Capitol Police officer charged in 2020 Georgetown hit-and-run on motorcyclist

Thomas Smith crashed into a man on a motorcycle, fled the scene and covered it up, indictment alleges

A U.S. Capitol Police patrol car. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
A U.S. Capitol Police patrol car. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted June 3, 2022 at 3:19pm

Capitol Police Officer Thomas Smith was indicted by a federal grand jury on seven charges stemming from a 2020 hit-and-run in Georgetown in which Smith allegedly crashed into a man on a motorcycle, knocking him into the air and injuring him before fleeing the scene and trying to cover it up.

Smith is charged with violating a man’s civil rights and for obstructing justice, the Department of Justice announced. The indictment of Smith, 44, was returned Thursday and unsealed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Smith is expected to be arraigned within the next week.

The officer allegedly crashed his police car into the victim and knowingly drove away from the scene without rendering aid, calling for medical assistance or taking any other reasonable steps to help the man he crashed into, the indictment alleges. Furthermore, Smith falsified Capitol Police records to cover up his misconduct, according to DOJ.

On June 20, 2020, Smith was working as a patrol officer for the department’s Special Operations Division and was assigned a Capitol Police sedan. Around 11:34 p.m., when he was supposed to be conducting a check on a lawmaker’s home in Georgetown, Smith pursued two motorcycles, one of which was driven by a man identified in the indictment as W.W. 

Smith followed the vehicles closely, and at a high rate of speed southbound on Wisconsin Avenue between Reservoir Road and M Street Northwest. This is despite Capitol Police department protocol that prohibits car chases outside the Capitol grounds except in emergencies and upon supervisory approval. Smith, the indictment alleges, did not notify dispatch or ask for approval from a supervisor to pursue the motorcycles.

Smith accelerated his car and swerved towards W.W.’s motorcycle and hit it. W.W. was knocked into the air by the officer and fell onto the road. 

Contrary to Capitol Police department policy, Smith did not notify the dispatcher, a supervisor or the Metropolitan Police Department of the collision that happened off Capitol grounds, the indictment alleges. Also, Smith “took no action to seek any medical assistance for W.W. and to ensure that no further harm came to him as he lay in the roadway,” according to the indictment.

W.W. was injured in the crash, including abrasions to the face, head, arms and knees and had a possible concussion and seizure.

Smith’s shift ended the next day, June 21. Before the end of that shift, Smith tried to hide his involvement in the crash by switching out his damaged Capitol Police sedan with a department sport utility vehicle.

On the equipment log, Smith falsely entered that he was assigned the SUV rather than the sedan he crashed into W.W. He also falsely recorded that he started his shift at 10 p.m. instead of 6 p.m.

Metropolitan Police Department officials notified the Capitol Police of the crash in Georgetown. Smith then got a call from a Capitol Police sergeant asking him if he had knowledge of the crash. Smith told the sergeant he was not aware of the collision with the motorcycle and that he was not involved. Additionally, he told the sergeant he was assigned the SUV for his entire shift.

“Smith made false statements to USCP Sergeant to conceal his responsibility for the collision,” according to the indictment.

Smith is charged with seven total counts: two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law; one count of obstruction of justice; three counts of falsification of records in federal investigations; and one count of false statements.

The department suspended Smith without pay and revoked his police powers immediately after the 2020 crash, Capitol Police spokesperson Tim Barber said in a statement. Smith is still suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal case and an internal investigation by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

“The public’s trust is critical for any law enforcement agency and integrity is the most important quality for any law enforcement officer,” Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said in a statement.

In October 2021, Michael Angelo Riley was indicted on charges of obstructing the investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection. He resigned from the Capitol Police shortly after the indictment was unsealed. His criminal trial is set for Sept. 19.