Two mothers filed suit against three Metro Transit Police officers on Wednesday, saying the police brutally beat their 14-year-old children and then improperly charged them with crimes in two separate incidents.
"We hope [Metro will pay attention. It seems clear to us their officers need better training and better supervision," said Arthur Spitzer, legal director for the local American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is providing legal aide in the lawsuits.
District resident Stacy Winslow said her daughter was taking Metro home from a late-night horror movie with her 18-year-old sister in January when a transit police officer attempted to arrest the teenager for breaking curfew at Metro's Stadium-Armory station. The officer punched her in the face, tackled her and later struck her repeatedly while she was handcuffed, the suit said. Charges against the girl were later dropped, but she was treated at a hospital for cuts and bruises, and later for a concussion, the suit said.
"He did a lot of trauma to her, and I just feel like I want justice to be served," said Stacey Winslow.
In another case, District resident Tiffany Hall said her son was walking home from school last June when a local bully picked a fight with him at the Minnesota Avenue bus station. When two female transit police officers intervened, Hall's son started walking home. But the officers grabbed him and put him in an illegal chokehold before shoving him into the bus shelter, punching him and spraying him with pepper spray, the suit alleges.
The boy was treated in the hospital and spent a weekend in jail. A judge later dismissed the charges, the ACLU said.
"I try to avoid transit officers now," Hall's son told reporters gathered at ACLU offices Wednesday. "I look at them as jerks."
Metro said it would look into the cases. "We have not been served with the lawsuits and have not had an opportunity to review these cases. We take the allegations seriously and will be reviewing the matter internally," Metro spokesman Philip Stewart said.