Metro Police Chief Requests US Attorney's Office Review of Stun Gun Incident - NBC4 Washington

Metro Police Chief Requests US Attorney's Office Review of Stun Gun Incident

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Tasering Incident on Metro Sparks Criticism

    A Metro Transit Police officer deployed a taser after a confrontation in the U Street Metro station. A video of the incident has sparked outrage on social media and triggered an internal investigation. (Published Sunday, June 23, 2019)

    The head of Metro Transit Police has asked the U.S. Attorney's Office to investigate after video showed an officer used a stun gun on on a man at the U Street station over the weekend.

    Metro Transit Police tweeted Tuesday that Chief Ron Pavlik asked the attorney's office to independently review evidence.

    The video shows the officer repeatedly use the stun gun on the unarmed man, who allegedly interfered in a MTPD investigation on Saturday.

    Metro Transit Police charged 29-year-old Tapiwa Musonza with assault on a police officer, obstruction of justice and resisting arrest.

    Musonza's lawyer said on Monday the charges were dropped his client was released from jail.

    "We are excited and happy, but he is very upset - highly traumatized. And he's not happy, he's not happy the way things went," Musonza's mother, Patience Musonza, told News4.

    The Attorney's Office review would accompany the internal investigation that Metro Transit Police said it has opened into the officer's use of force during the arrest.

    "We take use-of-force matters seriously, and we are committed to fostering the public's trust in us," Metro Transit Police said in a statement posted on Twitter.

    Raw Video: Metro Transit Police Officer Uses Taser on ManRaw Video: Metro Transit Police Officer Uses Taser on Man

    Metro Transit Police said it has opened an internal investigation into an officer's use of force during an arrest at the U Street Metro station in Northwest Washington.
    Warning: Strong language and violence

    (Published Sunday, June 23, 2019)

    The video appears to show two MTPD officers asking questions of two juveniles on a Metro platform, while Musonza asks questions of the officers. Then, a third MTPD officer engages Musonza, pushes him back and uses a stun gun after Musonza raises his hands.

    "He just kept tazing him and I just kept screaming, like, 'You need to stop. Like, this is unnecessary. He's already down. There's no weapon. Stop tazing him,'" said Chemere Jones, who captured the video. "He tazes him so much that the man almost rolls over off to the platform."

    Witnesses said officers were investigating a report of kids shooting off fireworks at the Metro station when Musonza stepped in to try to deescalate the situation.

    The incident, which occurred on Saturday evening at the U St/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo station, has sparked outrage on social media, with groups like Black Lives Matter DC and D.C. Council member Robert C. White, Jr. condemning the actions by the police officer.

    "The violent and dangerous escalation here by @wmata Transit Police is terrifying. It put lives unnecessarily in danger and it breeds anger and distrust that move us further away from public safety. I have contacted the Chief of WMATA Transit Police," White said on Twitter.

    White told News4 that he has seen similar incidents in which African American youth appear to have their rights violated.

    MTPD said in its statement that the officers were responding to a report of disorderly juveniles who were allegedly threatening Metro patrons on the platform with sticks, and that its officers detained the juveniles in the video because they were pointed out by witnesses. Those officers could not locate a victim of a crime and the juveniles who had been detained were released.

    Metro also said the third officer in the video used the taser because the man who had not been detained was interfering in the police investigation and "exhibited behavior consistent with preparing to fight the officer."

    "After the subject disregarded warnings to move back, the officer deployed his department issued CEW (commonly known as a TASER), and was able to take the man into custody. Neither the subject nor the involved officer reported an injury," MTPD said.

    Metro Transit Police confirmed to News4 that the officer involved in the incident remains on duty.

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