U.S. officials began a civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting of a Black teenager by a U.S. Park Police officer in Washington last month on Wednesday, a day after body camera video prompted the victim’s family to demand the shooter’s punishment and termination.
On March 18, the Park Police and the D.C. Metro Police responded to a stolen vehicle allegation and discovered Dalaneo Martin, 17, deceased at the site. Martin, a young male, was discovered asleep in the driver’s seat of the parked automobile, according to the police report.
Tuesday, police released body camera footage of officers approaching a car to remove the driver. When a member of the Park Police raced into the back of the vehicle, they yelled “Police, don’t move. Don’t move. Don’t move.” The motorist thereafter drove away with the officer still in the backseat.
“Stop man, just let me out. Let me go,” the officer is heard saying. “Stop. Stop or I’ll shoot.” A second passes, and suddenly the sound of gunshots can be heard.
The driver was declared dead at the scene, and the police claim to have discovered a pistol in the vehicle. The officer was seen leaping off the truck before it collided with a nearby residence.
Since their faces were concealed, the police were unable to identify any of the officers in the video.
In a statement announcing the federal investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC, noted, “The loss of a life is always tragic, but it is especially tragic when it involves a kid.” A body camera footage was “very upsetting,” according to the report.
The Metropolitan Police directed to the Park Police in Washington, DC, but they were unavailable for quick response.
Body camera video captured police officers kicking, punching, and hitting Tyre Nichols with a baton during a traffic check on January 7 in Memphis. Nichols died due to injuries sustained during a beating.
Three years prior to the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd by police, a national dialogue concerning police brutality and race gathered momentum. Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer held his neck to the ground for more than eight minutes.
The attorney for the Martin family, Jade Mathis, said that Martins’ first reaction to the video was tears, followed by wrath.
Mathis was reported in the newspaper as stating, “But, there was also a sense of relief, since they now had more information than before.”
According to the family’s attorney, they hope that the officer guilty for Martin’s death will be identified, prosecuted, and ultimately dismissed.
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