WASHINGTON — Former D.C. Metro Transit Police Officer Andra Vance, 48, was found guilty Wednesday of a civil rights violation for unlawfully beating an unarmed transit rider with a metal baton back in 2018.
Vance injured the transit rider during the incident and was found guilty of using excessive force.
In 2019, a federal grand jury in D.C. returned a two-count indictment alleging that Vance violated the civil rights of a victim identified in court documents as "D.C." D.C.'s rights were violated when he was struck with a metal baton and choked by the former officer.
Vance was found guilty of one count of deprivation of rights.
During the weeklong trial, the government introduced evidence that the victim, D.C., attempted to use an invalid Metro card to board a train at the Anacostia Metro station. When the card was taken away by Metro Transit workers, D.C. became angry. As D.C. complained to Vance, the former officer used his metal baton to hit D.C. in the head.
As D.C. fled, Vance chased D.C. from the Metro station and continued striking D.C. in the head and neck area. As D.C. fell to the ground, Vance climbed on top of him, put the metal baton to his neck, and pressed down as D.C. bled onto the sidewalk below.
Another officer assisted Vance in handcuffing D.C. and was there when medical personnel responded to treat D.C.'s injuries.
Authorities say that at least one fellow officer, who witnessed the assault, testified that D.C. was not a threat to Vance or anyone else at the Anacostia Metro station.
“People in the District of Columbia have the right to be free from excessive force at the hands of law enforcement, and that includes transit officers working for the D.C. Metro,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department will continue to aggressively prosecute any law enforcement officer who willfully violates the civil rights of our community members.”
Sentencing has been set for March 10, 2023. Authorities say Vance faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
“As members of law enforcement, it is our sworn duty to uphold the law,” said Matthew M. Graves, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “A crime like this betrays that duty and the badge with which the defendant was entrusted. When officers violate the civil rights of District citizens through unreasonable and unjustified violence, we will hold them accountable.