Metro Transit officers won't face charges in wheelchair case
The two Metro Transit police officers seen handling a wheelchair-bound man on May 19 in a YouTube video will not face federal criminal civil rights charges.
The Department of Justice released a statement saying there isn’t enough evidence to pursue charges against the officers.
A video of the incident was posted on YouTube, showing two officers, one on each side of Dwight Harris seeming to lift him out of the wheelchair and then crashing to the ground with him face first. Blood pooled under the man's head as the Metro Transit officers tried to shoo away complaining onlookers.
The U.S. Attorney's office had charged that man Harris with assault on police officers, but later dropped those charges.
"From an outsider's perspective, it looked pretty violent and aggressive, and I hope something would be done,” said Marcie King, is a frequent Metro rider who lives in the District.
"They just snatched him out, knee in his back, excessive force, that ain't right,” Rob Cristwell told ABC7 News at the time. Court documents say Harris was drunk, combative, and violent. Authorities dropped assault and drinking in public charges against Harris two days after the incident.
On Friday, the Department of Justice announced the investigation into the incident has been closed.
“After a careful and thorough review, federal prosecutors determined that the evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the law enforcement personnel who arrested Mr. Harris acted willfully, meaning with the deliberate and specific intent to do something the law forbids," according to a DOJ statement.
Metro says it plans to train officers on how to make arrests of those who are wheelchair-bound. The two officers were placed on administrative duty with pay during the investigation and will now be allowed back on street patrol.
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