D.C. police have concluded their investigation into two officers accused of striking an 11-year-old bicyclist with their cruiser and then driving off, saying they were unable to prove the allegation, according to the department.
“The investigation yielded insufficient evidence to determine the officers struck the bike,” police said in a statement. Officials would not comment on details of the incident, including whether the officers pursued the youngster.
Dustin Sternbeck, the department’s chief spokesman, said the cruiser’s driver and passenger were cited for a minor transgression connected to the incident, but he declined to elaborate on what that was, citing privacy rules on employee discipline.
Lawrence K. Bou, an attorney for the youth, called the decision “disappointing” and said of the police conclusion, “there is evidence to prove otherwise.” Bou called on police to provide more information. “There is a lack of transparency,” he said.
The incident occurred June 29 in Northwest Washington’s Park View neighborhood. Police said at the time they had conflicting accounts of what happened.
Several people who saw the aftermath told The Washington Post they heard a scream and saw the child lying next to his damaged Roadmaster Granite Peak bicycle at the end of an alley at Otis Place and Sixth Street NW, near Bruce-Monroe Elementary School. One neighbor said she saw two officers standing over the child and then saw them leave in their cruiser.
No one who spoke said they saw the police car strike the bicycle. The child’s mother, Portreona M. Brown, said in a July interview that her son had told her the cruiser hit the back wheel of his bicycle as he tried to get away from police because he had fireworks sticking out of his back pocket. The boy had bruises on his lower right leg and the bike was damaged, according to his mother and two neighbors who spoke to him moments after the incident. One woman told The Post that she bandaged the child’s wound.
D.C. police have not identified the officers. Reached on Wednesday, Brown referred questions to her attorney; she had asked in July that her minor son not be named.
Bou said he is weighing his options. “This is a hit-and-run,” he said. “The boy was either intentionally or negligently struck and knocked off his bicycle by a 2013 Ford Taurus police cruiser. . . . The cruiser rolled up onto his bicycle, pinning him to the ground, causing lacerations to his right lower leg.”
Bou said the officers “pursued this young boy for quite some distance and after they struck him, they stopped momentarily, did not identify themselves, and did not provide assistance to this little boy who was on the ground bleeding. They got back in their car and drove away.”