POLICE shot an 18-year-old black man dead in Washington D.C. Wednesday afternoon, leading to angry clashes between Black Lives Matter protesters and cops outside a police building.
Relatives have identified Devone Kay, 18, as the man Metropolitan Police allegedly shot in the back as he was fleeing from a car police suspected to be carrying weapons.
By Wednesday evening, news of Kay’s death had spread on social media, with Black Lives Matter DC urging its supporters to gather outside the Metropolitan Police Department’s 7th District building at 9:30 tonight.
The street where the 7th District is located on, Alabama Ave. SE, has been closed for the protests as videos coming out of the still-unfolding scene show hundreds of supporters protesting against the police shooting of another Black man during a summer filled with civil unrest at police brutality.
Protesters late Wednesday night had blockaded the entrance to the police building, yelling “move back” just as DC police use their Trek bikes to form a barrier between the building and protesters.
Others yelled phrases well associated with Black Lives Matter protests, including “Say his name” followed by “Deon Kay” and a call and response of “Who keeps us safe?” “We keep us safe.”
The Black Lives Matter DC Twitter account had previously tweeted the news immediately after it happened and said they were en route to the street.
“Breaking! @DCPoliceDept shot someone in S.E.!!! MLK Ave. SE & Mellon St. SE!!!!,” the tweet read.
“No way they get away with this. Don’t let the media black this out like they always do!!! Don’t let MPD control the narrative! Police lie!!!!! We’re on our way.”
Freedom Fighters DC also tweeted a call to action, saying “Please mobilize with us. MPD will no longer control the narrative.” They scheduled a protest at the scene with BLM DC at 6:30PM.
Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham gave preliminary information as he explained how officers came to shoot Kay.
“Uniformed police officers had information that there were guys in the neighborhood with guns, specifically,” Newsham said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“That’s what they were looking for and evidently that’s what they found,” he continued.
Police had stopped a group of allegedly armed people in a car on Orange Street SE just before 4PM.
Police say they approached the vehicle when “some of the folks in the vehicle fled on foot,” Newsham said. He added that’s when the officer fired his weapon at Kay.
Kay was taken to the hospital but could not be saved. Investigators added two guns were recovered at the scene, with Newsham saying Kay was believed to have been armed when officers fired.
Newsham did not answer a reporter who asked why police were shooting at people who were fleeing, saying he “would be speculating and that would be improper.”
A sobbing woman at the press conference yelled “unacceptable” as Newsham finished the presser.
Kay’s mother Natasha confirmed with a reporter her son, Devone “Deon” Kay was the victim in today’s police shooting.
“They took my baby, they just took my baby from me,” she told the Washington Post reporter. “I need my son back, I want my son back.”
Earline Black, Kay’s aunt, told an NPR reporter Kay had just turned 18. “I just want justice,” she said.
The police have yet to identify the victim or give his age.
“We’ve seen this narrative too many times in America, and now it’s hitting home,” Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White said. “I talked to his mom about 15 minutes ago and we want to figure out what’s on the body camera footage, to figure out if he was running away why was he shot?”
“Some people say he was shot in the front, some people say he was shot in the back. We’ve got to figure out what the truth is and what happened with that situation,” White said.
“If he was running away, shot in the back,” he said before pausing, “it don’t sit well with me.”
He continued, saying police “said two weapons were recovered, but when the question was asked, ‘was he armed?’ there was no straight answer, so we want to get the facts of what happened to this young man.” Protesters echoed his sentiments outside the police building Wednesday night.
He did remind people that most of the information is unconfirmed and preliminary, but will request body camera footage.
The last time D.C. police fatally shot someone was in September of last year.
New legislation passed in June requires any officer body-worn camera footage of a fatal shooting or other use of force to be made publicly available within five days of the incident. The legislation also requires the names of the involved officers be made public as well.
Ward 8 representative and D.C. State Board of Education Vice President Markus Batchelor was in the area at the time of the shooting visiting his grandma.
“He just celebrated his 18th birthday. It’s tragic,” Batchelor said. “We don’t know a lot about the situation.”
Other elected officials also chimed into the incident. Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen called for body cam footage to be made available.
“I’ve spoken w/ Deputy Mayor for Public Safety & Justice on the police shooting of a young man,” he tweeted. “We will know more soon, & with the Council’s police reform law, body camera video must be made public in the coming days. Tonight, I am grieving for his family, friends & our community.”
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He continued: “But, in my mind, there are very few reasons for a 17-year-old or 18-year-old young boy to be killed in our city, especially if this man was unarmed or if he was fleeing.”
An earlier incident was reported on Wednesday in which someone fired from inside a car at police officer on South Capitol Street SW, near the scene of the shooting.
Newsham said there is no evidence at this time that the two incidents are connected.