Young Man Dies in Police Custody - November 2015 - Washington DC
December 14, 2015
On November 1, 2015, Alonzo Smith, a 27 year old teacher’s assistant, died in the custody of the private security guards, licensed by the District of Columbia as special police, at the Marbury Plaza Apartments. Arriving DC metropolitan police found Smith handcuffed, unconscious, and requiring CPR. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The details of the autopsy and investigation have not been publicly released at this time.
Demonstrators at a rally held on December 12, 2015 at the Marbury Plaza Apartments called for the release of these records. Beverly Smith, the victim’s mother, claimed her son had been tortured and murdered and vowed justice for her son. The circumstances surrounding Mr. Smith’s suspicious death are reminiscent of the many deaths of young black men in police custody. Speakers from Black Lives Matter and other groups alleged that the five-week delay in releasing information is a police cover-up. Heightening the suspicion surrounding Mr. Smith’s death is the initial police report which called his death, “justifiable homicide.”
Although five weeks have passed, and the initial classification of justifiable homicide has been required change to “death investigation”, it is the toxic police community relationship throughout the U.S. that is the source of much of the suspicion in this case.
Until police departments nationally take actions to reduce this toxicity, many police investigations will be suspect and ultimately will hamper the course of justice. Police departments must address their community’s suspicion, hopefully with the aid of police unions.