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Civil Rights Lawyer Alleges Illegal Arrest After Kidnapping Call

July 13, 2021, 7:39 PM

A civil rights attorney alleges Washington police entered his home without a warrant, detained him, and later retaliated against him following a 911-call mistakenly reporting a kidnapping, according to a complaint filed in a federal court in Washington.

Jared Fishman is a former Department of Justice attorney who now runs a nonprofit “dedicated to developing data-based solutions for a more equitable criminal justice system.” He alleges that Officer Marck Jaeger confronted him at his home following a 911-call reporting that the lawyer had abducted his own daughter outside of a restaurant.

Jaeger encountered Fishman “sitting on the front stoop, shoeless, playing Bob Dylan’s ‘Simple Twist of Fate’ on an acoustic guitar,” the complaint says. The officer then allegedly followed Fishman inside his home, grabbed him, and forced him to the ground in front of his children, according to the complaint.

“No reasonable officer could have believed that there was any justification for detaining Fishman after his wife and children confirmed that he did nothing wrong,” according to the complaint filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Fishman also alleges that Lieutenant Patrick Loftus retaliated against the attorney’s protestations by filing legal and ethics complaints with the Maryland State Bar, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility, and the U.S. Inspector General.

Loftus falsely claimed that Fishman made “deceitful and intentional misrepresentations regarding being slammed to the ground and his door being broken,” and that he identified himself as a DOJ attorney to intimidate the officers, according to the complaint.

Causes of Action: Fourth Amendment—unreasonable entry into home without warrant, seizure without reasonable suspicion, arrest without probable cause; First Amendment—retaliation; District of Columbia common law— trespassing and negligence.

Relief: Compensatory damages; one dollar reward in damages for unlawful entry; award of attorneys’ fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988; other relief deemed suitable by the Court.

Response: A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Attorneys: Gerstein Harrow LLP represents Fishman.

The case is Fishman v. District of Columbia, D.D.C., No. 1:21-cv-01847, 7/12/21.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tiana Headley at theadley@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com