D.C. Police Cleared in Fatal Shooting of Teen Rafael Briscoe

A jury cleared Metropolitan Police Department officers in the shooting death of a D.C. teen four years ago.

Rafael Briscoe, 18, was shot and killed in April 2011 in the 2400 block of Elvans Road SE after police say he brandished a weapon.

MPD surveillance video shows the former track star running from an unmarked D.C. police car filled with officers. Lawyers for the police department said the teen was seen carrying a gun, while Briscoe's family lawyer, Billy Ponds, said what police are interpreting as a weapon is simply his finger and his cell phone.

Neither side disputes a single, fatal shot was then fired from the unmarked police car, but Ponds said a BB gun was thrown from the car toward Briscoe's body. Still images taken from the crime scene show the gun broken in two pieces.

"[The video] did not depict Rafael turning toward the [car]. I'm astounded and ashamed by the outcome in the case," Ponds said.

Briscoe's mother Bridzette Lane Friday vowed to keep fighting to defend her son.

"Looking at the video, it was a drive-by on him," Lane said. "So I'm just angry. I'm very, very angry. I'm not going to stop until justice is served for my son."

The American Civil Liberties Union is using Briscoe's death to call for an end to MPD's long-used anti-crime tactic known as "jump out squads." Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, the head of D.C.'s ACLU, told News4 the unmarked cars police use in similar cases should be clearly marked.

D.C. police released the following statement Friday afternoon:

"Plain clothes and undercover police operations are used by MPD for multiple purposes such as investigating robberies, burglaries, drug, prostitution, and gun offenses. They are not targeted at any particular community, but are used to address crime problems and citizen complaints."

The D.C. Attorney General's Office is preparing a statement.

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