City Desk

Pershing Park: Another Piece Of Evidence Goes Missing; One Cop Speaks Out

In a week, AG Peter Nickles must submit to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan a sworn statement explaining his office's actions in a troubling Pershing Park case. He may want to consider the subject of this false affidavit concerning the mysterious gaps in the radio dispatch recordings from the Pershing Park mass arrests.

Nickles may also want to read or re-read the deposition of Sgt. Douglas Jones taken on September 12, 2007. Jones testified at length about one of the other mysteries in the Pershing Park case: the disappearance of the running resume or command center database which recorded all police activity before, during, and after the mass arrests.

Before Jones' testimony, OAG lawyer Tom Koger wrongly claimed in an e-mail to plaintiffs attorney Carl Messineo that the "running resumes were no longer generated by the MPD as of Sept. 2002."

In other words, the running resume didn't exist because police officials didn't make one.

In fact, in another protest case concerning arrests in April 2002—the Bolger case—another OAG lawyer had claimed that running resumes only started being created after Septembe 2002.

Both of the OAG's conflicting statements turned out to be wrong. Jones' testimony would prove it.

Jones was assigned to the command center. On big events such as the World Bank/IMF protests, the D.C. Police Department activates what is called the Joint Operations Command Center. In his testimony, Jones stated that he was very familiar and intimately experienced with the the JOCC. And he provided crucial testimony regarding the missing Pershing Park documents.

Jones testified that there were two electronic recordings of the running resume—both of which would have been warehoused in networks at D.C. Police Department headquarters. He also stated that several hard copies were made of the Pershing Park running resume. In fact, more than several copies were made.

"I would say at least a dozen were made by me," Jones stated. "That was standard practice."

Jones went onto to state that he made an additional copy for his supervisor.

"It was after the September IMF," Jones stated. "I don't recall exactly when, but my supervisor at the time requested a copy of the running resume. I work midnights, so I handed it to him. I also provided him the location of the pile in case he needed to send it to somebody else and that person is [Neil] Trugman. He's a retired MPD detective and retired from Intel, and he was hired back as a contractor.... I gave him a piece of paper with the path, with the location, the directory of the actual report for the September IMF. He wasn't real computer savvy, so I wanted to make sure he had everything written down."

Jones went on to testify that Trugman had a made a verbal request for the running resume. Trugman had told him the request had come from the D.C. Police Department's general counsel's office. The reason for the request? Pending litigation over the mass arrests.

"It was my understanding that there's an official request for the information, but I did not see that request," Jones stated. "It's my understanding that the request came from the general counsel's office. That was my understanding....I remember [Trugman] mentioning Pershing Park. He requested the running resume."

Jones says he fulfilled Trugman's request promptly. "It was very easy to provide him the information because the electronic copy was available. All I did was do a search for it, print it out and write out the instructions on how to access the file and provided him that information when I saw him the morning before I checked off."

Jones says he has no idea what Trugman did with the data. He says he was later asked for the running resume a second time. "I know it was asked for again," he stated. "After Trugman has left, because I remember—first of all, I remember doing a search for it, and those files had been taken off of the server at that time."

The second request came in February of 2006 or sometime in 2005. This time, he could not find the running resume. To Jones' knowledge, no one examined the hard drives in an attempt to recover the missing running resume from Pershing Park.

On the subject of the hard copies of the running resumes that circulated, Jones stated in his deposition:

"At the conclusion of the event, it was standard practice to prepare a running resume of all of the data in the system that's being used. The hard copies that were generated from that information, that standard practice was to hand carry them to...the administrative assistant or to Mr. Stephen Gaffigan who was the director at the time...It's my understanding they were distributed to the command staff. Assistant Chiefs of Police, Chief of Police, inspectors, probably the general counsel. I don't know for sure."

And finally, when Jones went back through the computer systems to again search for a digital copy of the Pershing Park resume, he found that it had disappeared. In his deposition, he speculated that someone may have gone in and erased the running resume.

"It's just my interpretation that somebody must have taken what was there and wiped it out and used that as a template," Jones stated. "That was just my guess because otherwise they would have been there."

Jones stated that he doesn't recall a running resume ever being erased before.

The last time Jones saw a physical copy of the running resume was when he gave it to Trugman.

Finally, Jones was asked: "Have you made any attempts to ascertain whether the office of general counsel for the MPD is in possession of the running resume?"

Jones: "No, I've not asked them, sir."

So what was the OAG's response to Jones' testimony?

Next to nothing. They continued to claim that no such resume had been created. And if it had, it just couldn't be located.

“Douglas Jones is telling the truth," says plaintiffs attorney Carl Messineo. "That they might believe for a moment that it did not exist is completely absurd. It’s a command center. The notion that the database never existed is like saying the sun didn’t rise.”

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