WILLIAM THOMAS, Plaintiff, v. Civil Action No. 84-3552 UNITED STATES, et al . Defendants.
"Plaintiff brings this action to enjoin the defendants from interfering with the `reproachful vigil' that he maintains in the vicinity of the White House and Lafayette Park.... The federal defendants correctly point out that the plaintiff can no longer challenge the Department of Interior regulations under which he and his fellow protestors have been arrested... (Cites omitted.) 
"Nevertheless, many of the issues raised in plaintiff's voluminous pro se complaint cannot be resolved by the pending motions.... These claims have been summarized in a `Clarification of Complaint' filed by the plaintiff at the Court's request.
"Plaintiff alleges that both federal and local law enforcement officials have committed unconstitutional excesses in their efforts to arrest plaintiff pursuant to local statutes and DOI regulations. In particular, plaintiff claims that his literature, tools, signs, and camera have been improperly seized and destroyed by Park Service and District of Columbia Police. See, e.g., Complaint at Paras. 40, 46, 87, 93, 112, 117, 118 & 133. He asserts that law enforcement officers have violated his constitutional rights by using excessive force during his arrests. See, e.g., Complaint Paras. 30, 69, 93, 132. Plaintiff further alleges that the police have unlawfully detained him on several different Sundays by arresting him on Saturday nights and failing to book him expeditiously. See, e.g., Complaint Paras 87, 93, 97 & 131. The complaint contains numerous other allegations of police misconduct, and plaintiff further claims that these acts were the product of a conspiracy pursued by federal and local officials.
"Plaintiff's complaint states a substantial federal claim. The fact that the constitutionality of the DOI regulations is well-settled does not prevent the plaintiff from claiming, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) (footnote omitted), that defendants have violated his constitutional rights in the course of enforcing the regulations and the law of the District of Columbia." Ibid, pages 1-3.
"This action is now before the Court on plaintiff's Amended Complaint (filed Oct. 19, 1985).... By Order of April 9, 1986, plaintiff was required to complete a Statement of Claim regarding each named defendant. Plaintiff affirms that his case `is about a conspiracy to deprive [him] of [his] civil rights, in violation of federal law.' Statement of Claim (filed April 22, 1986 quoting Memorandum to the Court at 1 (filed April 2, 1986)). Plaintiff lists each defendant and each act allegedly undertaken by that defendant in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy. This detail provides defendants with the definite statement required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 8.... (parentheses in original)
"Plaintiff's Statement of Claim, as well as the allegations previously found to be potentially meritorious, indicate that plaintiff's claim involves two discrete issues.
"1) Whether any of the named defendants conspired to deprive plaintiff of his civil rights, in violation of federal law; and
"2) Whether any of the defendants individually committed any unconstitutional acts toward plaintiff, specifically whether any defendants `committed unconstitutional excesses in their efforts to arrest plaintiff pursuant to local statutes and DOI regulations.' Memorandum and Order at 2 (filed June 3, 1985).... (parentheses in original)
"Because plaintiff's claims involve numerous defendants and he is proceeding pro se, it is important that discovery be closely supervised. This action will be referred to United States Magistrate Arthur Burnett for supervision of discovery and pretrial proceedings.... Depositions should also be taken under the Magistrate's supervision." (Id, pgs. 1 thru 3)
"ORDERED: that the trial shall commence at 9:30 A.M. on October 20, 1986...
"ORDERED: that each of the parties shall file, on or before September 12, 1986, a trial brief...." Id, pg. 4.
E) Plaintiffs' trial brief was filed on September 22, 1986. (Defendants have yet to file a trial brief.)
"Before the undersigned U.S. Magistrate upon reference from the Court (Oberdorfer, J.), is the motion of federal defendants (footnote omitted) for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56(b), Fed. R. Civ. P., with respect to plaintiff's common law tort claims of assault and battery, false imprisonment and unlawful arrest, 42 U.S.C. Sections 1983 and 1985 civil rights claims, and claims under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Ninth Amendments, alleged by plaintiff, Mr. William Thomas." Id, pg. 1.
"(P)laintiff's principal contention is that these supervisory officials conspired among themselves, and with other federal agents and officers, in an effort to have him unlawfully arrested, harassed and intimidated in order to discourage plaintiff from continuing the free exercise of his First Amendment rights...." Id, pg. 4.
"The Magistrate heard agrument of counsel on these and other allegations at a hearing held on November 14, 1986 at which plaintiff appeared pro se.... The Magistrate has since then again reviewed ... the testimony taken upon deposition in the presence of the Magistrate of ten (10) [government] witnesses in the case, as well as relevant portions of the court record. After consideration of these matters ... the Magistrate concludes that the motion of the federal defendants must be denied. [Brackets added.]
"... (T)he burden is on the federal defendants to show that there are no genuine issues of material fact ... Adickes v. S.H. Kress, Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970).... Here, material facts are in dispute involving whether supervisory officials and officers acted in bad faith, either in a conspiracy or by combined action, to deprive plaintiff of his First Amendment rights which precludes granting summary judgment for the defendants. Id, pgs. 5 & 6.
"(T)here remains an incredible number of incidents stemming from (plaintiffs') arrests on which reasonable minds might well differ as to the arresting officers' subjective intent and whether their actions involved police misconduct." Id, pgs. 8 & 9. (Parentheses substituting.)
"Having carefully and thoroughly reviewed plaintiff's pleadings, the Magistrate concludes that there exists sufficient troublesome incidents raising genuine issues of material facts in dispute in this case, which mandate proceeding to trial on plaintiff's causes of action for both injunctive and declaratory relief." Id, pg. 14.
The Court does note that:
"Plaintiffs' experience proves that (purported) violations of the Lafayette Park regulations results in repeated deprivation of liberty through arrest, seizure of property, (assault, destruction of property, numerous other alleged common law torts), and, perhaps most seriously, deprivation of access to an important public forum for the exercise of First Amendment rights." Ct's Memo, p. 19 (PARENTHESES ADDED).
"Pro se plaintiffs ... sue President Reagan, (Robert Bedell, Office Of Management and Budget,) Secretary of the Interior, and numerous Interior and Park Police officials for injuries allegedly arising out of plaintiffs' (religious exercise) and communicative activities in Lafayette Park, Washington, D.C...." Ct's Memo, pg.1 (PARENTHESES ADDED).
"It is undisputed that plaintiffs have been repeatedly warned, cited, arrested, and convicted for violating one or another of these regulations. Plaintiff Thomas alone has been tried for such infractions in this Court at least a dozen times since 1982. See Federal Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment...." Ct's Memo, pg. 4.
"In his Second Declaration, filed September 22, 1986, William Thomas has stated that by his reckoning, he has been arrested twenty-five (25) times since 1981 for performing symbolic acts in his demonstration activities. He claims only seven (7) arrests have resulted in convictions." Magistrate's Memorandum Opinion, Report & Recommendation, January 13, 1987, pg. 19, Appendix A.
"(t)he challenged three-foot sign attendance requirement ... was upheld against constitutional challenge in this Court in litigation brought by several of these same plaintiffs in United States v. Musser, Cr. No. 87-157 (D.D.C. June 17, 1987) (Richey, J.). See Federal Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and a Temporary Restraining Order at 4." Ct's Memo, pg. 7.
"(W)e would note that the majority of the demonstrations now occurring in Lafayette Park are longterm vigils which continue 24 hours a day. When one of the participants of these demonstrations departs the area, another demonstrator takes his or her place in watching the group signs. Therefore, a regulation prohibiting unattended signs would be of limited use in Lafayette Park." Attached hereto, for the Court's convenience, as Exhibit B. Previously Submitted, e.g. Plaintiff's Response to News World Communications Opposition to Plaintiffs Motion to Consolidate filed October 28, 1988, 87-1820, Exhibit 64. SEE ALSO, Amended Complaint, para. 114(c)(11)