One D.C. metro police officer has been fired and three others are under investigation after a reckless driving incident that destroyed two patrol cars on the streets of Washington last month, in an incident captured partially on video.
Acting D.C. police chief Robert Contee announced on Monday that a probationary officer had been fired in connection with the incident on April 22, when the two cars collided with one another following an alleged drag race.
“Obviously those types of things are unacceptable, they’re embarrassing (and) it’s not something we tolerate,” Contee said at a news conference. “And it’s something that I don’t tolerate as the chief of the Metropolitan Police Department.”
He added that three other officers are under internal investigation in connection with the incident, and that it will be forwarded to the attorney general’s office before potential charges are laid.
All four individuals were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after the cars collided on April 22, local station WUSA9 reports.
A source told Fox 5 DC that the cars were going at least 60 miles (96.5 kilometres) per hour at the time of the crash. The listed speed limit is 25 mph.
Video recorded by one officer’s body camera shows him sitting in the passenger’s seat of a patrol car while another officer plays with a cellphone behind the wheel. The silent footage then shows the car driving at high speed down a tree-lined residential road. The camera is pointed at the sky and the steering wheel so it’s hard to see the road, but the second police car is briefly visible through the windshield as the two vehicles collide.
The audio recording does not kick in until after the cars collide and the airbags deploy. The officer with the camera can be heard cursing as he stumbles out of the car and walks across the street to survey the damage.
“Oh s—,” he says as he gets out of the car. He then reassures witnesses and the other officer from the car that he’s OK.
“Yeah, I’m good, bro. I’m good,” he says.
The officers had reportedly been racing their cars at the time.
Both vehicles were towed away from the crash scene.