On October 3, 2013, a young black mother was shot from behind in D.C. by Federal officers. As the Washington Post explains:
District Police Chief Cathy Lanier said federal officers acted “heroically.” The House of Representatives offered a standing ovation.
It was easy to call this a tragedy and turn the page.
Except that some of what little we thought we knew hasn’t held up. The part about ramming White House barriers and trying to breach two security perimeters? Not exactly true.
The officers shot at this single mom 26 times. Hit her five times. From behind. In the back of her had. While her baby was in the back seat of the car:
She has been struck by five rounds — three times in the back, once in the left arm, once in the left side of the head.
Then, they started a campaign to taint her reputation. They said she was mentally ill. As if that actually justified shooting an unarmed mother in the back of her head.
Here is another excerpt from the Washington Post report:
What crime(s) did Miriam Carey commit?
Carey arrives at the Secret Service kiosk at E and 15th. She drives past the kiosk into a restricted area that used to be E Street NW before it was closed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Now only authorized vehicles are permitted.
In the first of three still images the U.S. attorney released from security videos of this encounter, at precisely 2:13:13 p.m., a uniformed Secret Service officer seems to be trying to rap the Infiniti to get Carey’s attention. He and another uniformed officer direct her to stop, according to the U.S. attorney’s report. Carey doesn’t. She makes a U-turn and drives past the kiosk again on her way out.
She is crossing back into public space, at 2:13:30 p.m., when a man not in uniform, wearing a dark short-sleeve shirt, is seen pushing a section of portable fencing against the front of Carey’s Infiniti. At the same time, he’s trying to hang onto what looks like a cooler and a plastic shopping bag.
The off-duty officer is not trying to block Carey from entering the restricted area; he is trying to keep her from exiting back onto 15th Street.
According to a tourist bystander quoted at the time, Carey tries to steer around the fence section, but the officer repositions it in front of her. This is the only security barrier Carey ever rams.
The third image (2:13:32 p.m.) shows the off-duty officer tumbling away from the left front of Carey’s car. Officials said at the time that a Secret Service officer was slightly injured but not taken to a hospital. (Later, a Capitol Police officer would be taken to a hospital after his cruiser rammed a pop-up barrier suddenly erected across Constitution Avenue by his colleagues as he was pursuing Carey.)
In recent cases of motorists entering restricted areas, drivers have faced misdemeanor charges. Last May, Mathew Goldstein mistakenly followed the Obama daughters’ motorcade into the pedestrian section of Pennsylvania Avenue. A misdemeanor charge of unlawful entry was dropped.
In September, the day after Omar Gonzalez sprinted into the White House, another man, Kevin Carr, allegedly drove into the same restricted area as Carey did and parked. He, too, was charged with misdemeanor unlawful entry. His case is pending.
Eric Sanders, a civil rights lawyer and retired New York City police officer who is representing the Carey family in the wrongful-death claim, cites D.C. code to argue that an element of the crime of unlawful entry is the refusal to leave, making the act intentional. Carey did not refuse to leave. She refused to stop leaving.
Why didn’t Carey halt at the officers’ direction? Valarie Carey thinks her sister was scared.
“What I see is a plainclothes person, not in uniform, not easily identifiable as law enforcement, who’s in front of her car, leaning against her car in an aggressive way,” she says. “ ‘Who is this crazy man? Let me get away from him.’ ”
“If you’re an officer, I don’t believe that’s in the protocol of how you stop someone,” she adds, referring to her NYPD training. The Secret Service wouldn’t comment. “I don’t think you were trained that way. To take a barrier and place it against somebody’s car while you’re holding a cooler? ‘I’m confused. Who are you?’ ”
Why was it OK to shoot Miriam Carey in the head?
This question gained more importance today with the news of a car full of Secret Service officers actually ramming a security barrier.
… two senior Secret Service agents, including a top member of the president’s protective detail, drove a government car into White House security barricades after drinking at a late-night party last week …
We do not know for sure, but it is reasonable to assume they were armed when they hit the barrier.
They certainly were more of a danger than Miriam Carey could ever have been.
Yet, Miriam Carey was shot by a ruthless armed Federal possé … and these Secret Service officers will probably retire comfortably with bonus pay for heroism.
Why was Miriam Carey shot 26 times?
Why was it necessary to publicly execute her in front of her baby?
I want justice for Miriam Carey.