use of force

Report on DC Police Investigations Into Deadly Use of Force Finds ‘Serious Lapses, Weaknesses'

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A report on use of force reports found D.C. police didn’t do enough to investigate four cases where officers fatally shot Black men.

Although the report by an outside consulting firm found all four shootings to be justified, it also described serious lapses and weaknesses in the investigations.
Marqueese Alston was shot and killed by D.C. police almost three years ago.

Police say they chased Alston after seeing he had a gun in his pocket, but the legal team for Alston’s family says police still haven’t given them the full story.

”Quite frankly, it’s also been three years of stonewalling Ms. Alston and her family to not provide full information,” said Georgetown Law student Saba Rewald.

The new report found flaws with the way D.C. police handled Alston’s death, saying, “We saw no evidence that any officer actually checked Mr. Alston’s vital signs or otherwise attempted to render first aid.”

It also says the investigation didn’t dive deep enough into why officers chased Alston in the first place.

”The report does not inspire confidence that more Black lives will not be harmed or killed by MPD,” Rewald said.

The report also looks at the death of Eric Carter, who D.C. police say killed his brother and then opened fire on officers, and D’Quan Young, who police say exchanged gunfire with an off-duty officer.

”It’s important to prevent loss of life in the District and all across the country,” D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson said.

Patterson’s office put out the report Tuesday morning. It states, “MPD has fallen short of the standards it should set for itself.”

In one case, an officer accidentally shot another officer.

In other cases, follow-up interviews with officers were “brief” and “superficial.”

The report says use of force investigators were “insufficiently trained.”

”It basically finds that the quality of the investigations has really gone downhill, that they have not been comprehensive, that training opportunities have not been taken,” Patterson said.

Patterson said her office is recommending more training amid continuing calls around the country for police reform.

In response to the report, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said the department agrees with the recommendations and is already working to implement them. He said many of the suggestions “align with his vision” for the department.

Contee said he believes it’s critically important to have a thorough review of all aspects of the department.

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