Unrest in D.C. after death of Black moped driver Karon Hylton in police chase

The nation’s capital was hit with unrest Tuesday night in the wake of the death of a 20-year-old Black father who crashed a moped that was being chased by police. CBS Washington affiliate WUSA-TV reports protesters are demanding answers.

Police said Karon Hylton crashed into a car while driving the moped after they tried to pull him over Friday night. But Hylton’s friends and family say police hit him.

Hylton’s girlfriend, Amaala Jones-Bey, said he was riding to a friend’s house to collect his car keys so he could return home.

“Over a moped and some car keys, he lost his whole life,” Jones-Bey said.

A crowd gathered outside the 4th District police station Tuesday night, demanding accountability from the officers involved in the incident as well as the release of body camera footage and a full police report from the incident.

In an email, a D.C. police spokesperson said the incident report includes personal information about the driver of the passenger vehicle that collided with Hylton. She said D.C. law prohibits police from releasing that material.

Emotions ran high, as the crowd rushed the doors of the station attempting to get in and threw a trash can through the window.

A police line was formed, and WUSA reporter Jess Arnold saw fireworks being set off, police car windows being smashed and glass bottles and rocks being thrown at the police line.

Police expanded the perimeter, pushing protesters into the street.

Some people have just thrown objects at the police line, who rushed back.

Now, police have advanced forward to widen the perimeter. Folks have also smashed the windows of a police car. They’ve also just set off two fireworks. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/KIdJWez7lK

In a video tweeted by Black Lives Matter DC, officers can be seen spraying an irritant at protesters who are then seen asking for water to wash out their eyes. 

Police said rocks and bricks were thrown at officers and windows. One arrest was made and four police officers were reported to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

“We are engaged directly with the next of kin about their ability to view the body-worn camera footage,” Deputy Mayor of Public Safety and Justice Roger Mitchell said. “We are coordinating with the Department of Behavioral Health to provide the family with the space and trauma-informed support they need to view the body-worn camera footage.”

Police said officers saw Hylton riding on a sidewalk on an electric moped with no helmet on. The officers said they activated their lights and sirens, and Hylton ducked into an alley. Police said that when he rode out of the alley about a block down, he collided with a passenger vehicle on the street. Officers said they rendered first aid before Hylton was taken to a hospital, where he later died.

Some of Hylton’s friends say they’re just not buying the police story. 

“They hit him in the back of his scooter and pushed him into the oncoming car,” one friend said. 

“I heard a car coming really fast down the alley, and by the time I opened the gate, I heard it hit,” said neighbor Debbie Thurman, whose house backs up on the alley. “I don’t know if it was the car coming down the alley, or somebody from Kennedy hit him,” she said.

“Tell them to release the body camera footage,” another friend said.

Hylton’s girlfriend is now left alone to care for their new daughter, who she says turned 3-months-old the day her father was hit.

“I don’t have… words for this,” she said. “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy, because it really is like leave you stuck, lost confused on how it’s happening.…I had a whole family plan, not today, not tomorrow, but I was going to get my family, and Karon was working towards that.” 

She said Hylton was working to build a better life for their family and had dreams of being a business owner.

Jones-Bey said it wasn’t easy, though — he grew up in tough circumstances.

“For one, you’re a Black male,” she said. “You’ve got your personal family problems. Then you got your own problems in your head. …I just know he was trying to make it work.” 

Now that he’s gone, she is determined to make sure their daughter knows her father loved her, and knows her father.

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