No Charges To Be Filed Against Officers Involved in Capitol Car Chase, Shooting
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UPDATED: July 10, 2014 9:08 p.m.
WASHINGTON (WNEW/AP) — No charges will be filed against the law enforcement officials who shot and killed an unarmed woman outside the U.S. Capitol Building in October, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
Police say Miriam Carey, 34, rammed her car into a White House checkpoint barricade on the afternoon of Oct. 3, shortly after 2 p.m.
She fled the scene, ignoring orders to stop and striking a bike rack and an officer in her path.
She then led officers on a high-speed pursuit through the streets of D.C. toward the Capitol, at one point ramming a marked police cruiser and later veering onto a sidewalk in what prosecutors described as “reckless and evasive driving.”
The Capitol building was placed on lock-down and Capitol Police issued a shelter-in-place order following reports of shots fired near the building.
Police shot and killed Carey just outside the Hart Senate Office Building, where many senators have their offices.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office released a timeline Thursday providing the most detailed account to date of the events leading up to the shooting.
“After ignoring multiple commands given by officers who were running towards her vehicle with guns drawn, Ms. Carey revved her engine and then reversed her vehicle and drove directly at a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was approaching Ms. Carey’s vehicle from behind,” the report says.
“As the U.S. Capitol Police officer ran towards the median to avoid being struck by Ms. Carey’s vehicle, he and another officer from the U.S. Secret Service…started firing.”
Carey’s vehicle then crashed into a nearby structure. The report says she was unconscious at that time.
Both a Capitol Police officer and a Secret Service agent suffered non-life threatening injuries during the incident.
It was later learned that Carey was a dental hygienist from Stamford, Conn., whose 1-year-old daughter was also in the vehicle during the chase. The child survived.
Carey had been diagnosed with postpartum depression and psychosis. Authorities say she believed President Barack Obama was monitoring her electronically. But it is not clear why she came to Washington that day. She was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, police have said.
The report says the Attorney’s Office and the Metropolitan Police Department conducted interviews with more than 60 witnesses and reviewed all crime scene evidence, ballistics reports, scene and traffic video footage, photographs and the autopsy report.
To build a criminal prosecution, the government would have had to have proven that the officers used excessive force and willfully and intentionally broke the law by shooting Carey.
In its report, the Justice Department writes that “there is insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights or local charges” against the officers.
“Accident, mistake, fear, negligence and bad judgment do not establish such a criminal violation,” the office of U.S. Attorney Ron Machen said in a statement.
Carey’s family and their legal representatives were also informed of the decision Thursday.
Eric Sanders, the attorney for Carey’s family, says he expected their decision to not file criminal charges against law enforcement officials, because the standard is very high to meet. He says the family will continue the civil case against the officers, who have been on leave since the incident last October.
“It’s about civil liability, it’s not about criminal liability,” Sanders says.
Earlier this year, Carey’s family filed a wrongful death claim against the United States Secret Service – Uniformed Division and the United States Capitol Police seeking $75 million.
The Sanders Firm, which represents the family, wrote in a statement released Thursday that the family’s legal position has not changed and that they still feel Carey’s death was not justified.
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