DC Activists: Metropolitan Police Department’s Violence, Recklessness, and Lack of Accountability Requires Immediate, Substantive Action from Elected Officials

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2018

DC Activists: Metropolitan Police Department’s Violence, Recklessness, and Lack of Accountability Requires Immediate, Substantive Action from Elected Officials

WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, May 9th, an off-duty officer with the Metropolitan Police Department opened fire in northeast DC, killing 24-year-old D’Quan Young. Witnesses report that the officer “shot wildly, as children ran for their lives,” and that the officer reloaded his weapon and continued shooting after D’Quan Young was on the ground. This follows the May 4th killing of Jeffrey Price - in which MPD’s narrative of innocence directly contradicts witness accounts - and the recent lawsuit filed against the DC government for its failure to collect stop and frisk data required by the NEAR Act. April Goggans, a Core Organizer of Black Lives Matter DC, and Eugene Puryear, co-founder and core organizer of Stop Police Terror Project-DC released the following statement in response:

“From top to bottom, our city is failing to protect its Black residents and permitting its reckless police department to terrorize Black communities without consequence,” said Natacia Knapper of Stop Police Terror Project-DC. “This permissive attitude is what emboldens officers like the one that murdered D’Quan Young to behave with impunity. This permissive attitude is what emboldens Chief Newsham to immediately discredit and dismiss witness testimony, withhold information from the public, and decline to condemn the officer’s actions. The Metropolitan Police Department has been sent a message by our elected officials that they can operate as they please, flagrantly and recklessly violating their own stated policies, without any fear of serious reprisal from those in a position to hold them accountable.”

“The killings of D’Quan Young and Jeffrey Price have to be understood in the context of a police department and city government with a legacy of inaction when it comes to police harassment and brutalization of Black people,” added April Goggans. “When officers like Brian Trainer, who brutally murdered Terrence Sterling in 2016,  continue to receive paychecks for nearly two years, it sends a message that officers need not consider the consequences of their actions - especially when interacting with DC’s Black residents.”

“Time and time again the voice of the community is dismissed - both by the police themselves, and the elected officials charged with overseeing the police,” said Eugene Puryear. “When Jeffrey Price was killed in an incident involving a police cruiser, the department immediately contradicted witness accounts, defended the actions of their officers and completely dismissing community testimony, and even assigned an investigator to the case who himself has been previously investigated for fatally ramming a dirt bike rider. When 54 community organizations called on city council to hold a hearing on racism and violence within the MPD, they were met with months of silence, and only received acknowledgement of their demand after applying intense pressure on councilmembers via social media. When Mayor Bowser amended the city’s budget to provide funding for MPD’s two-year-late stop-and-frisk data collection, she did so by cutting funding from an eviction prevention program, essentially forcing DC’s low income residents to pay the price for the police department’s mistakes.”

“Let’s be perfectly clear,” added Goggans, “Muriel Bowser and the City Council have allowed this crisis to unfold and escalate as they refused to take substantive action to reign in the Metropolitan Police Department. The blood of D’Quan Young and Jeffrey Price is on their hands.”

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Black Lives Matter DC is a radical collective organizing to dismantle white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, imperialism and the role the state plays in supporting them.

Stop Police Terror Project-DC is an organization committed to changing the system of racist, militarized policing. SPTP DC works to oppose police abuses and also to build community-led peacekeeping efforts to empower oppressed communities to deal with their own security concerns.

Contact: Greg Montross: sptp.dc.ewg@gmail.com; 240-763-0745