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Press Release

U.S. Attorney's Office Concludes Investigation Into Fatal Shooting On Crittenden Street

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
No Charges to Be Filed Against Metropolitan Police Officer

            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 an officer from the Metropolitan Police Department who was involved in the April 2022 fatal shooting of Erica Graham.

            The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) conducted a comprehensive review of the incident. This included a review of law enforcement and civilian eyewitness accounts, physical evidence, recorded body-worn camera (BWC) footage, recorded doorbell camera footage, recorded radio communications, forensic reports, the autopsy report, and reports from the Metropolitan Police Department.

            According to the evidence, on April 23, 2022, at approximately 5:59 a.m., officers with the Metropolitan Police Department were dispatched to 830 Crittenden Street, N.W., for a report of gunshots fired. The police would learn during the events which led to the fatal shooting that Erica Graham, who was wearing a ballistic vest and brandishing a firearm, had shot a civilian just moments before the arrival of the police.

            Upon arrival on the 800 block of Crittenden Street, the first police officers on the scene observed Ms. Graham on the porch of a rowhouse holding a handgun. Throughout the incident, the officers made multiple commands for Ms. Graham to place the weapon on the ground, which she refused. Ms. Graham pointed the weapon several times at the officers and pulled the trigger, but it did not fire. The police on the scene made a request on the radio for additional units to respond because an officer needed assistance due to the presence of a person with a gun and continued in their efforts to convince Ms. Graham to place her weapon on the ground. 

            After a few minutes, Officer Simeon Crawford arrived on the scene. Ms. Graham climbed over a short railing to another porch attached to the first residence, and immediately tried to gain access to the second residence while brandishing the handgun. Ms. Graham crouched down, turned, and pointed the weapon at the police again. Officer Crawford fired two shots in reaction.  The first shot missed Ms. Graham. The second shot struck Ms. Graham in the upper torso. Ms. Graham fell to the floor of the porch. The police approached and attempted to provide medical attention as an ambulance was called to the scene. A handgun was recovered from under where Ms. Graham had fallen.      

            After a careful, thorough, and independent review of the evidence, federal prosecutors have found insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Crawford used excessive force under the circumstances.

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 civil rights violations, prosecutors must typically be able to prove that the involved officers 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. 

            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 April 21, 2023

Press Release Number: 23-214