Justly Prudent Files Wrongful Arrest Lawsuit Against MPD And One Of Its Officers

By JD Howlette Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Justly Prudent announced the filing of a federal civil rights lawsuit to seek justice for the egregious actions of a Metropolitan Police Department officer that resulted in the unlawful arrest of a father who simply called 911 to seek assistance for his teenage daughter’s mental health crisis.

According to the complaint, on September 23, 2023, at approximately 1:00 a.m., the daughter returned home from a party and began to experience one of her severe mental health episodes. During the episode, the daughter continuously threatened to hurt herself and the father. In response, the father pleaded with the daughter to contact 988 (i.e., the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline), but the daughter refused to do so. At approximately 3:00 a.m., the father called 911 after the daughter’s physical aggression intensified, having repeatedly kicked the door to the master bedroom in an effort to enter the bedroom, continued the threats of inflicting self-harm, and physically attacked the father that caused his left ear and cheek to bleed.

The MPD officer responded to the father’s 911 call. But rather than provide the requested support, the complaint alleges that the police officer wrongfully accused the father of assaulting his daughter, willfully ignoring the clear and objective evidence to the contrary. According to the complaint, the father—an attorney, dedicated law enforcement officer, and the Chief of Staff of a local police department—made prior calls to 911 to seek critical medical care for the intense mental health crises the daughter routinely experiences. 

Despite the history of 911 calls, the responding officer failed to perform the proper due diligence at the scene, which at a minimum, should have consisted of reviewing the police records, interviewing the mother, and accounting for the clearly visible injuries that the father had sustained in trying to prevent his daughter from harming herself. Instead, the officer arbitrarily determined the daughter did not require any medical assistance—despite her self-harm threats—and then arrested the father for simple assault.

This arrest was not only unwarranted but profoundly damaging to our client, a distinguished attorney and long-serving law enforcement officer,” said Jordan D. Howlette, Managing Attorney at Justly Prudent. “Our client was treated unjustly, and his daughter was denied the psychiatric care she desperately needed. We are committed to seeking justice and ensuring that such reckless and biased actions by law enforcement are addressed, especially when responding to situations involving mental health crises.”

The lawsuit alleges violations of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable seizures and faults the MPD for failing to adequately train its officers in handling situations involving mental health crises. It seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief to prevent future unlawful arrests.

The case is Matthew Bromeland v. District of Columbia, et al., filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Case No. 1:24-cv-01566).