Two Capitol Police officers are off the street after last week's deadly car chase through the heart of the nation's capital. The officers are off duty "pending the outcome of the investigation" into the death of Miriam Carey on Thursday, according to Lt Kimberly Schneider speaking to the Guardian. Capitol Police, along with the Secret Service, were involved in an incident on Thursday, the details of which still aren't quite clear. But it began when an unarmed Carey tried to ram her car through the barricades of a White House perimeter, eventually leading officers on a car chase down Constitution Avenue. It ended with Carey's death on Capitol Hill, after law enforcement officials shot her.
At this point, we know just a little about the 34-year-old woman who drove, with her 1-year-old daughter, from Stamford, Connecticut to Washington, D.C. last week. She worked as a dental hygienist, her friends and family are shocked by the incident, her daughter's OK. But because the first reports of an incident at the Capitol building, swarming with reporters, were of "shots fired," without noting that all of the shots apparently came from law enforcement, Carey was referred to as a "shooter" for long after it became clear that she probably wasn't armed.
And even though Carey's motive, and her mental state at the time of the incident, is not known, anonymous law enforcement sources floated the idea early that the driver had a history of "mental illness," citing a previous mental evaluation and medication found in her home. but that characterization is something Carey's family contests. Carey's mother has said that her daughter was hospitalized for post-partum depression. The disconnect between early reports and the continuing investigation has led to a series of pieces condemning the early reporting on the incident, questioning whether the deadly shooting by police was justified. At the New Republic, Alec MacGillis wrote:
we’ve become so used to the “shelter in place” order that we seem to remain in our place even after the order is lifted, without so much as daring to ask about the 17 bullets fired at a depressed dental hygienist going berserk in her car.
According to the Guardian, the Metropolitan Police are leading the investigation into the police response to Carey's attempt to break down the barrier. It's not clear whether the officers are suspended or just off street duty while the investigation continues. The investigation, Schneider noted, is routine in the event of a fatal incident during police action.