Plaintiff: Paul H. Jordan Sr.
Defendants: Mayor Adrian Fenty, Police Chief “Catchy Laniener,” 6th District police
Damages Sought: $850,000
Complaint: Jordan alleges 20 or 30 uniformed officers arrived at his house on Minnesota Avenue SE and carried off his common-law wife, Cynthia Marie Smith. He didn’t know where they were taking Smith, and later, when an officer said she was charged with soliciting, he didn’t know what that meant. But if education was not on his side, instinct was. Smith had regular seizures, and the police did not let her take her pills. Jordan tried to visit; she had been moved. He tried to call; no one answered his questions. He complained that the cops had taken off Smith’s medical bracelet, questioned her without an attorney, and relied on the word of a crook whose name was either “Hit Man” or “Fats.” He got no help. Two days later, Smith was released, and sure enough, he writes, “she were not in her right frame of mind.”
Quality of Representation: Troubled. Jordan’s naiveté, his outrage, and his poor command of written English make it clear he believes what he writes. We can’t avoid thinking that he has been driven to extremes by love and crisis. We also can’t avoid laughing at some of the misspellings (“6st District,” “Catchy Laniener”) and choices of phrase (“She didn’t tell me what she was soliciting”).
Summary Judgment: The wrong name’s on this lawsuit. Yes, it seems that Smith was dragged from home in an uncivil fashion, denied medication without good cause, and kept from contact with her frantic lover. But, legally, what that has to do with Jordan is perfectly unclear. He doesn’t allege any mistreatment or negligence against his own person, so we can’t award damages here. But we will grant one of Jordan’s demands. He calls for an inquiry by an “independent, investigative team.” All right, Washington Post. Get on it.