Former Washington, D.C., Metro Transit Police (MTPD) Officer Andra Vance was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison and one year of supervised release for unlawfully beating an unarmed transit rider with a metal baton on Feb. 16, 2018.
“This sentencing should make clear that officers who abuse their authority will be held accountable, regardless of whether their actions occur on public streets or inside public transit systems,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department will continue to aggressively prosecute law enforcement officers who willfully violate the civil rights of our community members.”
“This violent, brutal beating of a citizen by someone cloaked in police powers deserves significant punishment and condemnation,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia. “The vast majority of officers in the District execute their duties in an exemplary manner. Their jobs only get harder when officers like this one betray their position and damage the trust the community should have in these public servants.”
“MTPD strongly condemns the actions of any officer who abuses their authority in the use of excessive force. This case is an aberration against the good MTPD officers who keep the system safe for our customers and employees every day,” said MTPD Chief Michael Anzallo. “What happened is disgraceful, which is why we immediately relieved the former officer of his duties and investigated. We appreciate the U.S. Attorney in the District and investigators with the Office of Professional Responsibility and Inspections for their part in bringing justice for this criminal act. No law enforcement officer is above the law.”
During Vance’s trial in November 2022, evidence showed that the victim, identified as D.C., attempted to use an invalid Metro card to board a train at the Anacostia Metro station. When the card was confiscated by Metro Transit personnel, D.C. became angry. D.C. complained to Vance and briefly walked away from the fare gate. When D.C. returned to the fare gate, Vance used his metal baton to hit D.C. in the head without legal justification. When D.C. fled from the fare gate, Vance chased him and continued to swing the baton at D.C.’s head and neck.
A fellow officer who witnessed the assault and who helped handcuff D.C. testified that D.C. was not a threat to Vance or anyone else at the Anacostia Metro Station at the time that Vance struck D.C. in the head. D.C. was taken to Howard University Hospital where he was treated for injuries to his head.
The Metro Transit Authority investigated the case.
Trial Attorney Maura White of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gauri Gopal for the District of Columbia prosecuted the case.