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Mother of Karon Hylton-Brown files $31 billion lawsuit one year after scooter police pursuit death

Ms. Hylton said her life has been freighted with the complexities of anger and obligation – animated by a feeling she needed to send a stronger message to police.

WASHINGTON — More than a year after a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) pursuit led to her son’s death, Karen Hylton filed a lawsuit seeking $31.26 billion in damages. It's the latest civil action accompanying federal criminal charges against two MPD officers.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, states Ms. Hylton will pursue legal remedies against D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, the police department, and the officers involved in Karon Hylton-Brown’s October 2020 death.

As Mr. Hylton-Brown drove on a rented scooter near 7th and Kennedy Streets NW, officers followed him and engaged in a chase. The sequence of events eventually led to a minivan striking the 20-year-old, with the new father dying from his injuries two days later.

Federal prosecutors charged 37-year-old officer Terence Sutton with second-degree murder. He and his supervisor, Lt. Andrew Zabavsky, 53, were also charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

In an interview, Ms. Hylton said her life has since been freighted with the complexities of anger and obligation – a feeling she needed to send an even stronger message to law enforcement with the multi-billion-dollar suit.

“They’re going to keep on shelling out all this little bit of money, no,” she said. “I need everyone to understand, my child’s life is valuable, your life is valuable, as humans, Black lives, we do matter.”

A spokesperson for the Bowser administration declined to comment Thursday, citing pending litigation. Records show the suit, Hylton v. Bowser et al, was filed October 12, 2021, days before the first anniversary of Karon’s death.

A lawyer for Sutton said officers in the area saw the man involved in a fight hours earlier, and wanted to stop him to see if he returned to the neighborhood armed.

Family members said Mr. Hylton-Brown was searching for lost car keys while riding the moped.

Both defendants in the criminal case pleaded not guilty to all charges filed in September.

“While my baby is resting, Sutton is home with his kids,” Ms. Hylton said. “Him, his supervisors and the rest of them, they’re at home with their child. I’m not at home with my child.”

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