Family of man shot by police in D.C.'s Trinidad area want probe, officers' trial

The family of Trey Joyner, including brother Travis, left, and mother Brenda, want action in Trey's fatal shooting by U.S. Park Police.
The family of Trey Joyner, including brother Travis, left, and mother Brenda, want action in Trey's fatal shooting by U.S. Park Police. (Sarah L. Voisin/the Washington Post)
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By Phillip Lucas
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 10, 2010

The family of a man fatally shot by U.S. Park Police a year ago in the Trinidad neighborhood is demanding a full report of the incident and calling for the six officers involved in the shooting to be brought to trial.

Almost a year to the day of the June 8, 2009, incident, the family and supporters held a news conference Wednesday outside the John A. Wilson Building to say that the investigation is taking too long and they are looking for justice.

"It does take time to take care of business," said Brenda Joyner, Trey Joyner's mother. "But it shouldn't take this long."

Joyner, 25, who had a history of drug arrests and convictions, was shot after Park Police detectives received a tip that he had a gun and then followed him by car into the Northeast neighborhood, Park Police have said.

When they tried to arrest him in an alley, a struggle ensued and he was shot; a gun was found at the scene, according to Park Police. But some witnesses have said police did not announce themselves and that they shot Joyner in the back.

The Joyner family has worked with the Washington Peace Center and other advocacy organizations since the shooting to pressure city and federal officials for a report on the incident.

"How many police who pulled the trigger are in jail today?" said Crystal Kim of the ANSWER Coalition, one of the advocacy groups. "The badge that you wear is not a license for you to act as judge, jury and executioner."

The Park Police have referred questions about the shooting to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, which has turned the investigation over to the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia after questions about the independence of the probe.

Patricia Hartman, a spokeswoman for the Philadelphia office, declined to comment except to say, "the matter remains under investigation."

The civil rights division of the Justice Department also is investigating, and division officials also declined to comment.

"We as a family have been in the dark a whole lot about what happened to Trey," Brenda Joyner said.

Joyner's family said that since the incident, they have had little contact with the agencies investigating the shooting, and are unsure which one is responsible for releasing a report.

Kim and others, including Walter Joyner, Trey Joyner's father, see the incident as a case of police brutality, which they think is becoming more common nationwide.

"All of our brothers and sisters need to band together and stop this police brutality that is happening on our streets, killing our youth," Walter Joyner said.

The Park Police has jurisdiction in National Park Service areas in the District and some other government land. They also sometimes work with D.C. police and other agencies in joint investigations. Park Police officers can investigate criminal activity and apprehend suspects.

"I lost my best friend last year," said Joyner's sister, Quston. "All I want is answers."

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