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Charges Dropped Against Black Man Punched Repeatedly By D.C. Officer As Bystanders Tried to Intervene, Police Chief Says He’s ‘Embarrassed … and Ashamed’

The U.S. Attorney’s office announced Monday that it has dropped all charges against a Black man who was punched repeatedly by a Washington, D.C., police officer as he was being arrested on Sunday.

Kiman Johnson, 23, was arrested and charged with carrying an illegal firearm on August 8 in the 1500 block of U Street. His arrest was filmed by a bystander and footage of the ordeal was shared on social media and shows an officer striking Johnson in the face repeatedly while the man is pinned against a fence.

“I am embarrassed, disturbed, disheartened, and ashamed of what I’ve seen,” DC Police Chief Robert Contee said Monday.

Kiman Johnson, 23, was repeatedly punched by an officer during an arrest on Aug. 8 in the 1500 block of U Street. (Photo: @DrBibiNeumann1/Twitter)

Contee also said at a press conference on Monday that three officers have had their police powers revoked and were placed on non-contact status pending a criminal and administrative investigation.

“While getting illegal firearms is a priority for safer communities, this is not the way we train our members to get illegal firearms off the streets,” Chief Contee said. “MPD prides itself on treating everyone with respect, even when we are recovering guns and taking some of our most violent criminals off of our streets, it will be done constitutionally and respectfully.”

According to a statement from the DC Police Union, officers were deployed to the neighborhood to “get guns off the street” as a part of a new gun violence prevention program, when they witnessed an “obvious narcotics transaction.”

Officers conducted a stop of Johnson with reasonable suspicion that he had been selling drugs and was in possession of a firearm and he resisted, police say.

Footage shows several officers surround Johnson as he’s pinned against a fence. One officer repeatedly punched Johnson in the head.

“Why are you punching him?” a bystander asked.

“Stop hitting him!” another said. Some bystanders began to throw trash and other objects at the officers as they engaged with Johnson. The officer punched Johnson 13 times.

Johnson was found to be in possession of a .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol and was taken into custody.

“In this case, these officers used a minimal amount a force to subdue a violent suspect in possession of an illegal firearm,” the union’s statement said.

“The suspect made every indication that he was not afraid or reluctant to use the weapon. The suspect was arrested and charged with Carrying an Illegal Firearm, a fully loaded .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol. Four officers were injured in this incident.”

Johnson was charged with possession of an unregistered firearm, carrying a pistol without a license, unlawful possession of ammunition, assault on an officer while armed and resisting arrest. However, the case has been dismissed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Johnson does not need to appear in court.

U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Metropolitan Police Department’s internal affairs division are both investigating the incident. The names of the officers involved have not been released.

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