Pershing Park Case: Patterson Hopes District Has Learned Its Lesson
When news broke yesterday that a D.C. Police Detective had come forward to dispute former Chief Charles Ramsey's assertion that he did not order the arrests in Pershing Park in 2002, I immediately thought of Kathy Patterson.
Few fought harder to get at the truth of what led to Pershing Park than the former D.C. councilmember. Seven years later, Det. Paul Hustler comes forward to say out loud what a lot of people knew: Ramsey was directly responsible for Pershing Park. What did Patterson think?
Patterson responded to Hustler's affidavit with an e-mail. "I'd like to see the District settle," she wrote. "I'd like to have some assurance of lessons learned."
Patterson went on to write that Hustler isn't the only cop who has come forward with a critique of the Pershing Park mass arrests.
"In the course of our investigation of the wrongful arrests in 2002 and the preemptive actions in 2000 we learned about a lot of things done wrong. But we also identified quite a few MPD officers and officials who tried to do the the right thing — who tried to do their jobs correctly, respecting the rights of DC residents. We also reviewed the after action reports by several officials who risked their own careers by raising concerns with the actions of MPD leaders in and around Pershing Park. We highlighted the internal investigative report, and the fact that the original report was critical of MPD actions — before it was sanitized by the leadership, a step that violated MPD policies and best practices on internal reviews. We obviously knew of Chief Ramsey's role in the arrests based on our depositions and his own testimony so I am not surprised by the newly-released deposition, nor do I know why anyone would seek to supress it!"
To answer that question, I called Peter Nickles. Multiple times. He has yet to respond to my calls nor my e-mails seeking comment.
Ramsey has refused to comment as well. One of his press people up in Philly responded to my interview request this way:
"Police Commissioner Ramsey is well aware of the accusation. However he has no comment at this time."