City Desk

D.C. Detective Convicted of Assault

A Metropolitan Police Department detective has been convicted of one count of simple assault, and one count of fleeing and eluding. Detective William J. Witkowski is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 25. Witkowski was found guilty on Jan. 31 following a bench trial in D.C. Superior Court. A simple assault charge carries a maximum sentence of $1,000 or 180 days of incarceration—or both. The charge of fleeing law enforcement carries a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment.

According to court papers, in June, the detective was arrested for shoving two men, then putting one of them in a choke hold and slamming him against a car. The violence broke out as a result of an argument. Witkowski was driving along 14th Street NW at about 3 a.m. when he stopped at a light at Fairmont Street. That's when, prosecutors say, he began yelling at two men parked on the corner. The men, who told cops they were waiting for a friend, got out of their car—supposedly to get some air—and conflict ensued.

Witkowski was also accused and convicted of leaving the scene, despite being asked not to by a uniformed officer who showed up during the conflict. The Washington Post reported the detective also refused to take a sobriety test. In court papers, Witkowski's lawyer suggested the arresting officer (different from the officer who ordered Witkowski to stick around) had some sort of bias against the defendant.

The detective's lawyer declined comment, as did the U.S. Attorney's office.

Court filings say Witkowski has worked for MPD for more than 20 years and has received over 20 commendations and letters of appreciation for his service. He has no previous record. MPD spokesperson Gwen Crump says that whether Witkowski keeps his job depends on the "outcome of an internal affairs investigation."

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  • Grumpy


    This sounds shady as shit. You just start yelling at two dudes sitting in a car? For what? Just because?

    Nah, what REALLY happened? My take is:

    This cat 20 years in, he's a shakedown cop...probably rolled up thinking they were dopeboys and he was gonna get paid but found 2 citizens instead. A dopeboy wouldn't have filed a lawsuit and the cops on the scene would have found 'something' that said they were shady, a bullet, a bag of weed, something.

    Need more details

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  • Rick Mangus

    This case smells to high heaven!

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  • Lee

    What smells is that he was only charged and convicted because he's a cop? If he was a civilian the case would have been dropped the day after the arrest; the more troubling part of this case is that during the trial the two alleged victims did not appear and testify. The officer was denied an opportunity to confront his accusers and he was still found guilty. Now you tell me Rick and Grumpy if that justice? Should the rules be different just because he is a cop?

  • Rick Mangus

    'Lee', yes it should be different because he is a police officer, because he has been entrusted with right and wrong, life and death issues every day and should be held to a higher standard for which he took an oath for!

  • Andy

    The two guys didn't even show up to testify? I agree with Lee, sounds like the judge nailed him because he was a cop. It shouldn't cost him his career. 20 years and no previous complaints?

  • Lee

    Rick, citizens who decide to become police officers don't surrender their constitutional right when they take the job. That officer had the right to confront his accusers.

    Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

    Rick I agree that the standrad for personal conduct is higher than the average citizen; however, we are talking about criminal charges and in that instanct his rights should not be less than anyone else.