The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) recognized five officers this week for their quick response in de-escalating a situation and resolving the encounter safely. Officers Ammar Rahim, Perry Morgan, James Da’Re, Christopher Brown, and Matthew Rider were presented with the Medal of Valor for their actions during an encounter that took place on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.
At approximately 2:25 pm, the Third District Officers were dispatched to an aggravated assault call in progress at the intersection of 4th and Bryant Streets, Northwest. The dispatcher gave a lookout for a suspect described as a black male, with dreadlocks, pushing a baby stroller. The suspect was located by Officers Da’Re and Brown, walking southbound on 4th Street, Northwest with a knife. The officers assumed command of the situation and requested additional units with Crisis Intervention.
Crisis Intervention Officer’s (CIO) are sworn members who have additional training in crisis intervention and responding to mental health issues. Officers are trained to recognize the signs of mental illness and crisis, determine the most appropriate response, and use de-escalation techniques that enhance their ability to provide services.
After additional units arrived, Officers Rahim, Morgan, and Rider, joined Brown and Da’Re in a foot pursuit of the suspect.
“They did all the right things that day,” said Third District Commander Stuart Emerman. “The Officers communicated loud verbal commands for the suspect to put down the knife and let the baby go. The child’s safety is always a priority during any encounter.”
Throughout the pursuit officers continued to ensure the safety of the child and the community by clearing the block of all pedestrians and diverting traffic from the area.
When the suspect reached Anna J. Cooper Circle, Northwest, he turned around towards the officers while pointing the knife. Officer Rahim, a three year veteran and CIO, bravely moved closer to the suspect in an attempt to subdue him. The suspect lunged at him with his knife, cutting the left side of Officer Rahim’s neck. The suspect then unexpectedly began using the baby in the stroller as a shield.
“The individual was dragging a baby with him while he was swinging a knife at me and other officers,” said Officer Rahim, who had just completed his CIO training in December 2014. “I wanted to apprehend the individual safely and without any incident.”
After the suspect wounded Officer Rahim, he dropped the knife and threw the baby stroller to the ground. The suspect then fled the area westbound on foot, leaving the child face down on the ground, and used the diversion to try to escape. Nonetheless, the officers remained calmed and remembered their training.
Officers Brown and Rider pursued the suspect and attempted to subdue him. The suspect continued to fight the officers before he was restrained. During the course of the apprehension, Officers Brown, Rider and Rahim were assaulted by the suspect.
“Due to the officers’ concerted actions, they were able to make an apprehension of a violent person and safeguard the life of a child,” said Emerman. “They performed with valor in this situation.”
The Medal of Valor is MPD’s second highest honor and is presented to members who exemplify extraordinary bravery and heroism.
The child was able to escape the incident with no injuries and was transported to child and family services. It was later learned that the initial call for service originated after the suspect stabbed a female in the neck with a knife.
Since the training program began in April 2009, more than 500 MPD and US Capitol Police members have been trained as Crisis Intervention Officers. During the week long course, officers learn about available mental health resources, tour community based mental health clinics, and hear directly from consumers of mental health services and family members about their experiences and the effect of stigma associated with mental illness.