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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Two Special Police Officers Indicted by Grand Jury For Involuntary Manslaughter in Death of Hospital Patient

Victim, 74, Suffered Spinal and Other Injuries

UPDATE

             The defendants in this case were acquitted of the charge on Feb. 2, 2018, following a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

            WASHINGTON – Two Special Police Officers were indicted today on a charge of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the death last fall of James McBride, a 74-year-old patient at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Clifton Montgomery, 30, of Bladensburg, Md., and Charles Brown, 43, of Fort Washington, Md., were indicted by a grand jury in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. They will be arraigned on a date to be scheduled by the Court. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 30 years in prison.

            The indictment followed an investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Metropolitan Police Department into the death of Mr. McBride, who walked out of the hospital on Irving Street NW at approximately 4:45 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2015, without being discharged. Mr. McBride ultimately had a fatal encounter with Special Police Officers Montgomery and Brown at about 5 p.m. outside of the hospital.

             Mr. McBride died on Oct. 1, 2015. The District of Columbia Office of the Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was blunt force injuries of the neck with cervical spinal cord transection and vertebral artery compression.

            An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.

            In announcing the indictment, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Chief Lanier commended the work of those who are investigating the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the District of Columbia Office of the Medical Examiner. They acknowledged the work of those handling the case at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Jean Sexton, Paralegal Specialist Kristy Penny, Legal Assistant Kaitlyn Krueger and Christopher Toms, and Victim/Witness Advocates Yvonne Bryant and Tracey Hawkins. Finally, they commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridgette Tillman and S. Vinét Bryant, who are prosecuting the matter.

Use-of-force investigations generally

            The U.S. Attorney’s Office reviews all police-involved fatalities to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to conclude that any officers violated either federal criminal civil rights laws or District of Columbia law.  The Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division investigates all police-involved fatalities in the District of Columbia.

Press Release Number: 
16-085
Updated February 4, 2018