The US Attorney has said it will not pursue any charges against a Washington DC cop who shot dead an 18-year-old black man after his killing sparked protests in the city.
Deon Kay died on September 2 after he was shot in the chest by a Metropolitan Police officer identified as Alexander Alvarez in the midst of a foot pursuit.
In a statement Thursday officials said ‘the U.S. Attorney’s Office cannot prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the MPD officer who shot Mr. Kay committed willful violations of the applicable federal criminal civil rights statute’.
Kay’s family had been told of the decision, they added.
After speaking with other officers and eyewitnesses, as well as reviewing bodycam footage and evidence from the scene, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in its release: ‘The review uncovered no evidence that would support a criminal prosecution.’
‘Specifically, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is unable to disprove a claim of self-defense or defense of others by the officer involved’, they add.
The Metropolitan Police Department is conducting its own investigation.
Deon Kay, pictured, died on September 2 after he was shot in the chest by a police officer identified as Alexander Alvarez in the midst of a foot pursuit with law enforcement
In an 11-minute video, cops are seen chasing Kay near an apartment complex before cornering him with their weapons drawn. The officer then opens fire, striking the teenager in the chest once and causing him to collapse
The officer is heard telling the teen, ‘Don’t move! Don’t move!’ multiple times as Kay runs towards them with a gun in his hand before tossing the weapon ’98 feet away’ in the grass
Police had released bodycam footage showing moment Kay was shot dead after he pulled a gun; cops said the teen was a ‘validated gang member’.
Kay’s death lead to protests outside Mayor Muriel Bowser’s home and a police station.
The local Black Lives Matter affiliate had tweeted that the ‘Terror Gang has once again taken the life of a young man’.
Bodycam footage from the incident shows a brief and chaotic scene.
As a police car pulls into the parking lot of a southeast Washington apartment complex, the officer jumps out and begins chasing someone. The officer turns around, sees Kay running a few feet behind him and fires a single shot into Kay’s chest.
Police identified that officer as Alvarez, who joined the department in 2018. He had been placed on administrative leave.
The police video later freezes the frame and circles what appears to be a pistol in Kay’s hand. But it’s unclear whether Kay, who had officers in front and back of him, was intending to use the weapon or throw it away.
The US Attorney noted Thursday: ‘The investigation did not determine whether Mr. Kay tossed the gun deliberately or in response to being shot at.’
Protesters face off with MPD officers at the 7th District police station after Kay’s death
The shooting occurred at a time of nationwide protests over police killings of black people and calls for sweeping changes in policing
Immediately after the shooting, as other officers tend to Kay, the officer who fired the shot begins frantically looking for Kay’s gun in the surrounding grass.
The handgun was found about 98 feet away, a distance that Metropolitan Police Department chief Peter Newsham said ‘does seem like a long way to throw a weapon.’
‘Everyone can go and look at the video for themselves,’ Newsham said in September. ‘You can stop it frame by frame and make your own determination. We will do the same when we conduct our investigation.’
The incident drew a harsh condemnation from the American Civil Liberties Union, which blamed the MPD for an overly confrontational approach that creates dangerous and violent situations.
‘The D.C. police department’s approach to gun recovery has been dangerous and ineffective for years,’ said Monica Hopkins, head of the ACLU’s District of Columbia office. ‘The tragic shooting and death of 18-year-old Deon Kay is the logical conclusion of a policy that not only meets violence with violence, but actually escalates and incites it — especially in our Black communities.’
Police described Kay, pictured, as a ‘validated gang member’ who had multiple run-ins with local law enforcement, although the chief he refused to got into specifics
Kay’s death leading to protests outside Mayor Muriel Bowser’s home and a police station
Hopkins called for an overhaul of D.C.’s approach to guns on the streets to ‘focus on non-police solutions that address the underlying roots of community violence instead of continuing aggressive police tactics.’
The shooting occurred at a time of nationwide protests over police killings of black people and calls for sweeping changes in policing.
Newsham described Kay as a ‘validated gang member’ who had multiple run-ins with local law enforcement, although the chief he refused to get into specifics.
He said officers were drawn to the area by a video posted on social media that showed two young black men, one wearing a mask, showing off handguns inside a car.
‘They knew Mr. Kay when they saw the livestream. They knew him by name,’ Newsham said. ‘I know that he’s a validated gang member from the area and I know that he’s had multiple touches with the criminal justice system. … I’m pretty sure that Deon Kay fell through multiple safety nets before yesterday afternoon.’
In June, amid nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, the D.C. Council passed emergency legislation requiring the MPD to release any body camera footage from any fatal shootings or use-of-force incidents within five days.
The department must also release the names of the officers involved.