D.C. Police Chief: Alleged Misconduct by Officers ‘Devastating’
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said Friday that separate misconduct investigations of two officers, including one accused of running a prostitution operation from his apartment, were devastating for the entire department.
“It only takes one cop to do one thing like this to shake everybody in our community,” Lanier told reporters as police revealed that a third officer had been disciplined in connection with one of the investigations.
A search warrant affidavit unsealed Thursday said an officer is under investigation after police this week found a runaway teenager at his apartment. The girl told police the officer took nude pictures of her and offered to set her up for sex with other men for money, court papers said.
The girl said she had met other women at the apartment who told her that they worked as prostitutes for the officer, and police found a mirror bearing names of other women who the teenager said were prostitutes, the affidavit stated.
The officer has not been arrested or charged, and police have not released his name. He had been assigned to the department’s Seventh District in southeast Washington but has been out of work on leave for more than a year at least partly because of an injury, Lanier said.
A second officer, Marc Washington, was charged in federal court this week with producing child pornography. He was accused of taking nude pictures of a 15-year-old female runaway. He responded to her apartment while on-duty after she returned home. Another officer connected to that investigation has been placed on non-contact status, meaning he doesn’t have police powers on the street.
Authorities said Washington asked to speak with the girl privately in her bedroom, then directed her to undress so that he could take photographs of any injuries. He later deleted some of the images from his camera in an apparent attempt to hinder the investigation, according to prosecutors.
Washington’s public defender did not immediately return a call but has described him as a military veteran and accomplished police officer with no criminal record.
A judge released Washington from custody but placed him under strict monitoring, a decision appealed by prosecutors who wanted him held without bail.
“The fact that the defendant is a police officer and committed crimes in such a brazen manner demonstrates the danger he poses to the community whether or not he possesses police powers,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.
Lanier said the prostitution allegations occurred while the officer was off-duty, something she said can be harder for the department to ferret out and prevent.
“It is a lot more difficult for us to manage that and sometimes find out about conduct that’s unethical off-duty,” Lanier said.
The officer has not yet been arrested because police are still gathering information.
“We need the evidence to do so,” Lanier said.
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