The Justice Department concluded Thursday that there is "insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights or local charges" following the fatal shooting last fall of a woman who led police on a high speed chase between the White House and the U.S. Capitol.
Miriam Carey of Stamford, Connecticut, 34, was shot and killed last October 3rd after she tried to drive onto the White House grounds, was stopped again at the foot of Capitol Hill and then sped off before crashing her car into a security booth outside a U.S. Senate office building.
Her relatives said she was suffering from postpartum depression and that she believed the federal government had her under surveillance. After she was shot, police discovered she was unarmed and that her small child, who was not seriously hurt, was in the back seat.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Washington, D.C., said that interviews with more than 60 witnesses — as well as video, photos and ballistics reports — led prosecutors to conclude the evidence was "insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers who were involved in the shooting used excessive force."
A lawyer for the family, Eric Sanders of New York, said the family concluded the shooting was not justified. "The closing of the criminal inquiry will now open the opportunity to obtain further data from various government agencies to support the Carey family's legal position."
He filed a wrongful death lawsuit in January against the U.S. Capitol Police and U.S. Secret Service. A total of five officers from those agencies fired 26 rounds at Carey's car. Five of the rounds struck her, and one wound was fatal, the U.S. Attorney's office concluded.
According to the findings revealed Thursday, the entire incident, which began at 2:13 pm on October 3rd, lasted just seven minutes.
The Justice Department said Carey first drove her car into a restricted White House checkpoint, and a Secret Service officer placed a temporary metal barrier behind the car to block her exit, but she kept backing up, knocking the officer to the ground.
She drove toward the U.S. Capitol at up to 80 miles an hour, then stopped at a traffic circle at the foot of Capitol Hill. When officers tried to open the car doors, she backed up, hitting a patrol car, then drove forward, forcing officers to run out of her way to avoid being hit.
Officers fired eight rounds at her car as she fled, but none of them struck her.
She drove past the Capitol building and around street barricades that were raised to stop her, hitting a Supreme Court police car, and then drove directly at a Capitol police officer. Eighteen more rounds were fired, and she crashed the car into a police security booth near a Senate office building.
She was transported to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.