Capitol Police officer facing criminal charges tied to hit-and-run cover-up resigns, sources say

Thomas Smith was charged after a collision left a motorcyclist injured

A U.S. Capitol Police officer was indicted in June on charges stemming from a collision with a motorcyclist. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
A U.S. Capitol Police officer was indicted in June on charges stemming from a collision with a motorcyclist. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted August 9, 2022 at 4:10pm

Thomas Smith, a veteran U.S. Capitol Police officer facing criminal charges for trying to cover up a 2020 hit-and-run in Georgetown that left a motorcyclist injured, has resigned from the department, sources said.

Smith was indicted in June on seven charges stemming from the crash, including obstructing justice, violating a person’s civil rights and falsifying records in a federal investigation.

On the evening of June 20, 2020, Smith, a patrol officer for the Special Operations Division, was driving a Capitol Police sedan around Georgetown to conduct security checks at the homes of members. Around 11:34 p.m., Smith closely followed two motorcycles at a high rate of speed and did so without seeking approval from a supervisor, the indictment alleges. 

As Smith and one of the motorcycles, driven by a man identified as W.W., approached the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue Northwest and M Street Northwest, Smith accelerated his patrol car and swerved toward W.W.’s motorcycle, the indictment alleges. Smith allegedly hit the motorcycle, knocking W.W. into the air before he landed on the road, and the officer fled the scene in his car without taking any action to ensure the motorcyclist received medical attention.

W.W. sustained injuries from the crash that included abrasions to the face, head, arms and knees, along with a possible concussion and seizure, according to the indictment.

“Although USCP policies and procedures require USCP officers to notify the USCP dispatcher, a supervisor, and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) of a traffic collision occurring while on duty outside the Capitol grounds, at no point after crashing into W.W.'s motorized cycle did SMITH notify anyone,” the indictment alleges. “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.”

Before the end of his shift that stretched into June 21, 2020, Smith tried to hide his involvement in the hit-and-run by switching out his damaged Capitol Police patrol sedan for a department SUV. Smith falsely entered in the department equipment log that he was assigned the SUV, not the sedan he hit W.W. with, the indictment alleges. Smith incorrectly claimed, prosecutors allege, that his shift started at 10 p.m. rather than 6 p.m. and made false statements to a Capitol Police sergeant to “conceal his responsibility for the collision.”

Smith faces the following charges: 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.

Tim Barber, a Capitol Police spokesperson, said the department “cannot comment on personnel matters.” The department revoked Smith’s police powers and suspended him without pay immediately after the 2020 crash, Barber said in an earlier statement after the indictment was unsealed.

J. Michael Hannon, an attorney representing Smith, did not respond to a request for comment.

Aryele Bradford, a spokesperson for the Justice Department, declined comment.

Gus Papathanasiou, who leads the department’s union, did not respond to a request for comment.

In 2021, Michael Angelo Riley resigned from the force shortly after he was charged with obstructing the investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. His trial is set to begin in September.