The Office of the D.C. Auditor on Tuesday released a report that found the police officers involved in the shooting death of Deon Kay last year “acted recklessly.”
Kay, an 18-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by Officer Alexander Alvarez in September while police reportedly were following up on an Instagram video showing people in a parked car had firearms.
Body-worn camera footage shows Officer Alvarez running after a person who got out of the car, then turning around and seeing Kay with a gun — which prompted Mr. Alvarez to open fire.
The auditor’s report agrees with the Metropolitan Police Department’s internal review of Kay’s death that the deadly use of force was justified, but it “strongly” disagrees with the MPD’s tactical analysis “that generally blessed the actions of the officers.”
“Beyond that conclusion based on the split-second decision to shoot, however, the case study finds that the Seventh District Crime Suppression Team officers acted recklessly and without a plan, that they ‘squandered any opportunity to de-escalate the situation’ and that Officer Alvarez ‘unnecessarily placed himself in [the] situation’ that led to Mr. Kay’s death,” D.C. Auditor Kathleen Patterson said.
The 117-page report found that the four officers on the Crime Suppression Team began searching for the car shown in the video without consulting supervisors or creating a tactical plan, which put them at “unnecessary risk.”
Additionally, Officer Alvarez put himself in “grave danger” when he gave chase because he ran past other people in the car “who he had every reason to believe were armed based on the Instagram Live footage of minutes before.”
Ms. Patterson said police Chief Robert J. Contee III has agreed to implement the report’s seven recommendations, which include more comprehensive use-of-force investigations, as well as new policies for foot chases and the use of social media for criminal investigations.
“Our review of the death of Deon Kay reinforces our view that MPD needs to address promptly and aggressively the weaknesses in its system for investigating uses of deadly force,” the auditor said. “It is critical that MPD’s investigations are thorough, credible, and can withstand public disclosure and examination.”