WASHINGTON (WDVM) — District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and Police Chief Peter Newsham addressed the death of D.C. resident Karon Hylton and subsequent calls for justice from the community, almost a week after Hylton’s death.
The press conference was held on Thursday, October 29, following two nights of protest in Ward 4. The police chief and mayor spoke to the unrest, as well as the bodycam footage that was released earlier in the day.
The night prior, Hylton’s mother cried out for help. “That’s my child! That’s my child! Please come and talk to me,” she said while speaking to a crowd before a march to the 4th District Police Headquarters. Her comments were directed at Mayor Bowser.
In a statement at the Thursday press conference, Mayor Bowser said, “I want to acknowledge the pain that the family of Karon Hylton is experiencing right now. They are obviously heartbroken and hurt as any parent or loved one would be in this situation.”
Hylton’s mother said there is no way our elected officials can relate. She said, “You will never feel me Bowser. You will never feel me.” Her pain echoed through the streets as community members marched with her, demanding justice in her son’s death.
The incident leading up to the fatal crash that ultimately took his life is under investigation, and all four officers involved are on administrative leave. Chief Newsham said, “The one thing I can do for that family and the city can do for that family is to conduct a full thorough investigation and that if there is wrongdoing, folks be held accountable.” The chief also said MPD will be as transparent as they can be with the family as their investigation continues.
The chief said multiple officers were injured over the course of both nights of protest. On Tuesday, he said five officers were injured, six vehicles were damaged and one person was arrested. On Wednesday, five more vehicles were damaged and 14 officers were injured. Eight of the injuries were from being hit by explosives. There were also three arrests connected with the protest.
Mayor Bowser said, “We also understand that the community is upset, but you will agree that we can not channel that anger into violence. Not violence or destruction.” Chief Newsham echoed her thoughts. He said, “I think we can all appreciate that this is a time for positive change, but positive change does not occur through violence, and I don’t think any of us want to see violence in our city.”
As the pursuit leading up to Hylton’s fatal crash is investigated, officials are now looking ahead to Election Night, where multiple protest permits have been issued. Mayor Bowser said, “We are preparing to ensure this city’s safety.”
Downtown roads will become no parking zones that day, with the potential to be closed as demonstrations unfold.
Mayor Bowser said the Emergency Operations Center will be activated on November 3rd and 4th, and will remain active longer if necessary. She also said the National Guard is on standby incase they are needed.
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