A gunman who killed a transit employee and wounded three bystanders at a Washington, D.C., Metro station on Wednesday had a prior assault dismissed last year by a progressive prosecutor.
Court records show Isaiah Trotman was charged with assault and battery in November 2021, only to have those charges dismissed six months later by Albemarle County, Va., prosecutor Jim Hingeley, who won election in 2019 with the help of six-figure contributions from liberal megadonors, including George Soros. Police arrested Trotman on Wednesday and charged him with first-degree murder.
Homicides have surged to their highest level in decades in many Soros prosecutors’ jurisdictions, with more than 200 murders recorded in D.C. in 2022. So-called progressive prosecutors often dismiss low-level offenders and seek alternatives to incarceration. Hingeley received $114,000 from the Democratic megadonor Sonjia Smith during his 2019 campaign. Soros donated $5,000 to him.
The D.C. Council recently voted to downgrade penalties for many offenses in the district’s criminal code, including reducing sentences for carjackings, robberies, and gun-related felonies.
Hingeley told the Washington Free Beacon that the assault charge was dismissed based on an agreement reached between Trotman and the victim. He added that Trotman would only have served a maximum sentence of one year for the offense, and more likely would have been just six months since it was a misdemeanor.
"I seriously doubt that a hypothetical six-month active jail sentence, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars, and ending in June 2022, would have prevented the tragic killing and woundings in D.C. seven months after Mr. Trotman's release from a hypothetical sentence in Albemarle County," he said.
Trotman brandished a firearm while on a bus before entering the Potomac Avenue Metro Station in Southeast D.C. and opening fire at random. He shot two bystanders in the leg and then proceeded to the platform where he threatened a woman. He then shot and killed a 64-year-old Metro employee who tried to stop him.
Passengers subdued and disarmed Trotman shortly after. He was also charged with kidnapping while armed and assault with a dangerous weapon.
Trotman had other prior arrests last year in Pennsylvania for public intoxication and drug-related charges, according to DCist. He pleaded guilty to the latter charge but was released before his sentencing two months from now. When he was arrested in April 2022, police apparently recovered 12 bags of meth, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia from his car.
Following a summer of anti-police riots in 2020, the D.C. Council slashed the district’s law enforcement budget. Over the next two years, the D.C. police department lost around 280 officers, the Washington Post reported. The flight has left the department short-staffed and ill-equipped to respond to emergencies.
Assistant Chief of Police Ashan Benedict said on Wednesday he wished officers would have arrived sooner to the scene. "The fact that our citizens have to intervene with an armed gunman is disturbing to me," he told reporters.
Update 2/6 10:33 a.m.: This piece has been updated.