United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
OPINION & ORDER
L. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Charlotte Moore sued Gwinnett County police officers and
Gwinnett County claiming they violated her constitutional
rights while responding to disputes she had with roommates.
Defendants moved for summary judgment on all claims. Dkts.
97, 98, 100, and 102. The Court grants Defendants'
Charlotte Moore rented a home located at 2267 Hudson Drive,
Lilburn, Georgia. Dkt. 95 at 8, 42. Her lease allowed Moore
to sublet rooms in the house to other people. Id. at
42. This matter arises from police response to two disputes
she has with roommates - one on July 14, 2014, and one on
November 27, 2015.
The July 14, 2014, Incident
Lawrence began renting a room from Moore in June 2014.
Id. at 86-87. Almost immediately, he and Moore began
having problems arising from Lawrence's alleged failure
to comply with Moore's rules. Id. at 87-88. On
July 10, 2014, Lawrence called police to complain that Moore
would not let him put juice in the refrigerator. Id.
at 91-92; see Dkt. 102-6 at ¶¶ 2-3.
next day, Moore locked Lawrence out of the kitchen after
Lawrence allegedly threatened to poison Moore by
“putting something” in the water supply in her
refrigerator. See Dkt. 95 at 90, 94-96, 107- 08.
Lawrence called police and Defendants Justin Richey and David
Leigh went to the house. Dkts. 51 at ¶ 15; 100-4 at
13-21; 100-3 at 17- 18. Moore told them she wanted Lawrence
“out” of her home because he was trying to poison
her. Dkts. 95 at 112-16; 100-4 at 18. Because Moore refused
to file a police report, the police officers told her (1) if
she wanted Lawrence to leave her house, she had to go through
the eviction process, and (2) so long as Lawrence remained
her tenant, Moore had to give him “reasonable”
access to the kitchen. Dkts. 100-4 at 18-20; 100-3 at 17-18.
14, 2014, Moore went into Lawrence's locked room with her
master key, collected his personal belongings, and took them
to a storage facility. Dkt. 95-1 at 26-29. She also changed
the locks to the house. Id. Moore had neither
permission to do this nor a dispossessory warrant.
Id. at 7-8, 26-28.
Lawrence returned, he - again - called the police. Dkt. 99,
Ex. 5 at 00:00:38-00:00:45. Defendants Richey and Leigh went
back to the house, this time with Defendant Jennifer Roberts.
Dkts. 100-4 at 24; 100-3 at 29; 100-5 at 10-11. They got there at
about 11:00 p.m. Id. Lawrence told them what Moore
had done, claimed the items she removed from the house
included an unspecified amount of cash, and showed them
paperwork he had received from Moore, specifically a document
showing the address of the storage facility and a letter
terminating his lease. Dkts. 100-3 at 30-32; 100-4 at 25; 95
at 118. Lawrence said he wanted to prosecute Moore for theft.
Dkt. 100-4 at 32.
three officers went to the front door. Dkts. 100-4 at 27-28;
100-3 at 34; 100-5 at 15. Although the officers'
recollection of this encounter differs from Moore's, the
parties agree that the officers knocked on the door and Moore
answered by opening the door inwards. Dkt. 95-1 at 33- 34.
Moore testified that she spoke with the officers while
standing behind her door, which she opened just wide enough
to put her arm through.
Moore and Defendant Richey have submitted audio recordings of
the encounter. Dkts. 109; 102-3. In the recordings, Moore
speaks with officers for several minutes, admitting she took
Lawrence's belongings to the storage locker without his
permission. See Dkt. 102-3 at 00:10:28-00:11:30:00.
Moore insists she had the right to evict Lawrence because he
threatened her. The officers explain that, since she had
refused to file a police report against Lawrence or get a
dispossessory warrant, she had no right to do what she did.
Id. at 00:11:30-00:12:40.
officers then told her that she was under arrest and asked
her to step outside. Id. at 00:12:40-00:12:50. Moore
continued to argue with the officers, claiming she had the
right to evict him and leading to the following exchange:
Male Officer: Ma'am, can you step outside? You're
under arrest. [Pause] Ma'am, if you do not step outside
we will make you step outside.
Moore: Ok, let me call my attorney.
Roberts: No, you're not calling your attorney.
Male Officer: You'll be able to call your attorney
[inaudible] . . .
Moore: Ok, ok, ok. Hold on . . .
Roberts: Step outside right now.
Moore: I don't have shoes or nothing on.
Male Officer: We'll get your shoes.
Moore: No, I mean . . .
Roberts [speaking over Moore]: [unintelligible] . . . step
outside. Say no one more time, you're gonna get an
obstruction charge. Don't you shut that door. Get out . .
Moore: Ok, what are you arresting me for exactly?
Roberts: Theft by taking.
Moore [raising voice]: I didn't take anything.
Roberts: Come out now. Come out now. [Shuffling can be
overheard]. Don't shut this door on me.
Moore [raising voice]: I didn't shut this door. I want to
get my shoes.
Roberts: You ain't getting nothing.
Moore [yelling]: Why can't I get my shoes?
[Shuffling in background]
Roberts: Because that's not what I told you could do.
[Sounds of struggle continue]
Roberts [yelling]: Give me this.
Moore [yelling]: Why are you taking my shoes?
Male Officer: Stop.
Moore [yelling]: Let me . . . I'm just . . .
Roberts [speaking over Moore]: Because you are going to do
what we tell you and nothing else. Put your hands behind your
Moore [yelling]: Wait. Stop. Stop. [Moore screams] Stop it.
Roberts [yelling]: Back up. Back up please.
Moore [yelling]: Stop it.
Roberts: You're going to get tased.
Male Officer: Turn around. Put it behind your back. Put it
behind your back now.
Roberts: Put your hands behind your back now.
Male Officer: Put your hands behind your back now.
Moore: I can't. Wait a minute . . . [garbled]
Roberts [speaking over Moore]: Put them down. Put them down.
Male Officer: Put it behind your back.
[A sound that appears to be a taser discharging can be heard]
Male Officer: Put your hands behind your back.
[Moore can be heard screaming in the background over the
sound of a struggle. The sound of a taser continues]
Male Officer: Put your hands behind your back.
Moore [shouting]: [unintelligible]
Male Officer: Turn around. Turn around.
Moore [yelling]: [unintelligible]
Male Officer: Ma'am, if you do not turn around,
you're gonna get tased. You're gonna get tased again.
You're gonna get tased.
Moore [shouting]: No, I can't . . . [unintelligible]
Male Officer: Turn around.
Multiple Officers [yelling over one another]: Ma'am, put
your hands behind your back.
Moore: Ok . . .
Male Officer: Put it behind your ...