Getting the Criminals Off the Streets in DC…Means Arresting the Police

Big City…Big Crime. Corruption on the part of Civil employees is a threat in any government. When it is the Police though, it has an impact on community trust and impacts the ability of the good cops to do their job.

The District of Columbia has more policemen per capita than any city in the world. Between the dozen or so local and Federal Police Departments (FBI, Secret Service, Customs, ATF,  etc), quasi police organizations such as the Federal Protective Service, the Transit Police guarding the city’s bus and subway system, and a host of private police guarding various buildings and facilities – there are actually enough police in DC to station one on every street corner in the city…several times over. During the riots of 1968 after MLK was assassinated, they actually did that with some small help from the National Guard.

A pic of some of DC’s finest. Insofar as this poster knows, none of the Policemen shown in this picture has done anything untoward or illegal.

110 D.C. Police Officers’ Arrests Since 2009 Leads To Questions, Scrutiny

Police officials in the nation’s capital have been facing recent questions about headline-making arrests — not of hardened street criminals but of their own officers.

In a single month, one District of Columbia police officer was accused of taking semi-nude pictures of a 15-year-old runaway and another was charged with running a prostitution operation involving teenage girls. A third was indicted on an attempted murder charge, accused of striking his wife in the head with a light fixture.

Police say the arrests aren’t representative of the entire department, which includes about 4,500 officers and civilian employees. Still, more than 100 officers in the last five years have been arrested on charges ranging from traffic offenses to murder to money laundering, and the latest instances have increased concerns about training, supervision and accountability. The D.C. Council has set a hearing to discuss the problem and Police Chief Cathy Lanier has met with residents to assuage fears of a misbehaving department.

“We don’t think we have a department out of control, and I think that oftentimes is the image that is portrayed,” she said in an interview, noting that the majority of arrests are not for on-duty corruption but instead involve off-duty misconduct that is harder to police.

The hearing Friday will focus on how applicants are screened and what services are available to prevent alcohol abuse and domestic violence, two prevalent problems, said Councilmember Tommy Wells, who chairs the public safety committee.

“I think it’s extremely important that the public have confidence in our police force and we’ve had three high-profile cases of serious police misconduct, albeit generally off-duty,” Wells said.

Police department figures show the arrests of about 110 police officers, for both on- and off-duty conduct, since 2009. Many of the arrests involved traffic violations or involved cases that were dropped or ended in acquittal.

Among the most serious cases was Richmond Phillips, who received life without parole last year for the slayings of his mistress and baby daughter. Wendel Palmer was convicted last year of sexually abusing a girl who participated in his church choir, while Kenneth Furr received a 14-month sentence for an armed altercation that began after prosecutors say he solicited sex from a transgender prostitute.

Lanier has said many of the arrested officers were brought onto the force during a time of lax hiring standards and wouldn’t be qualified to serve today. She said that in some cases the arbitration process has required the department to rehire officers it fired. She said the department has dramatically tightened its recruitment practices to mandate polygraph exams and that only one of about 25 applicants is now hired.

The department also tracks warning signs like missed commitments and abuse of sick leave. And it requires officers to report off-duty arrests, which Lanier contends can make the numbers look worse than in cities that lack that requirement.

“I feel comfortable that our recruiting process, the background screening we do, is as tight as we can get,” Lanier said at the meeting. “But I also realize that there are people that are on the police department that came through at a time when there was not that strict background (check), and those are the people that we want to make sure that if they are involved in misconduct, that we weed those people out.”

But resident Khadijah Tribble, 42, told the chief she was unconvinced the misconduct was isolated.

“Aren’t these trends troubling and isn’t it worth our due diligence to do a thorough, independent investigation of this trend?” Tribble said in an interview.

Robert Kane, the director of the Drexel University criminal justice program who has studied police misconduct, said the number of arrests wasn’t necessarily shocking for a big-city police department.

At least 43 New York City police officers are known to have been arrested between 2011 and 2013 on charges including gun-running, drunken driving, perjury, a ticket-fixing scam and a cannibalism plot. A Los Angeles police officer was charged with stomping a handcuffed woman who later lost consciousness and died. Dozens of Memphis, Tenn., officers have been arrested in recent years.

Kane said that on-duty police misconduct can be reliably defined, off-duty misbehavior by officers is studied less often.

“We know what factors explain police misconduct, when police officers stop people and extort money from them,” he said. “What do we know about officers who walk into a liquor store when off-duty and rob it at gunpoint for some beer?”

In D.C., the first of the recent arrests was on December 2 when officer Marc Washington was charged with taking semi-nude pictures while on-duty of a teenage runaway who had just returned home. Authorities say after responding to the girl’s apartment, he directed her into her bedroom and told her to undress so he could photograph injuries. He was arrested after the girl alerted her mother, who contacted police. Soon after being released from jail, Washington was dead from an apparent suicide.

The following week brought the off-duty arrest of Linwood Barnhill Jr., a 24-year-veteran who was charged after police came to his apartment and found a 16-year-old girl who had been reported missing. The girl told police Barnhill had photographed her and offered to pay her to have sex with other men, allegations also made by a second teenager. His lawyer says Barnhill never threatened anyone.

Lanier acknowledged the arrests, especially for on-duty conduct, have shaken the department. But she said she hopes the sight of handcuffed officers sends a message to other officers who would break the law.

“We would like the officers to know that if there’s somebody in our midst that is committing criminal conduct and we become aware of it, we will lock them up,” Lanier said. “We don’t need somebody else to lock them up. We will lock you up.”

The Redskins, Leroy Jackson…And Jack Johnson

For those unfamiliar with sports history, Jack Johnson was the World Heavyweight Boxing Champion around the turn of the last century. His life and experiences were chronicled in a movie – “The Great White Hope”.

Unable to find anyone who could defeat Johnson, he was jailed for his relationship with a white woman.

Now, allegations have surfaced that the Washington Redskins, an NFL Football team which was the last in the NFL to bring on black players, because of then owner George Preston Marshall’s racism – fired one of their first black payers for the same “crime”.

Now, to be honest – growing up in the Washington area, during the time before the Redskins recruited Bobby Mitchell – most black folks rooted for and followed the Baltimore Colts with Johnny Unitas, and running back Lenny Moore. while the team had several black players before Bobby Mitchell, it was the thrilling combination of Sonny Jurgensen’s long “bombs” to Mitchell which turned things around.

Leroy Jackson, Former NFL Player, Cut For Getting Caught With White Woman: Nephew

A relative of a former NFL player who was a pioneer for civil rights in sports made a bombshell allegation.

David Irons, the nephew of former Redskins running back Leroy Jackson told Yahoo Sports that his uncle was cut from the team “because they caught him in a hotel room with a white woman.”

“Can you believe that?” Irons said, “They cut him for something that’s so common today. It’s unreal.”

In the Yahoo Sports interview, Jackson seemed to confirm Irons’ claim.

When asked why he was cut, Jackson said, “I think it probably was about a woman… interracial things and not being able to hold onto the ball.”

Jackson made history for being one of the first black players to be drafted for the Washington Redskins. While other teams in the NFL integrated much earlier, the Redskins held out until 1962. Yahoo Sports points out that owner George Preston Marshall was dead-set against hiring any black players until the Kennedy’s administration pressured them to do so.

Jackson wasn’t the first black player drafted, but he was the first to actually play a game.

The NFL has a long history of racism that extends far beyond the Redskins. James Harris, the first black quarterback in the NFL, described the alienation and humiliation he suffered. In once instance, he told 60 Minutes, all of his fellow teammates were put up in a hotel– except for him. He stayed at a YMCA and was asked to clean the equipment.

Today, out of 32 teams, only nine havestarting quarterbacks who are black.

Former Redskins Running Back, Leroy Jackson

The Last Colony (Washington, DC) Vows to Ignore Shutdown

Washington DC is unique among all principalities in the United States in that Congress – specifically the House – must approve all spending for the city. This means, if there is a Government shutdown the non-emergency city services would be shut down as well. This is particularly galling to DC Residents as it is their tax money paid to the city which operates the government, not Federal monies as is not uncommon in the rest of the country. So Congress has the authority to tell the DC Government how to spend it’s own tax money…

This has led to any umber of disasters as the Republican Congress has forced the city to adopt their confederate policies, such as school vouchers and limits on health care.

The Libraries are toast, too!

So…What happens if there is a shutdown in DC?

1. Parks, museums, and the Zoo closed: All Smithsonian museums, federal monuments, the National Zoo, and public facilities in National Parks like Rock Creek Park would be closed. Because tourists probably won’t realize it in advance, they’ll probably flood downtown Starbuckses and Potbellies with bored out-of-towners.

2. Libraries and recreation centers dark: All D.C. libraries and recreation centers will be closed, giving kids fewer places to hang out after school, which means who knows what kinds of trouble.

3. Department of Public Works off duty: Trash collection would be suspended for a week, as well as street sweeping, which this time of year means some very clogged drains.

4. Circulator offline: While the Metro would stay open and WMATA buses would keep running, D.C.’s super-convenient Circulator buses would have to stay in the garage.

5. Permit offices and the DMV shut: The Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs are closed, meaning even longer lines for licenses, permits, and car registrations when the shutdown eventually ends.

6. No parking enforcement: Okay, you probably don’t mind that so much, but it does cost the city money and could lead to shortfalls down the road.

7. University of the District of Columbia shuttered: You might not be the one with your academic year interrupted, but at least sympathize with the poor students who’ll likely have to make up the class time later.

8. Potential loss of city equipment and buildings: The city has a master lease on pieces of equipment like traffic lights, computers, and public safety vehicles, as well as a contractual agreement to use facilities like the Unified Communications Center, which controls all the city’s emergency systems — as long as payments are made on time. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton warns that they could be repossessed if the city lacks the budget authority to do so. And in any case, ongoing worries about the city’s ability to use its own money could make it more expensive to borrow, which the city has to do every year for capital expenditures.

Yeah…This stops, too!


Mayor Gray designates all of District government ‘essential’ to avoid shutdown

Mayor Vincent C. Gray moved Wednesday to designate the entirety of the District government as “essential to the protection of public safety, health, and property,” in a bid to allow city services to continue during a federal shutdown.

Gray announced his position in a letter to the federal Office of Management and Budget, which is handling preparations for a shutdown that could take place if congressional leaders fail to reach an accord by Oct. 1.

“I am writing to inform you that I have determined that all operations of the government of the District of Columbia are ‘excepted’ activities essential to the protection of public safety, health, and property and therefore will continue to be performed during a lapse in appropriations,” the mayor wrote to budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

Gray’s posture is unprecedented for the District government, whose budget comes largely from locally raised taxes and is set by locally elected officials but is ultimately appropriated by Congress. During past shutdowns, in keeping with federal guidance, the city has designated public safety and some other crucial functions as exempt from shutdown but curtailed many city services, including libraries, recreation centers and trash pickup.

The letter comes a day after Gray and D.C. Council members openly debated ways to defy the federal shutdown and keep the city government operating.

On the good side – these guys are out of work!

It is unclear how President Obama’s budget office will respond to Gray’s broad definition of “essential.” Requests for comment made to the agency Tuesday and Wednesday have gone unreturned.

In a statement issued with the letter, Gray said it is “ridiculous” that the District “cannot spend its residents’ own local tax dollars to provide them the services they’ve paid for without Congressional approval.”

“Congress can’t even get its own fiscal house in order; they should be taking lessons from us rather than imposing needless suffering on us,” he said. “I will not allow the safety and well-being of District residents to be compromised by Congress’s dysfunction.”

The MuaveSkins?

Should have known this was going to be a major issue this year when one of my “proto-dates” launched into a tirade about never taking her to a Redskins Game…

That was before I told her I wasn’t the owner of Seasons Tickets even.

Sometimes “it is written” when relationships will be unexpectedly (at least to some folks) short.

Now I see Dan Snyder is again courting disaster – pulling failure, yet once again out of a hot hand…

Its in the Bag, Dan!

Top Republican Messaging Firm To Hold Football Focus Group About Whether Redskins Should Change Name

“It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear,” Luntz Global, the premier strategy shop run by Republican messaging guru Frank Luntz, boasts at the top of its web site. And Luntz Global is interested in figuring out what National Football League fans are hearing.

Luntz Global, which has worked on behalf of the NFL and other sports leagues during labor disputes in recent years, is conducting a football focus group in Alexandria, Virginia, on June 13, where it will pay participants $100 to share their opinions about the current state of America’s most popular professional sports league and the Washington Redskins, the NFL franchise embroiled in controversy and a federal trademark lawsuit involving its name.

An email survey meant to judge the interest and eligibility of potential participants includes multiple questions about the NFL generally, including how many games they watch and attend. It also asks about their “overall opinion of the NFL right now,” their “overall opinion of the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell,” and what they perceive as the “greatest problem or challenge facing the NFL today.”

Excuse me…But isn’t that like the same folks who told Romney…”Its in the bag?”

The Washington Red Tails is beginning to look like a great fall back position.

Washington Beltway UFO!

The Military got folks all in a dither last night, moving one of their secret “drone” planes down the highway. Apparently the aircraft’s unusual shape snarled traffic for hours (which isn’t much of a trick on the Capital Beltway which seems to stay in permanent gridlock.

Moving pictures of ET no less…

UFO On The Beltway? Aircraft On A Truck Sparks Curiosity

Don’t worry, the strange object seen just outside the nation’s capital Wednesday night wasn’t a UFO. It was a drone.

A strangely-shaped saucer-like aircraft was seen in D.C.’s Maryland suburbs around 11 p.m., causing traffic backups and speculation about government coverups. Photos, like like this one widely circulated on Twitter, show the mysterious object being driven along the Capitol Beltway near College Park on the back of a truck.

Officials identified the flying machine to WTOP:

Maryland State Police at the McHenry Barrack have confirmed the aircraft seen on the Beltway was a military airplane being moved from West Virginia to Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Southern Maryland.The plane is 82 feet long, 32 feet wide and 14 feet high. The X-46B is the same type of military vehicle that crashed earlier this week near Salisbury, Md.

The vehicle that had crashed was also a drone. The Patuxent River Naval Air Station is home to a large drone program.

This time the drone was spotted on the highway. Matt Funk, lead test engineer, told NBC4/WRC-TV that “in the coming months” the drone will be seen “flying over the base and surrounding area along the Chesapeake Bay.”

Funk identified the aircraft as a one of Northrop Grumman’s X-47B drones, a type of aircraft often mistaken for a UFO, not an X-46B as was reported by WTOP. And the drone that crashed earlier in the week was Northrop Grumman’s RQ-4A BAMS-D, according to media reports.

When asked about the discrepancy in the type of aircraft, a representative from the Maryland State Police told HuffPost that there’s “nothing in the paperwork that mentions what type of aircraft it was.”

Yup! Besides Aliens imported from the other states in Congress (some of them are too stupid to be human!)– We got our very own Area 51 right here on the Chesapeake Bay!

Washington Nationals Baseball Player Kidnapped in Venezuela

One of the things you have to deal with when working in certain parts of the world is kidnapping. This is particularly prevalent in Central and South America, and has even begun happening in Mexico and several Caribbean countries. There actually is “kidnapping insurance”, but that is little consolation as the kidnappers may or may not return the victim alive even if paid off.

Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos kidnapped from home in Venezuela

WashingFILE - This 2011 file photo shows player Wilson Ramos of the Washington Nationals baseball team. According to Kathe Vilera, a spokeswoman for Ramos' Venezuelan League team, the Aragua Tigers, four armed men kidnapped Ramos Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011 from his home in central Venezuela. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, file)ton Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was abducted by gunmen Wednesday from his home in his native Venezuela.

Ramos, 24, was taken away in an SUV by four armed men in Santa Ines in central Carabobo state, Kathe Vilera, spokeswoman for the catcher’s Venezuelan League team, said through her official Twitter account.

“This is sad, worrisome and true that Wilson Ramos has been kidnapped,” she said. Ramos was playing winter ball with the Aragua Tigers.

She said the rising Major League Baseball star was kidnapped at 6:45 p.m. local time (2315 GMT) and that police have been notified. Santa Ines lies about 150 kilometers (95 miles) west of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas.

A person close to Ramos’ family, who asked not to be named for safety reasons, said the catcher was at home with his father and brothers when several men “entered the house and took him away.”

“As of this hour, there has been no contact” between the kidnapper and Ramos’ family, the person said.

Ramos is considered one of the Nationals’ young building blocks as they try to become a contender in the National League East. As a rookie in 2011, he hit .267 with 15 homers and 52 RBIs in 113 games. He also threw out 19 of 67 runners attempting to steal a base, a 28 percent success rate that ranked third among qualifying catchers in the National League.

CNN Discovers DC’s GO Go Music

30 years later and folks are still “discovering” Go-Go, a music style developed in Washington DC. Sorry about the ad in the beginning. Danced away many a night to this at one or more of DC’s “Cabarets”.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 144 other followers