Yesterday, U.S. Park Police—as part of a task force—found themselves in the middle of a very strange fatal shooting. Within 24 hours, police and news accounts have begun to differ on how U.S. Park Police officers ended up firing on Trey Joyner. And now the Partnership for Civil Justice has filed a FOIA seeking answers.
The U.S. Park Police has one story. And a WJLA story with interviews from potential neighborhood witnesses has yet another version of events. Let’s break it down.
In an interview with City Desk, U.S. Park Police Sgt. David Schlosser, the department’s spokesperson, lays out this simple scenario.
“Yesterday detectives received information about about a man with a gun, located the subject,” Schlosser says. “While they were making the arrest, a struggle ensued. The suspect was shot. The suspect did have a gun and the gun was recovered at the scene.”
According to WJLA account, Trey Joyner never pointed a gun at the cops:
On Monday night, four U.S. Park Police officers moved in when an informant reportedly made a call about a man with a gun. The plainclothes officers are part of the multi-agency Safe Streets Task Force.
Trey Joyner apparently got of a car and then something occurred which prompted the officers to fire repeatedly. Witnesses say they heard at least seven gunshots.
Investigators say they recovered a gun at the scene, but some who say they witnessed the shooting are adamant Joyner never brandished a gun or threatened the officers.
“He never pointed the gun at him,” said a witness.
The diverting narratives could simply be due to the fact that the case is still very, very fresh. One hopes the D.C. Police Department were able to do a thorough canvas and that residents came forward with whatever they saw. The D.C. Police Department is handling the case.
Schlosser says: “We are cooperating completely with them.”
This afternoon, the Partnership for Civil Justice announced that it had filed a FOIA request today seeking answers concerning this shooting. [You can read a PDF of the FOIA].
In a release, the Partnership writes:
“In response to reports that a resident of the District was shot in the back and killed last night in the Trinidad neighborhood by undercover federal law enforcement agents, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund filed a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) today demanding disclosure of the directives and policies authorizing and implementing the program through which the officers were operating.
Few D.C. residents are aware of the existence of this FBI-led undercover law enforcement operation through which plain-clothed Park Police officers opened fire in the midst of a D.C. neighborhood. The fact of this operation, shrouded in darkness, came to light in reports published today that the officers involved in the above-referenced incident were working as part of an MPD and federal “inter-agency task force dubbed Operation Safe Streets, which addresses violence throughout the region and is overseen by the FBI.” (See Debbi Wilgoren and Martin Weil, The Washington Post, June 9, 2009, online edition)
The FOIA request was submitted to the MPD, the Mayor’s Office, the FBI and the National Park Service’s Police.”
U.S. Park Police were last involved in a shooting on April 13 of this year at 2nd and K Street NE. Schlosser says that investigation is still on-going.
*Correction: This reporter in a previous post was completely confused about this police shooting. He mixed up the earlier police shooting from yesterday morning with the Park Police shooting from last night. Item has been fixed. Embarrassment remains.