Were D.C. Police Chasing This Black Moped Driver Before Fatal Crash?

Pilar Melendez
·3 min read
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The mother of a Black man killed when his electric scooter collided with a car during an attempted traffic stop in Washington, D.C. last week protested outside the police station Tuesday night, begging officers to tell her what happened or show her video of the incident.

Karon Hylton-Brown, 20, died on Friday after he collided with a passenger vehicle at around 10 p.m. in Northwest D.C. The Metropolitan Police Department said the incident occurred after officers “observed a person operating a Revel Electric Moped without a helmet on the sidewalk,” prompting an attempted traffic stop.

But while authorities state the tragedy happened after Hylton-Brown exited an alley and hit another car, the 20-year-old’s family insist his death was caused because of the police pursuit. Police in D.C. are not allowed to chase vehicles for traffic violations.

“The things that happened didn't have to happen. You know, he was targeted. All this—we wouldn’t have to be out here,” Karen Hylton, the 20-year-old’s mother, told NBC4 Washington. “You know, if the guy would've just left my son alone, all this wouldn't have happened.”

On Tuesday night, the protests outside the 4th District police station turned violent, as residents broke windows and threw rocks at squad cars. Dozens of police cars formed a line outside the precinct as protesters chanted, “Show up the video!”

“Please come out and talk,” Hylton said into a megaphone outside the station Tuesday night, according to DCist. “Tell me something. Tell me what the fuck happened to my son.” Hylton-Brown’s family did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.

Four officers were injured and at least one person was arrested during the demonstration that drew at least 50 people. Anthony Lorenzo Green, an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and an organizer for Black Lives Matter, tweeted on Tuesday night that officers pepper-sprayed Hylton’s mother and father. The Daily Beast could not confirm if authorities used any chemical sprays on protesters.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham told The Washington Post that, despite the family’s demand to see video of the incident, evidence “never shows any contact between the police car and the scooter.” Newsham, however, did concede that officers in the nation’s capital are not allowed to pursue vehicles for traffic violations.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed to The Daily Beast that detectives with the department’s Major Crash Investigations Unit are investigating the Friday incident to see if officers were pursuing Hylton-Brown or simply trying to stop him for a violation.

According to the department’s press release, officers turned on their emergency lights after spotting Hylton-Brown without a helmet at around 10:10 p.m. Officers performed first aid on the 20-year-old after the crash and he was transferred to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

According to the website DCist, however, one friend who was with Hylton-Brown said he saw police “chasing him everywhere for no reason.” The friend, who was identified by the outlet as Arhki, was in a wheelchair for a broken leg and could not help his friend.

“He did no violent offense or nothing,” Arhki said. “I saw Karon stop at the intersection of Fifth Street and also ask them, ‘Why are y’all still chasing me?’ They chased him. They chased him to death.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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