Family vows to fight on despite jury ruling in fatal shooting case

WASHINGTON – The family of a D.C. teen shot and killed by city police is speaking out after a federal jury cleared the Metropolitan Police Department of any liability in the shooting.

“I’m not gonna stop until justice is served for my son, because it hasn’t been served yet,” says Bridzette Lane, whose son Ralphael Briscoe was killed in April 2011.

Briscoe’s family sued the department over the police tactics used in the minutes leading up to the black teen’s death.

Lane and her attorneys claim the 18-year-old was caught up in a so-called “jump out” squad. It’s described as an over-aggressive police unit seen primarily in poor, minority neighborhoods and involves plain-clothes officers in unmarked vehicles.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier testified to the city council in October that the District doesn’t have “jump out” units. The department did say there are situations in which plain clothes and undercover police operations are used.

“Plain clothes and undercover police operations are used by MPD for multiple purposes such as investigating robberies, burglaries, drug, prostitution offenses, and gun offenses.  They are not targeted at any particular community, but are used to address crime problems and citizen complaints,” said police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump in an email statement.

Video from an MPD camera captured the chase and shooting of Briscoe.

The video shows Briscoe running from police with an item in his hand. He was later shot from an unmarked vehicle by MPD Officer Chad Leo.

Officers say Briscoe had what they later discovered to be an inoperable BB gun in his hand. The family’s attorney Billy Ponds alleges that police planted the gun at the scene after the shooting.

“His cell phone, that is what he (Briscoe) had in his hand,” Ponds said.

Ponds says they will continue to fight and will file a motion for a new trial in the case.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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