nose and mouth.” Park v. Shiflett, 250 F.3d 843, 849 (4th Cir. 2001).

         Ms. Servance recounted that in “reaction” to the spray Mr. West “screamed” and stood up. Servance Dep., ECF 106-6 at 83:17-19; id. at 107:6-8; id. at 109:16-17. As a result, Officer Chapman was thrown off of Mr. West. Id. at 103:15-20. And, Officer Bernardez-Ruiz was “slam[med]” into the police car because he had been standing directly behind Mr. West and, when Mr. West stood up, his back hit the front of Officer Bernardez-Ruiz. Id. at 103:8-104:18; id. at 107:6-108:2.

         An “altercation” ensued between Officer Bernardez-Ruiz and Mr. West, with both of them hitting each other in the face. Id. at 108:3-11. However, Ms. Servance claimed that Mr. West punched the officer only after he was punched, in order to “defend[] himself.” Id. at 111:15-20. Officer Chapman sent a radio request for backup, i.e., a Signal 13. Id. at 108:14-16; ECF 97-9, Chapman Answer to Pl's Interrog. No. 18.[22] Officer Chapman then joined the fray and hit Mr. West in the face and body. Servance Dep., ECF 106-6 at 108:18-109:2. Ms. Servance described the altercation as a “street fight” and said: “Whoever [was] hitting [Mr. West], he's hitting him back.” Id. at 109:1-6.

         Mr. West backed up. Nevertheless, the officers followed and began to hit Mr. West with their batons as well as their fists. Id. at 113:7-114:14. Mr. West was “scuffling” with the officers at this point in order to “defend[] himself.” Id. at 114:7-14. Mr. West then ran down Kitmore, with his hands up in the air, repeatedly screaming, “‘Travon Martin, Travon Martin.'” Id. at 115:1-116:20. People in the neighborhood began to come outside; Ms. Servance screamed for someone to call the police and for Mr. West to lay down. Id. at 116:20-117:16. Bernardez-Ruiz and Chapman approached Mr. West, swinging their batons, and Mr. West tried to defend himself, by making a windmill motion with his arms. Id. at 117:19-118:1; id. at 120:10-13. The batons did not make contact with Mr. West at this point. Id. at 120:11-13; 122:7-8. Ms. Servance claimed that she and the neighbors continued to scream that Mr. West should lay down; he heeded their instruction and got on the ground on his stomach, “with his arms spread out.” Id. at 120:15-18.

         After Mr. West was allegedly on the ground with “his arms completely out” (id. at 122:14-15; 124:8), Officers Bernardez-Ruiz and Chapman nonetheless continued to beat him “with the batons like they were playing the drums.” Servance Dep., ECF 106-6 at 123:17-19. Ms. Servance maintained that the two officers were “hitting him everywhere. Head, body, back, everywhere. They are just hitting him.” Id. at 124:4-6. At the time, Mr. West was still “laying on his stomach.” Id. at 124:8.

         According to Ms. Servance, Mr. West “had one cuff on his right wrist, but the other one was dangling free.” Id. at 126:20-127:1. The officers did not attempt to link the handcuffs while Mr. West was on the ground. Id. at 127:21-128:2. As the officers continued to hit Mr. West with their batons (id. at 127: 14-15), he stood up and proceeded to swing his arms in a defensive manner. Id. at 126:11-127:12. As Mr. West backed up, Officers Bernardez-Ruiz and Chapman continued to swing their batons, and Mr. West continued to make a windmill motion with his arms with a handcuff on his right wrist. Id. at 129:9-15.

         Additional officers began arriving at the scene in three different vehicles. See, e.g., ECF 97-15, Hinton Answer to Pl's Interrog. No. 18. They included MSU Officer David Lewis and BPD Officers Matthew Cioffi; Eric Hinton; Alex Hashagen; Danielle Lewis; Derrick Beasley; and Latreese Lee (collectively, “Assisting Officers”). See, e.g., id. [23]

         Two officers, one of whom identified himself as a captain and one of whom was a female, moved Ms. Servance across the street. Servance Dep., ECF 106-6 at 131:13-132:1. Ms. Servance saw approximately seven officers, including “the Morgan State cop” and the two original officers, kick and hit Mr. West with fists and batons “everywhere”, including on his head, as he stood with his back against a “black SUV” for a minute to a minute and a half. Id. at 132:3-18; 134:3-21; 136:3-4; 137:14-16.[24] According to Ms. Servance, Mr. West “was limp taking blows. He wasn't defending himself at all.” Id. at 143:4-5. She added: “I could see, as they were hitting him, I could see his body jerking towards the movement of the blows. As I went past the vehicle, it was on the other side, I could just see his body still limply jerking from the blows that they were giving him.” Id. at 143:8-13.

         Mr. West then collapsed on the sidewalk. Id. at 134:5-12. According to Ms. Servance, MSU Officer David Lewis and two or three other officers (not Bernardez-Ruiz and Chapman) began stomping on Mr. West's upper body while he was on his back. Id. at 141:4-142:7.

         Officer Hinton was able to handcuff Mr. West. ECF 106-10, Hinton Statement to IAD at 4. While Mr. West was on his stomach, MSU Officer David Lewis placed his knee on Mr. West's back for about a minute. ECF 106-11, Hashagen Statement to IAD at 5; ECF 97-12, Cioffi Answer to Pl's Interrog. No. 18; ECF 97-15, Hinton Answer to Pl's Interrog. No. 18; ECF 97-7, Deposition of David Lewis (“Lewis Dep.”) at 38:1-39:12. According to Officer Corey Jennings, who is not a defendant, Officer David Lewis had his “knees” on Mr. West's back. ECF 106-15, Jennings Statement to IAD, at 5. Ms. Servance described Officer David Lewis as a “huge” guy. Servance Dep. at 126:2. He is 6'8'' and weighs 315 lbs. Lewis Dep., ECF 97-7 at 10:12-118.

         Officer Hinton was standing near Mr. West's head. He thought Mr. West had stopped breathing, and so he asked an unidentified officer to help turn over Mr. West. See ECF 97-15, Hinton Answer to Interrog. No. 18; Lewis Dep., ECF 97-7 at 39:16-40:1. At about the same time, Officer Taras Hnatyshyn, who is not a defendant, arrived and made efforts to resuscitate Mr. West, who was not breathing and did not have a discernible pulse. He performed CPR and chest compressions.[25] ECF 97-15, Hinton Answer to Interrog. No. 18; ECF 97-12, Cioffi Answer to Interrog. No. 18; ECF 97-14, Beasley Answer to Pl's Interrog. 18. Officer Jennings assisted by moving Mr. West to the grass, removing the handcuffs from Mr. West, and trying to ensure that Mr. West's tongue was not blocking his airway. ECF 106-15, Jennings Statement to IAD, at 2-3. According to Officer Jennings, while Officer Hnatyshyn performed CPR, Mr. West's pulse came back twice, but he did not resume breathing. Id. at 3, 7.

         As Officer Hnatyshyn was performing CPR, Sergeant Daraine Harris, also not a defendant, arrived and called for paramedics. ECF 97-15, Hinton Answer to Interrog. No. 18; ECF 97-12 at 3; ECF 97-12, Cioffi Answer to Interrog. No. 18.[26] Officer Hnatyshyn also used a defibrillator on Mr. West before the medics arrived. ECF 106-16, Officer Hnatyshyn Statement to IAD, at 3.

         Emergency Medical Technicians (“EMTs”) from the Baltimore City Fire Department arrived at the scene and were directed to Mr. West. ECF 106-23, Certified EMT Report, Summary of Events. After the EMTs arrived, one shock from the defibrillator was delivered to Mr. West and one of the police officers (presumably, Officer Hnatyshyn) continued to perform CPR until Mr. West was inside of the medic unit. Id. at 2. Once inside the medic unit, one of the medics began to perform CPR and they administered two rounds of epinephrine and 2 mg of narcan. Id.

         Ms. Servance saw the medic unit arrive. ECF 106-6 at 143:19-20. According to Ms. Servance, a “few minutes, a couple minutes. Maybe three minutes, four minutes” elapsed between the time that Mr. West collapsed and when he was placed on a stretcher by a medic. Id. at 143:13-18; id. at 145:15-20. Mr. West was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:11 p.m. See ECF 98 at 1.

         Pamela E. Southall, M.D., an Assistant State Medical Examiner, performed the autopsy of Mr. West. She opined that the cause of death was “Cardiac Arrhythmia due to Cardiac Conduction System Abnormality complicated by Dehydration during Police Restraint.” ECF 98, Autopsy Report at 9; id. at 1. The autopsy also “revealed a superficial abrasion on [Mr. West's] face and abrasions and contusions on his back and upper and lower extremities…” Id.; see also Id. at 3. More specifically, these included a superficial abrasion on the forehead; multiple superficial abrasions on the back; multiple superficial abrasions on the hands and arms; and multiple contusions on the legs. Id. at 3.

         Dr. Southall also wrote, id. at 9: “[A]bnormalities found in Mr. West's heart and signs of dehydration are certainly causes for sudden cardiac death. Another factor that may have contributed to his death was the extreme environmental temperature. Temperatures on the day of his death …were reportedly in the high 90s with a heat index in the low 100s (degrees Fahrenheit).” She also said: “The cardiac conduction system abnormality is a predisposing factor for cardiac arrhythmia” Id. The manner of death could not be determined. Id.

         Dr. Southall's “Opinion” includes facts obtained solely from police reports. The version of facts in those reports is at odds with Ms. Servance's account. For example, the factual summary in the autopsy paints the Decedent as the aggressor. There is no reference to Ms. Servance's claim that while the Decedent was on the ground, an officer put one or two knees on the Decedent's back.

         At her deposition, Dr. Southall clarified that there were “no signs of asphyxia, no signs of significant injury that could have changed my opinion to something more definite, such as homicide. I just didn't have enough findings to support that, but I can't rule out that that encounter [with the police officers] may have played some role.” ECF 97-8 and ECF 152-1, Deposition of Pamela Southall, M.D. (“Southall Dep.”) at 21:1-7.

         In contrast, William Manion, M.D., Ph.D., plaintiffs' expert witness, determined that the manner of death was homicide and that the cause of death was positional asphyxia as a result of the Decedent being “hog tied” and because an adult male sat on Mr. West's back while he was restrained. See ECF 106-20.

         Additional facts will be included in the Discussion.

         II. Standard of Review

         Under Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is appropriate only “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-24 (1986); see also Iraq Middle Mkt. Dev. Found. v. Harmoosh, 848 F.3d 235, 238 (4th Cir. 2017) (“A court can grant summary judgment only if, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the case presents no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party demonstrates entitlement to judgment as a matter of law.”). The non-moving party must demonstrate that there are disputes of material fact so as to preclude the award of summary judgment as a matter of law. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585-86 (1986).

         The Supreme Court has clarified that not every factual dispute will defeat the motion. “By its very terms, this standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original). A fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Id. at 248. There is a genuine issue as to material fact “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.; see Raynor v. Pugh, 817 F.3d 123, 130 (4th Cir. 2016).

         “A party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment ‘may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [its] pleadings, ' but rather must ‘set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522 (4th Cir. 2003) (quoting former Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1042 (2004); see also Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-24. However, and of import here, in resolving a summary judgment motion, a court must view all of the facts, including reasonable inferences to be drawn from them, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. Ltd., 475 U.S. at 587; accord Roland v. United States Citizenship & Immigration Servs., 850 F.3d 625, 628 (4th Cir. 2017); FDIC v. Cashion, 720 F.3d 169, 173 (4th Cir. 2013).

         The judge's “function” in reviewing a motion for summary judgment is not “to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249; accord Guessous v. Fairview Prop. Inv., LLC, 828 F.3d 208, 216 (4th Cir 2016). Thus, in considering a summary judgment motion, the court may not make credibility determinations. Jacobs v. N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts, 780 F.3d 562, 569 (4th Cir. 2015); Mercantile Peninsula Bank v. French, 499 F.3d 345, 352 (4th Cir. 2007). Moreover, in the face of conflicting evidence, such as competing affidavits or deposition testimony, summary judgment ordinarily is not appropriate, because it is the function of the factfinder to resolve factual disputes, including matters of witness credibility. See Black & Decker Corp. v. United States, 436 F.3d 431, 442 (4th Cir. 2006); Dennis v. Columbia Colleton Med. Ctr., Inc., 290 F.3d 639, 644-45 (4th Cir. 2002).

         To defeat summary judgment, conflicting evidence must give rise to a genuine dispute of material fact. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48. If “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party, ” then a dispute of material fact precludes summary judgment. Id. at 248; see Sharif v. United Airlines, Inc., 841 F.3d 199, 204 (4th Cir. 2016). Conversely, summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence “is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. And, “the mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [movant's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [movant].” Id.[27]

         III. Discussion

         A. BPD Officers' Motion for Summary Judgment

         The BPD Officers argue that they did not violate Mr. West's rights and, in any event, that they are entitled to qualified immunity as to plaintiffs' § 1983 claims. See ECF 97-3.

         1. The Traffic Stop

         Plaintiffs contend that the initial traffic stop was unlawful. ECF 106-1 at 14. They maintain that the officers did not possess reasonable, articulable suspicion to stop Mr. West, because “unsafe backing” is not a traffic violation. Id. at 16-17. Further, they argue that “Mr. West simply moving while inside of his vehicle as he talked with his front seat passenger is not probable cause to stop Mr. West's vehicle.” Id. at 18.[28] Plaintiffs also argue that the stop was unlawfully prolonged because the officers “repeatedly” questioned Ms. Servance “about drugs and guns.” Id. at 7. In addition, plaintiffs contend that “ordering Mr. West and his passenger to exit the vehicle where no actual traffic violations were observed is not justified under Maryland Law.” Id. at 22. Further, plaintiffs contest the “non-consensual opening of the trunk of Mr. West's vehicle in the absence of probable cause.” Id. at 18.

         Plaintiffs' claims are predicated on the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Articles 24 and 26 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, which are the Maryland counterparts to the Fourteenth and Fourth Amendments, respectively.[29] Section 1983 is not an independent source of substantive rights, “but simply a vehicle for vindicating preexisting constitutional and statutory rights.” Safar v. Tingle, F.3d, 2017 WL 2453257, at *2 (4th Cir. June 7, 2017) (citing Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989)); see also Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n. 3 (1979). Therefore, “[t]he first step in any such claim is to pinpoint the specific right that has been infringed.” Safar, 2017 WL 2453257, at *2 (citing Baker, 443 U.S. at 140).

         The BPD Officers contend that Officers Bernardez-Ruiz and Chapman had reasonable, articulable suspicion to justify the traffic stop of Mr. West, because Mr. West committed traffic violations in the presence of Bernardez-Ruiz and Chapman. ECF 97-3 at 10-12. Alternatively, they argue that, even if the officers were incorrect in the belief that Mr. West violated the traffic laws, the officers were justified in making the stop because they reasonably believed that Mr. West had violated traffic laws. Id. at 12-14.

         The BPD Officers point to multiple provisions of the Transportation Article (“Trans.”) of the Md. Code (2012 Repl. Vol.): Trans. §§ 21-309(b), 21-604, 21-804 and 21-1102. See ECF 97-3 at 10-11; see also ECF 99-1 at 23-24 (citing Trans. §§ 21-1003(d), 21-603(a), 21-603(b), 21-601(a), 21-603(a), and 21-604(e)). Trans. § 21-1102 is particularly noteworthy. It provides, id.: “The driver of a vehicle may not back it unless the movement can be made safely and without interfering with other traffic.” Trans. § 21-1003(d) is also relevant. It provides: “A person may not stop, stand, or park a vehicle in an intersection.”

         In addition, the BPD Officers claim that, under the law, they had the right to require the occupants to exit the vehicle during the traffic stop. ECF 97-3 at 10. They also claim removal was justified based on the following observations made by Chapman and Bernardez-Ruiz, ECF 97-3 at 16:

(1) Mr. West was observed committing several traffic violations; (2) Mr. West and Ms. Servance continued to drive a short distance at a low rate of speed turning around and looking at the officers; and (3) Mr. West and Ms. Servance were observed dipping their heads and arms down below the view of the officers as if to conceal a weapon or contraband.

         a. The Fourth Amendment and Terry

         The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. See Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S., 136 S.Ct. 2160, 2173 (2016); Utah v. Strieff, 579 U.S., 136 S.Ct. 2056, 2060 (2016); United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544, 551 (1980). When a police officer stops a motor vehicle and detains the occupant, the stop constitutes a seizure that implicates the Fourth Amendment. See, e.g., Brendlin v. California, 551 U.S. 249, 255 (2007); Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 809-10 (1996); United States v. Sharpe, 470 U.S. 675, 682 (1985); United States v. Williams, 808 F.3d 238, 245 (4th Cir. 2015); United States v. Ortiz, 669 F.3d 439, 444 (4th Cir. 2011); United States v. Digiovanni, 650 F.3d 498, 506 (4th Cir. 2011), abrogated in part on other grounds by Rodriguez v. United States, 575 U.S., 135 S.Ct. 1609 (2015). Therefore, the vehicular stop must be reasonable under the circumstances. Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U.S. 648, 653 (1979); United States v. Palmer, 820 F.3d 640, 648 (4th Cir. 2016). Indeed, “‘the ultimate touchstone of the Fourth Amendment is reasonableness.'” Riley v. California, 573 U.S., 134 S.Ct. 2473, 2482 (2014) (citation and some quotation marks omitted); see Maryland v. Wilson, 519 U.S. 408, 411 (1997); Ohio v. Robinette, 519 U.S. 33, 38 (1996); United States v. Bumpers, 705 F.3d 168, 171 (4th Cir. 2013).

         The “test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is an objective one.” Los Angeles County v. Rettele, 550 U.S. 609, 614 (2007) (citing Graham, 490 U.S. at 397). The Supreme Court explained in Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106, 109 (1977) (per curiam): “Reasonableness, of course, depends ‘on a balance between the public interest and the individual's right to personal security free from arbitrary interference by law officers.'” (Quoting United States v. Brignoni-Ponce, 422 U.S. 873, 878 (1975)); see also United States v. Sokolow, 490 U.S. 1, 9 (1989).

         Warrantless searches and seizures are per se unreasonable, subject only to a few well established exceptions. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 357 (1967); Kentucky v. King, 563 U.S. 452, 459-60 (2011). What has become known as the “Terry stop and frisk” is one of the limited exceptions to the warrant requirement. Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1 (1968). The seminal case of Terry v. Ohio and its progeny permit a police officer to stop and detain an individual, without probable cause, and without violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, so long as the police officer has “specific and articulable facts which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, ” create reasonable suspicion that the person has been or is about to engage in criminal activity. Terry, 392 U.S. at 21; see also Id. at 30; Sokolow, 490 U.S. at 7 (“[T]he police can stop and briefly detain a person for investigative purposes if the officer has a reasonable suspicion supported by articulable facts that criminal activity ‘may be afoot, ' even if the officer lacks probable cause”) (citation omitted).

         The purpose of a Terry stop is investigative-to verify or to dispel the officer's suspicion surrounding the suspect. Terry, 392 U.S. at 22-23, 30. But, the stop must be brief, and it must be “justified by some objective manifestation that the person stopped is, or is about to be, engaged in criminal activity.” United States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 417 (1981); see Sokolow, 490 U.S at 7; United States v. Massenburg, 654 F.3d 480, 485 (4th Cir. 2011).

         The question of reasonable, articulable suspicion is sometimes elusive. Indeed, the Supreme Court has acknowledged the difficulty in pinpointing exactly what is meant by the phrase “reasonable, articulable suspicion.” Ornelas v. United States, 517 U.S. 690, 699-700 (1996). In sum, reasonable, articulable suspicion is a “commonsense, nontechnical” standard that relies on the judgment of experienced law enforcement officers, “not legal technicians.” Id. at 695 (internal quotation marks omitted); see Williams, supra, 808 F.3d at 246.

         In United States v. Mason, 628 F.3d 123, 128 (4th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 565 U.S. 914 (2011), the Fourth Circuit reiterated that the concept of reasonable, articulable suspicion “‘is not readily, or even usefully, reduced to a neat set of legal rules, but, rather, entails commonsense, nontechnical conceptions that deal with factual and practical considerations of everyday life.'” (Citation omitted). See also United States v. Lawing, 703 F.3d 229, 236 (4th Cir. 2012), cert. denied, 133 S.Ct. 1851 (2013); United States v. Foster, 634 F.3d 243, 246 (4th Cir. 2011); United States v. Christmas, 222 F.3d 141, 143 (4th Cir. 2000). Therefore, an officer conducting a Terry stop must be able to articulate something more than an “inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or ‘hunch' of criminal activity.” Terry, 392 U.S. at 27; see Alabama v. White, 496 U.S. 325, 329-30 (1990); Bumpers, 705 F.3d at 171. Put another way, the police must have “a particularized and objective basis for suspecting the person stopped of criminal activity....” Ornelas, 517 U.S. at 696; see Navarette v. California, 572 U.S., 134 S.Ct. 1683, 1687 (2014); United States v. Gardner, 823 F.3d 793, 799 (4th Cir. 2016); United States v. Black, 707 F.3d 531, 539 (4th Cir. 2013); Massenburg, 654 F.3d at 486; United States v. Griffin, 589 F.3d 148, 152 (4th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 562 U.S. 1273 (2011).

         The reasonable suspicion standard is not onerous, however. See, e.g., United States v. Glover, 662 F.3d 694, 698-700 (4th Cir. 2011). Of import here, it “is a less demanding standard than probable cause and requires a showing considerably less than preponderance of the evidence.” Illinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 123 (2000).

         Reasonable suspicion is determined by examining the totality of the circumstances. See United States v. Arvizu, 534 U.S. 266, 273 (2002); Wardlow, 528 U.S. at 123; Sokolow, 490 U.S. at 7-8; United States v. Brooks, ___ Fed. App'x, ___ 2017 WL 1400481, at * 2 (4th Cir. April 19, 2017). “A host of factors can contribute to a basis for reasonable suspicion, including the context of the stop, the crime rate in the area, and the nervous or evasive behavior of the suspect.” United States v. George, 732 F.3d 296, 299 (4th Cir. 2013); see Maney v. Garrison, ___Fed. App'x, ___ 2017 WL 937460, at *6 (4th Cir. March 9, 2017) (per curiam); United States v. Mayo, 361 F.3d 802, 805-06 (4th Cir. 2004). And, in assessing reasonable suspicion, courts must “give due weight to commonsense judgments reached by officers in light of their experience and training.” United States v. Perkins, 363 F.3d 317, 321 (4th Cir. 2004); see also United States v. Sowards, 690 F.3d 585, 587-88 (4th Cir. 2012); United States v. Johnson, 599 F.3d 339, 343 (4th Cir. 2010); United States v. Branch, 537 F.3d 328, 336-337 (4th Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 555 U.S. 1118 (2009). Although a particular act of a suspect may, by itself, be innocent, a series of such acts, taken together, can give rise to reasonable suspicion. Arvizu, 534 U.S. at 274; see also Palmer, 820 F.3d 652; Williams, 808 F.3d at 246; United States v. McCoy, 513 F.3d 405, 413-14 (4th Cir. 2008). In other words, the court may evaluate “cumulative information” available to the police officer. United States v. McBride, 676 F.3d 385, 392 (4th Cir. 2012). Because the reasonable suspicion standard is an objective one, however, the officer's subjective state of mind is not considered. George, 732 F.3d at 299; United States v. Powell, 666 F.3d 180, 186 (4th Cir. 2011).

         A traffic stop is “analogous to a so-called ‘Terry stop'....” Berkemer v. McCarthy, 468 U.S. 420, 439 (1984); see Rodriguez, 135 S.Ct. 1609; Knowles v. Iowa, 525 U.S. 113, 117 (1998); Williams, 808 F.3d at 245. It is a “seizure” under the Fourth Amendment and “subject to review for reasonableness.” United States v. Hill, 852 F.3d 377, 381 (4th Cir. 2017). Thus, the court assesses the constitutionality of a traffic stop under the two-prong standard articulated in Terry v. Ohio, supra; see Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U.S. 323, 330-31 (2009); Palmer, 820 F.3d at 648; Williams, 808 F.3d at 245;United States v. Guijon-Ortiz, 660 F.3d 757, 764 (4th Cir. 2011).

         In particular, under the so called dual inquiry, the court first examines “whether the officer's action was justified at its inception and [second] whether it was reasonably related in scope to the circumstances which justified the interference in the first place.” Sharpe, 470 U.S. at 682; see Hill, 852 F.3d at 381; Palmer, 820 F.3d at 648; Williams, 808 F.3d at 245; Guijon-Ortiz, 660 F.3d at 764; Digiovanni, 650 F.3d at 506. Notably, the investigative seizure or stop must be limited both in scope and duration. Digiovanni, 650 F.3d at 507; see also Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 500 (1983) (plurality opinion); Hill, 852 F.3d at 381; Williams, 808 F.3d at 245; Guijon-Ortiz, 660 F.3d at 764; Branch, 537 F.3d at 337. “Generally...an officer's focus must remain on the bases for the traffic stop....” Palmer, 820 F.3d at 649.

         Of relevance here, when a vehicle is being driven contrary to the laws governing the operation of motor vehicles, that generally gives rise to reasonable, articulable suspicion to effectuate a stop. Prouse, 440 U.S. at 650; Whren, 517 U.S. at 817-18; United States v. Hassan El, 5 F.3d 726, 730 (4th Cir. 1993). As the Fourth Circuit said in United States v. Davis, 460 Fed.App'x 226, 230 (4th Cir. 2011) (per curiam): “Traffic stops are justified at their inception when officers observe a violation of the applicable traffic laws.” Indeed, in making a stop, a police officer is “entitled to rely on [a traffic] statute unless it was ‘clearly unconstitutional.'” United States v. Gibbs, ___ Fed. App'x, ___ 2017 WL 729721, at *1 (4th Cir. Feb. 24, 2017) (per curiam). And, a traffic stop is justified even when an officer observes only minor violations. See, e.g., United States v. Cleveland, 597 Fed.App'x 172 (4th Cir. 2015) (per curiam) (affirming denial of motion to suppress where defendant claimed his consent to search was coerced after he was stopped for driving without a seatbelt); United States v. Adams, 462 Fed.App'x 369, 375 (4th Cir. 2012) (upholding stop for seatbelt violation); United States v. Beckham, 420 Fed.App'x 261, 263-64 (4th Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (same); see also Hassan El, 5 F.3d at 730 (holding that failure to stop at a stop sign was sufficient basis for defendant's detention).

         Based on the factual summary previously set forth, the record amply demonstrates that the BPD Officers had reasonable, articulable suspicion to believe that Mr. West committed a traffic violation. All witnesses, including the Decedent's passenger, agree that after Mr. West missed the right turn onto Kitmore Road, he stopped in the intersection of Northwood Drive and then backed down the street on ...


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