U.S. Attorney's Office Concludes Investigation Into Fatal Shooting at Union Station
No Charges to Be Filed Against Police Officer in Nov. 14, 2015 Shooting
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia announced today that it has completed its review of the fatal shooting of Rashad Bugg-Bey by an off-duty Baltimore County, Md. Police Department officer on Nov. 14, 2015, at Union Station. 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 involved in the fatal shooting of Mr. Bugg-Bey.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) conducted a comprehensive review of the incident, which included interviews of law enforcement and civilian witnesses and assessing photographs, video footage, diagrams, physical evidence, recorded radio communications, the autopsy report, and other evidence.
According to the evidence, the shooting took place Nov. 14, 2015, at approximately 8:15 p.m. Mr. Bugg-Bey, 25, and a female relative were at Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE. They were on the lower Metro level, when Mr. Bugg-Bey inexplicably pulled out a large kitchen knife and slashed his relative’s face. Bleeding, she began to flee Union Station.
The Baltimore County officer, who was off-duty and with a friend, had just entered Union Station through a lower-level entrance to Metro when he saw a woman, who was screaming and running toward the exit. The officer continued walking toward the escalator that leads from the Metro level into Union Station when he observed Mr. Bugg-Bey a few feet from the escalator, armed with a butcher knife. The officer and his friend stepped onto the escalator.
Mr. Bugg-Bey, still armed with the knife, also got on the escalator. He pointed the knife in the direction of the off-duty officer and his friend. The off-duty officer identified himself as a police officer and gave Mr. Bugg-Bey numerous commands to drop his weapon, but Mr. Bugg-Bey refused to comply. Mr. Bugg-Bey continued to ascend the elevator with the knife raised in a manner that the officer and several witnesses described as threatening and menacing.
According to the evidence, the officer discharged his weapon after Mr. Bugg-Bey failed to drop his knife and had almost reached the top of the escalator. In between discharging rounds, the officer continued to give Mr. Bugg-Bey commands to drop the knife. If Mr. Bugg-Bey had exited the escalator while still armed, he would have had access to additional civilians located in the boarding areas of Union Station as well as the area for shopping and restaurants.
Mr. Bugg-Bey was taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds to his head and hand. He was released from the hospital on Dec. 11, 2015. He died on Dec. 22, 2015 as a result of his injuries from the shooting.
After a careful, thorough, and independent review of the evidence, federal prosecutors have found insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer 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 such 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. 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 fully and completely investigated. The Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division investigates all police-involved fatalities in the District of Columbia.