FEDERAL COURT APPROVES LANDMARK SETTLEMENT TO ADDRESS METRO TRANSIT POLICE TREATMENT OF JUVENILES
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A D.C. federal court yesterday approved a settlement that obliges the WMATA Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) to commission an independent expert to review the manner in which its police officers interact with juveniles. The settlement resolves litigation brought by the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital on behalf of a mother and her 14-year-old daughter alleging that an MTPD officer used excessive force against the young girl.
Pursuant to the settlement in Winslow v. Taylor, WMATA will retain an independent police practices expert to review MTPD’s policies and practices regarding officer interactions with and uses of force against juveniles. An extensive agreement laying out the scope of that review is currently under seal. However, the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital has asked Judge Emmet Sullivan, who approved the settlement, to unseal the document and make public the details of the upcoming review. The settlement also included monetary compensation for the plaintiff.
“MTPD worked with us on a settlement that shows a commitment to improved training and oversight,” said Jennifer Wedekind, staff attorney at the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital. “We hope that other police departments in the District will take similar steps to improve officer-community relations.”
The ACLU of the Nation’s Capital filed Winslow v. Taylor in May 2013, alleging that an MTPD officer used excessive force against a 14-year-old girl in the course of questioning and arresting her. The lawsuit alleged that the MTPD officer struck the juvenile twice in the head and slammed her head into the side of a bus shelter. The girl was later diagnosed with a concussion without loss of consciousness and an intercranial injury. The officer denied that the force used was excessive.
A second lawsuit brought by the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital for excessive force by MTPD officers in an unrelated incident involving a 14-year-old boy settled separately.
“We believe the Winslow settlement successfully addresses a concerning trend of unnecessarily confrontational interactions between MTPD officers and juveniles that too often result in uses of force,” said Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, Executive Director of the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital. “We hope the scope of that review will be made public, and we look forward to continuing to work with MTPD as they improve their police practices.”
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