Pershing Park Case: Celebrating The Scapegoats Part 2
Earlier today, we linked to the Examiner's great investigative piece on District employee bonuses. Among the District employees that received a hefty bonus was none other than the Office of the Attorney General's scapegoat in the Pershing Park mess: Tom Koger.
Koger's boss, who must have approved his more than $2,000 bonus in October, is none other than Ellen Efros whom AG Peter Nickles assigned to take cover the two Pershing Park cases after Koger was reassigned. Good to know performance did not get in the way of a sweet bonus.
Indeed, the Pershing Park case has a history of treating their scapegoats well.
Koger wasn't the first official to be rewarded after falling on his sword.That honor goes to Assistant Chief Peter Newsham. When the D.C. Council first began probing into the false arrests from Sept. 27, 2002, Newsham was the police official who took the blame for the arrests.
The false arrests have cost the District millions in settlement agreements and lawyer fees. Recently, Newsham's attorney filed a request for more than $40,000 in legal fees. And that $40,000 only covered two months worth of legal work. The case has been going on since the fall2002.
According to court records, Pershing Park only cost Newsham a written reprimand "for failing to follow the guidelines in the mass demonstration handbook."
Chief Charles Ramsey testified in deposition that the reprimand was eventually removed from Newsham's file after a few years.
Ramsey also noted that Newsham "didn't lose any responsibilities as a consequence of this mass arrest" and that the official is "one of the best members that the department has ever had."
Either Newsham masterminded the false arrests of hundreds of individuals on Sept. 27, 2002 or he was simply an outstanding official who took one for the team. The department's actions suggest what the D.C. Council suspected: that Newsham was just the fall guy.
Newsham currently an assistant chief in charge of investigations.
*photo by Darrow Montgomery.