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Lanier, Nickles Defend Actions of Police, Fenty at Fender-Bender

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Attorney General Peter Nickles are defending the actions of the D.C. Police Department regarding a fender-bender involving Mayor Adrian Fenty on Sunday night. Photographs and a roster of vehicle occupants were not taken at the scene, as required by department regulations, and the mayor's office's account of the accident differs from the official police report.

On Sunday the mayor's office released a statement saying that Fenty's Lincoln Navigator had been involved in an accident in which another vehicle ran a stop sign and pulled out in front of the mayor's vehicle, causing the collision. The police report said Fenty's SUV was the "striking vehicle" in the crash with a Nissan Pathfinder driven by 19-year-old James Utt Jr. Officer Brian Thompson, who is part of the mayor's security detail, "couldn't determine who was at fault" and did not issue traffic tickets.

Following the mayor's signing today of the Omnibus Crime bill, Lanier defended Fenty's actions and the actions of her department's officer.

"[Fenty] stayed on the scene. The [mayor's] children that were on the scene, were taken from the scene, but he stayed on the scene while the other driver didn't," Lanier said. "There are no procedures that were not followed. We thought that it was important to get the report taken and then file the supplemental report when we got the information."

"The important thing was to take the report, and it was taken, The photos were not taken because the other driver left the scene. The mayor stayed on the scene. He could have left because it was a minor fender-bender -- if this was anybody else, they could have exchange information and left the scene."

Nickles also downplayed the incident. "It is a nothing deal. This is not the Supreme Court Heller case involving guns. This is a minor fender-bender. The key thing is that nobody was injured, no one was hurt, and all procedures were followed."

By Hamil Harris  |  August 6, 2009; 4:09 PM ET
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Read this story for the truth on MPD policies and procedures as they relate to government vehicles and moving violations/accidents:

Also, pay attention to the portion of the report where they mention the diagram in lieu of pictures as is mandated by policy.

Posted by: southyrndiva | August 6, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

What do you expect? They're all thick as thieves. I cannot wait until Fenty is voted out of office and all of his "posse" are terminated by extension!

Posted by: schooletal | August 6, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me there's been a lot of practice with MPD covering things up for the mayor. Is it me or does the chief look like she doesn't believe herself in this video?

Posted by: southyrndiva | August 6, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

In another article a poster made a valid point. Where did the mayor's security detail come from if the mayor was driving? Remember he ditched his security detail. Was he in the car, riding behind Fenty in a car or did Fenty call Officer Brian Thompson to get to the scene? If that's the case, I'm sorry, not only were his kids in his car, the other driver was 19. Why wouldn't anyone involved in an accident with a 19 year old driver not do everything procedurally correct because basically he was in an accident with a kid, who has parents. A real adult might have handled that situation a little differently. There is no follow up especially when the other driver leaves the scene? Now he's not talking.
Perhaps he has a lawyer too. Perhaps I'm making too much of it. But it fits his pattern of damage control(in comes Nickles), cover ups and skirting over the issue. He certainly did his usual stumbling when interviewed.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 6, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

And how did the 19 year old, who studied for his driver's test just a few years ago, come to leave the scene - in an accident with the mayor, no less?

My guess is that the mayor told him, "Hey, no problem, kid, you can go now."

I'm hoping James Utt Sr is going to stand up for his son against the mayor.

Posted by: efavorite | August 7, 2009 4:15 AM | Report abuse

Candycane, the cellular records would tell the story if we were dealing with honest people. We're not. GREAT point about showing a younger man how to deal with an accident! Efavorite, I'm hoping Mr. Utt Sr. will stand for his son too. After all, a good attorney will make a lot of sense through the diagram drawn on the original report, before the spinning and postulating began!!

Posted by: southyrndiva | August 7, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

How did I know Lanier would get involved in this.. and the biggest annoyance is they always give you the "all procedures were followed" bs... WHO's procedures? I mean, you've got to be a deaf and blind idiot if you still have even an ounce of confidence in this Mayor, Chief & AG.

Posted by: boo2 | August 7, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This response raises more questions. If a police report was not needed, why did Fenty ask for it in the first place? Why his security team and not the beat cop? I'm sure if the Mayor called Lanier and asked for the closest available cop to report to the scene it would have taken only a minute or two for someone to arrive. Why were the children removed from the scene? Who removed them? They couldn't take pictures because the "other driver" left the scene? Why didn't they take pictures of the Mayor's SUV? Did the "other driver" leave the scene with permission from Fenty or did he just take off?

Posted by: tm7333 | August 7, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Chief Lanier you are not telling the truth. Here is what General Order 401.3 (Traffic Crash Reports)signed by you and published to the Department April 3, 2009, requires. Page 4

A traffic crash report shall be prepared on a PD Form 10, regardless of the damage, when:
Damage to a motor vehicle or other property has occurred, and the operator or owner of the damaged vehicle or property is not at the scene of the crash;
District or Federal Government-owned motor vehicle or property is involved, including a motor vehicle of a governmental corporation, such as the U.S. Postal Service [In this case, a PD Form 101 (Report of Violation of the Traffic Regulations by Operators of Vehicles Owned by the District of Columbia or U.S. Government) shall be prepared in duplicate as outlined in GO-SPT-303.01 (Traffic Enforcement);

Page 8-9 of the General Order Outline the requirements when U.S. or DC Govt. vehicles are involved. Page 13 of the Genral Order provided the procedures for Police Department Vehciles.

So your statement about exchanging information and leaving the scene is a lie. You are covering for the mayor, you have consistantly shown that you have no integrity. You don't support your officers when things get tough (Haskel & Clay and your full support of OUC practices that place your officers lives in danger) are examples of this. You are a disgrace to those of us who also wear the MPD badge. You should resign now and spare us anymore embarrassment.

Posted by: Jet_Mech | August 7, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Jet_Mech, you are right! If the accident involves two civilian vehicles those involved don't have to call the police if there are no injuries, they just exhange insurance information. But it was a D.C. government vehicle, so Fenty HAD to call the police. And the police HAD to prepare an accident report. What if the security guard's report was done after the fact? Meaning the kid and the Mayor exchanged insurance informaition and both drove off, and then somebody told the Mayor that he needed an accident report? So that it why there is this incomplete accident report with no mention of the names of the passengers, no pictures etc. It was an after the fact attempt by the Mayor to cover up yet another "mistake."

Posted by: tm7333 | August 7, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Jet_Mech: Thank you. I guess that makes it crystal clear.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 7, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Well, everyone, how are they going to spin this one? Jet_Mech has made the procedures crystal clear. Hopefully Fox 5 is reading this blog. How many other MPD policies and procedures have been violated on how many other isssues?

Posted by: southyrndiva | August 7, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

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