City Desk

D.C.’s Trayvon Martin

There has been a bit of talk about Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman and his ties to the area—he grew up in Manassas, and the Post even has a profile of him in today's paper. But while 17-year-old Trayvon—who was unarmed when Zimmerman shot him—never lived nearby, D.C. has had its share of similar cases. A couple nights ago, City Paper alum Jason Cherkis tweeted a few links to stories about similar cases. We thought we'd share them here:

DeOnte Rawlings Is Gone. The Cops Are Cleared. What's Left?
The 2007 case of a 14-year-old who was shot in the back of the head by an off-duty MPD officer. The officer claimed Rawlings (pictured here) stole his minibike and then fired a gun. Somehow Rawlings was shot in the back of the head, and the cops fled the scene. There's no physical evidence that Rawlings ever had a weapon, and some doubt that was the same boy who stole the minibike. No charges were brought against the officers involved, though last year, D.C. settled the case with the family for an undisclosed sum.

A troubled man needed help. He got shot instead.
David Kerstetter
had mental health and addiction issues—he ended up dead after cops entered his home in 2008. Police said he had a knife, which necessitated lethal force, but there was no evidence of a struggle.

A 1998 profile of an MPD officer: "Officer Kristopher Payne piled up some big numbers as a D.C. cop: hundreds of arrests, dozens of guns captured, and multiple convictions. He also had five citizen complaints, three civil suits, and two contested shootings."

Black Victim, Black Cop, Black County
The complicated story of Prince Jones, a Howard University student who was killed in 2000 by a Prince George's county police officer under mysterious circumstances. Nearly six years later, a judge found the officer liable for Jones' death.

A rally for Martin is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday at Freedom Plaza.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Keith

    RIP Prince Jones

  • Over the River

    This article is shameless pandering and is narcissistic. The story is about a kid in Florida. This story tries to take ownership and make it all about someone else.

  • Craig

    Ok the case with David k. Your input seems very vague. If there is a weapon present the officers do not have to struggle over it. I suppose you ( the writer) has never studied the 21 ft rule. Look it up and start there. Since your info in his case is so vague I can only say those officers were justified. Thes other cases are truly horrible.

  • Pingback: PM Read: DC Rally for Trayvon Martin | News

  • Solrac

    What about Ronnie white? He was executed by law enforcement while in custody at the pg county jail. I doubt if mr. White was a white man his murderers would be free today.

  • noodlez


  • Straight Edge Forever

    Zimmerman claimed self-defense just as these cops. Evidence just as flimsy.

    How does David Kerstetter get killed in his boxers in his bathroom. He was backing away from cops, not lunging at them. He was in crisis, cops decided to draw their weapons and go after him in his own home.

    DeOnte Rawlings: Cops claimed he fired on them. Cops never found the gun or produced a civilian witness to corroborate their story; they also never announced themselves as cops before they opened fire.

    In the Prince Jones case, he was pursued by a cop for what? A judge found the officer liable.

    In the case of Antonio, the ballistics and the eyewitness do not match the cop's shaky testimony. Is that not enough for you?

  • georgia ave

    what about Charqissa(sp?) Johnson?
    That list is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Rich Cranium

    March 4th 2012

    A 13-year-old boy who police say was doused with gasoline and
    lit on fire last week while walking home from school
    is recovering from first-degree burns to his face and head.

    The boy was just two blocks from his home in Kansas City
    Tuesday when two teenagers began to follow him and then attacked him,
    his mother, Melissa Coon, said.

    Police have described the suspects as black 16-year-olds, while the victim is white.

    Why are'nt we protesting this & demanding justice?
    Let's gather an army of white people and march on D.C. and the local police dept.

    and find a white in the position of power and say "If I had a son, he would look
    like this young man before 2 black boys burned his face off.

  • Jane

    No. DeOnte Rawlings is DeOnte Rawlings. While this may be a good opportunity to revisit the story, we can do that without conflating these tragedies, yes?

  • ortsa

    why are people so up in arms about connecting the dots here? what's the matter with pointing out that the murder of trayvon martin (and the lack of charges against zimmerman) didn't occur in a vaccuum? that it's part of a larger problem? that's not conflating tragedies, that's changing helpless grief into action and mourning into movement building.

  • Balthazar

    New post on Abagond

    Rekia Boyd
    by abagond

    Rekia Boyd (c.1989-2012) was shot in the head at one in the morning on March 21st 2012 by an off-duty Chicago policeman who was investigating a "disturbance". She died at the hospital a day later.

    Let us review:
    •February 2nd 2012: Ramarley Graham, 18, black, unarmed, shot dead by the police
    •February 26th 2012: Trayvon Martin, 17, black, unarmed, shot dead by the neighbourhood watch
    •March 21st 2012: Rekia Boyd, 22, black, unarmed, shot dead by an off-duty policeman

    If we can make it to April 24th without another one of these that will be a record for the year.

    The Rekia Boyd shooting took place on the West Side of Chicago in the gentrifying Lawndale neighbourhood. About 60 to 70 people had gathered at Douglas Park to enjoy one of the first warm nights of the spring.

    Here is how the police tell it:

    The detective was in his car and stopped as he approached four people on the street who were causing a disturbance. When he told them to quiet down, they approached his car and one of them raised a gun and pointed it at the detective. At that point he fired a couple of shots in fear for his life. He hit two offenders who ran from the scene.

    Here is how Antonio Cross, the alleged gunman, tells it:

    I turn around I see him sticking his gun out of the window. I said, “Oh my God”, and I put my hand up like this (put his hand over his face to shield himself from the gunshot). I think he tried to shoot me in my face too.

    He was constantly fucking shooting his gun. I never had a gun. He told me to sit down and shut the fuck up. I sat down on the pole while I looked over at that young lady’s body motionless. She moved one time and never moved again.

    Cross said all that he had in his hand at the time was his mobile phone - something that can be confirmed through telephone records. The friend he called said he heard five shots and then the call dropped. He tried calling back several times but got no answer.

    Cross, protecting his face with his hands, nearly lost a thumb. Boyd, who was standing nearby, got shot in the head and lost her life.

    There were 60 or so people there. Only the police officer saw Cross with a gun. Police were unable to recover any gun from the scene.

    Pulling a gun on a police officer is a serious crime, but because the police cannot find the gun, they are charging Cross with only one count of aggravated assault, a misdemeanour.

    And the officer himself? No charge, no arrest. The police have ruled the killing "justified". They say they are looking into it - but have not even gone door to door to question witnesses.

    The officer had just moved to that neighbourhood. A week after the shooting 200 protesters showed up at his door asking for justice.