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Suspended Washington, DC, police officers found guilty in death of 20-year-old man during police pursuit

<i>Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA/AP</i><br/>Two suspended Washington
Sipa USA via AP
Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA/AP
Two suspended Washington

By Amanda Musa and Tavleen Tarrant, CNN

Two suspended Washington, DC, officers have been found guilty on charges related to the death of a 20-year-old man during a 2020 police pursuit, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a news release Wednesday.

Suspended Metropolitan Police Department Officer Terence Sutton, 38, was found guilty of second-degree murder, conspiracy to obstruct, and obstruction of justice in the death of Karon Hylton-Brown. Suspended Lt. Andrew Zabavsky, 54, was found guilty of conspiracy to obstruct and obstruction of justice, the release said.

In October 2020, Hylton-Brown, 20, was driving a Revel scooter on the sidewalk without a helmet, prompting officers to turn on their emergency lights and attempt to make a traffic stop, CNN previously reported citing an indictment.

That began a police pursuit that spanned more than 10 blocks and at times accelerated “to more than double the residential speed limit,” the indictment said. The officers tailed Hylton-Brown into an alleyway and as he exited the alley he was struck by an oncoming civilian vehicle, CNN reported.

Hylton-Brown suffered severe head trauma and died two days later from his injuries, CNN previously reported.

A jury found that Sutton “caused Mr. Hylton-Brown’s death by driving a police vehicle in conscious disregard” for his safety, Wednesday’s release said. The jury also found that Sutton and Zabavsky “conspired” to hide details about the deadly crash from Metropolitan Police Department officials.

In a statement to CNN, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee said, “Since the beginning of this process, MPD has supported the independent and thorough review process conducted by the United States Attorney’s Office. We have confidence in our judicial system, and we trust that the jury examined all the facts, deliberated carefully, and arrived at their decision fairly.”

Contee said the police department will complete an internal investigation into Hylton-Brown’s death now that all criminal proceedings are over.

“Both Sutton and Zabavsky have been on indefinite suspension without pay during these proceedings,” Contee added.

Sutton faces a maximum of 40 years in prison for the charge of second-degree murder. Both Sutton and Zabavsky face a maximum of 20 years for the obstruction of justice charge, and five years for the conspiracy charge.

A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled for either Sutton or Zabavsky, according to the news release.

CNN has reached out to Sutton’s attorney, J. Michael Hannon, but has not received a response. CNN is making attempts to reach an attorney for Zabavsky.

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