Defendant Pleads Not Guilty in Shooting Over COVID Mask  

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On Sept. 12, Marquett Brown was arraigned and entered a not guilty plea before DC Superior Court Judge Erik Christian

Brown, 35, is charged with assaulting an officer while armed, unlawful possession of ammunition, unlawful discharge of a firearm, possession of an unregistered firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm during a crime of violence and carrying a firearm outside of a home or business for his alleged involvement in a non-fatal shooting that occurred on Feb. 11, 2022 on the 400 block of Benning Road, SE. There were no reported injuries from the incident. 

According to court documents, the incident stemmed from Brown’s refusal to wear an appropriate COVID-19 face mask as required at the time in a Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) location. When a special DMV police officer told Brown he would be asked to leave if he did not comply, Brown allegedly got in a tussle with the officer, grabbed the officer’s gun, and shot it once. 

“I promise all of my constituents in the community, I am ready to re-establish myself in the community,” Brown said in contrition to Judge Christian after he mentioned he had been receiving unspecified medication at the DC jail for some time.

The prosecution argued against Brown’s release claiming his detention is “necessary for the safety of the community. Therefore, they argued, Brown should remain incarcerated at the DC Jail.

Brown’s defense attorney, Adgie O’Bryant, mentioned that his client has had a very tough time in isolation at the jail and that the spread of COVID-19 is actually of concern to his client. 

Additionally, O’Bryant stated that during a July 28 hearing Brown was deemed mentally competent following  mental observations after being held at St. Elizabeths Hospital. 

“Since he has been held at St. Elizabeths, competency has been restored,” O’Bryant told the court.

Judge Christian denied Brown’s request for release, citing multiple instances where the defendant has been released and failed to comply with the court’s conditions, causing his rearrest.

“It is like a revolving door,” Judge Christian said. “Every time he’s been released, he offends.” 

Judge Christian scheduled Brown’s next status hearing for Sept. 26.

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