According to the outlet, the FBI and federal prosecutors will lead the case. On March 18, Martin was shot by an officer in Washington, D.C. after authorities found him sleeping in an allegedly stolen vehicle.
The announcement of the civil rights case comes after bodycam footage of D.C. officers’ encounter with Martin was made public. After the video was released, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington sent out a statement, calling the footage “extremely upsetting.”
“The loss of a life is always tragic but is especially heartbreaking when it involves a child,” the statement shared. “In coordination with the FBI Washington Field Office, the United States Attorney’s Office has opened a civil rights investigation into the circumstances leading to Mr. Martin’s death. That investigation – which we are committed to conducting diligently and thoroughly – is ongoing.”
On the day of Martin’s passing, the bodycam video showed members from both Park Police and the Metropolitan Police Department responding to a call about a stolen vehicle shortly before 9 a.m.
Park Police revealed in a separate statement that an MPD officer arrived on the scene first and “observed the occupant of the vehicle was asleep, and the ignition was punched. The officer determined the vehicle was stolen and called for additional units.”
Multiple cops from both units responded. Authorities then began discussing how to proceed further with the situation. In the footage, one officer is heard telling another, “Once you break it, he’s gonna wake up, start it, and put it in drive to go. We don’t want nobody to get hurt.”
A member of MPD devised a plan to enter the car through the back window since it was plastic. Once he was in the car, his next move was to quietly unlock the door. And if Martin was to wake or get startled, grab him, so he doesn’t put the car in gear and take off. “If he does take off, just let him go,” the officer added during the conversation.
Instead, authorities from both departments approached the car. One of the Park Police officers jumped in the backseat and yelled, “Police, don’t move. Don’t move. Don’t move.”
GRAPHIC WARNING! The video below is bodycam footage of Dalaneo Martin’s encounter with authorities.
Martin reportedly began to drive off, prompting the officer behind him to say, “Stop, man, just let me out. Let me go!” As Martin continued, the policeman shouted, “Stop. Stop, or I’ll shoot!” The cop discharged his weapon and fatally shot Martin shortly after.
“The investigation into this incident is being handled by MPD and reviewed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. An administrative review of this incident is being conducted by the Department of the Interior,” Park Police said.