January 2, 1988
November 1, 2015
Age at Death:
Alonzo Smith was a 27-year-old black man. He worked as an elementary school Special Education teacher. Smith lived in Southeast Washington and was the father of a 6-year-old boy. He also had two sisters, Shelita Smith and LaDon Thomas. Smith had a strong relationship with his mother, Beverly Smith, who also acted as his strongest advocate after his death and fought for justice to be served for her son.
Alonzo Smith was going to visit a woman at an apartment complex around 2:30 AM on November 1, 2015. Witnesses claim to have heard Smith running through the hallways, shirtless and shoeless, calling for help. Two guards, known as "special police" were present. These types of guards are armed but have limited power to arrest. Apparently, one of the officers grabbed Smith and put him on to the floor in order to stop him from running and making noise. After a few 911 calls were made by other people in the complex, police showed up around 4:00 AM to find Smith laying on the ground in handcuffs, not breathing. The reports claim that the 911 responders attempted to perform CPR before sending him to the hospital where he died shortly after around 5:00 AM. It is still unclear as to what occurred before the 911 responders arrived at 4:00 AM. After the autopsy, Alonzo Smith's death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, meaning that Smith's death was caused by the actions of another person. The autopsy report showed internal hemorrhaging to Smith's neck and vertebrae, contusions on his chest, hemorrhaging on his upper and lower back, and abrasions on his torso, shoulders, and arms.
Was justice served?
As of March 2021, justice has not been served. According to a statement released on October 13, 2016 from the U.S. Attorney's office, the two officers in question were not convicted of the murder of Alonzo Smith. Despite the medical examiner ruling Smith's death a homicide, the prosecutor said that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the guards. The prosecutor's claim that Smith's death was due to a cardiac incident caused by the drugs that were found in Smith's toxicity screen after his death.