WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Two shootings involving officers took place in the course of two weeks in the District. Community members expressed frustration with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on Friday, standing in front of the Joseph A. Wilson Building in Northwest.
“Join us to call on Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Christopher Gel Dar and Mayor Bowser. We demand complete transparency around both killings and the firing of both violent cops,” said a speaker.
This rally comes after police released body camera footage from an incident on July 30 in which an officer shot and killed 31-year-old Kevin Hargraves-Shird.
“There is conflicting information around what happened to Kevin. The family states that he was unnecessarily killed with a shot to the back of the head and no warnings were given to Kevin. He was unarmed at the time of the shooting,” said one of the speakers.
MPD said it recovered a gun on the scene. Chief Robert Contee stated at a news conference on Friday that DNA analysis still is being done to determine whether Hargraves-Shird owned or used the gun.
Another shooting by an officer took place on July 16 at the Wharf.
In that case, Commander Jason Bagshaw shot and killed 23-year-old Lazardus David Wilson. CCTV footage shows Wilson walking and pointing a gun. According to police, Bagshaw identified himself as an officer and told Wilson to drop the gun. When Wilson didn’t, Bagshaw fired, killing him.
“There is unreleased CCTV footage that is pertinent to the transparency and accountability around the shooting… MPD has not released all the footage to the family nor the public,” said a speaker. “After speaking with the family, we learned that David was shot twice with wounds to the face and neck by way of autopsy information. David’s family and son deserve answers, yet MPD continues to withhold information.”
Nene Tay, co-founder of Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, said she’s disappointed that she and the family of Hargraves-Shird did not see the new body camera footage released Friday morning before the news conference. She said the community should have been told about Friday’s media briefing.
“This is not what transparency look like to put the media in a room and brief the media. That’s called selling your own narrative,” said Tay.
Now, Tay’s “Black-led abolitionist defense hub” is looking into bridging that gap.
“There is no transparency, we can’t trust the police,” Tay said. “Harriet’s Wildest Dreams is building a coalition right now. Where we’re actually rolling out alternatives to police, a system where our community members can call trained people to deescalate a situation and not do what happened to Kevin, take a person life.”
During their speeches, demonstrators elaborated on the impact deadly police shootings have on their lives. They called on investigators to answer questions about the deaths of Hargraves-Shird and Wilson.
They asked community members to call MPD and the mayor’s office and demand the release of all the body cam footage in both cases.