Police Union Chief: Rawlings Case a "Complete Failure" by Fenty, Lanier
Kris Baumann, head of the D.C. police union, hailed the decision by federal prosecutors yesterday not to charge two off-duty officers in the fatal shooting of 14-year-old DeOntÃ© Rawlings as a vindication for the officers. In an interview with the Post yesterday afternoon, Baumann had a number of critical things to say about the way Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier handled the high-profile case. Below are some exerpts:
* "It's a complete failure by the mayor and chief of police. The first issue is [that] within an hour of the mayor releasing their names [last fall], a death threat was made to a family member of one of the officers. That the police did not act to protect the information is a failure and sends a terrible message to the other officers in this city. The other failure was the mayor going and making comments in a continuous parade of press conferences, which kept it all alive and continued the public outry. What the mayor should have done as a leader is lead by making tough decisions. He should have stood up and said, 'We have a good department, a department that disciplines its officers at a rate higher than other places in the nation. If they did wrong, then they'll be disciplined. But until then we'll stand by them.'"
* "Why is the mayor not out with the same energy and enthusiasm and number of press conferences talking about how the officers were vindicated and not held responsible for any wrongdoing instead of hiding in his office?"
* In response to being asked if the officers want to return to active duty, Baumann said: "Yes. They are police. Their feeling toward the mayor and chief is one thing, but we don't work for the chief or mayor. We work for the city and the people."
* Of the police department's ongoing internal investigation: "I don't know how they can have an objective investigation after management came out and criticized [the officers] in the media early on. They can't be objective."
David A Nakamura
May 2, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Crime and Public Safety , David Nakamura
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