A deafening quiet for a mother
after a police chase left Karon Hylton-Brown dead, his mother took to the streets to protest his death: she's still seeking justice
We go to The Washington Post for this week's long read by Clarence Williams, read the whole article “Pepper-sprayed, arrested, grieving: The mother who was at the front lines of D.C. anti-police protests.” We include key excerpts below to convince you it’s worth your time.
Can justice ever be served?
After Karon Hylton-Brown died in a scooter crash while being followed by police in October 2020, his mother was at the forefront of some of the most volatile anti-police protests this city had endured since the killing of George Floyd. Police pepper-sprayed her as she marched down the street. Her son’s father was arrested. And crowds of demonstrators united in support of her cause lobbed fireworks and projectiles at the lines of law enforcement guarding the station that became a target of unrest, with police in turn launching sound grenades and more chemical spray to scatter them.
More than a year later, the protests have quieted — but Hylton still seeks justice. A D.C. officer accused of launching an improper pursuit was charged recently with murder in Hylton-Brown’s death. Shortly after, Hylton filed two lawsuits against the city, one claiming police wrongfully killed her son and another claiming police violated her constitutional right to protest when they arrested her outside the station last year.
The night of Oct. 23, 2020, Officer Terence Sutton and other members of a crime-suppression unit had pursued Hylton-Brown after they saw him riding a scooter on a sidewalk and without a helmet along Kennedy Street, police said. As Sutton’s cruiser sped up and closed in behind him, a van struck Hylton-Brown after he sped out of an alley, prosecutors said.
After the fatal crash, family and friends accused D.C. police of harassing Hylton-Brown and other young Black men around Kennedy Street, sparking nights of protest around the police station where Sutton worked.
Local anti-police protesters chanted Hylton-Brown’s name on the roster of Black lives killed during fatal encounters with police officers locally and nationwide in recent years. Demonstrators even spray-painted his name on a statue in front of Union Station one night in the spring and encouraged dozens to take photos of the artwork to memorialize his loss. And members of the city’s police-reform commission invoked his name in calling for changes in the department.
Eleven months after Hylton-Brown’s death, Sutton, a 12-year veteran of the force who was working on a crime-suppression detail, was charged with murder. His supervisor, Lt. Andrew Zabavsky, was charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice, and accused of working with Sutton to hide the severity of Hylton-Brown’s injuries after the crash and cover up the chase. It is uncertain whether the officers involved in the fatal incident will be convicted, receive departmental discipline or lose their jobs.
Sutton’s attorney declined to comment but in court this fall defended the officer’s actions, saying that he was trying to conduct a legal stop of someone he suspected of committing a crime and that Hylton-Brown’s own actions caused the crash.
Sutton’s attorney has said in court filings that Hylton-Brown had been arrested previously and was a member of a drug gang who had been in an altercation earlier in the evening. Police were concerned he was armed and sought revenge, and the officer was ordered by a supervisor to stop Hylton-Brown, court filings from Sutton’s attorney said.
Police said no gun was found at the scene of the crash.
Read the whole article here.
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