U.S. Capitol Police Officer Charged with Pointing Gun at Tourists Acquitted
A U.S. Capitol Police officer charged with pointing his gun at two tourists from Michigan and a hotel worker was found not guilty of assault charges Thursday.
Officer Victor E. Bryant, 37, was acquitted of first- and second-degree assault in connection with an August 2009 incident at the Hampton Inn at National Harbor, reports the Washington Post. A judge also acquitted his girlfriend, Angela Montgomery, 29, who was charged with two counts of second-degree assault.
After Bryant and Montgomery checked into the Hampton Inn around 6 p.m., the couple left to attend a concert. Sometime while they were gone, a hotel worker mistakenly assigned the room to two members of a Michigan family, the Days, who were in town for a family reunion.
Court testimony from this point on differs, but when the two parties encountered one another somewhere between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. the meeting clearly did not go well.
Bryant ended the night in handcuffs, charged with three counts of assault for allegedly pointing his service weapon at both tourists as well as a hotel worker, and threatening to shoot one of the Days. According to the Days, Bryant also used racially inflammatory language. The Days are black, while Bryant and Montgomery are white.
Bryant denies pointing his gun at anyone and says he did not use racial epithets, but acknowledges that Montgomery did. "When Angela said those words, [the Day relatives] really sparked up," says Bryant in a previous interview with the Washington Post. "They really got upset when she said the N-word."
The officer, whose job entails protecting a member of Congress, says the Days are fabricating the allegations, and suggests one of the Days stole an $80 lighter he had left in the room.
Raymond Day, 52, testified that after he unlatched the door to the room, Bryant barged in and retrieved his gun stashed under the mattress. Montgomery also burst in, spraying the Day family with racial epithets and eventually charging at Day and hitting him in the chest. Day testified he tried to block her blows and warned if she did not stop, he would "knock her out."
According to Day's testimony, that is when Bryant put the gun to his temple and said, "Man, I will blow you away."
Matthew Golden, a hotel worker Bryant and Montgomery had retrieved to try and get into the room, testified that Bryant pointed his gun at Day's head. According to Golden's testimony, Bryant briefly pointed the gun at Golden's head when he stepped between the two men.
But according to Bryant's testimony, he never pointed his gun at anyone. "Absolutely not," he testified.
Bryant testified he was suspended from work for five days without pay for improperly securing his weapon, which he says was placed under the mattress because he knew he would be drinking and "did not want to make any bad decisions." He was also put on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the criminal charges.
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