McDaniel v. Arnold, Civil Action No. ELH-10-189

CourtUnited States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
Writing for the CourtEllen Lipton Hollander
Docket NumberCivil Action No. ELH-10-189
Decision Date21 August 2012


Civil Action No. ELH-10-189


Date: August 21, 2012



Brian McDaniel, plaintiff, filed suit against the State of Maryland, the Maryland Department of Transportation ("MDOT"), the Maryland Transportation Authority ("MdTA"), and two of its officers, Ronald Arnold and Christopher Izquierdo (collectively, the "Officers"), alleging a variety of federal and Maryland constitutional and statutory claims and common law torts arising from a traffic stop conducted on November 8, 2006, in Baltimore, Maryland.1 In the course of the stop, the Officers2 ascertained that Mr. McDaniel had a Pennsylvania permit to

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carry a handgun, learned from Mr. McDaniel that he was transporting a handgun in the trunk of his car, searched the vehicle, recovered the handgun from the trunk, and arrested Mr. McDaniel for the Maryland offense of wearing, carrying, or knowingly transporting a handgun in a vehicle. See Md. Code (2012 Repl. Vol.), § 4-203(a)(1)(ii) of the Criminal Law Article ("C.L.").3 The charge was subsequently nol prossed.

On November 6, 2009, Mr. McDaniel filed a twelve-count Complaint (ECF 2) against the Officers, the State, the MdTA, and the MDOT. In a Memorandum Opinion and Order dated August 18, 2010 (ECF 17 & ECF 18), Judge Richard D. Bennett granted in part and denied in part defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Supplemental Motion to Dismiss, resulting in the dismissal of all claims against the State, the MdTA, and the MDOT, and the dismissal of several claims against the Officers.4

Thereafter, plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint (ECF 19) against the Officers, reasserting the four counts that remain at issue: Count I asserts a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on an allegedly unreasonable search and seizure, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and a federal statute, 18 U.S.C. § 926A, which is a provision of the Firearm Owners Protection Act; Count II alleges violations of Articles 24 and 26 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights; Count III asserts the tort of false imprisonment; and "Count X" alleges a civil conspiracy.

Following the conclusion of discovery, the Officers filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF 44), which has been fully briefed.5 A hearing is not necessary to resolve it. See

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Local Rule 105.6. I will deny the Motion, for the reasons that follow.

Factual Background

This Factual Background is drawn from the exhibits submitted by the parties, which include the depositions of Mr. McDaniel, Officer Arnold, and Officer Izquierdo;6 a DVD video of the traffic stop, recorded by the dashboard camera mounted in the Officers' police vehicle, see Video, Ex.2 to Motion;7 a "Criminal Investigation Report," "Supplemental/Continuation Report," and "Statement of Charges" (including a "Statement of Probable Cause"), prepared by Officer Arnold, see Ex.1 to Motion (ECF 44-2 at 1-5); and a copy of the unofficial public docket for the short-lived criminal proceeding against Mr. McDaniel, printed from the Maryland

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Judiciary's "Case Search" website (, see Ex.4 to Motion (ECF 44-2 at 18-20). Unless otherwise noted, the facts presented are the version of events most favorable to Mr. McDaniel. See T-Mobile Northeast LLC v. City Council of City of Newport News, 674 F.3d 380, 385 (4th Cir. 2012) (stating that, when considering a motion for summary judgment, a court must construe the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party).

Mr. McDaniel was born in 1976, and was thirty years of age at the time of the events at issue. See McDaniel Dep. at 6. He is African-American. See Amended Complaint ¶ 10.

On the afternoon of November 8, 2006, Mr. McDaniel was driving his Dodge Intrepid southbound on Interstate 95. McDaniel Dep. at 17, 23. No passengers were in the vehicle. Plaintiff was traveling from his parents' home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to his apartment in Cockeysville, Maryland. See id. at 6-7, 18. Plaintiff had quit his job in Maryland in September 2006, and was residing "back and forth" at both addresses. Id. at 19; see also id. at 12-13, 17-20. Mr. McDaniel's parents own a second home in Ormond Beach, Florida, and plaintiff's vehicle was registered at their Florida address, with Florida license plates. Id. at 20-22.

Mr. McDaniel was carrying his Glock 19 handgun in a plastic shopping bag in the trunk of the Intrepid. See id. at 39-42. A magazine of ammunition was seated in the weapon, but the handgun did not have a round in its chamber. Id. at 43; see also Izquierdo Dep. at 22. In addition, there was another magazine of ammunition in the shopping bag with the handgun. McDaniel Dep. at 43; see also Statement of Probable Cause.

Plaintiff had purchased the handgun at a gun shop in Philadelphia, and he had a Pennsylvania permit to carry the weapon. McDaniel Dep. at 40.8 He was transporting the

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weapon from Philadelphia so that he "could have it in [his] apartment in Maryland." Id. at 42. Although McDaniel did not have a Maryland license to carry or transport a handgun, Maryland does not require a person to obtain a license in order to possess a handgun at home. See Williams v. State, 417 Md. 479, 486, 10 A.3d 1167, 1171 (stating that Maryland's regulatory scheme for handgun possession "expressly permits wearing, carrying, or transporting a handgun in the home," without the requirement of licensure), cert. denied, 132 S. Ct. 93 (2011); accord Wieland v. State, 101 Md. App. 1, 29-30, 643 A.2d 446, 459-60 (1994) (same, interpreting earlier codification).9

Mr. McDaniel intended to take I-95 South through the Fort McHenry Tunnel en route to Cockeysville. As shown in the Video, I-95 South is a five-lane highway shortly before it diverges. When the highway splits, the left two lanes become I-895, which continues through the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, while the right three lanes continue as I-95, through the Fort

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McHenry Tunnel. Both the Harbor Tunnel and the Fort McHenry Tunnel, along with Maryland's other "major toll-producing bridges, tunnels, and thoroughfares," are operated by the MdTA. MdTA Police Lodge No. 34 of Fraternal Order of Police v. MdTA, 195 Md. App. 124, 135, 5 A.3d 1174, 1180 (2010), rev'd in part on other grounds, 420 Md. 141, 21 A.3d 1098 (2011); see also Md. Code (2008 Repl. Vol., 2011 Supp.), §§ 4-101(h)(1), 4-204(a) of the Transportation Article ("Transp.") (granting operational authority over the Harbor Tunnel and Fort McHenry Tunnel to MdTA). The MdTA's police force has police power on all MdTA property and, by executive order, on "'all publicly owned, commercial, and/or common carrier transportation assets throughout the State.'" MdTA Police Lodge, 195 Md. App. at 142, 5 A.3d at 1184 (quoting executive order).

As Mr. McDaniel approached the point where southbound I-95 diverges, he was driving in the far left lane; in order to continue on I-95, he had to merge to the right. See McDaniel Dep. at 29-30. According to Mr. McDaniel, as he drove southbound on I-95 in the left lane, before the point where the highway diverges, he noticed, "way far ahead" of him, a police vehicle sitting in the median between southbound and northbound I-95, in a crossover formed by a break in the jersey barriers separating the two sides of the highway. Id. at 26-28. Mr. McDaniel estimated that he noticed the Officers' car when he was approximately a quarter-mile to a half-mile away from it, and slowed down as he approached, because he didn't "want to take any chances." Id. at 27-28. The police car was facing the southbound lanes, and its occupants (Officer Arnold and Officer Izquierdo) appeared to be "watching cars." Id. at 27.

Officer Izquierdo, who was driving the police vehicle, had recently joined the MdTA Police, and Officer Arnold was training him in the "tasks and duties" of "highway patrol." Arnold Dep. at 11-12; see also Izquierdo Dep. at 10-11, 42. Although Officer Izquierdo was

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new to the MdTA Police, he was an experienced police officer. He began his police career in 1995 or 1996 with the Baltimore City Police, and also worked for a time as an officer in Colorado. See Izquierdo Dep. at 7-9. However, in his previous police positions, Officer Izquierdo had not gained much experience with highway traffic enforcement. Id. at 9-10.

Mr. McDaniel estimated that, at the time he passed the police car, he was traveling "about fifty to fifty-five" miles per hour in the far left lane. Id. at 29. As Mr. McDaniel passed the police car, the Officers "stared right at" him. Id. at 31. Soon after he passed the police vehicle, Mr. McDaniel changed lanes to the right, beginning to merge across the highway in order to stay on I-95. Id. at 29-30. However, as he did so, he noticed that the police car had pulled behind him, and he "could make a guess" that the Officers were about to stop him. Id. at 30-31.10

Shortly thereafter, the video recorder in the Officers' vehicle was activated; it begins at 14:22:40 (i.e., 2:22 p.m.).11 At this point, Mr. McDaniel's vehicle has merged one more lane to the right and is travelling in the middle lane (the third lane from the left). Another car, light gray

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in color, is one lane to the...

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