DC's Police Reform Commission calls for independent investigation into shooting of Deon Kay

D.C.’s Police Reform Commission is now calling for an independent investigation into the fatal police-involved shooting of 18-year-old Deon Kay.

On Friday, D.C Police Chief Peter Newsham briefed the D.C. Police Reform Commission on matters, that included the fatal shooting of Kay.

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Commission Co-Chair Christy Lopez tells FOX 5 the US Attorney’s Office will conduct their own investigation determine whether the officer who shot Kay should be criminally charged. There is also an administrative investigation.

The commission is calling for an independent and separate entity to conduct that administrative investigation, to determine whether any department policies were violated in the fatal shooting of Deon Kay.
Lopez expressed grief for both the Kay family and police involved, telling FOX 5 the commission is not placing judgment the shooting. Lopez says the commission is asking for the independent investigation because its members recognize nationally and in even in D.C., there is distrust between some in the community and their police department.

The commission was created by the D.C. Council as part of a June emergency police form bill in an effort to review overall police policies and practices.

READ MORE: DC police release bodycam footage from shooting death of Deon Kay

On Thursday, D.C. Police released bodycam footage from the firing officer, identified as Alexander Alvarez. The video appears to show Kay throwing a gun – the officer firing a fatal shot.


READ MORE: FOX 5 DC prevented from covering story after protesters drive out crew from scene

Mayor Muriel Bowser was quoted saying that Officer Alvarez was trying to take guns off the street. Meanwhile, Newsham said the department released the video sooner than required to prevent misinformation, which could have possibly led to disturbances.

Court documents also discuss a live video stream showing the 18-year-old and others with a gun that may have allegedly prompted this search and case.

However, there is still frustration. Nationally, Attorney Ben Crump, who represents George Floyd’s family spoke out, accusing police of not using “less lethal tactics.”

Here at home, FOX 5 spoke to Kay’s mentor, Omar Jackson, who told us Kay recently turned 18 and that that they were trying to get him and his family out of the neighborhood.

We also talked Salim Adofo, the ANC Commissioner of the Southeast D.C Congress Heights neighborhood.

“Deon’s the man of the house. He’s the oldest male in the house. At times he’s responsible for his younger siblings, nieces and nephews," said Omar Jackson. “Take into consideration the environment that you know, this kid is living in, first of all – the need the feel that he needs to protect himself."

"To be honest, there is a lot of mixed emotions that I see in the community. Some people are of the mindset that he didn’t have to be shot, that there could’ve been other ways to try to subdue the gentlemen. And some people feel that these are some of the things that happen when guns are involved," said ANC Commissioner Salim Adofo.

Mayor Bowser said Friday she would consider releasing the other bodycam video from the other officers on-site if the investigation required it.

READ MORE: 18-year-old shot, killed by DC police officer during pursuit

Black Lives Matter DC is placing a series of demands on the D.C. Council. Those demands include the following: 

• Require that all released videos include audit trails that show who accessed the video and how and if it was edited, so that transparency can reduce the risk that the videos are doctored.

• Require that MPD explicitly clarify why officers’ faces in released footage are redacted, define who are considered “officers involved” before releasing footage, and include those officers’ names and faces in the footage.

• Require that MPD state explicitly when naming “officers involved” which officer committed the act (rather than officers who were on the scene)

“It seems everyone is committed to spending more perfect victim energy examining Deon’s life than the murderer that took it,” said April Goggans, a Core Organizer with Black Lives Matter DC.

A vigil in Kay's honor is planned for Saturday evening.