Case: U.S. v. Territory of the Virgin Islands

3:08-cv-00158 | District Court of the Virgin Islands

Filed Date: Dec. 23, 2008

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In March 2004, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated an investigation of the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141. On October 5, 2005, the DOJ issued a technical assistance letter to the department which made recommendations regarding specific changes to the department's policies in the following areas: use of force, vehicle pursuits, holding cells, misconduct investigations, discipline, supervisory oversight, and training.O…

In March 2004, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated an investigation of the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 14141. On October 5, 2005, the DOJ issued a technical assistance letter to the department which made recommendations regarding specific changes to the department's policies in the following areas: use of force, vehicle pursuits, holding cells, misconduct investigations, discipline, supervisory oversight, and training.

On December 23, 2008, the DOJ filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands under 42 U.S.C. § 14141 against the VIPD. The DOJ sought both injunctive and declaratory relief, claiming that the Virgin Islands government, though its actions and omissions, was engaging in a pattern or practice of subjecting individuals to the use of excessive force. Simultaneously, the parties submitted a proposed consent decree to settle the case.

U.S. District Judge Curtis V. Gomez approved the consent decree on March, 24, 2009. The Decree detailed specific actions to be taken by VIPD regarding evaluation, documentation, and review of use of force incidents; citizen complaint procedures; management and supervision; and training.

On June 29, 2010, Judge Gomez allowed an amendment to the Consent Decree to make slight modifications to the monitoring timetable. On December 9, 2010, the Office of the Independent Monitor, from the firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, LLP, began filing regular progress/compliance reports.

Due to VIPD's slow progress toward achieving compliance, on November 2, 2012, Judge Gomez adopted a jointly-proposed Action Plan, which aimed to set realistic and achievable compliance deadlines, and incorporated its deadlines into the Consent Decree. Judge Gomez also eliminated the bright-line deadline in the original Consent Decree, and amended it to provide that the Consent Decree would only expire after the VIPD had maintained substantial compliance with its terms for a period of two years. The Action Plan included particular scheduling details for when VIPD officers would receive trainings for vehicle-pursuit and spike-strip policies as well as deadlines for training its internal risk assessment team related to use of excessive force.

After the VIPD requested and received multiple extensions on compliance related to specific training objectives, the parties filed a joint motion to amend the Action Plan and Consent Decrees on October 1, 2013. In their proposed amendment to the Action Plan, the parties recognized that VIPD required additional time in order to build the infrastructure in training, policies, and supervisory personnel requisite to achieve compliance. However, before Judge Gomez could rule on the motion, the VIPD failed to meet the deadlines it had outlined in the proposed amendment. As such, the parties supplemented their motion to amend, and on February 25, 2014, Judge Gomez held a hearing on the proposed amendment.

At the hearing, Judge Gomez noted that the VIPD leadership had continually promised to meet new deadlines and yet had failed to do so. Judge Gomez suggested that the parties instead target meaningful and achievable quarterly goals, with quarterly hearings on the compliance status of each of these goals. On March 7, 2014, the VIPD filed a notice of their proposed quarterly goals. On April 30, 2014, Judge Gomez issued an order adopting these goals, and struck the Action Plan from the Consent Decree, instead adopting a provision for quarterly goals and compliance hearings. The order was amended on May 22 to make minor adjustments to this provision.

On July 10, 2015, the parties filed a joint motion to amend the Consent Decree with respect to the timing of the Independent Monitor's reports. On August 21, Judge Gomez ordered appropriate amendments to the Consent Decree to facilitate the preparation of more accurate and complete quarterly reports.

On Aug. 25, the monitor submitted a status report indicating that no part of the VIPD had reached full compliance with any part of the consent decree, though the VIPD had strengthen its infrastructure for achieving compliance. A status report filed on May 20, 2016 indicated substantial compliance had been reached with regard to some of the consent decree provisions. A year later, in May 2017, the monitor filed a status report with similar findings. On Feb. 15, 2018, the monitor filed a status report indicating that hurricanes in the fall of 2017 had slowed down progress, and that full compliance had not yet been reached.

Pursuant to enforcement of the consent decree, the independent monitoring team submitted quarterly reports on VIPD's compliance, and the parties each submitted monthly status reports.

At a hearing on June 26, 2018, Judge Gomez advised the appointment of two independent experts to identify outstanding issues with VIPD’s compliance and provide recommendations for substantial compliance. The court ordered the parties to identify potential experts. On July 6, 2018, two experts, one for police practices and one for efficient governmental administration and policy implementation, were appointed. The experts were ordered to submit a report recommending specific steps to be undertaken by the VIPD to achieve substantial compliance with the consent decree. A joint report by the parties on September 18 indicated that VIPD had already implemented many of the recommendations, with several remaining to be implemented which was addressed in a jointly proposed order.

On October 5, 2018, the court ordered subsequent reports to include VIPD’s efforts to implement expert recommendations on its quarterly reports, and monitoring continued. The parties submitted a notice for a joint position on proposed changes to the structure of the monitoring team due to ongoing medical issues affecting the independent monitor on May 10, 2019. The case was reassigned to Judge Robert A. Molloy on May 8, 2020.

The enforcement of the Consent Decree is still in progress.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (1/23/2007)

Louisa Eberle (11/3/2013)

John He (2/6/2016)

Virginia Weeks (3/12/2018)

Averyn Lee (5/31/2020)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5374230/parties/united-states-v-territory-of-the-vi-etal/


Judge(s)

Gomez, Curtis V. (Virgin Islands)

Miller, Ruth (Virgin Islands)

Molloy, Robert A. (Virgin Islands)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Cannon, Sansara Adella (Virgin Islands)

Coon, Laura (District of Columbia)

Fleisher, Aaron S (District of Columbia)

Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)

Hewlett, Joycelyn (Virgin Islands)

Judge(s)

Gomez, Curtis V. (Virgin Islands)

Miller, Ruth (Virgin Islands)

Molloy, Robert A. (Virgin Islands)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Cannon, Sansara Adella (Virgin Islands)

Coon, Laura (District of Columbia)

Fleisher, Aaron S (District of Columbia)

Gregg, Tammie (District of Columbia)

Hewlett, Joycelyn (Virgin Islands)

Jung, Je Yon (District of Columbia)

Killebrew, Paul (District of Columbia)

Mazor, Marina (District of Columbia)

McMillan, Charlene (District of Columbia)

Morse, Thomas Jackson (District of Columbia)

Mukasey, Michael B. (New York)

Murphy, Paul R. (New Jersey)

Murray, Jeffrey Robert (District of Columbia)

Mygatt, Timothy D (District of Columbia)

Preston, Judith (Judy) C. (District of Columbia)

Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Drue, Kerry (Virgin Islands)

Frazer, Vincent (Virgin Islands)

Griffiths, Terri L. (Virgin Islands)

Mattarangas-King, Daniel (Virgin Islands)

Thomas-Jacobs, Carol (Virgin Islands)

Williams, Warren M (Virgin Islands)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Gruber, Charles A. (Illinois)

Johnson, William F. (New York)

Witzel, Steven M. (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

3:08-cv-00158

Docket [PACER]

May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020

Docket

United States Department of Justice Investigation of the Virgin Islands Police Department

In re: DOJ Investigation of the Virgin Islands Police Department

No Court

Oct. 5, 2005

Oct. 5, 2005

Findings Letter/Report
1

3:08-cv-00158

Complaint

United States v. Virgin Islands

Dec. 23, 2008

Dec. 23, 2008

Complaint
3

3:08-cv-00158

Consent Decree

United States v. Virgin Islands

March 24, 2009

March 24, 2009

Order/Opinion
9

3:08-cv-00158

Order

United States of America v. The Territory of the Virgin Islands

June 29, 2010

June 29, 2010

Order/Opinion
27

3:08-cv-00158

Fourth Quarterly Report of the Independent Monitor for the Virgin Islands Police Department

United States of America v. The Territory of the Virgin Islands

March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011

Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
28

3:08-cv-00158

First Quarterly Report of 2011 of the Independent Monitor for the Virgin Islands Police Department

United States of America v. The Territory of the Virgin Islands

June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011

Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
29

3:08-cv-00158

Second Quarterly Report of 2011 of the Independent Monitor for the Virgin Islands Police Department

United States of America v. The Territory of the Virgin Islands

Aug. 31, 2011

Aug. 31, 2011

Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
31

3:08-cv-00158

Third Quarterly Report of 2011 of the Independent Monitor for the Virgina Islands Police Department

The United States of America v. The Territory of the Virgina Islands

Dec. 27, 2011

Dec. 27, 2011

Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report
50

3:08-cv-00158

Notice of Filing and First Quarterly Report of 2012

United States of America v. The Territory of the Virgin Islands

July 10, 2012

July 10, 2012

Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5374230/united-states-v-territory-of-the-vi-etal/

Last updated July 17, 2022, 3:18 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
245

ORDER (CVG) on the twenty first day of each month, the parties shall submit to the Court, via the electronic case filing system, a report on VIPDs progress towards achieving compliance with the decrees remaining outstanding requirements; and it is further ORDERED that VIPD shall achieve substantial compliance with all of the Consent Decrees requirements no later than February 23, 2017. (NAW)

Nov. 28, 2016

Nov. 28, 2016

RECAP
282

ORDER (CVG) that the Motion for Extension of Time to Comply With All Requirements of the Consent Decree 250 is hereby GRANTED; and it is further ORDERED that the VIPD shall achieve substantial compliance with all of the Consent Decrees requirements no later than November 23, 2017.

Aug. 8, 2017

Aug. 8, 2017

RECAP
324

Order

June 26, 2018

June 26, 2018

PACER
331

Order

July 6, 2018

July 6, 2018

PACER
339

Order

Aug. 9, 2018

Aug. 9, 2018

PACER
346

Order

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

2 Exhibit

View on PACER

3 Appendix

View on PACER

4 Appendix

View on PACER

5 Appendix

View on PACER

Aug. 20, 2018

Aug. 20, 2018

PACER
357

ORDER (CVG) When the IMT reports on VIPD's compliance with the Consent Decree in its quarterly reports, it shall include VIPD's efforts to implement Chief McNeilly's recommendations to the extent that the IMT disagrees with, or finds d eficient, any assessments regarding implementation of Chief McNeilly's recommendations that may be submitted by the parties. The parties and the IMT shall collaboratively undertake such efforts as will avoid duplication of efforts, and as will minimize costs to the VIPD. (CAA)

Oct. 5, 2018

Oct. 5, 2018

RECAP
371

ORDER (CVG) The parties shall file a notice with the Court advising the Court of any change in position or status of any principal involved in this matter, including counsel, at least seven days in advance of the effective date of any change in status or position; provided, however, that, such notice to the Court shall be filed immediately if a principal is afforded less than seven days notice before a change in status or position is effective. (CAA)

Dec. 10, 2018

Dec. 10, 2018

RECAP

~Util - Set Hearings

April 2, 2019

April 2, 2019

PACER

Order

April 2, 2019

April 2, 2019

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings

April 3, 2019

April 3, 2019

PACER

Order

April 3, 2019

April 3, 2019

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings

July 30, 2019

July 30, 2019

PACER

Order

July 30, 2019

July 30, 2019

PACER

~Util - Terminate Motions

Aug. 15, 2019

Aug. 15, 2019

PACER

Order

Aug. 15, 2019

Aug. 15, 2019

PACER

1 - Terminate Hearings

Aug. 29, 2019

Aug. 29, 2019

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings

Aug. 29, 2019

Aug. 29, 2019

PACER

Order

Aug. 29, 2019

Aug. 29, 2019

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings

Sept. 24, 2019

Sept. 24, 2019

PACER

Order

Sept. 24, 2019

Sept. 24, 2019

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings

Oct. 22, 2019

Oct. 22, 2019

PACER

Order

Oct. 22, 2019

Oct. 22, 2019

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings

Oct. 30, 2019

Oct. 30, 2019

PACER

1 - Terminate Hearings

Oct. 30, 2019

Oct. 30, 2019

PACER

Order

Oct. 30, 2019

Oct. 30, 2019

PACER

1 - Terminate Hearings

Nov. 21, 2019

Nov. 21, 2019

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings

Nov. 21, 2019

Nov. 21, 2019

PACER

Order

Nov. 21, 2019

Nov. 21, 2019

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings

Feb. 12, 2020

Feb. 12, 2020

PACER

Order

Feb. 12, 2020

Feb. 12, 2020

PACER
448

Order Reassigning Case

May 8, 2020

May 8, 2020

PACER

~Util - Terminate Motions AND Order

May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020

PACER

~Util - Terminate Motions AND Order

Aug. 24, 2020

Aug. 24, 2020

PACER

Order AND ~Util - Terminate Motions

Aug. 24, 2020

Aug. 24, 2020

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings AND Order

Sept. 2, 2020

Sept. 2, 2020

PACER

Order AND ~Util - Set Hearings

Sept. 2, 2020

Sept. 2, 2020

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings AND Order

Sept. 24, 2020

Sept. 24, 2020

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings AND Order

Sept. 25, 2020

Sept. 25, 2020

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings AND Order

Oct. 28, 2020

Oct. 28, 2020

PACER
480

ORDER (RAM) The motion of the VIPD, ECF 471 , is GRANTED. Paragraph 65 of the Consent Decree is MODIFIED to contain the following language at the end of that paragraph: Notwithstanding the foregoing, the VIPD shall not be required to upload any data dated prior to July 2017 into its electronic risk management system. Such data shall continue to be retained in hard copy form consistent with the foregoing requirements of this paragraph. (CAA)

Oct. 29, 2020

Oct. 29, 2020

RECAP

~Util - Terminate Motions AND Order

Nov. 24, 2020

Nov. 24, 2020

PACER
489

~Util - Set Hearings AND Order

Dec. 10, 2020

Dec. 10, 2020

PACER

~Util - Terminate Motions AND Order

Dec. 22, 2020

Dec. 22, 2020

PACER

Order

Feb. 9, 2021

Feb. 9, 2021

PACER
504

Order

March 19, 2021

March 19, 2021

PACER

Scheduling Order

April 13, 2021

April 13, 2021

PACER
515

ORDER (RAM) Pursuant to the Court's inherent compliance enforcement powers, Chet Epperson, as the principal of AGR Police Practice Group, LLC, is APPOINTED to serve as Interim Independent Monitor until such time as the Court appoints a new Indep endent Monitor selected by the parties pursuant to the procedures set forth in Paragraph 82 of the Consent Decree. The Interim Independent Monitor shall assume all duties, responsibilities, and rights of the Independent Monitor as provided in the Consent Decree. (CAA)

May 19, 2021

May 19, 2021

RECAP
518

ORDER (RAM) The Virgin Islands' motion to modify the Consent Decree, ECF 499 , is GRANTED. The Training Section of the Consent Decree, paragraphs 73-81, is hereby TERMINATED. (CAA)

May 25, 2021

May 25, 2021

RECAP

~Util - Set Hearings AND Order

June 4, 2021

June 4, 2021

PACER

Order

Aug. 4, 2021

Aug. 4, 2021

PACER

~Util - Terminate Motions AND Order

Aug. 24, 2021

Aug. 24, 2021

PACER

Order AND ~Util - Terminate Motions

Aug. 24, 2021

Aug. 24, 2021

PACER

Scheduling Order

Aug. 30, 2021

Aug. 30, 2021

PACER

~Util - Set Hearings AND Order

Oct. 27, 2021

Oct. 27, 2021

PACER

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File

Nov. 29, 2021

Nov. 29, 2021

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Virgin Islands

Case Type(s):

Policing

Key Dates

Filing Date: Dec. 23, 2008

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

U.S. Department of Justice

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Virgin Islands Police Department , State

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

34 U.S.C. § 12601 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 14141)

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2009 - 2014

Content of Injunction:

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Monitor/Master

Monitoring

Recordkeeping

Reporting

Required disclosure

Training

Issues

General:

Excessive force

Failure to discipline

Failure to supervise

Failure to train

Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures

Pattern or Practice