Two Arlington County police officers who shot a man dead were cleared of wrongdoing after investigation the incident, where the suspect allegedly pinned an officer with his car, the office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney for Arlington County announced Friday.
Officer Steven Yanda and Cpl. Matthew Chattillion shot and killed 28-year-old Daniel George Boak of Centreville, Virginia, according to the attorney’s report.
Around 4:30 p.m. May 17, 2017, a license plate monitoring system alerted officers that a vehicle associated with a wanted person was travelling southbound on Interstate 395 in heavy, rush-hour traffic.
Four officers spotted the vehicle, a black Ford F-150 and saw Boak alone in the truck, police said. The officers alerted others that Boak was digging around in his vehicle. Then, they proceeded to pull Boak over in the middle of the road and told him to throw his keys out the window, according to the attorney’s report. He did not comply.
Boak crossed multiple lanes of traffic to get to the shoulder of the road, and then sped away, the attorney said.
Officers pursued Boak as he drove toward the Glebe Road Exit, which the attorney's report described as a long, two lane ramp.
Boak was in heavy traffic on the ramp, with cars to his left and a narrow shoulder and a grassy inclined area to the right, according to the report.
Yanda and Chattillion had joined the pursuit by this time. The officers drew the weapons and approached Boak’s car. Yanda approached the driver's door, and Chattillion walked down the grassy hill toward the passenger-side door, the attorney said.
The officers told Boak to show his hands, but officers said Boak did not comply.
Yanda continued walking to Boak’s car, until he was between the front bumper and a Toyota car in the left lane.
Police say that Boak then turned the vehicle and sped into officer Yanda, pinning him to the Toyota.
“I could feel pressure on my leg increasing. He wasn’t just bumping me and then reversing, He continued to come forward. So, it seemed he was trying to injure or kill me. I feared for my life,” officer Yanda said, according to the police report.
Chattillion said Yanda was “fighting to stay on top of the car so he doesn’t get sucked underneath and run over” and had “a look of pain on his face,” according to the report.
Yanda fired three shots and Chattillion fired two, hitting Boak in the face, the neck, the chest and his arm, the medical examiner determined, according to the report.
Several officers approached after the gunshots went off and freed Yanda by entering the vehicle and putting it in reverse.
Medics were called and transported Yanda and Boak to Virginia Hospital Center. Boak was pronounced dead about 5:30 p.m.
Cocaine and a glass pipe with cocaine residue on it were found in Boak’s car, the attorney's report said. The medical examiner later determined that Boak had evidence of cocaine, morphine and other drugs in his system. His family claimed he was addicted to heroin, the attorney’s report said.
Boak also had a record of previous run-ins with law enforcement, including convictions for reckless driving and eluding police, the report said.
A civilian witness who watched from his balcony was quoted in the attorney’s report saying “[Officer Yanda] was clearly trapped between the vehicles and had every right to open fire.”
The Commonwealth Attorney used testimony from officers, videos, photos, forensic and medical evidence and witness testimony to construct their report of events.