DC Man Accuses Gun Task Force of Not Using Body Cameras

WASHINGTON (CN) – A Washington, D.C., man who was shot by police last year claims the Metropolitan Police Department did not properly equip or train its gun-unit officers on the use of body cameras.

Mark D. George says he was shot in October 2016 by an officer with MPD’s Gun Recovery Unit, which is designated to investigate and secure illegal firearms within the District of Columbia, and the officer was not wearing a body camera.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in D.C. federal court, George claims MPD failed to ensure public safety when it didn’t mandate that officers in the special unit wear body cameras that all other officers on the force had to wear, and failed to properly train its officers on using the cameras.

George sued the District of Columbia, Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham and an Officer Rodgers, alleging excessive force, deliberate indifference, assault, battery, negligence and infliction of emotional distress. He is represented by Brian McDaniel in Washington.

Just before midnight on Oct. 14, 2016, George was at his cousin’s house when members of the special unit arrived on the scene, according to the complaint.

He claims he went to the back of the building, ditched a gun in a courtyard and started to walk away.

George says he was 40 feet away from the weapon when Officer Rodgers and another Gun Recovery Unit officer arrived, but Rodgers still shot him four times in the back.

George was unconscious on the ground after the shooting and police handcuffed him and then attempted to revive him, he says.

He was transported to Washington Hospital Center under police custody and had to undergo two life-saving surgeries for his wounds, the complaint sates.

According to the lawsuit, another MPD officer falsely stated in his written report that George was shot after he pointed a firearm at Rodgers and refused to comply with demands to drop the gun.

George accuses Rodgers of acting “with deliberate disregard to the Plaintiff’s constitutional and common law rights, and in intentional or reckless disobedience of MPD regulations.”

“There is a custom or practice in MPD of subjecting certain arrestees to more than the minimum force than is necessary to accomplish his or her mission despite clear MPD policy prohibiting such a practice,” the lawsuit states. “There is also a policy which exempts member of the Gun Recovery Unit from wearing department wide issued body worn cameras.”

According to the complaint, “MPD failed to take proper steps to correct the misuse or absence of [body cameras] by or on its officers.”

A spokesman for MPD did not immediately respond Tuesday to an email request for comment on the lawsuit.

George seeks $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages. His attorney, McDaniel, also did not respond to a request for comment.

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