DC Cops Charged With Murder, Obstructing Death Of Hylton-Brown
Federal grand jury indicted Metropolitan Police Department officer Terence sutton on charges of second degree murder and obstructing the death of a 20-year-old Karon Hylton-Brown. Lieutenant MPD. AndrÃ© Zabavsky, Sutton’s supervisor, was charged with obstruction and conspiracy in alleged efforts to cover up their actions in the fatal incident.
Sutton was driving an unmarked police vehicle and three other officers accompanied him just after 10 p.m. on October 23, 2020, according to the indictment. Zabavsky was driving alone in a marked police vehicle when they attempted to stop Hylton-Brown, who was riding a moped without a helmet on the sidewalk.
Both of these actions are codified as municipal traffic violations in DC, but it is against MPD policy to engage in auto prosecutions for minor traffic violations.
Hylton-Brown did not stop and Sutton and Zabavsky chased him with emergency lights for more than three minutes through neighborhood streets near Kennedy Street NW with pedestrians and other vehicles, according to the deed accusation. Sutton drove the wrong way on a one-way street and passed several stop signs. At one point, Sutton hit 45 mph, according to the indictment.
The two officers communicated with each other by closed radio as they pursued Hylton-Brown, according to the indictment.
The chase ended when Sutton followed Hylton-Brown down an alley, turned off the emergency lights and sirens on his police vehicle, and sped up behind Hylton-Brown as Hylton-Brown approached the exit the alley on the 700 block of Kennedy Street, “the indictment read. âImmediately after entering the street, Hylton-Brown was struck by an oncoming civilian vehicle. The impact knocked Hylton-Brown off the moped and across the width of the lane, within sight of Sutton. “
Neither Sutton nor Zabavsky have notified the MPD’s major accidents section, which is responsible for investigating traffic accidents in which a person is seriously injured or killed, the indictment says. Neither officer also informed their chain of command officials of Hylton-Brown’s injuries, that a vehicle chase had preceded the crash or that they were involved in the chase, the act says. ‘charge.
Meanwhile, Hylton-Brown lay “motionless, unconscious and with a pool of blood pooling under his head,” according to the indictment.
Federal prosecutors then allege that immediately after the prosecution and the accident, Sutton and Zabavsky tried to hide their involvement in the fatal incident and hamper an investigation as they received updates on the condition. from Hylton-Brown to the hospital.
“Less than 21 minutes after the collision, before leaving the scene, Sutton and Zabavsky deactivated their body cameras (BWC) issued by the MPD and spoke in private,” says the indictment.
At the Fourth District Station, according to the indictment, Sutton and Zabavsky “provided a misleading account of the incident to the Surveillance Commander,” where Sutton denied prosecuting Hylton-Brown, and Zabavsky hid “all of them. information about his involvement in the incident, âthe indictment says.
Neither officer reported Hylton-Brown’s injuries. Yet for the next 30 minutes, officers received updates on his condition, learning that his skull was fractured and that he needed a breathing tube. It was only then that Zabavsky provided these details to the commander the day before, the indictment says. When questioned by the shift supervisor, Zabavsky “always maintained that he did not know if Sutton had engaged in a police vehicle pursuit,” the indictment indicates.
Yet at one point in the prosecution, Zabavsky announced on the private radio station: “We are chasing Karon on a scooter right now,” prosecutors allege in the indictment.
The indictment further alleges that Zabavsky told an uninvolved MPD officer, who had started collecting information for a police report, that Sutton would write the report. Yet neither Sutton nor Zabavsky obtained witness statements despite the fact that at least one witness approached them. When Sutton left the scene, “he drove his MPD vehicle directly onto physical evidence of the Hylton-Brown moped.”
At a first hearing on Friday afternoon, the judge Zia M. Faruqui rejected DC Pretrial Services’ recommendation that Sutton be held in prison. Instead, the judge chose to follow the prosecutor’s request to keep Sutton in house arrest. The judge also allowed Sutton to visit his mother in Delaware.
Sutton is ordered to stay away from the Fourth District, where the incident took place and where he was working as a crime control team officer, and not to contact specific witnesses. He is still allowed to contact MPD members who are not on the no-contact list.
Faruqui ordered Zabavsky to adhere to a midnight to 6 a.m. curfew, to stay away from the Fourth District, and not to contact a witness list that has not been made public.
Shortly after the publication of the indictment, the leader of the MPD Robert Contee sent a note to the ministry. It is pasted below:
Part of the transparency process is to conduct an independent review of the use of force. After a nearly year-long review of Karon Hylton’s death in October 2020, the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) this morning announced its decision to prosecute two MPD members in connection with Mr. Hylton. This announcement will undoubtedly elicit a lot of emotions from the MPD family. Due to the ongoing litigation, I can only offer you limited information on the matter at this time, but felt it necessary for you to hear the USAO decision from me before a statement. of the MPD is released to the media and the community at large. or a press conference to be held this afternoon.
The criminal charges included in the indictment against these two members are serious, including an officer charged with murder II, conspiracy and obstruction of justice and a lieutenant with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Both members have the opportunity to ensure a strong defense throughout the proceedings.
I encourage each MPD member to read the indictment for themselves to better understand the USAO decision announced today.
Each of you faces many challenges on a daily basis, some seemingly insurmountable. Yet you continue to work to keep our city safe and for that I am grateful to you.