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Bolstering The Deliveryman's Case in the Prince George's Shooting

The surviving deliveryman in the Prince George's County shooting case involving a top county police and homeland security official has now come forward with a damning account of the incident. With the death of the other Marlo's Furniture deliveryman who was shot by the county's #2 homeland security official, Keith Washington, in the January incident in Accokeek, Robert White can only tell the story as he experienced it.

But the two deliverymen were in regular contact with their dispatcher throughout the confrontation with Washington, and a source with direct knowledge of those contacts tells me that White's account of the day fits well with what the folks back at Marlo's headquarters knew of the unfolding events.

The furniture store's management has declined to respond to questions from reporters about the shooting, but the source, who refused to be named because Marlo's has threatened to fire anyone who speaks to the press about the case, says that Marlo's intends to support its deliverymen fully in this matter and that the store's managers believe Washington shot the deliverymen in cold blood. Washington has consistently failed to respond to requests for comment on the case.

The source says the delivery was starcrossed from the start: When White and Brandon Clark arrived at Washington's house to deliver new bedrails--the original delivery of a bedroom set, on the Sunday prior to the shooting incident, had apparently included scratched bedrails--no one answered the door. The deliverymen called in to report this and the store called the house, also finding no one at home. The Marlo's men went about their routine for the rest of the day and returned to the store to find that Washington's wife had come to the store and "thrown a fit. She yelled and was verbally abusive and claimed she had been home all day," the source said. To calm the customer, the store asked the deliverymen to go back out to the house even though their shift was complete for the day.

At the house, the Marlo's men found Corporal Washington, who, according to the source, was also angry and abusive. Washington found the new goods to be unsatisfactory and claimed that in addition to the originally reported damaged goods, there was also a headboard that had been scratched. Washington wanted the men to take the headboard back, but the dispatcher instructed the deliverymen not to take the headboard because it had not been reported as damaged in Washington's original complaint. The dispatcher instructed the delivery guys to leave the new item with the customer and get out of the house, allowing Washington to sort out his complaints at the store.

After that conversation with the dispatcher, the source said, the argument at the house became more heated, and the deliverymen called Marlo's again to say that Washington was very agitated and insisting that the men take the headboard with them. The dispatcher instructed the men to leave the headboard and get out of the house.

Obviously, there will be more than one version of this story when investigators make their work public or when Washington testifies in any proceedings. But there does appear to be some corroboration from Marlo's of the account provided in White's statement earlier this week.

By Marc Fisher |  February 22, 2007; 12:00 PM ET
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Comments

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One man is dead and one man is wounded because of scratched bed rails, failure on the Washington's part to answer the door when the delivery men arrived, and Washington's failure to report a scratched headboard? This whole issue clearly shows that both Washington and his wife needs anger management classes. But I'm sure that Washington will come out of this smelling like a rose. Washington needs to spend some jail time where I'm sure his anger issue would soon be adjusted.

Posted by: MoCo | February 22, 2007 12:14 PM

Im not seeing the problem here; perhaps it is location. Here in VA where we have guns and concealed carry, I frequently shoot deliverymen who displease me and no one raises such a ruckus; you never hear about it.

Posted by: Stick | February 22, 2007 12:16 PM

If this is handled fairly, there should be a long list of charges against this nutjob, from second degree murder right down to providing false information to the police (telling them the deliverymen had a pipe and had beaten him up)

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | February 22, 2007 12:24 PM

If this is handled fairly, there should be a long list of charges against this nutjob, from second degree murder right down to providing false information to the police (telling them the deliverymen had a pipe and had beaten him up)

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | February 22, 2007 12:25 PM

Marc: Appears there is a bigger picture scandal here as well: How did Washington, a DRIVER for County Executive Johnson, wind up in a top executive post? What was he doing there? How are homeland security funds being spent in PG? Follow the money...

Posted by: gitarre | February 22, 2007 1:21 PM

I work with a retired police officer who just chuckled when he read the account, especially the part about Officer Washington receiving injuries that "required hospitalization." He said that whenever he was called to the scene of an incident that looked bad from the get-go involving police "overzealousness," it was standard procedure to tell the officer involved to go to the hospital and tell them something hurt. Sometimes they would literally have to take him forcibly. That way, he (and his department) could always claim later that "Officer so-and-so received injuries that required hospitalization" to mitigate the fact that he beat down an old lady with his flashlight.

This smells to high heaven.

Posted by: FOP | February 23, 2007 11:45 AM

Thank God Officer Washington didn't throw a cup of ice at them, then he'd really be in for it.

Posted by: Paul | February 23, 2007 11:47 AM

I live in PG county. I have never voted for Jack Johnson because I thought he was an a scheming opportunist. However, now I believe Jack Johnson should be recalled. After all the previous incidents with Keith Washington, Jack has continued to push and promote this nutjob. And now to say that he belongs back on the police force, makes me truly afraid and angry. It is nutjobs like this that continue to cost the county money through settlements and lawsuits, when they misuse their powers.

Keith Washington should have been fired long before this incident, and Jack Johnson should never have been elected County Executive.

Posted by: DcNative | February 23, 2007 12:09 PM

If Washington is not punished for incident, I will have lost all faith in the police force. I will never trust another police officer.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 23, 2007 12:57 PM

I think gitarre is on to something. Just think how often we hear EH Norton or Barbara Mikulski whining about the area not getting enough money for Homeland "Security." Nobody ever asks where it goes. In this instance it looks like a rogue cop got the sweetest moonlighting gig ever.

Posted by: Sinical | February 23, 2007 1:07 PM

If Fairfax County prosecutor Robert Horan's spineless lack of prosecution of the FPD SWAT officer who shot and killed Dr. Sal Culosi is any indication then there will be no justice in PG County either. Cops investigating cops is a blatent conflict of interest. This case should be investigated by a third party from outside PG County so there's at least a hint of transparency. Same thing goes for the PG County prosecutor Glen Ivey. He should be recused and a judge should allow another jurisdiction in Maryland to file charges against Washington.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 23, 2007 2:35 PM

Could PG County be any crazier? Murders are out of control, county police officials randomly kill delivery people, and yet residents are ticketed for allowing their cars to warm up unattended? Totally ridiculous.

At least on the positive side, these jokers are making DC government look good by comparison.

Posted by: Rudy and Blitz | February 23, 2007 2:52 PM

Horan may be spineless, but the Fairfax situation was a lot different. At least the officer involved was carrying out a legitimate police function. The real crime there might lie with the lamebrain who decided to send in a SWAT team to take down an optometrist/bookie.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 23, 2007 3:05 PM

Thanks so much for continuing to shed light on this story. I'm very grateful that these young men will not be forgotten. Given that Chief High is former MPD, rather than part of that good ole boy network with PGPD, I have faith in his ability to reason this matter to a satisfactory end. Unfortunately there will be no justice in this matter for either man -- one has died and the other will probably be maimed for life, one thing for certain is that Keith Washington is a menace and MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE for what he has done.
Again thank you for keeping this story in the news, I appreciate your dillegence.

Posted by: eb | February 23, 2007 3:15 PM

Assuming Washington was "protecting" himself against two delivery men armed with a pipe (maybe it was a bed rail), shouldn't all officers of the law know how to effectively disarm an assilant without fatally shooting the person multiple times in the chest?

Posted by: NoName | February 23, 2007 3:17 PM

dilligence even

Posted by: eb | February 23, 2007 3:24 PM

Police cannot police themselves! Make internal affairs part of an overall inspector general's office. not just in PG but every jurisdiction. Lastly, the homeland security money is buying cameras, amd paying overtime mostly. Add in the occassional security doors and alarm systems too. What it is doing to deter crime and terrorism is beyond me, but will see the video for sure.

Posted by: RobGreg | February 23, 2007 3:51 PM

PG County is a cesspool. We'll take DC if Virginia takes PG County.

Posted by: Miss Maryland | February 23, 2007 3:55 PM

What is this world coming to? It is horrible to think that a person has to die before the appropriate attention is given to Keith Washington's colorful past. Justice must be served this time and Keith Washington has to be punished for his actions! He has affected many lives in a negative way and has to be stopped. Thank you Washington Post for keeping this story alive.

Posted by: Trish | February 24, 2007 9:40 AM

I told the state attorney for Prince George County, that Keith Washington should be taken off the force, should not be carrying a gun, and that he was going to kill someone's child, and it may be her son or daughter. She told me, "I'll take it under advisement". I wounder if she did. I guess not.

Posted by: someone that Keith Washington assulted | February 24, 2007 10:35 AM

Baghdad has nothing on PG County...

Here in the backyard of the White House officers shoot and kill with immunity.

How many times have you heard or read, "The suspect veered his vehicle at officers...". Do you really believe that? And that deadly force was required to sidestep a passing car?

Do you remember the Alexandria pancake house police fatal shooting?

What happened here is nothing new. As is the course of world history - the law is interpreted differently when applied to protection of the king's guards.

Posted by: Maryland Man | February 24, 2007 11:09 PM

First Bernard Kerik, then the pedophile pr guy, now this nutcase. Homeland security is out of control.

Posted by: homey s. | February 25, 2007 5:28 AM

Miss Maryland, PG County is indeed a cesspool, but believe me, we DC residents have no interest in being a part of Maryland (or VA). Enjoy!

Posted by: Rudy and Blitz | February 26, 2007 3:46 PM

Police departments are always complaining about the need for citizens to assist in solving crimes. But how can they expect citizens to assist them when they don't prosecute murderers within their own ranks.

After this Washington guy is charged with murder they should investigate everyone who participated in the early cover up. What officer reported that the delivery men would be charged with assault? Why was a cover up story floated before the delivery men even gave a statement?

If the Prince George's County Police want citizens to trust and support them they must be willing to prosecute criminals within their ranks. A cop who covers for a crooked cop is a crooked cop himself.

Posted by: Citizen X | February 26, 2007 8:31 PM

It was not clear that this killer cop has a wife of the same elk, ranting and raving, making a scene, demonstrating her connection to the cream of PG politics and their ability to get away with murder. What a story. I can say as a black man that if a white political appointed official was involved in a killing of any color person he would have been shown the door. The only white to get away with this kind of a crime lived in the south during the period of black civil disobedience. What an arrogant foolish family. This is a foolish wife and a foolish husband. Poor kids, poor PG County.

Posted by: Concerned | February 27, 2007 6:49 AM

The police in this county can not solve murders or serious crimes, but can kill innocent people. Chief Melvin High, Keith Washington, and many officers inthe Sheriff Dept. need to be fired. I experienced a brutal beating by a Sheriff and then he filed a mountain of false charges against me. The sad part is our State's Attorney tries to prosecute the victims to protect theofficers. So, do the math...the police beat or kill you, then the State (your taxes) prosecutes you to cover up the miss conduct, and then you have to try to adjust and live...ooh and also pay the medical bills and lawyers. I AM MORE AFRAID OF THE PG POLICE AND SHERIFF THAN THE CRIMINALS.

How many police officers or sheriff deputies have been prosecuted in the past couple years for execessive force or filing false charges?

Does anyone know how many complaints were filed aginst PG Officers/Sheriff last year? How about the out come of those complaints?

The worst part of this mess is the police/sheriff train these officers to use the judical process to cover their conduct. They do not respect the citizens and they know the citizen do not repsect themselves because they refuse to file complaint or testify against these Officers...so, they can get away with it. Did anyone read the article where Washington ex- and daughter in Texas admitted he was a loser with a temper....

FIRE MELVIN HIGH, J. Johnson, M. Jackson, and IVEY if they do not vigourously hold abusive officers accountable. Otherwise we are prisoners in this county being killed and no one will hear us scream for help.

Posted by: Abuse victim of PG Sheriff | February 27, 2007 7:48 PM

So if Keith Washington claims he was attached and beaten with a pipe -- do the PG county police have that weapon held in evidence and whose fingerprints are on it?

This singular piece of evidnce should be fairly definitive as to weather Cpl. Washington is telling the truth or not.

Posted by: Concerned Citizen | February 28, 2007 5:14 PM

Another example of why Maryland needs more gun control....

I agree with Stick. Here in Virginia, where we are so awash in guns people come from Maryland and Washington to steal them, this sort of thing almost never gets in the news. With so many guns sneaking out at night and holding up 7/11s, we have at least 50 times the murder rate of PG and DC combined. But Bush controls the media, so nobody knows. Ooops.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 5, 2007 10:24 AM

The first paid job blacks got in South Africa was police.It was to keep other blacks in place by any means so the none colors could continue to kill ,steal and destroy for wealth.The police mind set is to protect business.In Washington,D.C.the tax payers get pickpocketed by paying out thousands of dollars in police brutality cases.The city do not want to go to court because they would loose millions in court cases.We are not tying the police hands.The officials are not holding them accountable for there ruthless behavier.Is this the way professionals are to be allowed to act?

Posted by: Robert CuretonI | March 18, 2007 11:16 PM

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