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Police Union Chief: Rawlings Case a "Complete Failure" by Fenty, Lanier

Baumann. (File photo: By James A. Parcell--TWP)

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 DeOnté 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."

By David A Nakamura  |  May 2, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety , David Nakamura  
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Yes where was Chief Lanier yesterday? At a press conference announcing the vindication of her officers? Nope. Probably rushing around the city to hold the hands of women whose windows and sons had been shot up in the never-ending warfare on the streets of DC.

Posted by: Jay | May 2, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I agree. I have been really surprised at how little support Fenty and Lanier have given to two cops who easily could have been killed, and how much they've done for the family of the kid shooter instead. These officers have given a lot to the city in their long careers. Where is the thanks and respect for that? Fenty conveys his thanks for the officers' public service by paying for the funeral of someone who tried to kill them??

Posted by: Karen | May 2, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Shame on you Chief! Shame, shame, shame. I certainly hope you are doing WHATEVER you can behind the scenes to make sure that these two DC CITIZENS who joined the department before you did AND their families are safe, secure and WELL taken care of because YOU had a hand in putting your officers families in harms way. I am still in shock over your actions. Shame on you!

Posted by: dcresmpd | May 2, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

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