Jury Delivers Split Verdict in Washington Brothers Trial
A D.C. Superior Court jury earlier today found Christian Washington guilty of one count of threats to do bodily harm and one count of simple assault, both with bias enhancements, for his role in attacking Yazzmen Morse as she and several female friends walked toward the Columbia Heights Metro station in July 2011. The case involved a group of women who declined unwanted advances from a group of men, advising the men that they were lesbians, which led to a brawl.
The jury found Washington’s co-defendant and brother, Dalonte Washington, not guilty of simple assault against Kiara Johnson and Dominique McKee during the fight that ensued after Christian Washington knocked Morse to the ground.
Witnesses for the government, including Morse, Johnson and Aziza Crimmins, were unable to confirm that they had actually seen Dalonte Washington hit Johnson or McKee. Johnson said she had not seen who hit her when she ran over to help Morse.
According to the women, they were walking along 14th Street NW in Columbia Heights between the IHOP restaurant at Irving Street and the 7-11 at Columbia Road NW when the Washington brothers and an unknown number of other men approached them. The women told the men they were not interested, and Johnson commented that her girlfriend, Morse, was nearby.
After hearing that Morse and Johnson were lesbians, Christian Washington said he would ’’kick [Morse’s] ass’’ and punched her in her face, causing her to fall to the ground. As soon as Morse fell, the other women rushed to assist her. The women testified that at that point Dalonte Washington attacked them. Crimmins said that, after being knocked out for a moment, she grabbed a nearby hose and sprayed the attackers. A security guard at the IHOP arrived and broke up the fight, followed by officers from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Police officers responding to the scene of the attack did not make any arrests or take a police report at the time, though they did eventually take full reports from the women. Following outcry from the LGBT community regarding the initial failure to make arrests or take reports, MPD launched an internal investigation of at least seven of the officers involved.
Following the jury’s verdict, Judge Florence Pan ordered Christian Washington held without bond as he awaits sentencing, scheduled for Nov. 8.