Two police officers involved in an October 2020 chase that killed a young Black man riding a moped in Washington, DC, were found guilty Wednesday in his death.
According to the Metropolitan Police Department, Officer Terence Sutton and Lt. Andrew Zabavsky attempted a traffic stop in October 2020 after seeing 20-year-old Karon Hylton-Brown riding his moped on a sidewalk without a helmet. The moped went into an alley and then collided with a van as he turned onto a street.
Sutton and Zebavsky were suspended pending the outcome of the trial, which began on Oct. 25. The jury found Sutton guilty of second-degree murder, conspiracy to obstruct and obstruction of justice, and Zabavsky was found guilty of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
This verdict marks the first time a District of Columbia on-duty police officer has been charged and convicted of murder, according to NBCWashington. Sutton and Zebavsky have been released from custody until sentencing, which has not been set yet.
According to a press releasethe jury found that Sutton drove the police car “in conscious disregard for an extreme risk of death or serious bodily injury to Mr. Hylton-Brown” and that both officers attempted to hide the circumstances of the traffic crash from Metropolitan Police Department officials.
The officers were indicted in September 2021. The indictment also stated that by chasing Hylton-Brown, the officers had violated MPD rules that prohibit “pursuing a vehicle for the purpose of affecting a stop for a traffic violation.”
Officers classified Hylton-Brown’s death as a traffic fatality, according to nbc washington, but his friends and family said that the police who chased him were responsible for the crash.
His death prompted unrest in Washington as protests went on for days, with community members joining Hylton-Brown’s family as they demanded answers and justice. The protests reflected the movement of protests against police killings of Black Americans that reached a nationwide boiling point in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.