WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder is in Ferguson, Missouri, ostensibly to investigate the shooting of an unarmed African-American by a white police officer.
What he is not investigating is the shooting of an unarmed African-American woman by his own federal officers, in his own jurisdiction, the District of Columbia.
And that has the family of the late Miriam Carey so outraged, they announced Wednesday they plan to double the amount of money in their lawsuit against the federal government to $150 million.
While the attorney general looks for the possibility of bad intentions and a wrongful death by an officer in the Midwest, Carey family attorney Eric Sanders believes he need look no further than under his nose in Washington, D.C., where an innocent, unarmed, suburban mother was gunned down in a barrage of bullets by Holder’s officers, all because, he said, one off-duty U.S. Secret Service officer “wanted to make that b—-h pay.”
Those were the exact words used in a claim filed Wednesday morning by the Carey family, which serves as a prerequisite before filing a mammoth civil lawsuit against the United States, the U.S Secret Service and the U.S. Capitol Police.
WND reported how the Carey family was outraged when, on July 10, after a more than nine-month investigation, Holder’s Department of Justice, or DOJ, declined to file any criminal charges against the federal officers who shot and killed Carey in the shadow of the nation’s Capitol on Oct. 3, 2013.
That outrage was expressed Wednesday morning when the Carey family representative told WND they are now seeking $150 million for Miriam’s estate, her mother and her infant child, who was in the car when police repeatedly shot her.
The Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department conducted the investigation into the high-speed chase and deadly shooting of Carey by U.S. Secret Service uniformed agents and U.S. Capitol Police officers. The report was then reviewed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Washington, D.C., which is part of the Justice Department.
Not only did Holder’s DOJ decide not to file criminal charges against any of the shooters, it has not responded to Sander’s request to conduct its own investigation.
And, in a highly unusual move, the DOJ never released that final investigative report reviewed by its U.S. Attorney. Sanders believes that’s because the facts would show the officers wrongfully killed Carey.
Authorities also did not release video of the incident at the White House gate, only still photos. Sanders believes that video would show both the negligence of the officers on duty and that the confrontation with Carey was provoked by the off-duty officer.
Greatly disappointed in the decision not to prosecute Carey’s killers, Sanders told WND he is also deeply disturbed by new facts in the case he has uncovered.
He has learned that, following her autopsy, Carey’s clothes disappeared. That means they can’t be tested for gunpowder residue, an issue shown to be of such great importance in the Mike Brown shooting in Ferguson. Sanders appeared highly distressed by what could be the destruction of critical evidence in the Carey case.
He claims her wrongful death was caused by “the unidentified aggressive Caucasian male police officers, supervisors and managers assigned to the U.S. Secret Service Uniform Division and the U.S. Capitol Police” and that “their collective actions caused Carey’s “‘avoidable’ wrongful death.”
Sanders singled out the actions of one agent who was not in uniform, suggesting his bravado turned an innocent mistake into a deadly encounter.
The claim filed Wednesday stated Carey, unfamiliar with the area, mistakenly drove past a White House guard post near 15th and E Streets, with her infant in the backseat in a child safety seat.
It said she managed to get through the gate entrance only because it was “negligently maintained, covered and supervised by police officers.”
The claim maintained Carey did not violate any Washington, D.C., or federal law because she “never intentionally entered the White House Complex” and never refused to leave. She did, in fact, try to leave but was stopped by officers.
That meant, Sanders emphasized to WND, there was no probable cause to detain her, and there would have been no grounds to convict her of any crime.
“After realizing her innocent mistake,” the claim reads, “Carey made a U-turn to leave the area” but “for some inexplicable reason, instead of simply allowing” her to leave, “an unidentified aggressive Caucasian Male in dark clothed civilian attire, without provocation of legal justification, intentionally, negligently and recklessly grabbed a metal police barrier and threw himself in front of her vehicle.”
The claim identified the man as an off-duty Secret Service officer.
It further stated, Carey then panicked because the officer startled her and endangered her safety, so she tried to go around him, but, because of the tight space, “he made contact with her vehicle.”
The family’s bottom line: “Carey had committed no crime, thus the police had no legal basis to stop her or use any amount of physical force against her.”
But, making a damning accusation, the claim said the off-duty officer became so “completely agitated,” he wanted to “make that b—h pay.”
That combination of machismo and bruised ego is why, the family believes, the off-duty-officer and a parade of on-duty officers, supervisors and managers then began to pursue Carey “at high speeds, endangering their lives and the public.”
Sanders, a former New York City Police Department officer himself, said in the claim the pursuers, “inconsistent with their police training, failed to terminate” their high-speed pursuit of the mother and child, “causing risk to them, the officers and the public” that “outweighed the benefit of investigating a harmless mistaken entrance through the White House Complex gate.”
Once the pursuit stalled at the Garfield traffic circle, just below the Capitol, the off-duty officer approached the left side of Carey’s car, got a clear view inside, but after police vehicles inexplicably failed to box-in her car, the officer, along with the on-duty officers, fired at her as she attempted to get out of danger, striking her in the left side of the head, the back of the head and the left arm.
That shooting by federal officers, the claim stated, was done "without establishing firearms control or legal justification" and was "inconsistent with their police training."
Sanders previously told WND that supervisors claimed the officers fired because Carey was driving toward people on the sidewalk, but he blasted that as either unbelievable or insane, because it would mean officers were shooting in the direction of those very people they were supposedly attempting to protect.
According to the attorney, 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, “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?
The answer may have to come from the now $150-million civil suit the Carey family plans to file, which could force the final investigative report on the shooting to be released as evidence.
The defendants may try to settle the case, but Miriam's sister, Valarie, a former NYPD sergeant, has told WND that getting to the truth is more important to the family than money.
Sanders said the refusal by the DOJ to release the official investigation, and an exhaustive review of all publicly available data, has convinced the Carey family the shooting was not justified.
The suit maintains Carey was still alive after she was shot numerous times by officers then taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Also, according to the suit, despite being mortally wounded by gunfire during the chase, she continued driving out of panic, until she finally came to a stop and was taken from her car, a few blocks away from the initial shooting and a block from the Capitol.
See these other WND stories on the Miriam Carey Mystery:
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