United States District Court, D. Maryland
BEATRICE KOON, as mother and next friend of Elijah Glay, et al.
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD, et al.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending and ready for resolution in this civil rights action
is the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Prince
George's County Police Department, Prince George's
County (“the County”), and Officer Tavarras
Edwards (collectively “Defendants”). (ECF No.
44). The issues have been briefed, and the court now rules,
no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the
following reasons, the motion for summary judgment will be
granted in part and denied in part.
October 2, 2013, at approximately 2:00 a.m., Officer Edwards
and his partner, Officer Jerome McCann, responded to a call
about a woman being assaulted at an apartment complex. The
officers were only told that the victim was sitting near a
dumpster, and her assailants were two “black males
wearing dark clothing.” The officers took a couple of
minutes to reach the apartment complex where the assault was
reported. After reaching the apartment complex, the officers
drove around, and then left their cars. While on foot, they
found the person who reported the assault and that person
pointed them to a woman who appeared to be the victim. She
was seated on the curb near a dumpster in a parking lot. When
the officers located the victim, a fence was between the
officers and the victim. Officer McCann was physically unable
to climb the fence and walked around the fence. Officer
Edwards instead climbed over the fence alone. (ECF No. 44-2,
Edwards approached the woman by himself and attempted to talk
to her, but she did not respond to his questions. He saw
Elijah Glay near the dumpster and concluded that Mr. Glay
must be one of the assailants because Mr. Glay was “a
black male, 20's to 30's, [and] . . . wearing dark
clothes.” (ECF No. 44-2, at 8). Mr. Glay was alone at
that time. Officer Edwards did not get confirmation from the
victim that Mr. Glay was one of the assailants.
to Officer Edwards, he yelled “Police. Stop” when
he first saw Mr. Glay, but Mr. Glay took off running. Officer
Edwards followed, and Mr. Glay ran some distance between
cars. Eventually, Officer Edwards saw Mr. Glay try to jump a
fence, unsuccessfully, and he fell. Officer Edwards then
caught up with him and “corner[ed] him near the wood
line.” Officer Edwards stated that Mr. Glay had a
black travel bag of some kind. (ECF No. 44-2, at 13).
to Officer Edwards, he told Mr. Glay to “Show me your
hands, ” and “Stay down.” He also said,
“Don't move” and “Keep your hands where
I can see them.” Mr. Glay turned up, or lifted up, bent
up and “begins to reach inside the black bag.
That's when I deployed my two shots . . .”
He did not produce a weapon at that point. Um, I didn't
want to take the chance because I was in the grassy portion.
I didn't have any cover available to me. So I
couldn't-I didn't- I didn't feel m-I felt like my
life was threatened. I didn't feel like I could wait to
see what was going to come out of that bag because he had
already, you know, failed to re-you know, failed to stop to
my commands. So-and my only thought was that he doesn't
want to be caught. He wants to get away by any means even if
it means taking my life. So out of fear I just deployed my
Mr. Glay died from the gunshots. Mr. Glay was unarmed when
Officer Edwards shot him. (ECF No. 46, at 23-25).
September 12, 2016, Plaintiff Beatrice Koon
(“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint in the Circuit
Court for Prince George's County, Maryland. (ECF No. 2).
Plaintiff is the mother of the deceased Elijah Glay. N.G.,
the deceased's daughter, was named a “Use
Plaintiff.” (Id. at 3). Plaintiffs'
original complaint brought a claim for wrongful death and
negligence. On July 31, 2017, Plaintiffs filed an amended
complaint bringing additional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (ECF No. 30). Defendants then removed this action to
the United States District Court for the District of
Maryland. (ECF No. 1).
March 15, 2018, after the discovery period concluded,
Defendants moved for summary judgment. (ECF No. 44).
Plaintiffs responded to Defendants' motion for summary
judgment on May 1, 2018, and moved for leave to allow late
filing. (ECF No. 46). Defendants replied on May 16, 2018.
(ECF No. 47).
Standard of Review
motion for summary judgment will be granted only if there
exists no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986);
Emmett v. Johnson, 532 F.3d 291, 297 (4th
Cir. 2008). To prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the
moving party generally bears the burden of showing that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. Liberty
Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248-50. A dispute about a material
fact is genuine “if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Id. at 249. In undertaking this
inquiry, a court must view the facts and the reasonable
inferences drawn therefrom “in the light most favorable
to the party opposing the motion, ” Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
587 (1986) (quoting United States v. Diebold, Inc.,
369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)); see also EEOC v. Navy Fed.
Credit Union, 424 F.3d 397, 405 (4th Cir.
2005), but a “party cannot create a genuine dispute of
material fact through mere speculation or compilation of
inferences.” Shin v. Shalala, 166 F.Supp.2d
373, 375 (D.Md. 2001) (citation omitted).
Defendant Prince George's County ...