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D.C. Releases Body-Camera Footage Of Officers Crashing Cruisers After Drag-Racing

D.C. on Monday made public body-camera footage showing an incident where two police cruisers were totaled after officers drag raced them down a residential street in Ward 7.

Acting Police Chief Robert Contee also announced that one of the involved officers, who was on probationary status at the time of the incident, has been fired. The remaining three officers will be investigated and could face disciplinary action which could include being terminated from the department.

The crash, which was first reported by Fox 5, happened last month, after officers in the two cruisers raced each other down Anacostia Avenue NE at speeds approaching 60 mph. For unknown reasons one of the cruisers abruptly turned left in front of the second, causing a collision that totaled both cruisers and damaged a fence on a residential property.

The footage released by D.C. came from the passenger in the cruiser that was crashed into. The first two minutes — which depicts the actual crash — don’t include sound; the body-worn cameras used by all D.C. police officers save two minutes of video, though not audio, taken before they are actually activated. As the crash occurs, both the driver and passenger-side airbags deploy, and the passenger-side officer — sounding dazed — opens the door and walks out of the cruiser.

“Are you OK?” asks an unidentified voice.

“Shit,” responds the officer. “Yeah, I’m good,” he adds, before uttering another expletive and sounding shocked as he looks at the totaled cruisers.

The video then cuts off.

Police officers have been using body-worn cameras since 2015; more than 3,200 of the cameras are now deployed across MPD. While the cameras record hundreds of thousands of hours of footage annually — from January to June 2020, the last period for which data is available, the cameras recorded enough footage to last 26 years — only a fraction is ever publicized.

On Sunday night D.C. also made public footage of the fatal shooting of Terrance Maurice Parker during an incident on Friday; a new city law requires that footage of fatal incidents involving police be made public within five days, unless a relative of the deceased objects. The mayor also has the ability to make public footage that is in the public’s interest.

Introductory text on the video of officers drag-racing says only one of the officers involved activated their body-worn camera.

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