Lawyer for family of man killed in Takoma Park shooting demands release of video

Lawyers for one of the men killed by an off-duty Pentagon police officer in Takoma Park, Maryland, last week are demanding the release of any video of the shooting.

“We know that it must be a very strong video for second-degree murder charges to be put in place so quickly,” said Malik Shabazz, lawyer for the family of Dominique Williams, at a news conference Wednesday. “We need to see this. We are happy with the charges, but we need to see the nakedness of the brutality.”

Williams, 32, and James Lionel Johnson, 38, were shot and killed by Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer David Dixon, 40, last Wednesday.

Dixon told the Takoma Park police he had encountered a group of people trying to break into cars in the parking lot of the Takoma Overlook Condominiums on New Hampshire Avenue at about 5 a.m., and they tried to drive away. Dixon said he tried to order them to stop, and when they didn’t, he shot at them. The two men died at Prince George’s Hospital shortly afterward.

Dixon has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of using a handgun in commission of a felony and reckless endangerment. He’s being held without bond. Dixon “enjoyed no police powers in Maryland,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said last week, and thus had no authority to order the group to do anything.

Shabazz said he plans on filing legal action and named Dixon, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency and the Takoma Overlook Condominiums as possible targets, but added that he couldn’t know for sure until the video was released.

He also wants to know how thoroughly the Takoma Park police and the Pentagon police investigated an incident from last May in which Dixon was charged with assaulting a woman in the lobby of the condominium, including pointing a shotgun at her. Dixon has been charged with first- and second-degree assault and use of a firearm in a violent crime in that incident.

Shabazz called Dixon a “vigilante” and said “obviously, whenever he gets emotional he pulls his firearm and uses it or threatens to use it.” If the Pentagon police and the condo had looked at the May video, “We would have known last May that David Hall Dixon is dangerous.”

During the news conference, Shabazz was informed that county prosecutors said any video of the incident would not be released for several months.

“That is 100% unacceptable,” Shabazz said. “… I do not accept that and I know the community is not going to accept that.”

Referring to other shooting incidents involving unarmed Black people, Shabazz said, “All around the country, those videos are being released. … There’s no reason to hold back that video.”

Shabazz also said there was no indication that the two men were committing any crimes, and that even if they were, shooting and killing them was unacceptable. He compared Dixon to George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of killing unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012.

‘Loving and caring father’

One of the mothers of Williams’ four children described him as “a very loving and caring father” who took his children with him for nights and weekends on a regular basis, adding that he last worked as a home health aide.

Shabazz added that the support Williams gave to his children would be factored into any lawsuit: “That source of income has been murdered.”

He added that a GoFundMe page had been set up for Williams’ children — Trinity, Treasure, Dominique and Harlem.

A vigil will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Marvin Gaye Recreation Center in Northeast D.C. Speakers will include members of Williams’ and Johnson’s families as well D.C. Council members Janeese Lewis George and Trayon White and Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando.

The Marvin Gaye Recreation Center is located a Banks Place and 62nd Street NE, Washington, D.C.

WTOP’s Matt Small contributed to this report.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

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