The DeOnte Rawlings Files Part II: D.C. Police Official Cleared Cops The Day After The Shooting
Maybe you are sick of hearing about the DeOnte Rawlings case. The 14-year-old was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer on September 17, 2007. That's a long time ago. By now, the off-duty cops have been cleared by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the D.C. Police Department. Law enforcement contends that Rawlings had fired on the officers—James Haskel and Anthony Clay—first and was riding Haskel's stolen minibike. Officer Haskel only returned fire in self defense.
In this series, City Desk has set out to chronicle the case's oddities and various head scratchers. You can read part one here. This next item is a real whopper.
On the day after the police shooting death of DeOnte Rawlings, D.C. Police Department Inspector Matthew Klein cleared both Haskel and Clay to return to full-duty status. The official was writing from his position inside the Office of Professional Responsibility. Both officers had given statements to police detectives but they had yet to give a walk-through of the scene. Officials hadn't even tested Clay's guns. Put it this way, Rawlings' blood hadn't been cleaned from the sidewalk and a high-ranking official was already clearing the two off-duty cops.
Klein writes in his letter on Haskel–the officer who shot and killed Rawlings:
"The Force Investigation Team initiated a preliminary review of this case in conjunction with the United States Attorney's Office. Moreover, the Force Investigation Team has found no issues of concern regarding Officer Haskel's role at this stage of the investigation that would preclude his return to full duty.
It is therefore been determined by the Office of Professional Responsiblity that Officer Haskel shall be placed in a Full-Duty Status, in accordance with the provisions set forth in General Order 901.11...."
You can read Haskel's letter and Clay's letter. Both officers did not return to full-duty status for many, many months. But the letters appear to at least clear both cops within 24 hours after the shooting. Just weird.
I am still waiting on a response from the D.C. Police Department about these letters.