WASHINGTON – The attorney for the family of the late Miriam Carey usually has an exceptionally calm demeanor.
And Eric Sanders has been extraordinarily patient while waiting more than nine long months for investigators to release the official police report into the shooting death of the unarmed suburban mother, after she apparently made a wrong turn into a White House entrance on Oct. 3, 2013.
But, it would be a vast understatement to say the attorney is not buying the official explanation of how, after a seven-minute wild chase with her infant daughter strapped into the back seat, Carey ended up shot to death at the hands of U.S. Capitol Police and uniformed Secret Service agents, in the shadow of the Capitol.
In fact, Sanders finally lost his temper after the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced there will be no criminal charges in the case of the 34-year-old mother from Stamford, Connecticut, who was shot five times, once in the head, three times in the back and once in the arm. Somehow, the bullets all missed her 14-month-old child.
Speaking to WND, the attorney let loose a torrent of scathing observations and delivered a damning indictment of the investigation, delivered with the keen eye for detail that comes from being a former New York City Police officer himself.
That eye first zeroed in on the one officer who was not in uniform.
That officer was seen in pictures released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, when it announced on July 10, that “the evidence was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers who were involved in the shooting used excessive force or possessed the requisite criminal intent at the time of the events.”
Sanders began quietly, telling WND in a soft but firm tone, “It’s about male bravado,” then adding, “I’ll tell you why I know that.”
He points out one of the pictures shows that plain-clothes officer confronting Carey in her car, and that he has a cooler in one hand and a metal barrier in the other.
Sanders notes the police report even got that simple detail wrong, referring to it as a “bike rack.”
According to the report, Carey struck the “rack” with her car after the officer placed it in front of her, and then it struck him.
“He’s in plain clothes. How is she supposed to know that he’s an officer?” the attorney wondered.
Additionally, what the still pictures taken at the White House gate don’t show is whether Carey tried to avoid, or go around, that officer.
Sanders thinks it is significant investigators released only still photos, and not the surveillance video of the incident, because they “conveniently” show only the pictures the police want seen.
“If that’s the best they can do to show what this case is all about, then the public should really be afraid of these people. This is a complete cover-up.”
Sanders then picked up his analysis of the photos by noting that the plain-clothes officer appears again, at the Garfield traffic circle, where shots were first fired at Carey.
“What the hell’s he doing there?!” he asked rhetorically, then answered his own question.
A livid Sanders, uncharacteristically using profanity, said he believes the officer chased down Carey because the one overriding thought in his mind was: “This b—- f—— hit me with her car.”
“I told you this was all about bravado from the beginning, didn’t I?” said the attorney, insisting that the officer chased Carey only because he was upset at what happened at the gate, and that she had done absolutely nothing illegal.
Sanders said, as former police officer, the more he’s looked at it, the more he is convinced that his first hunch was correct, that the investigation was all about officers protecting their own.
“They covered up misconduct and criminal activity in this case, because what those guys did was willful.”
Sanders said he will demand the Department of Justice review the investigation by the U.S. Attorney.
“The whole investigation is B.S. The investigation is beyond B.S. It was designed to get certain results. They should be ashamed of themselves. I’m going to increase the damages we’re asking for in our civil lawsuit because what they did is a cover-up. They engaged in serious misconduct.”
Something else that greatly bothers Sanders is that the official police report was never actually released.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia reviewed the investigation done by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan police, but did not release the official report, only a summary of their findings and an announcement that no criminal charges would be filed.
“That is unprecedented. They released the report on the Navy Yard shooting (on Sept. 16, 2013.) Why don’t they release this? If they’re so confident about what they did, release it. Why not?”
Sanders will try to get that report released in the $75 million civil lawsuit the Carey family is planning to file against the Capitol Police and uniformed Secret Service, but he expects them to fight it.
The former officer expressed amazement authorities would simply announce there is insufficient evidence to press charges without showing what evidence is there.
As an example of unexplored questions, he returned to the plain-clothes officer who confronted Carey by leaning on her car.
Sanders said it is “Police 101” for plain-clothes officers to avoid contact because citizens may have no idea it is an officer confronting them, and that can easily cause a person to panic.
He believes that is exactly what happened to Carey, that she panicked when an unknown man, not in uniform, threw a rack in front of her car.
And that is why, he believes, she sped away.
“People get spooked. They keep saying she was mentally disturbed. There’s not one shred of evidence to support that.”
The problem is, Sanders insisted, the mainstream media take everything the authorities say at face value.
“For example, it says in the press release that she confronted the officers. How did she confront the officers? The officers confronted her.”
As for the two uniformed officers in another photo taken at the White House gate?
“She somehow got past them. You know how she got past them? Because they were over there, smoking and joking and lackadaisical, just like I said from the beginning. That’s why they don’t want to show the video!”
Sanders said the reason authorities did not release photos of officers shooting at Carey at Garfield circle is because their excuse is so weak.
“Officers were (supposedly) concerned because she was driving towards people on the sidewalk. They didn’t show pictures of anyone on the sidewalk. They didn’t show she was about to run anybody over, either.”
Sanders explained what he saw as the absurdity of that reasoning.
“Think about that one for a minute. Let’s assume there was someone in front of her car. And you morons are shooting at her from the back? What, are you stupid? So, you miss her and then you shoot (innocent bystanders?)”
Sanders said the bottom line is that what authorities did reveal leaves more questions than answers. And he’s apparently not the only one who feels that way.
Three days after authorities announced there would be no criminal charges filed, a Washington Post editorial titled, “Questions remain in the shooting death of Miriam Carey” stated the decision left a critical question unanswered: “Was there a better, nonlethal means of dealing with the situation?”
In other words, did officers make the wrong call?
Sanders certainly thinks so, and he is anguished that a jury will not get to make that same decision.
For all the details on this intricate and powerful case, see these WND stories on the Miriam Carey Mystery:
Cops opt for ‘the fix’ after mom’s puzzling death
Covering chaos: The Capitol Hill Shooting
Why did Capitol cops cut down ‘innocent’ woman?
Legal experts: D.C. cops murdered woman
Famous security expert: Was this murder?
Missing! Video of mother killed by police
Cops knew suburban mom was no terrorist
Ex-NYPD cop hunts for truth on mom slaying