Civil rights investigation opened into US Park Police killing of 17-year-old boy

One day after D.C. and U.S. Park Police released a video of the Park Police killing of a 17-year-old boy, the Justice Department is opening a civil rights investigation into the shooting.

On the morning of March 18, D.C. police responded to a call for service to find Dalaneo Martin sleeping in a stolen car. Less than an hour later, he was killed by a U.S. Park Police officer who was inside the car.

Family members and supporters of Delaneo Martin’s mother Terra, pictured seated, gather at a press conference with her attorney Andrew O. Clarke to call for the release of the shooting officer’s name. (WTOP/Megan Cloherty)

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. is leading the civil rights investigation into the circumstances around Martin’s killing along with the FBI Washington Field Office. It said in a statement, “That investigation — which we are committed to conducting diligently and thoroughly — is ongoing.”

Meanwhile, Martin’s mother, Terra Martin, said she’s in pain after losing her fifth born child, and wants the name of the U.S. Park Police officer who shot her son released. She said she spoke with a medical examiner who confirmed the teen was shot six times. Martin believes the Park Police officer should face charges.

“I need the officer arrested immediately for murder — first-degree murder,” she told reporters at a press conference in her attorney’s office.

Dalaneo Martin and his seven-month-old son’s photo from his family’s GoFundMe fundraiser (Courtesy Terra Martin)

The D.C. police body-worn camera video shows four officers formulating a plan to assist U.S. Park Police officers to get Martin out of the stolen car. A D.C. officer clearly directs the group not to get inside the vehicle. As the officer opens the rear car door, with a plan for a U.S. Park Police officer to pin his arms back, the Park Police officer gets in the back seat, and Martin drives off with the Park Police officer in the car. That’s when the officer yelled ‘stop’ and fired his service weapon into Martin’s back.

However, Martin’s mother said she was only shown a 12-minute video, not the full version provided to the press.

“Why would they allow the news to show something that I’ve never seen? That was horrible,” she said.

The family is raising money for Martin’s funeral on April 13. People can go to their GoFundMe page to contribute.

Megan Cloherty

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

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