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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Former Washington, D.C. Metro Transit Police Officer Found Guilty of Using Excessive Force

A jury in the District of Columbia has found former D.C. Metro Transit Police Officer Andra Vance, 48, guilty of a civil rights violation for his unlawful beating of an unarmed transit rider with a metal baton without legal justification on Feb. 16, 2018.

In 2019, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a two-count indictment alleging that Vance violated the civil rights of a victim identified in court documents as “D.C.” D.C.’s civil rights by striking and then choking D.C. with a metal baton. Vance was found guilty of one count of deprivation of rights involving the beating and acquitted of the second charge alleging the choking.  

During the week-long trial, the government introduced evidence that the victim, D.C., attempted to use an invalid Metro card to board a train at the Anacostia Metro station. When the card was confiscated by Metro Transit personnel, D.C. became angry. As D.C. complained to Vance, Vance used his metal baton to hit D.C. in the head. As D.C. fled, Vance chased D.C. from the Metro station and continued striking D.C. in the head and neck area. D.C. fell to the ground and Vance climbed on top of D.C., put the metal baton to his neck, and pressed down as D.C. bled onto the sidewalk below. A fellow officer helped to handcuff D.C. and was present when medical personnel responded to treat D.C. for his injuries. At least one fellow officer who witnessed the assault testified that D.C. was not a threat to Vance or anyone else at the Anacostia Metro station.

“People in the District of Columbia have the right to be free from excessive force at the hands of law enforcement, and that includes transit officers working for the D.C. Metro,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department will continue to aggressively prosecute any law enforcement officer who willfully violates the civil rights of our community members.”

“As members of law enforcement, it is our sworn duty to uphold the law,” said Matthew M. Graves, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “A crime like this betrays that duty and the badge with which the defendant was entrusted. When officers violate the civil rights of District citizens through unreasonable and unjustified violence, we will hold them accountable.”

“Our commitment to transparency is key in our efforts to support and build trust with the communities we serve,” said Chief Michael Anzallo of the Metro Transit Police Department. “We value our partner agencies and appreciate the opportunity to hold this former officer accountable for his actions.”

Sentencing has been set for March 10, 2023. Vance faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Assistant Attorney General Clarke, U.S. Attorney Graves and Chief Anzallo made the announcement. Trial Attorney Maura White of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gauri Gopal for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia prosecuted the case.

Read more at the Department of Justice

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