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By Valarie Carey
Since the murder of my sister, Miriam Iris Carey, I have lit a white candle and kept it burning by the life-sized photo I have of her in my vestibule along with fresh flowers.
Who was Miriam Carey? She was a mother to one, a daughter to another and a sister. But the world may better recall Miriam as being the woman in the black Infiniti car with her 13-month-old daughter who was killed in Washington, D.C., by officers assigned to the United States Secret Service – Uniformed Division and United States Capitol Police on Oct. 3, 2013.
It has now been more than four months since her tragic and very avoidable death, and still to this date neither I nor my family has received a proper notification of the death of our beloved Miriam.
Yesterday marked the second time I visited our nation’s capital. The first time I went to D.C. was Oct. 4, 2013, the day after my sister was murdered. I, along with my sister, Amy, our attorney and spouses had to travel hundreds of miles to the nation’s capital to verify whether my sister had actually been killed, since no one had the common decency to properly notify us.
I identified the photo that was shown to me.
It was a picture of my sister, Miriam, as she lay lifeless on what appeared to be a stainless steel slab swathed in blue material covering her whole body, only to expose her beautiful face, which now looked like she was sleeping.
Read today’s related story: Who was the mom who paralyzed D.C. for a day?
After nearly four months of more questions than answers, I ventured back to Washington, D.C., this time just with my attorney, Eric Sanders, Esq., to view firsthand the final path my sister drove in her life. Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, happened to have favorable weather for this time of year in D.C. I walked from E Street NW and 15th Street NW to the final stop of Miriam’s drive at 2nd Street NE and Constitution Avenue NE.
As I walked this 1.7-mile route, I noticed many cameras on the streets that I believe would have documented some of the incident that occurred on Oct. 3, 2013. I also observed – while the mainstream media would like to have depicted my sister as driving along restricted areas – the route my sister took is clearly accessible to the public. She was driving on public streets.
And although I know the mainstream media would not retract their initial erroneous reports of my sister, Miriam, having “rammed” the gates at the White House, they certainly do owe the Carey family an apology for creating an atmosphere that supported information that is not factual.
Any person with common sense could look at the car at its final resting point and see there was no front-end damage to the car that would support the claims of it having rammed a gate. Speaking of the gate, nowhere in official reports submitted by law enforcement did they speak of my sister having rammed a gate, nor trying to do so.
I observed tour buses in the area where Miriam drove, yet if we relied on what we’re being told by the mainstream media, you would think Miriam drove through restricted areas, which she did not.
If my sister merely made a U-turn out of a block that was supposed to be guarded by a law enforcement officer, why would an officer feel the need to throw what was described as a bike rack into the path of her driving away? Speaking of the bike rack, it would be better described as a metal barrier gate.
Another question that comes to mind is: If, during this 1.7-mile stretch of road my sister traveled, the officers allegedly only wanted her to stop, why did they not use any nonlethal means to stop the car?
I’m wondering if officers are trained to shoot the driver of a vehicle to make someone stop. I know that’s not the training they received. Perhaps laying out some road spikes would have stopped the vehicle.
Then there was the hypothesis, “Well, maybe she had a bomb.” I ask, is that what we think of every person who drives a car and makes a simple mistake?
And for those who support the theory that the officers who were stupid enough to shoot at a moving vehicle because they thought there was a possibility of a bomb on board, that is not what basic training teaches when there’s a suspected bomb. When a bomb is suspected, basic training teaches: Do not use your police radio; do not use a cell phone; and, of course, do not use your firearm.
As a veteran officer of the New York Police Department and having achieved the rank of sergeant, I have an idea of what may have happened at the corner of E Street NW and 15th Street NW that caused the set of unfortunate events to unfold.
If authorities would release the official investigation, my observations, law-enforcement experience and basic common sense could be corroborated by the records of the radio transmissions, mobile digital terminal messages, video footage (more than 30 visible cameras are positioned on traffic signals, poles and public buildings) and dash-cam videos from that fateful day.
I suppose it’s not a coincidence that none of this information has been made available to the public.
It pains me to know that my sister was pursued, run down and shot simply because of one (or more) person’s bravado.
Walking and retracing my sister’s final steps was painful and hurts in a way that I cannot begin to articulate.
The initial pain of first learning of my sister’s death only resurfaced, making it difficult to hold back the tears.
To know that my sister, Miriam, was shot so unjustly makes the pain of her not being here worse.
Knowing my sister was still alive as she drove to get away from what became a mob mentality amongst those who were sworn to serve and protect people like her hurts me to my core.
What’s also alarming is the fact that my niece was in the vehicle with Miriam the entire time. To know that there will be images of this avoidable tragedy forever embedded into my niece’s subconscious pains me. The only solace I have is that my niece somehow made it out of the car alive.
The officer who manned the post at the corner of E Street NW and 15th Street NW – and whom I believe was derelict in his or her duties, allowing my sister to make a simple mistake which she corrected with a U-turn – needs to be not only terminated from his or her position, but also brought up on criminal charges.
There are other officers, supervisors, managers and various employees who are culpable as well in this avoidable tragedy and should be held accountable.
It is my belief that had Officer X (as I refer to the officer whose identity has yet to be released) not been derelict in his or her duties, my sister would still be alive today.
Instead, I’m lighting a white candle every seven days or so when the flame no longer burns.
And just as I continue to keep the flame going, I will continue to keep my sister’s name alive as we seek justice for Miriam.
Valarie Carey is a former New York City Police Department sergeant.
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