Policing in America

Police Killing of Deon Kay

Called Symptom of Deeper Problems


By Steve Rensberry
RP News

WASHINGTON - (RP News) - 9/5/2020 — The Metropolitan Police Department in Southeast D.C. released the body-worn camera footage of the police shooting and death of Deon Kay on Sept. 2, an incident currently under investigation by the Office of the Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney's Office

According to a news release from the American Civil Liberties Union, the footage shows an officer running out of his car and firing his gun in a matter of seconds to end the life of a teenager who was running away from police. The officer made no attempt to de-escalate, there was no warning or directive given to Kay to drop a weapon — a weapon that Kay appears to have thrown in the air and which was recovered almost 100 feet from his body.

Monica Hopkins, executive director, ACLU of the District of Columbia, called it a logical conclusion given the department's long-standing policies.

“The D.C. police department’s approach to gun recovery has been dangerous and ineffective for years. The tragic shooting and death of 18-year-old Deon Kay is the logical conclusion of a policy that not only meets violence with violence, but actually escalates and incites it — especially in our Black communities. In addition to being unsuccessful in reducing gun violence in the District, the Metropolitan Police Department’s tactics ignore the complexities of why young people like Deon may have guns to begin with,” Hopkins stated. “The time is overdue for D.C. to overhaul its approach to ending gun violence and focus on non-police solutions that address the underlying roots of community violence instead of continuing aggressive police tactics that lead to more fear in communities, more shootings by police, more death, and more family and community trauma.”

ACLU National Policing Policy Advisor Paige Fernandez cited the fact that the shooting occurred less than two weeks after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., and the enormous budget the police department in D.C. operates under.

“The D.C. Police Department has a collective budget of over $600 million dollars per year and its over-policing of black communities has resulted in one of the highest racial disparities in police killings in the country,” Fernandez said.

It was announced on Sept. 4 that an emergency meeting had been held following the release of body camera video, with D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham giving a briefing. He was asked by those present why other camera footage taken at the shooting had not been made public.

Newsome cited existing law and the ongoing nature of the investigation. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser deferred to the ongoing investigation See: Emergency meeting held over policing practices following Deon Kay shooting.