(Editor’s note: This is Part 5 of an investigative series seeking the truth in the police shooting of unarmed, suburban mother Miriam Carey outside the nation’s Capitol on Oct. 3, 2013. Read Part 1: ‘Murdered’ mom cover-up implodes as report released and Part 2: Police report: Federal cops caused deadly chase and Part 3: Attorney: Machismo killed unarmed mom and Part 4: Dark side to Capitol police cover-up.)
WASHINGTON – The official response from the Department of Justice explaining why federal officers shot to death unarmed, suburban mother Miriam Carey is “no comment.”
WND is now releasing the official police report it obtained on the Carey shooting investigation (here) so the public may determine whether or not the shooting was justified.
The report, compiled by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, or MPD, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, a branch of the Justice Department, did not include the findings of the investigation that would explain why the shooting was justified, even though it was requested in the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA request, WND used to obtain the report.
When asked by WND why the report did not include findings, a summary or analysis that would justify the fatal shooting of Carey, the response from William Miller, the public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, was: “We have no comment beyond the statement we issued last year.”
WND noted the statement exonerating the officers from U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen on July 10, 2014, appeared to acknowledge the shooting death of Carey was a mistake.
He wrote: “Accident, mistake, fear, negligence and bad judgment do not establish such a criminal violation.”
Miller replied, “No such acknowledgment was made in that statement. That language can typically be found in press releases involving such investigations. It refers to the law as a general matter, not the specific case.”
But then, where are the findings or conclusion that the shooting was justified?
They’re not in the police report.
Carey family attorney Eric Sanders told WND, after his extensive review of the report, he concluded there was no legal justification for the actions of the officers and that they should have faced criminal charges.
What was not in the report was stunning, Sanders said.
“It’s nothing. It’s not worth the paper it’s written on,” he told WND.
The lack of any findings or explanation in the report means there is still no official answer to the most basic question WND asked in the very first of its 75 reports on the Carey case: “So, did she have to die?”
That information is still hard to come by.
Because the police did not provide a summary of findings showing whether the shooting was justified, WND compiled a summary of what was in the report and, notably, what was not.
The key points of that summary:
- Carey didn’t try to enter the White House grounds
- Officers gave no reason for stopping Carey
- Carey did not ram a White House gate
- Carey did not run over an officer
- Carey did not flee or speed away
- The police chase may have been triggered by bad information
- Police knew of the child in Carey’s car
- Police claimed to shoot in self-defense
- Missing police statements
- Missing witness statements
- Missing video
- Missing information
- Missing evidence
- Carey didn’t break laws
- “Smoking-gun” email
- No shooting explanation
Since Oct. 3, 2013, WND has reported that 34-year-old dental hygienist and single mother Miriam Carey drove the 265 miles to Washington from her home in Stamford, Connecticut, with her 13-month-old daughter strapped into the backseat.
At 2:13 p.m., she drove up to a White House-entrance guard post at 15th and E streets NW, apparently by mistake, because she immediately made a U-turn to try to leave.
Officers inexplicably tried to stop her from leaving, then chased and shot at her.
Seven minutes later, Miriam Carey was dead.
After WND’s FOIA request for the police report was denied by the MPD, the Washington, D.C., mayor’s office approved an appeal of the decision. WND has since reviewed the material in the report, which included numerous revelations that appear to contradict authorities’ official version of how Carey ended up dead.
Carey didn’t try to enter White House grounds
Officers didn’t stop Carey from trying to enter the White House guard post – they stopped her from trying to leave.
There is no evidence any officers saw her drive up to the entrance or were even there to check her identification and stop her from proceeding before she began making an immediate U-turn to leave.
The statement from the uniformed Secret Service officer on duty at the post merely said: “The driver did not stop at the guard shack as required by protocol so I could check her ID. She just kept going. I hit on the back end of the car to try to get it to stop, and she still didn’t stop. She wasn’t going fast.”
The statement does not say he saw her car approach or that he tried to stop her at the entrance.
That would seem to suggest he was not at the post, or not manning it properly, and failed to see her until she had driven past him and he banged on the back of her car to try to get her attention.
The statement does not say he actually saw her car at all, until she was preparing to make a U-turn.
It also indicates Carey made no attempt to breach security or posed any threat because, not only was she trying to leave, as the officer reported, “She wasn’t going fast.”
Officers gave no reason for stopping Carey
Sanders pointed out it is not illegal to drive up to a White House guard post and then try to leave.
The police report does not explain why the Secret Service officers tried to stop Carey from leaving.
The police report does not explain why an off-duty Secret Service agent tried to stop Carey by placing a temporary gate in front of her car, other than that he saw two other Secret Service officers trying to stop her.
But, in the report, the on-duty officers never gave an explanation as to why they had tried to prevent Carey from leaving the guard post after they had failed to prevent her from entering what was supposed to be a secured area.
There was no witness statement from the off-duty officer in the material given to WND.
There was also no indication he ever identified himself as an officer.
Not one of the civilian witnesses at the White House guard post said the off-duty officer identified himself as a law-enforcement officer.
The statement from the officer on duty at the guard post does not mention the off-duty officer ever identified himself.
That off-duty officer was in street clothes and carrying a cooler.
Carey did not ram White House gate
Mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times, NBC and ABC News all reported that Carey tried to ram a White House gate or barrier.
Based on what police told them, the New York Times reported Carey “was shot to death after turning her vehicle into a weapon on Thursday afternoon, ramming her way through barriers outside the White House and on Capitol Hill.”
However, “ramming her way through barriers outside the White House” differs markedly from what a witness saw.
According to a witness at the White House who was on vacation from Australia, Carey did not attempt to ram the White House gates or a barrier.
In fact, she tried to drive around the temporary gate, or bike-rack (as the report called it) that the off-duty officer dragged in front of her car.
“A male was pulling a gate in front of the vehicle to keep the vehicle in the area. The vehicle attempted to flee the area but the man pulled the gate back in front of the vehicle,” said the witness statement.
Carey did not run over an officer
The same witness indicated Carey tried to drive around the off-duty officer, “but the man pulled the gate back in front of the vehicle.”
Even the police description of Carey’s encounter with the off-duty officer confirms Carey did not hit the officer; she hit the gate, which “spun around” and hit him.
Under the document titled Metropolitan Police Department Incident Summary Sheet, the synopsis reads: “The United States Secret Service police officer attempted to block the vehicle with a bicycle rack; however, the vehicle pushed over the bicycle rack, which spun around knocking the officer over.”
Additionally, the police affidavit requesting a search warrant did not state that Carey was accused of assaulting an officer, merely that her “vehicle pushed over the bicycle rack, knocking the officer to the ground.”
Under the heading “Subject of Force,” the police report obtained by WND does state: “Violations during police contact: Assault on a Police Officer (APO) DC Code 22 Sec 404.”
However, Section 22-404 of the criminal code of the District of Columbia isn’t “Assault on a Police Officer.”
It’s general assault.
Section 22-405 is assault on a police officer.
Under Title 22, Chapter 4 of the D.C. criminal code:
§ 22-404 is: “Assault or threatened assault in a menacing manner; stalking.”
§ 22-405 is: “Assault on member of police force, campus or university special police, or fire department.”
Sanders, a former New York Police Department officer who became an attorney, told WND that police did not cite the specific code referencing an assault on a police officer because they knew that would never stand up under scrutiny or in court.
Carey did not flee or speed away
A witness statement indicates that rather than “flee” in an attempt to elude officers, the first thing Carey did after exiting the White House guard post was stop at a red light.
“A large framed male with a cooler pulled a barrier to block this vehicle. The black vehicle hit the barrier which knocked the man to the ground. Mr. (redacted) states that marked police vehicles with lights and sirens began chasing the vehicle. It is the belief of this witness that the vehicle stopped at a traffic light.”
Another witness statement said she did not speed away: “The vehicle fled at an average speed but sent (sic) into oncoming traffic to avoid being caught in traffic according to this witness.”
In fact, not only did Carey then reportedly stop at a traffic light, the evidence indicates she proceeded to drive very slowly in the direction of the Capitol, nowhere near the speeds of up to 80 mph as claimed in the Justice Department statement.
One witness who described the police chase of Carey stated “the speed of vehicles was approximately 40 miles per hour when the vehicles passed her.”
Not one of the witnesses gave an estimate of Carey traveling at more than 40 mph.
In fact, she may have been traveling significantly slower in her drive from the White House to the Capitol.
The Washington Post deduced Carey’s average speed along that route was “19.5 mph in a 25-mph zone.”
And her average speed from the Capitol to the spot where the chase ended at 2nd St. and Maryland Ave. was “42 mph.”
Police chase triggered by bad information?
A statement from a Secret Service officer explained he joined the chase of Carey after hearing a radio call to be on the lookout for a black Infinity “that had just rammed barriers that protected the White House.”
He ended up at Garfield Circle, where the first shots were fired at Carey.
The officer’s statement might explain why officers pursued Carey with such ferocity and eventually used deadly force to stop her.
That officer, and all the other pursuing officers, might have believed they were trying to stop someone who had tried to commit an act of terrorism, or someone otherwise dangerous, if she “had just rammed barriers that protected the White House.”
Where did they all get the same bad information?
It would seem to have come from police.
And where did police get it?
It would appear to have come from either the Secret Service guard who reported the incident to headquarters or the dispatcher who sent out the radio call to other police.
Police knew of the child in Carey’s car
At least one officer knew there was a child in Carey’s car.
And, since he was the Secret Service officer at the White House where the chase began, it would appear that all of the officers should have known they were shooting at a car with an infant strapped into the back seat.
The account from the White House guard included this statement: “As she got the next set of barracks she made a U-turn and came back towards us. At this time she came to a stop or slowed down to an almost stop, I tried to open the front driver’s door but it was locked. I noticed that there was a baby in the car.”
That guard saw Carey’s 13-month old daughter strapped into the backseat of the black Infiniti G37.
Why the officers pursuing Carey did not seem to know her child was in the car was not explained.
Did the person who radioed in the report not mention the child?
Or did the dispatcher fail to inform the pursuing officers?
Police shot in self-defense?
Police fired two volleys of gunshots at Carey, first at Garfield Circle, a few blocks West of the Capitol, and then at 2nd St. and Maryland Ave., a few blocks East of the Capitol.
A federal officer who fired at the unarmed woman at Garfield Circle claimed he pulled the trigger because he feared for his life – even though she was driving away from him when he shot at her from the back.
Under the heading “Preliminary Investigative Report Concerning the Use of Force,” a statement read: “The suspect then drove south on the sidewalk of Garfield Circle. In fear for his life, USCP Officer (redacted) discharged his service pistol several times at the suspect’s vehicle as she fled the scene.”
However, video shot by a news crew at Garfield Circle clearly showed she was driving away from the officers well before they fired.
In fact, the audio track of the video also demonstrates Carey was no longer even near the officers, and seemingly a safe distance away, when the shots are heard.
Video of the Garfield Circle shootings taken by news crew:
Officers also claimed they shot at Carey in self-defense at the Capitol Police guard post at 2nd Street and Maryland.
However, that would appear to be contradicted by one of the witness statements.
The statement from the Justice Department on July 10, 2014, said: “Ms. Carey revved her engine and then reversed her vehicle and drove directly at a U.S. Capitol Police officer who was approaching Ms. Carey’s vehicle from behind.”
However, a witness said, “As the black vehicle was backing up and before it struck the police booth, there were no police officers near the vehicle.”
That leaves open the question, was Carey driving at officers or only in their direction? And, were the officers a safe distance away when they fired?
Missing police statements
The police report said four officers fired shots at Carey, two from the Capitol Police and two from the Secret Service.
Not one statement from those officers was in the report.
Their names were also redacted.
Missing witness statements
Thirty-eight witness accounts are apparently missing from the material provided to WND.
The documents show 72 witnesses were interviewed, but only 34 statements were provided in the material given to WND.
“It’s hard to tell because it looks like they really only have statements from maybe five people. There are probably a good five statements, six or seven, tops,” noted Sanders, adding, “A lot of those statements are duplicates.”
Some of those statements were apparently redacted because there were no accompanying transcripts.
Additionally, none of the actual transcripts of interviews in the witnesses’ own words were provided, just paraphrased versions in what Sanders described as “cop talk.”
“That’s telling, in and of, itself,” said the attorney and former police officer. “But even their paraphrases, which try to imply the shooting was justified, show that it was not.”
Some of the witness statements provided to WND were blank.
One just said the interview was recorded.
Seven of them said, “See video for entire statement.”
No video was contained in the material delivered to WND.
Sanders estimates 90 cameras recorded at least some of what happened to Carey.
That would include video recorded at the White House guard post of Carey’s encounter with Secret Service officers.
It would also include video of the shootings at 2nd and Maryland by security cameras visibly evident at the Capitol Police guard post.
It would also include dash-cam video taken from officers’ vehicles.
But WND did not receive any video from security cameras, traffic cameras or dash cams.
No recordings or transcripts of radio transmissions were provided.
Also not provided were transcripts of computer transmissions (email or instant messaging) between squad cars and police headquarters.
Based on the documents in the report, it appears police used video from 10 security cameras and seven traffic cameras.
Curiously, it looks like no Secret Service security video was used in the police investigation.
However, video was taken at the White House guard post: Three still photographs were released to the public nearly a year ago.
What could that missing video have shown?
“It would have given us a fuller picture of what actually happened,” said Sanders. “If the missing data would have supported their legal position and shown why they had a legal right to use force, they would have released it.”
The police report is riddled with blacked-out sections and missing information.
MPD told WND that just names would be redacted, but that does not appear to be the case.
Large sections of transcripts were also blacked out.
- 12 pages in the report are entirely blacked out
- 15 are mostly blacked out
- 22 pages are partially blacked out
(That tally does not include numerous blacked-out sections and pages that appear to be redacted to protect personal information that might identify the witnesses.)
Some of the blacked-out pages just include a heading marked “Evidence.”
Some only have a date.
Some just have the handwritten word “Detective” written at the top of a piece of notebook paper, indicating they are either notes or statements from an officer.
One has an entire email reply blacked out.
Some of the redactions appear to be descriptions of videos.
What did Sanders make of all of the redactions in the report?
“If there was information that would have helped the police, they would have been all too happy to release it,” he said. “That means the information would have helped the Carey family’s legal position.”
Sanders is representing the Carey family in a $150 million claim against the Department of Justice, the Secret Service, the Capitol Police and the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department.
Carey’s clothes apparently did not arrive at the medical examiner’s office, just her naked body.
There is no mention of what happened to her clothes.
Sanders said it appeared her clothes were lost and that not examining them would be against policy.
For instance, much could have been determined from examining gunshot residue on her clothing, perhaps even confirming the location of the fatal shot.
Sanders also observed: “There was no ballistics report. No testing of the group of responding officers’ firearms, only the four identified. No analysis of the recovered .357 cartridges from, presumably, Miriam’s body.”
Carey didn’t break laws
Nothing in the police report cited any laws Carey broke at the White House.
Sanders noted the application for the search warrant for Carey’s car never accused her of violating any laws at all.
To obtain a search warrant, he explained, officers must show probable cause that a crime was committed.
But nowhere on the warrant is there an accusation that Carey committed any crimes.
An affidavit filed by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department in support of the search warrant merely accused Carey of violating “several traffic regulations.”
The police report contained what Sanders called “smoking-gun” evidence that there was no real investigation, only a cover-up.
Sanders believes one email exchange in particular shows officials did not want to issue a final report or an analysis of whether the shooting was justified because that might have uncovered something that could have exposed them to litigation.
The attorney told WND it looked like investigators were entirely focused on avoiding litigation, not conducting a criminal investigation or attempting to discover the truth. Because of that fact, he argues, nothing in the report can be taken as credible.
Indeed, in one of the emails in the report, MPD Assistant Chief of Police of the Internal Affairs Bureau Michael Anzallo informs the U.S. Attorney’s office: “We will not be doing a final report.”
That was in response to an email from representative of the U.S. attorney’s office who had written:
“Hi. My memo is now with the Ron, so we are nearer to a decision in this case. I just saw (redacted) and he (redacted) mentioned (redacted) that (redacted) he needed to do the final report if we decline. I told him that I thought that doing so would put MPD right in the middle of the upcoming litigation, and that, because your Use of Force policy is different from USCPs, which is different from (redacted) USSS, that might create a big issue if (redacted) IAD renders an opinion as to whether this particular shooting was justified. Just my thoughts…”
Sanders said that showed that not only did MPD not intend to do a final report, the U.S. attorney’s office might have declined to do one as well.
Additionally and significantly, Sanders said it showed the U.S. attorney’s office was advising the MPD against providing evidence that might result in litigation.
“That’s what that email shows. It’s telling them not to do an analysis, because they have a different department. It doesn’t matter if it’s a different department. They know how to read the rules,” said Sanders.
“Believe me, if the rules favored them, they would have released their findings.”
So, did he believe an analysis was even done at all?
“No, there was not.”
WND contacted MPD to ask why the final report and findings of an investigation that would prove the deadly shooting was justified were not in the material the department provided. But MPD did not respond.
No shooting explanation
Nowhere in the report is it explained why officers used deadly force, whether officers followed the policy of their agencies or what threat Carey allegedly posed.
There was no analysis of why Carey was shot.
There also was no analysis, or even discussion, of why criminal charges were not warranted.
There was not even any evidence investigators did reach the conclusion the deadly shooting of Carey was justified.
That’s why Sanders said he believes there was no real attempt to obtain justice for Carey.
It was the job of U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen to decide whether to charge officers with using excessive force in the shooting death of Carey.
The reasons he chose not to file charges are not in the report obtained by WND.
His office has said little on the matter since the announcement, other than to release a statement.
“There is more than sufficient evidence to show that under all of the prevailing circumstances at the time, the officers were acting in defense of themselves and others at the time they fired their weapons,” the statement said.
But if officers fired in self-defense, why did they first open fire as she was driving away from them?
Sanders said it was telling that the police report included legal definitions of terrorism obtained from a Cornell University website.
He said it showed authorities were desperate to find a definition of terrorism, after the fact, that would justify the shooting.
“We still don’t know what the legal basis is for the claim her killing was justified or why they tried to stop her in the first place.”
Sanders paused, then with a touch of bewilderment, concluded: “They had to say something. They had to say why they discharged their weapons. We still don’t know that.”
Even long before WND uncovered all of the additional details in the police report, once he heard the basic facts of the case in December of 2013, famed civil libertarian Nat Hentoff said from all of the evidence he had seen in WND’s reports, which he called very thorough and easily corroborated, “[T]his is a classic case of police out of control and, therefore, guilty of plain murder.”
Follow Garth Kant @DCgarth