Karon Hylton-Brown

DC Police Officers Found Guilty in Karon Hylton-Brown's Death

Officers chased Hylton-Brown as he rode a motor scooter in October 2020 before he got into a fatal crash

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Two D.C. police officers have been found guilty on all charges in the death of Karon Hylton-Brown, who died in 2020 after his scooter crashed as police chased him.

Officer Terence Sutton, 38, was was found guilty of second-degree murder, conspiracy to obstruct and obstruction of justice. Sutton was driving the police car during the chase, police said.

Lt. Andrew Zabavsky, 54, was found guilty of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Zabavsky was behind the wheel of a second police car involved in the chase.

This is the first time an on-duty D.C. police officer has been charged and convicted of murder.

Hylton-Brown's mother began jumping up and down in her seat and snapping her fingers as the verdict was read. Suddenly, she jumped up and started screaming at the officers at the defense table. U.S. marshals grabbed her as the judge screamed, "Get her out!"

Sutton and Zabavsky, who are on GPS monitoring, were released until sentencing, which hasn't been scheduled. The judge determined they are not flight risks.

Two D.C. officers were indicted in the death of Karon Hylton-Brown, who was killed after a crash that happened while police chased him in October 2020. News4's Mark Segraves explains the charges against the officers.

According to an indictment issued last year, Sutton violated police general orders by chasing Hylton-Brown. He and Zabavsky then intentionally misled police superiors about what happened leading up to the crash, the indictment states.

Attorneys for the officers told the judge they were making a legal stop to investigate their suspicions that Hylton-Brown was armed.

“The officers would have been in dereliction of their duty not to attempt a stop of Hylton-Brown to determine if he was armed. Officers knew from experience that when Hylton-Brown was 'dirty,' that is being armed or in possession of drugs, he would run," Sutton's attorney J. Michael Hannon said in a letter to D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee.

The mother of Karon Hylton-Brown, who was killed last October during a D.C. police chase, confronted Mayor Muriel Bowser about the investigation into her son's death at a public event Wednesday.

Police initially said the officers were pursuing Hylton-Brown for not wearing a helmet, which would violate the department’s chase policy.

Contee defended his department's commitment to the community after the officers were indicted in 2021.

"I know that this indictment today may seem like an indictment of all the members of the department or of all the members who wear the badge. I assure you that there are many in the community who recognize the hard work that you do, who support the work that you do," Contee said.

Contee previously said the agency would conduct its own investigation after the prosecution. 

It’s been more than nine months since 20-year-old Karon Hylton-Brown was killed in a police chase in the District. Today new questions about why the officers involved in the chase aren't facing charges. News4’s Mark Segraves has the latest.

Hylton-Brown was 20 years old and the father of an infant about to turn 3 months old when the crash occurred. Video shows him riding a scooter up and down streets of the Brightwood Park neighborhood in October as officers try to pull him over. Officers followed him and turned on their lights. 

Hylton-Brown was hit by a passing van on Kennedy Street NW and died three days later. 

Days of tense protests outside the Fourth District police station followed the chase and crash. 

“There will be no guarantee of peace if there is no guarantee of justice,” said activist Perry Redd, a participant in the protests. 

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