Mother of man shot to death by DC police demands transparency in $100M lawsuit

Kenithia Alston hoists a photo of her son, Marqueese Alston, who was killed by D.C. police in 2018, before joining a protest against police brutality on Monday, June 8, 2020 in D.C. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The mother of a man who was shot and killed by D.C. police is filing a lawsuit two years to the day of his killing, demanding transparency and justice.

The Georgetown Law Civil Rights Clinic filed the suit on behalf of Kenithia Alston in the deadly police shooting of her son, Marqueese Alston, on June 12, 2018.

The suit comes just days after the D.C. Council passed emergency legislation making it easier for the public to access police body camera footage.

The weekend before the lawsuit was filed, Kenithia Alston spoke to Black Lives Matter protesters in downtown D.C., rallying for change.

The $100 million lawsuit demands transparency, justice and the release of key details, including why officers chased the 22-year-old Temple Hills, Maryland, man from where he was standing with a group of friends at the corner of Upsal and 1st streets in Southeast D.C. two years ago.

It also asks police to release details about whether Marqueese Alston complied with officers’ commands and if they spoke to him before firing between 12 and 18 shots, killing him.

The suit also alleges that officers left Marqueese Alston’s “lifeless body lying in the alley for hours before hauling him across the pavement by his hands and feet, placing him next to a gun they claim had been in his possession when they killed him.”

Shortly after his killing, D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham told reporters that officers believed Marqueese Alston was armed, that he ran to an alley, pulled out his gun and began shooting. A semi-automatic handgun and an extended magazine with live ammunition were recovered, Newsham said at the time.

The police chief also said that Marqueese Alston was under court supervision and wearing a GPS monitoring bracelet after serving time for armed robbery.

“MPD has dismissed Ms. Alston’s concerns as a product of the community’s general distrust of the police department. To MPD, Mr. Alston was nothing more than another Black kid on the streets of Ward 8,” the complaint states.

In the complaint, Kenithia Alston is seeking damages against D.C., naming the mayor and the attorney general, its police force and the officers involved, claiming negligent supervision and retention; negligent training; negligent actions leading to and subsequent to her son’s shooting; assault and battery; intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

At the time of his death, Marqueese Alston was the caretaker for his 2-year-old daughter, and was seeking employment as he worked to get his GED, according to the complaint. It said he also worked as an assistant in a youth football program and was active in his community.

Kenithia Alston’s request for the release of the officers’ body-worn camera footage to the public comes just days after the D.C. Council unanimously approved reforms to the police department, including changes to how the public accesses body camera video.

The council’s legislation also prohibits officers from reviewing their body-worn camera footage, and requires that police and the mayor make the name of an officer involved in a serious use of force case public, as well as their body-cam footage, within 72 hours.

D.C.’s police department did not return a request for comment on the lawsuit.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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