No federal criminal civil rights charges will be brought against the Washington, D.C. police officer involved in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Deon Kay, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. announced Thursday.
Kay had recently turned 18 and was preparing to take his GED tests. He was close with his younger brother and a “natural leader,” his teachers told DCist. In early September, Kay was fatally shot by a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer on Orange Street SE.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thursday it was "unable to disprove a claim of self-defense or defense of others by the officer involved." Representatives of Kay's family have been informed of the decision, the office said.
On Sept. 2, police said, they were investigating reports of a man with a gun when they saw people in and around a car. The young people saw the officers and ran. Police say Kay pulled out a gun. An officer then opened fire, hitting Kay. Kay was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where he died about 45 minutes after the shooting, police said.
MPD released police body camera footage two days later. The 11-minute video shows the shooting and its aftermath from one officer’s perspective. Only seven seconds elapsed from when the officer left his car to when he fired the fatal shot. Police said Kay’s gun is clearly visible in the video.
The video shows that about the same moment the officer fired, Kay raised his arm with the gun in his hand. In slow motion, the video shows Kay appearing to try to discard the weapon as the officer fired at him, News4's Mark Segraves previously reported.
Police said the gun was found about 98 feet from the shooting scene. Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham acknowledged it seemed like a long way to throw a weapon.
Prosecutors said Thursday the investigation did not determine whether Kay threw the gun deliberately or in response to being fired upon.
An investigation was conducted by officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office's Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and MPD's Internal Affairs Division. The investigation included review of witness and officer accounts, the body-worn camera footage, evidence from the scene and autopsy and toxicology reports.
“The review uncovered no evidence that would support a criminal prosecution,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
MPD will now begin an administrative investigation to determine whether the use of force was within the department's policy, a police department spokesman said Thursday.
The spokesman was not sure of the officer's status in the department as of late Thursday afternoon.
Kay's death set off protests in D.C. within hours. Demonstrators marched to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s home and called for Newsham to be fired.
At Kay's funeral, mourners said they wanted to celebrate his life and support his family in the wake of the tragedy.
“May God bless him and his family,” one mourner said.
Another called for institutional change.
“This right here could have been avoided,” the mourner said.
Mark Segraves, Darcy Spencer and Andrea Swalec contributed to this report.