City Desk

Police Union Chief Calls For DOJ To Investigate Pershing Park

MPD Chief Cathy Lanier

D.C. Police Union Chief Kristopher Baumann has reviewed Ret. Judge Stanley Sporkin's report on the missing and/or destroyed evidence in the Pershing Park case. Baumann says he has concluded that there can be only one next step: The case should be referred to the Department of Justice.

“There needs to be an independent prosecutor set up," Baumann says. There’s a host of potential criminal charges ranging from perjury to obstruction of justice. That’s just what we know….We don’t know that much. What we do know is terrible. What goes on past that is a question obviously someone needs to come in and tear this all apart.”

At issue is how did the Pershing Park running resume, a real-time accounting of police activity generated by the police department's command center, disappear? And how did the radio transcripts concerning Pershing Park end up containing gaps?

Although the Sporkin Report failed to reach definitive conclusions, it suggested that the running resume may have been destroyed on purpose. And it called for an outside expert to examine the radio tapes. The report also documents conflicting statements from police officials about the evidence destruction.

"I gave it my best shot," Sporkin tells City Desk. He explains that he did not feel comfortable making determinations of fact. That's best left to a courtroom, he argued. "It has to be done in a court of law," he says. "You cannot make determinations without the people having a right to counsel, and the right to cross-examine those witnesses that are giving information that are contrary to your interests."

One way to address Sporkin's concerns is to open up a criminal case with the feds, Baumann says. And he believes the Department of Justice, not the U.S. Attorney's Office, should handle the matter.

“I think Department of Justice," Baumann says. Because of the U.S. Attorney's Office's close working relationship with the D.C. Police and the OAG, he says, it should not take the case. "This needs to be handled out of Main Justice.”

Requesting federal intervention isn't in the police union chief's standard arsenal of policy prescriptions. Historically, in fact, the police union has chafed at federal oversight into departmental affairs. In the late '90s, former Chief Charles Ramsey sought out the Justice Department's assistance in reviewing all police-involved shootings. Rank-and-file cops were furious with Ramsey over that decision.

In the case of Pershing Park, Baumann's tough talk runs no risk of a backlash from the rank and file, in large part because the culprits of unwarranted arrests and the missing evidence are all top department brass. Indeed, it's Baumann's job to hound those folks.

The course of the Pershing Park case, says Baumann, goes beyond whether top police officials erred in a critical decision. He feels the whole drama has the potential to impact criminal cases. If the OAG and D.C. Police general counsel could so thoroughly screw up this case, how well are they handling evidence on the criminal docket?

"I think this is going to become a major crisis for a lot of agencies and a lot of people," Baumann says.

The FOP chief joins Councilmember Mary Cheh in calling for federal authorities to look into Pershing Park.

*photo by Darrow Montgomery.

*follow me on Twitter.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Comrade Al Gonzales

    Bravo to the Union! Eric Holder, stand up! Appoint a special prosecutor. Destruction of evidence is a serious crime. It must be punished.

    Now we have the police union, Mary Cheh, & yours truly & the DCCP (DC Communist Party, not DC City Paper, but yeah, ironic, ain't it?] all calling for a DoJ investigation. As the police union said, the local US Attorney's office is too close to the police & city officials. An independent investigation by the Justice Dep't is mandated - as would happen in any state where such a egregious violation of basic civil rights occurred.

    How long will it take before Holder acts? What will Judge Sullivan have to say about the Sporkin Report?

    Stay tuned...

  • Lee

    Baumann is right, the only way to get to the bottom of this is for DOJ to conduct a criminal investigation. Once that investigation has concluded and Chief Ramsey, Chief Lanier, Assistant Chief Newsham, MPD General Council Terry Ryan, and Associate General Council Ron Harris are in prison along with the remaining cast of criminals; maybe the rest of our government policy makers in the law enforcement and legal community will get the message that they are not above the law.

  • Kudos to the FOP

    Good for Baumann and the rank and file police to speak out in favor of justice and doing right. Too bad the top police officials and Fenty's top adviser, Nickles, are hell-bent on continuing the cover-up of evidence and destruction of evidence.

  • JUSTICE4DC

    Immediately after this case is settled, Judge Sullivan needs to send this matter to the United Attorney's Office or Department of Justice for a criminal investigation. There is no doubt that OAG and MPD and MPD General Counsel are complicit in committing criminal acts involving Pershing Park.

    There should be outrage by the City Council that $13.7 million wil be paid out for the Becker case. The Pershing Park case will command the same if not more.

    Who from MPD will be held accountable? Not Ramsey, not Assistant Newsham, not Lanier, who approved the hog-tying "HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!"

    Who from OAG? Who from MPD General Counsel?

    The citizens of DC deserve better. Just think, these people from MPD, MPD general Counsel and OAG are still in position to cause more financial harm to DC. Failed leadership, corruption, willful lying under oath, massive cover-up by MPD, MPD General Counsel and OAG.

    I thought the City Council has a fiduciary duty to protect taxpayers money.

    Why aren't the leaders of MPD, MPD general Counsel and OAG forced out?

    Folks, we are not talking about an isolated incident here! Several hundred citizens civil rights were violated by the DC Police Department!

    And to make matters worse, the massive criminal cover-up of this matter leaves a lot to be desired of MPD top leaders as well as top leaders of OAG and MPD General Counsel! One must wonder, what other criminal acts have been committed by these high-paid government employees that we don't know about?

    I urge citizens to demand Congressional Hearings into this criminal debacle or a criminal investigation by DOJ.

    The culprits must be held ACCOUNTABLE to deter future governmental misconduct (MPD, MPD General Counsel and OAG).

    Citizens deserve an honest Government (DC). Several hundred citizens were "kidnapped" and held against their will and subjected to human rights abuses, i.e., hog-tying and refusal of medical treatment.

    These governmental abuses must be investigated and ALL of the violators held ACCOUNTABLE!

    A criminal investigation is needed and violators punished if found guilty to restore the public trust in the DC Police Department and OAG.

    Harm to the public service is defined as misconduct committed by a public servant that is likely “to have a deleterious effect upon public service,” or that is likely to cause “impairment or disruption of
    public service.”

    ...Where the misconduct is serious—involving dishonesty, false statements, violence,threats, or sexual misconduct—courts have consistently found thatthe officer no longer deserves the public and department’s trust and
    that termination is the appropriate discipline...

  • Coomrade Al Gonzales

    In the year, ♫♪♫
    2025, ♫♪♫
    ain't gonna be,
    no man alive,
    Only women,
    To think do & see
    What becomes, history.

    In the year, ♫♪♫
    2024, ♫♪♫
    Mass extermination,
    Of men & more,
    No longer needed –
    Ob-so-fucking-lete,
    A test tube,
    Can do the feat!

    In the year, ♫♪♫
    2023, ♫♪♫
    Amanda Knox, came to me,
    We had sex, & then did it again,
    & then once more, I was such a whore…

    In the year,
    2022,
    I got high, so did you,
    We smoked the bong, we smoked the pipe,
    Oasis came, with the Stripes.

    In the year,
    2121,
    Kate Moss & I,
    Had so much fun,
    Snortin’ coke, havin’ sex,
    She’s quite the animal, T Rex…

    In the year,
    2020,
    I could see,
    Adrian Fenty,
    I plucked my eyes, from their sockets,
    & had a burger, at Johny Rockets.

    This is just a beginning. I’ll come back with the whole song later. Need to do a little research.

    I don't argue with the future; I only write it. Perhaps you’ve heard of my most recent bestseller & critically acclaimed opus: The History of the Future. ©®™

  • dc deserves better

    Settle the case. Prosecute the perpetrators.

    DC deserves better from its government.

  • Anonymous

    Perp walks!! Perp walks!!

    Let's have some perp walks!

  • Pingback: Breaking: District Settles Pershing Park Case - City Desk - Washington City Paper

...