Former D.C. Metro Transit Police Officer Sentenced In Beating Of Unarmed Transit Rider

Photos: YouTube Screenshots

WASHINGTON – Andra Vance, 49, a former Metro Transit Police (MTPD) officer, was sentenced yesterday to one year and one day in prison for unlawfully beating an unarmed transit rider with a metal baton on Feb. 16, 2018.

The sentencing was announced by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clark of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and MTPD Chief Michael Anzallo.

“This violent, brutal beating of a citizen by someone cloaked in police powers deserves significant punishment and condemnation,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “The vast majority of officers in the District execute their duties in an exemplary manner. Their jobs only get harder when officers like this one betray their position and damage the trust the community should have in these public servants.”

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss ordered Vance to serve 12 months of supervised release.

“This sentencing should make clear that officers who abuse their authority will be held accountable, regardless of whether their actions occur on public streets or inside public transit systems,” said Assistant Attorney General Clark. “The department will continue to aggressively prosecute law enforcement officers who willfully violate the civil rights of our community members.”

The Metro Transit Police Department conducted a routine review of Vance’s use of force within hours of the incident. Based on the review, the department immediately suspended Vance’s police powers, launched an internal investigation, and notified federal authorities.

“MTPD strongly condemns the actions of any officer who abuses their authority in the use of excessive force. This case is an aberration against the good MTPD officers who keep the system safe for our customers and employees every day,” said MTPD Chief Anzallo. “What happened is disgraceful, which is why we immediately relieved the former officer of his duties and investigated. We appreciate the U.S. Attorney in the District and investigators with the Office of Professional Responsibility and Inspections for their part in bringing justice for this criminal act. No law enforcement officer is above the law.”

According to the government’s evidence, the victim — ­­identified as D.C. — attempted to use an invalid Metro card to board a train at the Anacostia Metro station. The card was confiscated by Metro Transit personnel and D.C. became angry. D.C. complained to Vance and briefly walked away from the fare gate. When D.C. returned to the fare gate, Vance used his metal baton to hit D.C. in the head without legal justification. When D.C. fled, Vance chased him and continued to swing the baton at D.C.’s head and neck.

A fellow officer who witnessed the assault and who helped handcuff D.C. testified that D.C. was not a threat to Vance or anyone else at the station at the time that Vance struck D.C. in the head. D.C. was taken to Howard University Hospital where he was treated for head injuries.

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