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"Few Appointments as Important As This One"

Rosalind Helderman

Oh what a difference three years makes...

In an interview Tuesday, Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) was insistent that we in the media have overstated Cpl. Keith A. Washington's role in county government. Washington, had been charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with the shooting of two unarmed Marlo Furniture deliverymen at the police officer's home in January.

Washington supported Johnson for county executive in 2002, while many of his police colleagues opposed the former state's attorney, who had pursued several police brutality cases. In 2004, Johnson appointed Washington to a newly created county position: deputy homeland security director.

In the recent interview, Johnson played down the importance of that job, calling it "only a liasion" position between the police department and the homeland security department.

"I've said it over and over, you folks are the ones who elevate the position," Johnson said Tuesday. "Those are the liaison positions to that office. That's all it is. You guys take titles and make it huge."

He also said: "I never promoted him. He was never promoted as a police officer. You all call it a top job."

But that's not exactly what Johnson said in 2004, when he named Washington to the job, citing his "extensive military background."

"There are few appointments as important as this one," Johnson said in the press release.

"With his extensive experience and his local ties, Keith Washington will lead this county in the right direction insuring that the office of Homeland Security provides the protection and required services that the county needs and desires," he continued.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 27, 2007; 11:26 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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