Dalaneo Martin: Federal civil rights investigation launched into fatal police shooting of 17-year-old in Washington, D.C., after surveillance footage released

(CNN) The FBI and federal prosecutors have launched a civil rights investigation into the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Dalaneo Martin by a Washington, D.C., officer last month after the teenager was found sleeping in a suspected stolen vehicle.

The announcement came after the U.S. Park Service and the Washington Metropolitan Police Department released body-worn camera videos Tuesday showing the fatal March 18 encounter.

“Loss of life is always tragic, but it’s especially heartbreaking when it’s a child,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington said in a statement, calling the bodycam video “extremely disturbing.”

“In coordination with the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the United States Attorney’s Office has opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances leading to Mr. Martin’s death. This investigation – which we are committed to conducting diligently and thoroughly – is ongoing,” the statement said.

The release of the videos comes amid national scrutiny of police use of force prompted by the release of body camera footage in several cases where interactions with police resulted in death or injury, including the fatal shooting in February of Alonzo Bagley in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the beating death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee.

Officers from both the park police and the Metropolitan Police were responding to a report of a stolen vehicle just before 9 a.m. when Martin was shot, they said.

An MPD officer arrived first and “observed that the occupant of the vehicle was asleep and the ignition was off. The officer determined the vehicle was stolen and then called for additional units,” the park police said in a statement.

Several officers from both agencies arrived and began discussing how to approach the situation, including the possibility of breaking the window and extricating the driver.

“Once you break it, he’ll wake up, fire it up and get it going. We don’t want anybody to get hurt,” one officer is heard telling another officer in park police bodycam footage.

As officers continue to strategize, an MPD officer can be heard on the body camera recording saying, “So, here’s the plan. He is knocked out. The rear window is just plastic. I will try to cut him quietly, unlock the door. If he doesn’t startle, doesn’t wake up, then we’ll try to get in there, get him before he puts that car in speed.”

The officer continues, “If it takes off, just let it go.”

Officers from both agencies eventually approach the vehicle and attempt to extricate the driver, while the footage shows a park police officer jumping into the back seat and yelling, “Police, don’t move. Don’t move. Don’t move.’

The vehicle then suddenly drives off with the park police officer still in the back seat, the footage shows. The officer yells, “Stop!” The vehicle continues and the officer yells, “Stop, man, just let me go. Let me go!”

The officer then yells, “Stop. Stop or I’ll shoot!’

“The driver failed to comply” and the officer “discharged his firearm,” park police said.

Seconds later, the vehicle crashes into a house and the policeman jumps out, as can be seen from the footage.

Officers removed the driver from the vehicle, called for 911 and began administering aid, including chest compressions.

The U.S. Park Police said the driver, identified as Martin, died at the scene and a gun was found in the vehicle. No one in the house was injured.

The officer who shot Martin and a second park police officer were transported to an area hospital for treatment, park police said.

“The investigation into this incident is being led by the Metropolitan Police Department and is being reviewed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. An administrative review of this incident is being conducted by the Department of the Interior,” Parka police said.

Martin’s mother wants the officers fired, charges filed

None of the officers involved have been identified by either police department and their faces are blurred in the body camera videos.

Terra Martin, Dallaneo’s mother, told reporters Wednesday that her son should still be alive and the officer who shot her son should be publicly identified and all officers involved arrested for first-degree murder.

“This pain hurts so much. I just want justice for my son,” she said. “And I need the officer locked up, everyone who played a role.”

Martin said the medical examiner told her her son was shot six times and died instantly. CNN contacted the District of Columbia medical examiner’s office.

She said she couldn’t sleep or eat. “When I saw the video yesterday of my son’s murder, I lost it,” she said. “The video explains everything they did to my son. And how can you justify that?’

Martin said Dalaneo was her fifth child and had a new purpose after giving birth to her son. Dalaneo was her sunshine and protector, she added. He was very close to all nine of his siblings, she said.

Park police have not confirmed the status of the officer who shot Martin. “In accordance with applicable law and department policy, we do not publicly disclose information about personnel actions affecting our employees,” a Park Police spokesperson told CNN.

The head of the park police union, Kenneth Spencer, defended the officer who shot Martin, telling the Washington Post: “There was a legitimate reason for him to be in the car, the use of force was justified and the union stands behind the actions the officers took.”

The Metropolitan Police told CNN in a statement that “The preliminary investigation by our Internal Affairs Division has been forwarded to the (US Attorney’s Office) for their independent review.”

CNN has reached out to the Home Office for comment.

CNN’s Holmes Lybrand and Rashard Rose contributed to this report.

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