U.S. Attorney’s Office Concludes Investigation Into Fatal Shooting of Armed Man Near Northeast Washington Recreation Center
No Charges to Be Filed Against Off-Duty Metropolitan Police Department Officer
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced today that it has completed its review of the actions of an off-duty Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Officer, who fatally shot Mr. D’Quan Young, who was armed with a firearm that he fired at the officer, on May 9, 2018, in Northeast Washington. After a careful review of all of the evidence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights or District of Columbia charges against the officer.
According to the evidence, on May 9, 2018, at approximately 6:45 p.m., an MPD officer drove his personal vehicle to the 2300 block of 15th Street, Northeast, near the Brentwood Recreation Center, to attend a personal gathering at a residence in the area. The officer was off duty and dressed in civilian clothing, but he possessed his MPD issued service weapon in a holster located underneath a jacket. Because the officer was off duty, he was not wearing his body-worn camera. The evidence indicates that, while the officer walked up and down the block looking for the home of his host and looking at a cell phone, Young walked from the other side of the street, confronted the officer, and asked the officer who he was calling. The confrontation escalated into a verbal altercation and Young pulled out a firearm and pointed it at the officer. The officer removed his service weapon from his holster and pointed it back at Young while commanding him to drop his weapon. Young fired at the officer, who responded by shooting Young two times in the torso and three times in the leg. Young ran into the street and fell while the officer fired additional shots. Young dropped his firearm on the ground. A Special Police Officer at the Brentwood Recreation Center called 911. Young was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting. The investigation uncovered no evidence that the officer and Young had ever met each other before this encounter.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and MPD conducted a comprehensive review of the incident, including interviews of civilian and law enforcement witnesses; video footage and audio transmissions; autopsy, toxicology, and Department of Forensic Sciences’ reports; and physical evidence collected on the scene, to include an operable firearm and a loaded magazine from the street near where Young fell to the ground after being shot, along with a cartridge casing near where Young was standing before he was shot.
After a careful, thorough, and independent review of the evidence, federal prosecutors have found insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the off-duty officer acted under color of law or used excessive force under the circumstances, and therefore that civil rights charges cannot be filed. Federal prosecutors have also found insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the off-duty officer did not act in self-defense, and therefore that District of Columbia homicide charges cannot be filed.
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. To prove such violations, prosecutors must be able to prove that the involved officer acted under color of law—meaning that he exercised power possessed by virtue of his authority as an officer under the law—and willfully used more force than was reasonably necessary. Proving “willfulness” is a heavy burden. Prosecutors must not only prove that the force used was excessive, but must also prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer acted with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids. A conclusion that “there is insufficient evidence” is not meant to suggest anything further about what evidence, if any, exists.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office remains committed to investigating allegations of excessive force by law enforcement officers and will continue to devote the resources necessary to ensure that all allegations of serious civil rights violations are investigated fully and completely. The Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division investigates all police-involved fatalities in the District of Columbia.