A D.C. police officer was charged with murder and obstruction violations in the case of Karon Hylton, who died in Northwest D.C. after colliding with a vehicle while on a moped last year as he was pursued by police.
Terence Sutton was indicted on one count of second-degree murder, obstruction of justice and conspiracy. Lt. Andrew Zabavsky, a police supervisor, was also charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy. According to the indictment, the officers attempted to cover up an unsanctioned pursuit and waited to relay the gravity of Hylton's injuries to police supervisors.
Sutton is being ordered to remain under house arrest with electronic monitoring as he awaits a trial, with exceptions for meeting with his attorneys or work, medical or religious reasons, The Washington Post reported. Zabavsky was released with high-intensity supervision.
Police said after the incident in October that Sutton and other officers pursued Hylton for riding his moped on the sidewalk and not wearing a helmet. In the indictment, prosecutors said that the police's pursuit of Hylton went on for 10 blocks and that Sutton at times was driving at more than double the residential speed limit and blew through stop signs.
Sutton, who was part of the specialized crime suppression unit, has been on suspended duty since the crash, according to the Post.
At the officer's first appearance in federal court, his attorney, J. Michael Hannon, defended Sutton's actions, claiming that Hylton was part of a drug gang and involved in an altercation earlier in the evening for which he wanted revenge, the Post reported.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ahmed Baset slammed Hannon's claims and argued that he was "besmirching Mr. Hylton's character," according to the Post. Baset said there was "absolutely no evidence that Mr. Hylton possessed a gun, let alone any weapon that night."
The case resulted in criticism across D.C. of the police's role in Hylton's crash shortly after it occurred, with protesters gathering outside of a police station demanding more information about what happened. The protest resulted in two broken windows at the 4th District police station.