D.C. police captain on desk duty
Was it a locker room ruckus between feuding co-workers or a serious threat and violation of a command position?
The D.C. police trial board is trying to sort that out in the case of a D.C. police captain who was placed on administrative duties this week pending the outcome of the internal probe.
Officials placed Capt. Burt Henry, of the Special Operations Division and recent commander of the SWAT unit, on "non-contact" duties, meaning he has no contact with the public. This follows allegations that he threatened a subordinate officer during a December 2009 locker room argument, officials and police sources said.
The probe stems from a complaint filed by the Fraternal Order of Police to the D.C. Council last January, which alleged that Henry confronted Officer Steven Hebron. During the confrontation, Henry allegedly cursed at Hebron, pointed his finger in his face and "gestured at him to fight," according the FOP complaint.
The Washington City Paper published a long piece about the dust-up early last year, including the vulgar language attributed to Henry.
Henry allegedly was angry that Hebron had made comments about the captain controlling overtime shifts, according to the FOP complaint.
Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the labor committee of Lodge 1 of the Fraternal Order of Police, questions why it took police officials so long to put Henry into a non-contact position or to complete a probe. The union heads also questioned whether previous complaints filed through the chain of command were handled adequately.
"I think it's very hard to explain to rank and file and to public the how someone has had full police powers [for this long]," Baumann said. "If it was an officer he would have been placed on non-contact as soon as the allegation was made."
Police officials declined to discuss the details of the probe or the allegations.
| February 3, 2011; 5:36 PM ET
Categories: Clarence Williams, Internal Affairs, The District
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