Lafayette Ricks, a middle-aged homeless man, was arrested by D.C. police in September 2004 for disorderly conduct when he refused to leave a public park in which he was peacefully enjoying his lunch. Witnesses—including the pastor’s wife from the adjacent church—confirmed the absence of any valid reason for ordering him to leave the park. The arresting officer told Mr. Ricks to expect to spend the weekend in jail, and was surprised when Mr. Ricks was able to post $25 collateral instead.

We filed suit and sought damages for Mr. Ricks and an order barring the District from incarcerating arrestees who are eligible for release but who lack the funds to post collateral. After the court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss, the District made an Offer of Judgment in the amount of $32,000 plus costs and fees, which Mr. Ricks accepted. Judgment was entered and Mr. Ricks was paid. 

The Washington City Paper posted an article about the event here

Date filed

November 1, 2004