Former DC violence interrupter cleared of murder charge

A former D.C. violence interrupter whose arrest made headlines last year is now cleared of the charges. A judge found there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Cotey Wynn with a 2017 killing in Northeast.

D.C. police had arrested Wynn, who worked in the Trinidad neighborhood as a violence interrupter, in connection with the killing of Eric Wright three years earlier. After hearing the evidence against the 39-year-old, D.C. Superior Judge Danya Dayson decided there wasn’t enough to warrant the murder charge against him.

The turning point in the continued preliminary hearing came during the lead detective’s testimony, Wynn’s attorney Brian K. McDaniel said. Reviewing surveillance video from the 900 block of 12th Street Northeast, where Wright was shot, McDaniel said there were multiple people walking in the area.

“When he was asked the question — whether or not he knew whether the other individual who was in the block with Mr. Wright at the same time that Mr. Wynn was in the block was responsible for the shooting — he candidly admitted that he did not know whether or not this other individual was the one that actually shot Mr. Wright,” McDaniel said.

A witness told investigators they saw that Wynn was armed that night, but McDaniel said there’s no evidence of that on surveillance video.

“So there was no testimony on the record regarding the lighting, no testimony on the record regarding the distance, no testimony on the record regarding what the vantage point of [the witness] was. Such that, it was determined to be unreliable. So that the court found that this was insufficient evidence to move forward at this stage,” McDaniel said.

After the hearing, Wynn was released from the D.C. jail. McDaniel said his client hopes to rejoin his violence-prevention team working through the D.C. attorney general’s office.

“He had been doing this for two years at the time that he was arrested in this case,” Wynn’s lawyer said. “And given his progress, we’re really hopeful and prayerful that he will be able to return to that work and continue to be the benefit to the community that he was prior to his arrest.”

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