United States District Court, D. Maryland
Xinis United States District Judge
before the Court is Defendant Mahir Ayoub's partial
motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 32. The motion is fully
briefed, and no hearing is necessary. See Loc. R.
105.6. For the following reasons, the Defendant's motion
is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
January 16, 2016, Plaintiff Christopher Jeffries was working
a night shift as a food delivery driver for an online service
called Zoomer. Pl. Ex. 3 at 29-30 (Jeffries
Dep.). Jeffries drove down Route 1 from College
Park towards Hyattsville to make a delivery on Lawrence
Street. Id. at 34. As Jeffries was exiting at
47th Street to get on Kenilworth Avenue
southbound, he noticed a police car behind him. Id.
at 35-38. Ayoub, a Bladensburg Police Officer, was driving
the police vehicle. Ayoub activated his emergency lights and
moved closer to Jeffries's vehicle. Id. at 38.
Jeffries saw the police lights but expected the police car to
pass his vehicle because the officer had not signaled for
Jeffries to pull over. Id. at 42. Eventually,
Jeffries realized that the police intended to pull him over,
and did so in a well-lit area that was, in Jeffries'
view, the “first safe place” to stop.
Id. at 43. By Ayoub's estimation, Jeffries
stopped his vehicle about a half mile away from the point
Ayoub first activated his emergency lights. Pl. Ex. 2 at 83
(Ayoub Dep.). Ayoub further estimates that Jeffries drove for
about thirty to forty-five seconds from activation of the
police lights to Jeffries stopping the car. Jeffries
maintains, and Ayoub agrees, that during the half-mile drive,
Jeffries did not speed and in fact was decreasing his speed
and was traveling only 10 or 15 miles per hour. Pl. Ex. 3 at
53-54 (Jeffries Dep.); Pl. Ex. 2 at 49 (Ayoub
Jeffries' vehicle was stopped, Ayoub approached the car
with his gun unholstered and pointing toward the vehicle in a
downward trajectory. Pl. Ex. 2 at 95 (Ayoub Dep.). Ayoub was
yelling orders, the precise content of which Jeffries could
not decipher. Pl. Ex. 3 at 45-47 (Jeffries Dep.). Jeffries
started to video record the encounter on his cell
phone. Id. at 45. The recording captures
Ayoub shouting at Jeffries to put his phone down and to
completely roll down the window, adding that it would go from
“bad to real bad” if Jeffries did not comply. ECF
No. 32-2 (Video). Jeffries rolled down his window further,
handed Ayoub his license and told the officer he did not have
his registration. Id. Jeffries told Ayoub that he
was scared that Ayoub would kill him. Ayoub repeatedly
ordered Jeffries to get out of the car and yelled,
“I'm going to pull you out of the car.”
Id. Ayoub's back-up, Officer Jaime Amaya, also
ordered Jeffries out of the car. Id. Jeffries
remained in the driver's seat and questioned the
officers' orders to get out of the vehicle, at which
point the video recording ends. Id.
where the video stops, the parties' versions of events
diverge. According to Jeffries, the encounter turned violent.
One of the officers pulled Jeffries out of the car, and Ayoub
threw him to the ground and “rubbed [his] face in the
concrete.” Pl. Ex. 3 at 77 (Jeffries
Dep.). While face down into the concrete,
Jeffries was handcuffed and had something driven between his
shoulder blades, which felt like “a knee . . . or the
barrel of a gun.” Id. at 77-78. The officers
then picked up Jeffries and leaned him face down against the
trunk of his car. Id. at 82. At some point, a third
officer loosened the handcuffs, and then Ayoub threw Jeffries
in the back of his police vehicle, and punched Jeffries
repeatedly in the stomach while Jeffries was cuffed.
Id. at 83, 85-86. Ayoub eventually transported
Jeffries to the police station and charged him with an array
of criminal offenses, including second degree assault of a
police officer, resisting a lawful arrest, and eluding an
officer. Id. at 100-01; see also Pl. Ex. 8.
On July 11, 2016, all criminal charges against Jeffries were
nolle prossed. See Pl. Ex. 8.
to Officers Ayoub and Amaya, while Jeffries was still sitting
in his car, Ayoub stuck his hand in the car through the
window to unlock the door. Pl. Ex. 2 at 125 (Ayoub Dep.).
Jeffries “smacked [his] hand.” Id. Ayoub
then opened the unlocked door and Jeffries exited the vehicle
on his own. Id. at 127-28. Officers Ayoub and Amaya
told Jeffries as he was getting out of the car that he was
under arrest and ordered him to place his hands on his head
or behind his back. Id. at 128. Jeffries did not
present his hands for cuffing but rather held them to his
chest and clenched his fists in “a fighting
stance.” Id. Amaya and Ayoub took Jeffries to
the ground and handcuffed him. Pl. Ex. 5 at 34 (Amaya Dep.).
Ayoub searched Jeffries' vehicle “for weapons or
contraband.” ECF No. 41-2 at 61. Ayoub denies using any
kind of force against Jeffries after arresting him and
placing him in the police car. Id. at 59.
filed this suit against Ayoub in the Circuit Court for Prince
George's County on June 13, 2017, asserting claims for
unlawful arrest and excessive force under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, and Articles 24 and 26 of the Maryland Declaration of
Rights,  as well as common law claims for assault
and battery, malicious prosecution, false arrest, false
imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional
distress. ECF No. 2 ¶¶ 26-61. Ayoub timely removed
the action to this Court, and now moves for partial summary
judgment as to certain of Jeffries' excessive force
counts, and the assault and battery and intentional
infliction of emotional distress claims. ECF No. 33 at 9 n.6,
Standard of Review
judgment is appropriate when the Court, viewing the evidence
in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, finds no
genuine disputed issue of material fact, entitling the movant
to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986); Emmett v. Johnson, 532 F.3d 291, 297 (4th
Cir. 2008). “A party opposing a properly supported
motion for summary judgment ‘may not rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of [his] 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)). “A mere
scintilla of proof . . . will not suffice to prevent summary
judgment.” Peters v. Jenney, 327 F.3d 307, 314
(4th Cir. 2003).
“a court should not grant summary judgment
‘unless the entire record shows a right to judgment
with such clarity as to leave no room for controversy and
establishes affirmatively that the adverse party cannot
prevail under any circumstances.'” Campbell v.
Hewitt, Coleman & Assocs., Inc., 21 F.3d 52, 55 (4th
Cir. 1994) (quoting Phoenix Sav. & Loan,
Inc. v. Aetna Casualty & Sur. Co., 381 F.2d 245,
249 (4th Cir. 1967)). Where the party bearing the burden of
proving a claim or defense “fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential
to that party's case, and on which that party will bear
the burden of proof at trial, ” summary judgment
against that party is likewise warranted. Celotex,
477 U.S. at 322.
threshold matter, Ayoub argues that this Court should not
consider certain evidence when deciding the summary judgment
motion. Ayoub urges the Court to ignore Jeffries'
exhibits because they were not filed properly and to strike
Jeffries' affidavit (Pl. Ex. 4) to the extent it
contradicts Jeffries' deposition testimony. Ayoub raised
these arguments for the first time in his reply, which
ordinarily this Court will not consider. Clawson v. FedEx
Ground Package Sys., Inc., 451 F.Supp.2d 731, 734 (D.
Md. 2006) (citation omitted). That said, the Court, in its
discretion, may reach the arguments in “appropriate
circumstances, ” ...