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The tragic, confusing series of events that unfolded on Oct. 3, beginning with a car chase from the White House and ending with a Capitol lockdown and the shooting of Miriam Carey, might land the Capitol Police in federal court.
On Wednesday, an attorney representing the Carey family filed federal administrative notice of claim to sue the Capitol Police, as well as the Uniformed Division of the U.S. Secret Service.
Valarie Carey, sister of the victim, filed a wrongful death claim against the two government agencies seeking $75 million to compensate the family “for their great loss of a daughter, mother, friend and confidant,” according to a release posted on the website of The Sanders Firm, P.C., a New York-based law firm representing Carey.
“While the United States Department of Justice continues with its’ criminal and civil rights investigation, the Carey Family calls for immediate identification and termination of all police officer, supervisors, managers and other related employees’ involved in this matter who failed to order the immediate termination of pursuing Miriam and failed to establish firearms control; thereby, collectively causing the avoidable death of Miriam,” attorney Eric Sanders said in a statement.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia said “the investigation is continuing and the U.S. Attorney’s Office has not further comment at this time.”
The Capitol Police previously confirmed that officers had been pulled off the street in the wake of the violent incident, but on Wednesday afternoon did not immediately respond to further inquiries about administrative leave for those involved.
The Oct. 3 pursuit started when Carey drove her Infiniti though a security checkpoint outside the White House and struck a bicycle rack, knocking to the ground an officer with the U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division who was attempting to stop her. Carey fled, launching a car chase from the White House with her 14-month-old daughter on board.
Law enforcement placed the Capitol complex on lockdown as the chase proceeded. Outside the Senate side of the Capitol, officers opened fire on Carey, fatally striking her when she was stopped by a blockade and tried to flee in reverse.
Unless the government is “seriously considering criminal charges in Miriam’s case, quite frankly after several months, department policies relating to investigative car stops, vehicle pursuits, use of force, etc., should have been analyzed and applied to Miriam’s case for release to the public,” Sanders said. “These public disclosures are absolutely necessary because Miriam’s death unfolded right before the international community via live television.”
Congress has thus far declined to investigate. A spokesperson for the majority on the House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Capitol Police, did not immediately respond to request for comment.
“It is in the public’s interest to ensure our government acted responsibly not only from a criminal or a civil perspective but from an internal agency perspective. It is also in the public’s interest avoid a similar tragedy in the future,” Valarie Carey said in a statement on her lawsuit.