The U.S. attorney’s office is dropping the assault charge against the man in the wheelchair who was involved last week in a confrontation with Metro transit police. The office also said it will look into what happened.
A spokesman for Metro said the police powers of the two officers involved have been suspended pending the outcome of the U.S. attorney’s investigation. The two have been reassigned to administrative duties, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.
A two-minute video of the Thursday encounter on U Street NW between the officers and the man was posted on the YouTube Web site and was aired on television Sunday. The widely viewed video has evoked criticism of the officers’ apparent actions.
“We’ve certainly heard from the public about it,” Stessel said.
At one point in the video, the officers appear to be lifting the man from the wheelchair, and shortly afterward, the officers and the man are prone on the sidewalk. The video shows blood near the man’s head.
In a statement issued Sunday, Metro said the man was spotted Thursday by Metro officers patrolling at the U Street NW Metro station. The statement said the man declined to leave the area and refused to have a citation issued to him, whereupon he was told that he would be arrested.
In that statement Metro said the man resisted arrest, resulting in a fall from his wheelchair. The man was charged with assault on a police officer and drinking in public, Metro said.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, which handles most serious offenses in the District, said the office moved Tuesday to drop the assault charge, a misdemeanor.
However, he said, the alcohol charge would be in the jurisdiction of the District’s attorney general.
Meanwhile, Bill Miller, the spokesman for the U.S. attorney, said his office “now is reviewing the entire matter.”