Lawyers for man seen on video punched by DC police call on officers to be fired

Lawyers for a man caught on video being punched multiple times by a D.C. police officer on Sunday while being restrained by two other officers are calling for them to be fired.

“It was embarrassing; it was disgusting to watch,” said Chance Lynch, one of the attorneys for 23-year-old Kiman Johnson.

Lynch said Johnson is suffering from multiple broken bones in his face and a concussion, and he will most likely have to undergo surgery.

“He’s had and suffered with extreme dizziness and headaches,” Lynch said.

He said that Johnson was supposed to be at a news conference with his lawyers in front of the D.C. police department on Friday afternoon, but he went to the emergency room on Thursday night for his injuries from the incident.

The video was taken by a bystander and showed what happened after police say they saw a drug deal occur. A gun was recovered from Johnson after he was detained, according to police.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. declined to pursue charges against Johnson.

Johnson’s lawyers, Lynch, Bakari Sellers and Harry Daniels, say that they are calling for the three police officers involved to be fired and prosecuted.

“Police officers have to have some accountability, so that they can restore the trust of the people that they are called to serve,” Lynch said. “We want them fired, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Lynch said that they are considering pursuing further relief for Johnson.

“Every civil claim and every constitutional repercussion that the Constitution will permit our client, we’re ready to pursue it,” Lynch said.

The three officers, including the officer who punched the man, have had their police powers revoked, and they’ve been placed on non-contact status — meaning no contact with the public — pending criminal and administrative investigations, according to police.

“This is not the way we train our members to get illegal firearms off the streets,” D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said during a news conference on Monday about the incident.

Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke publicly Tuesday about the video saying, “Yes, I was briefed in detail by (D.C. Police Chief Robert) Contee, and I support the statements that he’s made. And I also understand the frustration that people feel.”

Black Lives Matter DC responded to the incident with a statement saying,

“This kind of brutality is not new for MPD, in the District of Columbia, and certainly not near Good Hope Rd. and 16th St. Southeast, but it is always unacceptable. It mirrors the experience of Derrick “Quan” Johnson at almost the same location on December 26, 2019. Quan was also not charged for the original stop or the second retaliatory one. Like Quan, we are so very glad he is still alive.”

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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