Report: DC Police ‘Acted Recklessly’ In Fatal Shooting Of Deon Kay

Kaylee Greenlee

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The Metropolitan Police Department “acted recklessly and without a plan” while responding to an Instagram Live feed showing men with handguns that led to one fatal shooting, according to an Office of the District of Columbia Auditor report released Tuesday.

Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Officer Alexander Alvarez’s use of force against Deon Kay was out of self-defense, however, the officer “unnecessarily placed himself in [the] situation,” D.C. Auditor Kathleen Patterson said in the report. Kay was 18-years-old when he was fatally shot in a parking lot on Sept. 2, 2020.

MPD officials “squandered any opportunity to de-escalate the situation” that resulted in Kay’s death, according to the report. The Crime Suppression Team wasn’t properly supervised and the MPD “needs to address promptly and aggressively the weaknesses in its system for investigating uses of deadly force.”

Kay was seen on the Instagram Live feed of Marcyelle Smith inside a “distinctive vehicle” with two handguns, according to the report.

The MPD Crime Suppression Team approached the vehicle before one man fled the scene. Alvarez pursued the man and drew his firearm before Kay exited the vehicle holding a pistol and ran in the officer’s direction.

Alvarez turned around and shot Kay. Though officers administered aid, Kay was pronounced dead on the scene, according to the report. The MPD’s internal investigation following the incident was inconsistent in who was interviewed and the lieutenant supervising the Crime Suppression Team was not well-informed of the officer’s activities.

“In the shooting cases reviewed thus far we found that at the split second when an officer fired a fatal shot the officer had reason to fear for his safety. But it is also clear that, in some if not all of these cases, effective policing in the moments leading up to that split second may well have prevented that split second from arriving,” Patterson said, according to the report.

Sergeant Terrence Welsh, who led the team, said there wasn’t a plan for what to do if the officers found the vehicle or encountered suspects, according to the report. The team observed men brandishing guns on a live social media feed and immediately began searching for the suspects without informing upper management or making a plan.

Alvarez ran past three other potentially armed suspects to pursue a foot chase creating a risk for someone in the car to have shot him, according to the report. His “lack of awareness of the risks presented by running past the Dodge could have cost him his life” and his decision to pursue a foot chase without talking to other officers shows he lacks situational awareness.

The team failed to notify the supervising lieutenant “who had no knowledge of the operation until after the shooting took place” which shows a broad failure within MPD’s chain of command, according to the report.

“The Metropolitan Police Department continues to extend our condolences to the family, friends, and community who grieve the loss of Deon Kay,” an MPD spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We recognize that as our country tackles the important issue of reimagining public safety, we must ensure that our policies and training continue to serve as models for de-escalating situations and promoting the sanctity of human life.”

“As a progressive police department committed to fair and constitutional policing, we remain open to examining and improving our policies and training to ensure that deadly force is used only as a last resort,” the spokesperson added. “Accordingly, we appreciate the recommendations outlined in the report and the Auditor’s diligent review of this case.”

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