DC police “created a toxic culture” of racist misconduct, lawsuit alleges

Written by Staff Writer: CNN

A new lawsuit accuses the Washington, DC police department of creating a “toxic culture” that has fostered a subculture of racism and misconduct.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, alleges police regularly abuse residents and violate their civil rights, even violently assaulting individuals and deliberately failing to investigate serious crimes.

“On many occasions, DCPD officers have intentionally killed and/or beaten residents and non-residents alike,” reads the complaint, filed by the nonprofit community organization Take Back DC.

The suit alleges that police at one point failed to investigate reports of a bomb-laden vehicle before it detonated at the National Mall.

The explosion injured more than 100 people and destroyed several flags.

The other incidents cited in the lawsuit include the July 2017 shooting of a homeowner who opened fire on intruders in his home and the July 14, 2018, fatal police shooting of a 31-year-old black man named Laron Nelson, who was holding a knife.

The suit also claims that police have not responded adequately to several mass shootings that have occurred in the nation’s capital.

Nelson was shot by police several times, and protesters have been camping outside police headquarters since then to call for answers.

Ferguson effect?

The police department has been criticized by many for not responding to more mass shootings.

The suit takes aim at police training that it claims is designed to instill fear in victims of violent crime so they’ll cooperate with officers, who in turn use excessive force.

“While department policies clearly mandate that officers engage in effective, proportionate and compassionate policing of violent crime, DCPD trainings instruct officers that they must use deadly force whenever an incident leads to the threat of imminent death or serious physical injury,” states the complaint.

The complaint also claims that officers routinely lack resources to collect evidence at crime scenes, making it difficult for them to investigate.

CNN has reached out to the DC Police Department for comment and is awaiting a response.

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