WASHINGTON - A University of the District of Columbia student waiting outside of an ATM said he was swarmed by D.C. police for no reason.
Police handcuffed Jason Goolsby and restrained him on the ground after he ran away from them at an ATM near Eastern Market. His friend, Michael Brown, was also there.
Both men have retained a lawyer in this case and they spoke out at a press conference on Thursday.
“Jason and Michael were brutalized by the Metropolitan Police Department for literally no other reason than the fact they are black,” attorney Peter Grenier said.
Goolsby said he ran away because he was afraid when police drove up almost hitting him.
“When I fled, I saw a gun and pepper spray and I nearly got hit by a car, so my first instinct was to run because I didn't want to die,” said Goolsby.
Grenier said his clients did nothing wrong and they even showed videos of their recent work in school.
“I want you to know these two fine men to my left and right, without exception, they exemplify all of the values that each of us wish to instill in our own children,” said attorney Peter Grenier.
The case is under investigation by D.C. police. The president of the Police Union told FOX 5 that officers absolutely acted properly in responding to this situation. But the attorney representing Goolsby and Brown disagrees.
Goolsby’s attorney said after the incident, one officer told Goolsby why police responded in the first place.
"The main involved Metropolitan Police Department officer looked Jason in the eye and said that a woman who had seen Jason and his two friends at an ATM machine called the police and said she felt ‘uncomfortable,’” said Grenier.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she is tracking the investigation.
“MPD has been wholly transparent,” said Bowser. “They have released the police report and have the facts on file. We heard from the lawyer of the young man today and we’d be interested in any questions that they have.”
Goolsby said he is still a fan of the police, but he now moves in the other direction when he sees police car.
“I just don't want this to happen again and I want to see justice,” he said.
Mayor Bowser pointed out today that this would be a perfect case for police body cameras. If those police officers were wearing body cameras at the time, it could have helped out this case.
Statement from Kevin Donahue, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice:
"The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is conducting a review of Monday's unfortunate incident to ensure that all procedures were followed. Additionally, Mr. Goolsby and Mr. Brown can choose to file a complaint, which will result in an independent review. Mayor Bowser is committed to a fair and thorough review of Monday's incident.
"Since coming into office, Mayor Bowser has championed policies that improve police-community relations. In addition to undertaking community engagement on policing like the #IwishUknew youth forum, the Mayor provided funding so that all 2,800 officers who regularly interact with the public will be equipped with a body camera. If the officers involved here had been wearing body cameras, a recording of the entire incident - from the moment the call came in, to the end of the incident - would be available to those involved, and ultimately to the public. The program has not moved forward because the Council has not finalized rules. The Administration urges Council to pass rules so cameras can be deployed as soon as possible."