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Police Assault Victim Kiman Johnson Shares Details of Beating

Hires Team of Attorneys as MPD Chief Contee Expresses Embarrassment

An emergency room physician referred Kiman Johnson, whose beating on Sunday by D.C. police officers was captured on a cellphone video, to a surgeon for treatment of injuries that occurred during his arrest for gun and drug charges.

Johnson, 23, a resident in Southeast, was treated at George Washington University Hospital Monday and Thursday for a broken nose and jawbone sustained during the encounter with four Metropolitan Police officers near 16th and U streets SE, according to his lawyers.

The charges have subsequently been dismissed.

“I’m embarrassed, discouraged and ashamed,” MPD Police Chief Robert Contee III said hours after the incident.

The uniformed officers involved were placed on administrative leave and barred from duties involving public contact.

“We’re an agency of over 3,500 officers and I assured the community this is not consistent with our training tactics, policies and procedures nor is it consistent with our agency’s values,” he said.

Kimani Johnson, twin sister of Kiman Johnson, a 23-year-old Black man punched in the face by a Metropolitan Police officer while restrained, speaks during an Aug. 13 press conference outside the police department headquarters in northwest D.C. addressing the attack. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)
Kimani Johnson, twin sister of Kiman Johnson, a 23-year-old Black man punched in the face by a Metropolitan Police officer while restrained, speaks during an Aug. 13 press conference outside the police department headquarters in northwest D.C. addressing the attack. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

The arrest, captured on a cellphone in a video that quickly went viral, occurred when police officers said they saw Johnson sell drugs to another man.

On Tuesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said despite Johnson’s possession of a gun, the case would’ve been difficult to prosecute because of video of the arrest.

“My brother is not a criminal or drug dealer,” said Kimani Johnson, Kiman Johnson’s twin sister.

Kimani Johnson and two other family members joined four of Kiman’s attorneys for a press conference in front of Metropolitan Police Department headquarters Friday.

“He is a simple human being and what happened was unacceptable. I understand you all thinking they found a Black guy with this and that but there was no reason to approach him,” she said.

She spoke about her brother’s graduation from Savannah State University this past May and his intentions of becoming an accountant and entrepreneur.

Three officers whose names have not been released, have either been placed on administrative leave or mandated to have no contact with the public. The case has been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office with administrative action expected to follow.

Contee expressed disappointment in the video and said the officer’s actions don’t help to advance his goal to foster positive police-community relations.

Contee did not reply to our inquiry about the number of police harassment/abuse complaints MPD has received since the start of his tenure as chief.

Experts continue to point to the events leading up to Contee’s hiring as part of a dilemma facing the Bowser administration and the police department amid rampant violence and growing anti-police sentiments.

Johnson’s legal team consists of Bakari Sellers, Chance Lynch, Harry Daniels and Dionne Maria Lewis of District Legal Group who will serve as the local legal counsel.

Though he commended Contee’s eagerness for accountability, Sellers said all facets of the case must be fully examined. Most important among them, he told reporters, was MPD’s initial harassment of Johnson under false pretenses.

“This is an arrest based on fallacy,” said Sellers, an attorney based in South Carolina. “Kiman wasn’t charged with drug crimes or the person he was alleged to sell drugs to. There’s a family and a man broken. We heard about how this police unit beats people. The violent beating was unconstitutional.”

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