Colleagues Defend Officers in Shooting (The Washington Post) 10/07/07
The District's police chief opts for lean and mean (Editorial, The Washington Post) 09/29/07
Lanier's Plan Is Praised For Cutting Bureaucracy (TWP) 09/25/07
Overhaul Set for District Police (TWP) 09/24/07
New unit supervisor to serve under GLLU commander (Metro Weekly) 05/03/07
Policing the Police (Rosendall, Metro Weekly) 04/05/07
GLAA is a Lambda Rising Affiliate! Click here and we'll get a commission on every item you purchase.
NAACP task force criticizes Lanier for comments on De Onté Rawlings shooting
October 10, 2007
Cathy L. Lanier, Chief
D.C. Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Avenue NW, 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20001
Dear Chief Lanier:
I am writing this letter on behalf of the NAACP Metropolitan Police and Criminal Justice Task Force and its members, most of whom are also members of the Biased Policing Task Force.
Under the banner, "Officers in District Shooting Defended," the October 7, 2007 issue of the Washington Post quoted you as saying that the two officers involved in the fatal shooting of De Onté Rawlings have had "nothing but a stellar history." You are further quoted as saying: "Haskel has always been a great worker, a great guy, with no discipline problems, no issues. . . . The same thing with Clay. He is a nice guy and a hardworking police officer."
In addition to the investigations of the shooting being conducted by the office of the U.S. Attorney and the F.B.I., your department is reported to be conducting its own probe to determine whether departmental rules were violated. You are reported to have said that "the investigation will sort out exactly what happened," and that you are "looking forward to a final outcome of the investigation so we can get a final result and move forward."
Chief, by publicly praising officers Haskel and Clay, you have at a minimum compromised your department's investigation. Your statement that both men are excellent officers implies to the ordinary reader and to your subordinates conducting the investigation that it is unlikely that officers Haskel and Clay did anything wrong. This is especially injudicious at a time when the public knows very little about what happened, and what we do know –such as the absence of the gun that Rawlings is said to have fired– raises real questions about the officers' conduct.
Like you, we want the investigation to "sort out exactly what happened." We urge you to issue a press statement that by your remarks to the Post you did not intend to prejudice your department's investigation, and that you will be guided by its findings as well as the findings of the other investigations now underway.
We last met with you on September 17. In that this shooting occurred just hours after our meeting with you adjourned, I think this is a wake-up call that there is far more work to be done in the area of police and community relations. My colleagues and I would be pleased to meet with you as soon as possible to discuss this current matter.
The Rev. Mark A. Thompson, Chair
NAACP Metropolitan Police & Criminal Justice Review Task Force