**FILE** Metropolitan Police Department vehicles (Courtesy photo)
**FILE** Metropolitan Police Department vehicles (Courtesy photo)

As the Metropolitan Police Department [MPD] celebrated National Night Out with events across the District on Tuesday evening, a large multigenerational group gathered at Fort Slocum Park in Northwest to honor Kevin Hargraves-Shird, an entrepreneur and father of three who an MPD officer shot and killed days earlier. 

On the afternoon of July 30, MPD officers received a call about a shootout on the corner of Longfellow Street and Georgia Avenue in Northwest. They later followed Hargraves-Shird’s vehicle to Fort Slocum Park, located on 3rd Street between Madison and Oglethorpe streets. 

The officer exited his vehicle and asked Hargraves-Shird to stop. According to family, the driver had his back turned to the officer, and that officer fired once leaving the man dead. 

In a statement, MPD Executive Assistant Ashan M. Benedict cited a tip about a car full of people brandishing weapons near the shootout. Benedict also said that the officer, whose name has yet to be released, shot Hargraves-Shird after exiting his vehicle and asking Hargraves-Shird to comply with his orders to stand down. 

MPD reported the recovery of four firearms, including one they say belonged to Hargraves-Shird.  

Family and friends of Hargraves-Shird challenge the MPD narrative. They said his white car didn’t match the description of the black and green sedans allegedly involved in the shootout on Longfellow Street and Georgia Avenue. They also called the shooting the latest incident of police harassment that residents of Brightwood Park and Manor Park are too often forced to endure.  

A petition has since been circulated to demand bodycam footage, the officer’s name, and an autopsy. On Tuesday afternoon, family members and neighbors marched from Fort Slocum Park to MPD’s 4th District headquarters on Georgia Avenue. 

With the support of Black-led community defense hub, Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, Hargraves-Shird’s family obtained the police report and information about how they might obtain the body cam footage from the incident. The next night, after a vigil attended by a multitude of people, community members returned to 4th District headquarters.

Nearly two years ago, community members and activists similarly converged on 4th District headquarters after a police chase led to the death of Karon Hylton-Brown. The District Attorney for the District of Columbia later charged MPD Officer Terence Sutton with second degree murder. Sutton and his supervising lieutenant Andrew Zabavsky were charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The trials of each remain pending.  

At Fort Slocum Park on Tuesday night, family and friends released blue and black balloons as Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” blared from a large speaker. Earlier, mourners spoke at length about the deceased father and brother of 13 siblings. 

Hargraves-Shird’s sister, Serena Hargraves, spoke on behalf of the family emphasizing what she said MPD omitted in their statement about her brother’s death. 

“We’ve all heard the police and news statements which created a negative, derogatory image of our loved one to support their narrative [but] Kevin was a family man who kept his children and family very close,” Hargraves said. 

“He played with a local league football team in his spare time and mentored the neighborhood kids,” she added. “He was honest with everyone and would help anyone. Earlier this year, Kevin incorporated his LLC and was well on his way to his goal of employing the youth and teaching them financial freedom and entrepreneurship.”

Sam P.K. Collins

Sam P.K. Collins has more than a decade of experience as a journalist, columnist and organizer. Sam, a millennial and former editor of WI Bridge, covers education, police brutality, politics, and other...

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