The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said it did not file any charges against the man who was stunned during an altercation with Metro Transit Police officers over the weekend.
Metro police received a call shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday about juveniles allegedly threatening people with sticks on the U Street station platform, according to a police statement. Officers confronted and detained a group of boys, but were unable to find any victims.
Shortly after, a man walked up to defend the boys. The situation escalated and one of the officers shoved the man and discharged a stun gun. The incident was caught on camera and posted on Twitter.
Its Black Joy Sunday & we still demanding @councilofdc have @wmata & @DCPoliceDept stop criminalizing & brutally beating Black children & people @charlesallen @CM_McDuffie @RobertWhite_DC @trayonwhite the kids were innocent yet handcuffed & made to look like a criminal @ACLU_DC pic.twitter.com/nogAGNITvF
— BlackLivesMatter DC (@DMVBlackLives) June 23, 2019
The man, 29-year-old Tapiwa Musonza, was taken into custody, but released Monday with no charges filed against him. The U.S. Attorney’s Office told WTOP this does not mean that charges would not eventually be filed.
Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, who represents the area where the incident occurred, issued a statement saying she had been in contact with Metro Transit Police Chief Ronald Pavlik Jr. and has asked for the officer be barred from further contact with the public while an investigation is conducted.
My statement on the excessive use of force by a @MetroTransitPD officer this weekend in Ward 1. The officer should not continue to be in contact with the public while the investigation is ongoing. pic.twitter.com/tTItaoxZaR
— Brianne K. Nadeau (@BrianneKNadeau) June 24, 2019
At-Large Councilmember Robert White wrote a letter to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s board of directors, asking the board to convene a public roundtable discussion about Metro Transit Police’s tactics when dealing with minors.
“Like many residents, I am concerned about aggressive and inappropriate police tactics that are diminishing public confidence and threatening the rights and safety of local children of color,” the letter reads.
At-Large Councilmember David Grosso said he believes the officer should be removed from duty during the course of the investigation.
After reviewing the footage of the @MetroTransitPD officer tasing a rider, it is clear that this officer’s actions were an inappropriate escalation and he should be removed from duty while the investigation proceeds. 1/2
— David Grosso (@cmdgrosso) June 24, 2019
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen also called for the officer to be withheld from having contact with the public. He also requested all police-worn body camera footage taken of the incident.
“In the video footage that I have viewed, the actions of one officer appear to significantly escalate the interaction, resulting in a dangerous physical confrontation,” Allen’s letter reads. “The use of force — both by the officer himself and through his use of a TASER — appears unjustified.”
In response to the incident, the ACLU of D.C. called for increased oversight of Metro Transit Police.
This is a deeply troubling episode, but it’s not the first time @MetroTransitPD officers have brutalized riders with no repercussions. This lack of oversight is devastating people’s lives. We demand more oversight and accountability of this abuse of power. @WMATA https://t.co/Xti1IK3ct8
— ACLU of DC (@ACLU_DC) June 24, 2019
WTOP’s Jennifer Ortiz and Jack Pointer contributed to this report.