City Desk

Cold Case Or Cold Shoulder? Family Wants Answers About Trinidad Police Shooting

JoynerThe District neighborhood of Trinidad had so many murders in 2008 that D.C. police decided to set up checkpoints along its perimeter–roadblocks the U.S. Court of Appeals later deemed unconstitutional.

Yet, as Johnny Barnes of the American Civil Liberties Union points out, "the only homicide in Trinidad last year was at the hands of the police."

It's a year and one day since Trey Joyner, 25, was mowed down by police bullets, and family members of the slain Trinidad resident are still waiting for an update on the investigation. Relatives, along with some fuming local activists, gathered in front of the John A. Wilson building on Wednesday to point out as much.

Dressed in the coveralls of his workplace, Travis Joyner wanted to know why authorities had yet to reveal what they'd discovered about the circumstances surrounding his brother's death. The family only knows that on June 8, 2009, Trey Joyner was killed by plainclothes park police, allegedly after he pulled a gun.

Eyewitnesses have contradicted an assertion made by cops that after a struggle in an alley, Joyner turned a gun on a group of U.S. Park Police officers who were in Trinidad as part of an inter-agency task force led by the FBI. Witnesses' claim that Joyner was shot in the back would also seem to contradict the cops' account.

"I'm to the point that I'm very frustrated, that our family hasn't gotten any answers," Joyner tells City Desk. "To me it's very sad, because I feel as though if it had happened in another area of Washington, D.C. like Dupont Circle of Upper Northwest, I believe that the investigation would have been over."

Joyner says the local U.S. Attorney's office, which was investigating the tragedy, contacted the family a week after the shooting, but not one time after. The investigation has now been taken over by federal prosecutors in Philadelphia.

Joyner says his family has tried to contact Mayor Adrian Fenty to see if he could help get answers, but the mayor wasn't interested. Cousin Patrice Lancaster hounded the Mayor's office about her deceased relative, and says she was hung up on three times. Eventually, someone who identified herself as "an administrative assistant"  to the mayor told her "that Mayor Fenty didn't want to have anything to do with my cousin's case," she says. 

"Not true," mayoral spokesperson Mafara Hobson says of Lancaster's story via email.

Trey Joyner's father, Walter Joyner, his voice wavering, called for an end to the violence: "I would just like to say, put yourself in my place and all of our brothers and sisters need to ban together and stop this police brutality that is happening on our streets killing our youth. That's all I have to say right now."

Staff photo by Rend Smith

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  • Janis

    Why aren't these same people demanding answers from their homeboys who have murdered hundreds of their fellow neighbors?

    Why isn't anyone demanding answers from the drug dealers who peddle crack in Trinidad and terrorize everyone else who lives there?

  • Typical DC BS

    @Janis - cause the homeboys / drug dealers will murder anyone who interferes with their trade or talks about the stupidity going on in the neighborhood.

  • Janis

    Typical,

    Some things have to be worth fighting or dying for. What pisses me off is that these fools can hold press conferences and file complaints if a police officer sneezes at them the wrong way, but they tolerate open air drug markets, street robberies by young thugs, and MURDERERS in their neighborhoods.

    They do this shit to grandstand and make their wallets fat from suing the city. I saw a picture of the woman whose brother was shot by the park police. I couldn't get past her hair or ghetto ass mannerisms to understand anything she said.

  • Patrice Lancaster

    Janis,
    My family has not sued any jurisdiction concerning the murder of my cousin Trey. But if you are of the mindset that believes in shooting first and ask questions later, then I understand your comments. But a sneeze by a policer officer is a far stretch from more than nine bullets in a man's back. If you would like to further discuss this, contact me ResourceQueen Lancaster on Facebook. So we can discuss possible solutioon.

    Also, I will be contacting Mayor Fenty's office to request the telephone records to his office for public viewing. Then we will see who the liar is.

    Patrice Lancaster

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