On May 11, 2018, Ms. Price was sitting in her yard in Northeast D.C. with family members and friends, discussing funeral arrangements for her son, Jeffery Price, who had been killed by Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers just seven days earlier. During that conversation, MPD Officer Joseph Gupton barged into her yard and searched it. He had no warrant. He did not respond or even explain himself when Mr. Price and her brother repeatedly asked him to leave. He found no contraband or criminal suspects on the property.
Safeguarding the home from unjustified police intrusions goes to the core of the Fourth Amendment’s purpose. Officer Gupton’s warrantless entry violated that guarantee, causing Ms. Price to feel increased anxiety and less safe in her home in light of the fact that officers from the same police department responsible for her son’s death apparently feel free to enter her property at any time.
To remedy the harms Ms. Price suffered and enforce the constitutional guarantee of freedom from unreasonable searches, we sued Officer Gupton and the District of Columbia in April 2019.
Discovery concluded in early 2020, and in August 2020, we moved for partial summary judgment on behalf of Ms. Price, as the undisputed evidence showed that the police violated her Fourth Amendment rights when they entered her yard.
In the fall of 2020, the defendants agreed to compensate Ms. Price to settle the case. It is our hope that this settlement will discourage other officers from unconstitutionally intruding on other people’s property. .