ACLU DC files lawsuit against DC officer who conducted warrantless search

The ACLU DC filed a lawsuit Monday against an officer who conducted a warrantless search of a family's home in Northeast D.C. nearly a year ago.

The home belongs to Denise Price, the mother of Jeffrey Price, who died May 4, 2018 after a DC Police SUV crashed into his dirt bike.

Price believes the search was retaliation for statements she made to FOX 5 and other media regarding the role of the police in her son's death.

"I was grieving my son's death from May 4 when they decided a week later to just barge in my yard," said Price.

The lawsuit alleges officer Joseph Gupton violated the fourth amendment of the Constitution, which protects from unreasonable searches and seizures.

"Barging into her yard without a warrant, without giving any reason for his decision to go in there, without responding to her when she asked the officer to leave. These are all things that violate the heart of what the Constitution protects," said ACLU attorney Michael Perlof.

Police admitted to FOX 5 that police did not have a warrant to search the yard of the Price home and said police responding to a call about a gun in the area. The Office of Unified Communications could not produce any records documenting the call police referred to.

Price's brother shot video of the search of the yard, which shows the family asking officer Gupton to leave if he didn't have a warrant. He ignores their requests.

"I just feel like they need more training. More training on how to deal with the community especially in Wards 7 and 8," said Price.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages in an unspecified amount.

DC Police did not respond to FOX 5's request for comment about the lawsuit. The DC Police Union did release a statement which says in part, "We believe this lawsuit to be without merit and we look forward to vigorously defending Officer Gupton against the ACLU's baseless claims."

DC Police also have not provided an official response to FOX 5's Freedom of Information Act Request made nearly six months ago, asking for any and all documents and body-camera video of the incident. The law requires a response within 15 business days.