WASHINGTON - A coalition of legal teams announced Thursday that they have filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia alleging that gross negligence led to the death of a Metropolitan Police officer in 2022.
Manyan, a young mom and a new homeowner died just after she and a group of Special Police Officer trainees just finished baton training at the library.
After the training, which was led by private contractor 59-year-old Jesse Porter, the group gathered to take a photo. Manyan was in the middle of the group and turned around to remove her mask.
Porter was indicted in May on three counts of second-degree murder while armed, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, and unlawful discharge of a firearm but later accepted a plea deal for one count of involuntary manslaughter while armed and one count of unlawful discharge of a firearm.
He was sentenced to three years behind bars in August.
Following the sentencing, the attorney for the Manyan family said they were planning to sue both the city and Porter, saying the retired lieutenant should not have been allowed to have a firearm in the D.C. public library, or in a training session.
Now, a collective lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the Manyan family by Lewis Law, the Law Office of A. Dwight Pettit, P.A., and the Law Office of Latoya A. Francis-Williams.
The defendants include the D.C. government, Porter himself, his business — Porter Consulting and Expert Tactical Training, Anthony Mickens and Byron Purnell.
Mickens was the lead D.C. special police officer on scene and Purnell, an active MPD sergeant and co-trainer was also present at the time of the shooting. The suit accuses the two of failing to stop Porter from entering the library with a loaded gun.
It further alleges that D.C. leaders were aware of "a substantial history of complaints against its permitting live and loaded firearm(s) and ammunition in training sessions" but continued to allow trainers to keep loaded weapons on them during sessions.
It also alleges that proper security measures weren’t in place to stop a loaded gun from being brought into the public library.
The family's attornies say the lawsuit is meant to hold D.C.'s leaders accountable for their alleged role in the tragic shooting.
"Officer Manyan was a perfect example of what a daughter, mother, cousin and friend should be. Her untimely death was entirely preventable; however, the system failed her," family attorney Chelsea Lewis said in a statement. "The filing of the lawsuit in this case is just the first of many steps to not only secure justice for the Manyan family but a call on those in power, those who should have protected Officer Manyan, for systematic change."
They say the case highlights issues in law enforcement practices and public safety, with the goal of creating permanent change.
"From what we can gather, this tragedy happened because of the District of Columbia and their policies and practice of allowing people to have live weapons in training sessions. That’s really the bottom line," The family's other attorney, Latoya Francis-Williams, told FOX 5. "We’re looking for change in policy. We’re looking for change in practice and to the degree we can get recompensed for the Manyan family, we want the family to be paid handsomely."
Francis-Williams hopes this lawsuit will make sure what happened to Mauricia doesn't happen to anyone ever again, and that her legacy will live on for positive reasons.
"They have always wanted the world to know she is the most loving, caring, hardworking, and loyal human being they have ever known," Francis-Williams said.
"That has been the trumpet they have been sounding since day one. We’re really prayerful this lawsuit allows that message to be sent to the world."
A spokesperson for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said they did not have a comment on the lawsuit.
FOX 5 also reached out to Attorney General Brian Schwalb, but his office is declining to comment as the case is ongoing.
Porter’s attorney, Dawn Jackson, told FOX 5, she also does not comment on pending litigation.
Jackson said that her client is remorseful and described the deadly shooting as a "tragic accident."