City Desk

More Gresham: Part Four

This might be my final installment into the saga that is the life of Captain Melvin Gresham—a D.C. Police Department official who appears to always be in the center of intrigue and controversy. According to his civil-suit complaint filed in June, Gresham is a hero/whistle blower/all-around standup cop. To cop sources, he's a supervisor who needs some leadership training asap.

"I had to bang heads with him, very disagreeable is the way he investigated things. He never has any proof. When we go to arbitration against him, he loses most of the arbitrations. We've had several arbitration hearings with our members and he's lost. All the evidence is, 'What I heard.' Nothing ever of substance. He never has any real evidence against anybody. When you're a policeman, you have to have solid facts," says one veteran officer.

Gresham has his followers. Many of whom have commented on this post and our last installment.

The current Gresham dustup stems from a traffic accident. The allegation: Gresham got into a fender bender and pressured an officer to change the accident report in his favor.

In Gresham's complaint, he addresses the accident on page 10, bullet-point No. 23. Or rather, he dances around the allegations, focusing mainly on picking apart the testimony and character of Lt. Mike Smith.

The complaint hones in on anonymous letter (was it written by Smith?), Smith's believing that Gresham is a very rich man, and the allegation that Smith admitted to "tampering" with evidence. "Lt. Smith was off duty and had no actual basis for interjecting himself into the investigation," the complaint states.

The complaint notes that the police department withdrew the charges against Gresham. "However, Chief Lanier insisted on serving Cpt. Gresham an official reprimand." The reprimand addresses the very serious allegation of witness intimidation:

According to the complaint, the reprimand reads:

"Internal Affairs Agent Denise Garrett investigated the alleged misconduct. Agent Garrett determined that your demeanor and subsequent confrontation with the reporting officer was intimidating and may have jeopardized the impartiality of the accident investigation."

Not surprisingly, the complaint alleges that Garrett was pressured to issue the official reprimand. The reprimand—according to the complaint—goes on to state:

"This official reprimand is a written censor being issued to you as a formal notice of your unsatisfactory conduct. This notice will be considered in performance evaluations and will be used in deciding greater degrees of disciplinary action within a three-[year] period."

A few days ago, I interviewed Lt. Smith about the allegations addressed by various anonymous or otherwise comments on City Desk. Here's his response:

"An Update — within days of the erroneous information by WTOP and the FOX 5 new interview of Capt Melvin Gresham, Chief Cathy Lanier DROPPED all charges against him."

"He's not at 3D. As far as I know, he's still on limited duty," says Lt. Smith.

"Lt Smith was off duty at the time of the event — Lt Smith who allegedly witnessed this “gross” misconduct failed to notified IAD (until months later after he, himself became under investigation for another matter.)"

"I was off duty on the way to work. Didn't witness it. [Gresham] called communications. I went right there as soon as it came out, I have to drive past there on my way to work. I never knew that he changed the report until I was called by IAD. I notified the commander what the captain tried to do the very next morning (after the accident)," Smith says.

"Lt. Smith allowed a METRO supervisor to enter the 3D officers report writing area to assist the officer in taking the 10-50 report — since when is that allowed????"

"Completely false," Smith says. "The last time I ever saw [the Metro supervisor] was when they were on the scene. He was never at the station to my knowledge. Wow somebody's really telling a big lie."

"The Metro supervisor refused to be interviewed during the IAD portion of the investigation."

"Don't know." Smith says.

"3D commander and assistant commander were notified by Lt SMith the following day of what he allegedly witnessed while in an off duty capacity. But no investigation was conducted until Jan 2008."

"I didn't know that the captain had changed the report," Lt. Smith says.

"The Dept’s 90 rule began the moment management knew or should have known — the moment Lt Smith witnessed whatever he claimed to have witnessed began the clock."

"The allegations were that the captain ordered the officer to change the report," Lt. Smith says. "As far as I'm concerned, it was a criminal violation. The investigation doesn't start until the attorney general's office says they're going to prosecute."

"Lt. Smith’s failure to nitfy IAD was never investigated, his failure to timely notify Commander McCoy was never investigated, his failure to acknowledge that he allowed the METRO supervisor (who was not involved nor on the scene at the time of the accident) inside secure 3D facility to assist the officer in writing his report."

"I never saw the metro investigator," Lt. Smith says. "I told the commander the very next day what happened up until the report was changed. I didn't know the report was changed."

Lt. Smith: "I have no credibility issues....My take on the lawsuit. I haven’t been served. There are people named on the lawsuit that retired five or six years ago. Jose Acosta retired five or six years ago."

On conspiring with Lanier or other top officials: “I got 15 days suspension pending. If that was the case, I’m sure Lanier would have taken care of that problem," Lt. Smith says. "I had to work with this guy right up until the time he was revoked.”

Lt. Smith says: “I’m not trying to retaliate against him.”

After the accident, Gresham initiated two adverse actions against Smith. "I think I’m picking up one more because I was pissed off about the other two," Lt. Smith says. "I had a fit.”

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  • Ten30DC

    Lt. Smith -- I did not say you witnessed the accident but YOU stated to IAD, members of 3D, the Commanders of 3D that YOU witnessed Captain Gresham verbally abusive to the officer -- in case cursing at him (I have know Captain Gresham a long time and profanity IS NOT something you will him use.) You responded to the scene involving you immediate supervisor -- WHY?? to render first aide -- PLEASE.... Why don't you turn over your entire historical adverse action jacket to Mr Cherkis for review -- you are always being picked on by someone else -- you get involved in off duty shootings, fights, tormenting a colleague over his dead spouse, making anti-Semitic remarks, you go out on stress at the drop of hat, you yell and scream at your officers... YOU NEED HELP.. BTW when you did respond to IAD in reference to this incident that you did allege you witnessed (although your interview you seem to be retracting that) do you remember that little piece of paper that said YOU WERE PROHIBITED from discussing this matter???? You are telling Mr. Cherkis that as far as you know this matter is still pending because Captain Gresham is NOT at 3D -- ergo -- you know that you ARE PROHIBITED from speaking to anyone, including and especially the press...

    ...credibility -- yeah it really is Captain Gresham's fault that you have gain 30-40 pounds -- whatever....

    ...and you were stressed out over this -- WOW and they let you carry a gun and supervise others -- hope you have LOTS of kleenex....

  • E. Scott Frison, Jr., Esq.

    Mr. Cherkis, this city is served by thousands of professional police officers who risk their lives each day attempting to protect and serve. Unfortunately many in positions of leadership in this police department do a disservice to the City and to those whom they supervise. Captain Gresham is a ethical professional who has served this City with distinction. His good name, professionalism, and service has been defamed because he would not engage in the process of career destruction practiced by petty people in powerful positions. I represent Captain Gresham and those that harmed him and those that protect those that harmed him will pay to the fullest extent allowed by law. I write to give NOTICE that Captain Gresham has not authorized, been interviewed for, or consented to the articles written by you. ESF

  • YourKidding


    Young man, you're in trouble now.... I think the teacher wants to send you to the principal's office...

  • Ted Scheinman

    Is it common practice for lawyers to serve notice in the comments section of a blog?

  • sara.h

    i love it when lawyers think they can scare people by using words that get tossed around in lawsuits. and caps lock!! oh my!!

    they didn't reach the blog-notice rule at my law school.

  • Amused

    "Is it common practice for lawyers to serve notice in the comments section of a blog?"
    Heh. The fool must have took the case on contingency.

  • Ten30DC

    Hey Mr. Cherkis what happened to robo-cop Lt Smith? Seems like you all-too-credible source has "cracked" under scrutiny!?!?!

  • Ten30 got no Ten20

    His PSA supports him. It's more likely that he's waiting for the scum to be skimmed off than that he's cracked.

  • Ten30DC

    Yea, whatever, he has been sued more than any DC police officer I know. He likes to start chaos to cover his ineptitude, his corruption. Ask Leroy Thorpe -- he knows that Lt Smith has difficulty locating the truth and when things heat up, he gets choked up... beside got no 1020 who are you to speak for his PSA... I am certain that NOT everyone thinks as you do.... why was it that Lt Smith didn't leave MPDC and go to North Carolina for that job... seems they know more than you 1020............

  • Jason Cherkis

    I thought this was about Capt. Gresham. I'm surprised all the cops or pretend cops floating opinions here haven't expressed any on Gresham's rental property getting raided, scores getting arrested, and illegal stuff found.

    What gives? Wasn't that the latest big news Gresham World?

  • Ten30DC

    Cherkis -- do you have a clue about journalism? Yea your buddy lied to get NSID to investigate the property for how many months now???? And NOT ONE PERSON was arrested, the BS about $10K -- yea, okay, if they took $10K they forgot to place it on the property book, they for got to list it on the search warrant return -- oh yea, did you miss the FOX 5 report -- they raided CHILD's birthday party... YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE ETHICAL responisbilities when reporting the news... YOU ARE dangerously close to a libel suit... YOUR BUDDY LT SMITH was sued by Leroy Thorpe for doing the exact same thing you cried over -- SMITH posted LEROY SMITH's personal information on a WEBSITE-- so when the police violate your rights we should care, but when your buddy does it to someone else -- let's look the other way?!?!?

  • Ten30DC

    As for the rental property -- DC LAW states that the owner of a property cannot be held responsible for the activities inside said property without the police providing him/her with's call INNOCENT OWNER -- and your "pretend" cop friends have had this investigation for 7+ months and they have not made one arrest at that location. They have not notified through official channels Captain Gresham that his tenants are violating the law -- and did you notice that is like the nicest row house on the block, 5 years ago it looked like crap, so let's trash Captain Gresham because he bought a rundown eyesore and turned it into a nice property --ISN'T that was we want? And How did Lt Smith become so personally involved with Captain Gresham??...I don't think his PSA extends that far. And what's up with those NARCOTICS officers, calling the press, telling them that this is Gresham's home -- My GAWD no wonder the crime rate is off the hook -- a simple check would have revealed that the property is leased to the DC Government??!?!?! Mr. Cherkis, you need to LET your friends stop feeding you BS --

  • Stalked

    Not to mention the harrassment and stalking internal affairs investigation of Lt. Smith. His own son disowned him and Lt. Smith went nuts. His son is working on getting a restraining order and possible identity theft lawsuit. He tried to interrogate his son's friends, family, and their co-workers for information on their whereabouts. On top of all that, there's the adultery, and all the beatings and abuse. He can pretend that he's a great cop and whatever, but in actuality Lt. Smith is the absolute how-not-to example of life.

  • Lt. Smith

    Stalked, why don't you leave your identity and I will have my attorney talk to you on the witness stand. My son is a good kid and a veteran and he has been through a lot. It is because of him and those like him, you have the freedoms you have and to try to use him against me show the type of person you are.

  • Joyce Singer

    So many angry people spouting so many angry words. I would like to address a few points.
    1) the anti-Semitism suit was started by an ignorant woman who was not aware of an expression WE JEWS use to describe OURSELVES. Lt. Smith's mother was Jewish. According to Jewish law, that makes him Jewish. So, that 's taken care of.
    2) Leroy Thorpe is a racist moron with a Napoleonic complex. Enough said.
    3) Ten30DC needs to stop walking around with his head up his ass. He'll be able to see more clearly.
    4) Why doesn't anyone, besides Mike Smith and Jason Cherkis use their real names?

  • Ten30 got no Ten20

    I'd guess Ten30's just a touch bitter 'cause he is now serving under former IAD.
    But what do I know. :)

  • Lt. Smith

    Ten30 got no Ten20. Call me or write me at

  • Ten30 got no Ten20
  • Outside Observer

    Mr. Cherkis:

    I am completely unaffiliated with any of the characters in your story, but as a former reporter and executive board member of the National Press Club, and current business side executive of the largest paper in Tennessee, I must say your reporting style is horrendously and blatantly biased. No one expects a journalist to not have opinions, but I think it is our ethical obligation to maintain objectivity in our reporting. Wording such as "he dances around the allegations" or "I’m surprised all the cops or pretend cops floating opinions here ..." does not rise to the levels expected of credible reporters. If I understand your goals correctly, you were writing a news piece and not an editorial. Please keep that in mind.