D.C. Police Department Facing Three Lawsuits | NBC4 Washington

D.C. Police Department Facing Three Lawsuits



    (Published Monday, Jan. 27, 2014)

    The recently-troubled D.C. Police Department is facing three lawsuits, claiming wrongful death, excessive force and racial profiling by officers. 

    The announcement of the lawsuits came on the same day police chief Cathy Lanier said she is planning to equip 800 officers with on-body cameras by the end of the year.

    Two of the three lawsuits reference officers from the department's 7th District -- two officers who were recently arrested on child porn and child prostitution charges were members of the same district.

    The mother of 34-year-old Cleman Sweptson, Jr. claims her son's constitutional rights were violated when he was shot multiple times in the head last April by a 7th District officer, who thought Sweptson was carrying a weapon. Sweptson's mother, Carolyn Bell, is suing D.C. and the officer involved for $9 million.

    "My son didn't have a weapon. I know he didn't," Bell said.

    A 19-year-old man who claims he was "roughed" up by officers but not arrested or charged is claiming he was racial profiled. O'Chauncy Maddux says he suffered serious injury, humiliation and embarrassment following the Nov. 14, 2013 incident. He is suing the officer responsible and D.C. for $1 million. 

    In a similar case, an African American student at the University of Islam is claiming he was also racially profiled when he was stopped, detained, searched and assaulted by officers in the 7th District. He is also suing D.C. and the officer responsible for $1 million. 

    "All of a sudden, [officers] asked me if they could search me and I said no. The officer behind me said, 'Well, that's too bad,' and grabbed me and pulled me against a car," the alleged victim said. 

    Attorneys Malim Shabazz and Greg Lattimer are representing the victims. They said they're also planning to file a class action lawsuit against the department as a whole. 

    Forty-seven D.C. police officers have been arrested in the past five years.