The mother of Karon Hylton-Brown’s daughter has filed a lawsuit on her behalf against D.C., including the mayor and the attorney general, and members of the police department involved in the pursuit that led to his death.
Amaala Jones-Bey filed the suit on behalf of her daughter, identified in court documents as Z.J.-B, asking for damages of up to $100 million. Hylton-Brown, 20, was riding a moped, when he was struck by a motorist during a police chase and died days later.
The suit accuses the District of perpetuating a pattern and practice of targeting Black bikers with deadly force, and said the city behaved with “deliberate indifference to known violations of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments by tolerating excessive force in executing unlawful seizures.”
The charging documents said that D.C. police, including those responsible for investigating the collision, acted with “reckless, deliberate and callous indifference” to violate Hylton-Brown’s rights.
The lawsuit alleges that the pursuit of Hylton-Brown by members of D.C. police was not an incidental occurrence but an “intentional targeting by the officers, who were racially profiling a Black biker on a moped.”
Other allegations against the defendants include failure to preserve evidence; improper training, instruction and supervision; assault; and battery among others. You can read the lawsuit here.
The lawsuit comes following the indictment of two of the five officers involved in the chase. Terence Sutton, 37, a 10-year police veteran, has been charged with second-degree murder, conspiracy and obstruction of justice; Andrew Zabavsky, Sutton’s lieutenant in charge of the Fourth District and an 18-year veteran, was charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
On the night of Oct. 23, 2020, Hylton-Brown was riding a Revel rental scooter, which has a top speed of 30 mph, on the sidewalk and without a helmet – both of which are traffic violations – in the 400 block of Kennedy Street.
Two officers, in separate police cars, tried to stop him. When he didn’t stop, both officers turned on their lights and pursued him for more than three minutes “through neighborhood streets with pedestrians and other vehicles present,” at times reaching 45 mph, and driving the wrong way on one-way streets and through seven stop signs, according to the indictment.
Hylton-Brown went down an alley that connects the 700 blocks of Jefferson and Kennedy streets, with Sutton in pursuit, in the 700 block of Kennedy Street. When he came out onto Kennedy Street, he was hit by a driver. He never regained consciousness and died two days later.
D.C. police can’t pursue a vehicle if the only reason is to make a traffic stop.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement on Oct. 29, 2020 that D.C. has “very clear policies about no chasing” because they can be dangerous.
His death sparked days of protests in the District, and in one of those protests, Hylton-Brown’s father was arrested along with several others.
WTOP has reached out to the mayor’s office, the attorney general’s office and the Metropolitan Police Department for comment.
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WTOP’s Rick Massimo contributed to this report.