Prosecutors decline to pursue charges against man mistaken for robbery suspect

August 19, 2013

The U.S. attorney’s office has declined to prosecute a man who authorities said was shot at by a federal agent last week in Northeast Washington after officers mistakenly concluded that he had stolen a motor scooter.

“Prosecutors determined there was insufficient evidence to move forward with the charge,” said Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office.

D.C. police said last week that Jamal Thomas, 20, of Northeast, was being charged with assault on a police officer and driving without a license. But prosecutors dropped the case before presenting it for arraignment in D.C. Superior Court.

Because no charging documents have been filed, the specifics of what happened that night remain unknown, including why police decided to charge Thomas with assault.

Thomas, who has been released from custody, could not be reached for comment. His attorney, who is representing him in an unrelated case, declined to comment.

According to police, the incident began Wednesday night when members of a police gun task force — made up of local and federal officers — saw a man who matched a description of someone wanted in an armed robbery of a scooter that had occurred about 10 p.m.

Police said the officers approached the man at a gas station in the 3800 block of Minnesota Avenue NE, and the man ran under a nearby house. D.C. police said an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives looked under the house and saw the man holding a dark object.

Police said the agent fired once but missed the man, who was taken into custody. Police said he was not the man suspected of taking the scooter at gunpoint.

Authorities have declined to identify the federal agent. An ATF spokesman, Jeff Boshek, declined to comment Monday, saying the shooting remained under investigation.

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