A Washington, D.C., police sergeant who fatally shot a man found unconscious at the wheel of a car has been charged with murder, according to a federal indictment unsealed on Tuesday.
Sgt. Enis Jevric faces three charges for the August 2021 shooting, including second-degree murder, use of a firearm to commit murder and a civil rights violation, the indictment read. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Sergeant Jevric was among the officers dispatched to a Washington, D.C., intersection in the early morning of Aug. 25, 2021, according to the city’s Metropolitan Police Department.
Police body camera footage of the incident shows a group of armed officers, including one holding a shield, approaching a stationary car near a crosswalk. Inside, they see an unresponsive man, later identified as An’Twan Gilmore, 27, at the wheel. Officers noted a handgun in Mr. Gilmore’s waistband, according to the department.
After a tense few minutes, an officer bangs on a driver’s-side window, and Mr. Gilmore begins to slowly drive away, the footage shows. “Don’t move!” several officers say, and the car stops.
A moment later, as Mr. Gilmore begins to accelerate toward the intersection, shots ring out.
Mr. Gilmore was later removed from the vehicle and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead after life-saving efforts failed, according to the M.P.D. Lawyers for Sergeant Jevric could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night.
Brian K. McDaniel, the Gilmore family’s lawyer, said by telephone that the family was pleased with the charges and felt that they reflected “the callous nature of what it is that Sergeant Jevric did to their loved one.”
“We’re hopeful that the prosecution will continue in earnest,” he said. “And ultimately, there is the hope and desire that Sergeant Jevric would be convicted of these most serious counts.”
The M.P.D. said in a statement that it had “supported the independent and thorough review process” of the incident by the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.
“We are confident that the subsequent criminal proceedings will be deliberated fairly, and do recognize this is a difficult matter for everyone involved,” the statement said.
At the scene of the incident, the department has said, officers found Mr. Gilmore with his foot on the brake pedal of a running vehicle with the handgun visible in his waistband. Police officers “attempted to engage” Mr. Gilmore before Sergeant Jevric shot him.
But the grand jury indictment unsealed on Tuesday said that by discharging his semiautomatic handgun, Sergeant Jevric had “acted with conscious disregard of an extreme risk of death and serious bodily injury.”
One of the three charges Sergeant Jevric faces is “deprivation of rights under color of law.” It applies to cases where people are deprived of “any rights, privileges or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”
The same charge was also filed in the case against four Minneapolis police officers who were involved in the killing of George Floyd in May 2020, and later sentenced to prison.
In a statement on Tuesday, Matthew M. Graves, the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, said that criminal charges are not appropriate in the overwhelming majority of cases where officers use deadly force. “But when an officer willfully disregards the safety of a citizen he is sworn to protect, he violates the trust placed in him by virtue of his badge,” he added.
Sergeant Jevric is on administrative leave with pay, the M.P.D. said.
Two years ago, Mr. Gilmore’s sister, Almoustah Gilmore, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Sergeant Jevric, the District of Columbia and the M.P.D. But the judge in that case has stayed the discovery process because the criminal case is still pending, Mr. McDaniel, the family lawyer, said.