Skip to main content
Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office Concludes Investigation Into Overdose Death of Individual in Police Custody

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
No Charges to Be Filed Against MPD Detective or ATF Special Agent

            WASHINGTON - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced today that there is insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights or District of Columbia charges against a detective from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and a Special Agent from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). On Feb. 2, 2023, a 44-year-old District resident, M.P., died of an overdose after ingesting narcotics. The detective and special agent were the last persons to see the decedent, who died at the MPD Second District Police Station while in the custody of law enforcement.

            The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the MPD Internal Affairs Division conducted a comprehensive review of the incident, which included a review of law enforcement and civilian accounts, cell block security camera footage, body-worn camera footage, physical evidence, recorded radio communications, forensic reports, the autopsy report, and reports from MPD.

            According to the evidence, at about 6:44 a.m. on Feb. 2, M.P. was arrested pursuant to a D.C. Superior Court warrant. M.P. was cooperative during the arrest and transported to the Second District Police Station for processing on the warrant. M.P. was coherent and cooperative and did not appear to be in distress during processing. After being placed in a cell, M.P. covered the cell block camera. After using the toilet, M.P. fell to the floor. The detective and special agent, unaware of the fall, attempted to interview him minutes later but M.P. appeared to be either sleeping or unwilling to speak with them. Later, M.P. was discovered unconscious in his cell. Emergency efforts to save his life were unsuccessful.  An autopsy performed on Feb. 3, 2023, and a subsequent toxicology review, determined that M.P. died as result of the combined effects of ingesting cocaine, fentanyl, fluorofentanyl, and heroin. 

            After a careful, thorough, and independent review of the evidence, federal prosecutors found insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the detective and special agent demonstrated deliberate indifference to M.P.’s condition or otherwise willfully violated M.P.’s rights.

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 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.

Updated October 10, 2023

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 23-613