Two Washington, D.C., police officers were indicted on Friday in connection to the death of a moped driver who was killed last year in a crash during an unauthorized pursuit, according to the Justice Department.
Terence Sutton, an officer in the D.C. police force for 12 years, was charged with one count of second-degree murder, obstruction of justice, and conspiracy. Another D.C. officer, supervisor Lt. Andrew Zabavsky, was charged with one count of obstruction of justice and conspiracy. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
Karon Hylton-Brown, the victim, died 11 months ago at the age of 20. According to the indictment, Sutton and Zabavsky conspired to cover up the chase and delayed reporting the seriousness of Hylton-Brown’s injuries after the chase.
At the time, police said Sutton and other officers pursued Hylton-Brown after they spotted him riding a moped on the sidewalk without a helmet. Sutton’s attorney, J. Michael Hannon, said at his client’s initial court hearing in federal court that Hylton was part of a drug gang that the police had altercations with earlier that night, according to the Washington Post. Sutton said police were concerned he was armed and dangerous.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ahmed Baset argued there was no reason to suspect Hylton-Brown was armed that night. The indictment said investigators attempted to determine whether the police cars were chasing the moped, which is against rules prohibiting pursuits for traffic violations. The pursuit allegedly went on for 10 blocks and included the police cars turning the wrong way on one-way streets.
The indictment also said Sutton and Zabavsky kept each other apprised of their locations on a police channel that was not accessible to a dispatcher who could coordinate authorized pursuits.
The death of Hylton-Brown prompted community backlash against the officers involved. His death came amid calls for defunding the police and other reforms in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier that year.
Sutton has been on suspended duty since the incident. He is under house arrest with electronic monitoring at either his or his mother’s houses in Delaware pending trial. There are exceptions for work, medical, or religious reasons or to meet with his attorneys. Zabavsky has been released under high-intensity supervision.
If convicted, Sutton could face up to life in prison. The next court date is set for Oct. 4.
The Washington Examiner has reached out to the office of Hannon, Baset, and the Metropolitan Police Department but had not heard back by the time of publishing.
Washington Examiner Videos
Original Author: Misty Severi
Original Location: DC police officers charged over deadly moped pursuit