City Desk

Pershing Park Case: Council Hearings Unlikely


In late July, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan called for an investigation into the discovery abuses in the Pershing Park case. Sullivan suggested that the D.C. Council should get to the bottom of how evidence went missing or got botched.

Councilmember Mary Cheh called for AG Peter Nickles to resign. Councilmember Phil Mendelson, who heads the Judiciary Committee, stated that he "definitely" would be considering an investigation into the matter.

Now, a D.C. Council investigation appears unlikely.

Mendelson tells City Desk that he hasn't ruled out holding hearings on the mass arrests and troubling OAG response. But considering Nickles' relationship to the council, he says it might be a waste of time.

"The difficulty with holding a hearing is Nickles may not show," Mendelson says. "He might even claim privilege....I'm not sure what I could get out of a hearing."

Mendelson counters that the bulk of any investigation into the disappearing evidence is already coming from the plaintiffs attorneys. He's just not sure what more he could discover from holding a public hearing on the case. "I just don't know how we could have an effective hearing given Nickles' obstructionism," he explains.

Mendo says he's still trying to get police documents related to the DeOnte Rawlings case. Pershing Park could be another never ending document chase.

Still, Mendo assures: "Pershing Park is not off my radar screen in terms of Nickles' bad behavior. I'm not sure how I'm going to follow up on it....In some way, and I don't know how right now, all that's going to come back to haunt him."

*photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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  • Jacob

    "(a)The Council, or any committee or person authorized by it, shall have power to investigate any matter relating to the affairs of the District, and for that purpose may require the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books, papers, and other evidence. For such purpose any member of the Council (if the Council is conducting the inquiry) or any member of the committee may issue subpoenas, and administer oaths upon resolution adopted by the Council or committee, as appropriate.
    (b)In case of contumacy by, or refusal to obey a subpoena issued to, any person, the Council by resolution may refer the matter to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, which may by order require such person to appear and give or produce testimony or books, papers, or other evidence, bearing upon the matter under investigation. Any failure to obey such order may be punished by such Court as a contempt thereof as in the case of failure to obey a subpoena issued, or to testify, in a case pending before such Court." - DC ST § 1-204.13

    Mendelson's excuse is complete and utter BS. If the council were serious about its' oversight responsibilities (rather than only interested in scoring political points without actually doing anything) it would subpoena Nickles and if he still doesn't show up they would get a bench warrant and have him hauled in by the police.

  • MM

    The council is a pack of toothless wolves. They ALL need to go!!

  • Anonymous

    "...Mendelson's excuse is complete and utter BS. If the council were serious about its' oversight responsibilities..."

    It's not an excuse, as you point out, so don't try to hang this on Mendelson. He's the only one that's not bought and paid for by the same crew that owns the rest of the council and the mayor. Who do you think Mendo is going to get to vote with him other than Cheh? Evans? Bowser? the Grahamstander?