Last month, family members of Miriam Carey, the 34-year-old Connecticut woman slain in early October by police in front of the US Capitol building, requested that federal officials launch an investigation into the events that resulted in the single mother’s death. The document released by family attorney Eric Sanders, a former New York City Police Department officer, states that officials “completely mishandled” the situation, and that “one or more of them should be criminally prosecuted for violating Miriam I. Carey’s civil rights.”
Carey was killed in Washington, DC, on October 3 when, after refusing to stop at a police checkpoint near the White House, she allegedly “made a U-turn and began to flee.” An officer attempting to block Carey’s retreat was knocked down, thus initiating a high-speed pursuit through the downtown area, which ended when officers fired a hail of bullets into her car, killing her as she attempted to exit the vehicle (see “ Washington DC chase ends in shooting death of driver ”).
Dismissing the claim that the aggressive response was necessary due to the need to fight terror, the Sanders family’s document asserts that “such car stops are handled professionally by law enforcement officials all over the world every day without incident including in other cities with so-called high value targets.”
The document goes on to comment that “using the term high value target is nothing other than an emotionally charged red herring to distract the public from demanding relevant answers from government officials who obviously violated Miriam I. Carey’s civil rights under the guise of protecting society from Terrorism, I sarcastically call it the new civil rights Qualified Immunity defense.”
In response to the officer’s attempts to block Carey from leaving the traffic stop, Sanders asserted that as “she was under no legal obligation to enter the checkpoint, turning around and leaving is also not [a violation] of any laws. The question is: Why did the police pursue her?”
The attorney also objected to capitol police officials’ firing on Carey’s vehicle amidst heavy downtown traffic. “Quite frankly, just about every major police agency in the United States including the District of Columbia strictly prohibits discharging service weapons towards moving vehicles for a host of philosophical and safety reasons,” he said, adding that this rule holds true, unless the person operating the moving vehicle is using “deadly physical force by means other than a moving vehicle.”
A police affidavit stated that officers found no evidence of weapons on Carey’s person. Nor were any found in her home in Connecticut, which was raided by dozens of police days after the event.
After the tragedy had occurred, officials tried to justify the killing based upon reports of Carey’s mental condition, stating that due to her bouts with postpartum depression she had been a danger to herself and others. Finally, the response was termed to be appropriate due to the number of “high value” potential targets for terrorism in the District of Columbia.
Speaking to reporters from the conservative WorldNetDaily with Miriam’s sister, Valerie, Sanders further dismissed claims that an aggressive response had been warranted. “Everything is terrorism, terrorism, terrorism.… And that’s the answer for everything. That’s not the answer for everything. You don’t lose your rights because of terrorism. We still have a Constitution. If we don’t start enforcing it we’re all in trouble.”
Valerie Carey stated: “Everyone should realize we can’t allow our civil liberties to be stripped in front of us. If my sister was traveling and came across a roadblock—we’re not even sure it was a checkpoint, there was some training going on in the area—she should not have to be in fear of those sworn to protect us. And neither should we.”
The two denounced coverage from the mainstream media, which had sought to disparage Carey and assert she had attempted to “ram” the barricade set by police. “She didn’t ram the gate. She didn’t run anybody over. The affidavit doesn’t say she ran anyone over. It doesn’t say she tried to ram a gate. All that [coverage] is nonsense that has been reported by the media. It’s about time for people to really start doing their homework. Their [Metro Police] own affidavit says all this,” said Sanders.
The Carey family is calling on US Attorney General Eric Holder to intervene and launch an investigation. Holder in turn has remained silent about the appeal since it was made almost two weeks ago.