(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP and Courtesy Image)
A Washington, D.C. federal court recently approved a settlement in a case meant to reform how officers in the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Metro Transit Police Department treat juveniles.
According to the agreement reached in Winslow v. Taylor, the WMATA will retain an independent expert to examine MTPD’s policies and practices regarding officer interactions with juveniles, including the use of force. Details about the scope of the agreement are currently sealed; however, the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital has asked Judge Emmet Sullivan, who approved the settlement, to unseal and make the document public.
The local ACLU filed a complaint in May 2013 alleging that an MTPD officer used excessive force against a 14-year-old girl in the course of questioning and arresting her. The officer struck the teen twice in the head and slammed her head into the side of a bus shelter, the lawsuit alleged. The girl was later diagnosed with a concussion without loss of consciousness and an intercranial injury.
The settlement includes monetary compensation for the plaintiff.
A second lawsuit, brought by the ACLU for MTPD officers’ use of excessive force in an unrelated incident involving a 14-year-old boy, was settled separately.
“We believe the Winslow settlement successfully addresses a concerning trend of unnecessarily confrontational interactions between MTPD officers and juveniles that too often result in uses of force,” Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, executive director of the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, said in a statement. “We hope the scope of that review will be made public, and we look forward to continuing to work with MTPD as they improve their police practices.”