I can't fucking believe this. Remember when Alan Senitt died and his murderers were apprehended the next day? The MPD did a pretty good job patting itself on the back. Even I was surprised at how effective our police officers were.
Naturally, the Metro Police Department fucked up super-royally and it cost Alan Senitt his life. They had the killers' address before Senitt's murder.
Here's my favorite excerpt:
Police responded by telling her [a previous victim] they could not get an arrest warrant without first doing surveillance at the apartment building and then conducting a lineup to determine whether she could identify suspects. She said she was sure she could identify her attackers and was waiting for a call from the police.
OK. I assume someone reading this knows a little something about Constitutional law. I've only taken a few Civil Liberties classes, so my expertise on the subject is a bit rusty (so to speak). But I'm pretty sure that the MPD is wrong. I would say that buying "male enhancement products" with a stolen credit card represents probable cause. By the way, any prosecutor can tell you that witness identification is incredibly unreliable, so I don't know what the officers were thinking there either.
At the very least, if you go in with a warrant and they have a stolen credit card and a handgun...that's two arrestable offenses right there. Alan Senitt lives.
The Andy Solberg foot-in-mouth incident is still getting a lot of press too. For anyone who forgot, he told 2nd District citizens that "This is not a racial thing to say that black people are unusual in Georgetown." He was immediately reassigned to Alaska*.
I responded to his comments by saying "If I had the opportunity to take back every stupid and/or offensive thing I ever said and replace it with something that made sense, I would be a happier man. Unfortunately, I can't do that. Neither can you, Mr. Solberg. I hope you get fired."
I laid the righteous indignation on so thick you can almost smell it coming off the screen. I should learn to take it down a few notches.
Still, the more I think about it, the more I hope he is severely disciplined. If not fired, then suspended without pay. There was an excellent DCist comment thread on this yesterday. Some defended Solberg. The gist of their argument was that Solberg was being attacked by the political correctness brigade. He was just saying what everyone else was thinking and what was known to be true.
That, of course, is absolutely ridiculous.
Because it's not true. I see black people in Georgetown all the time. Are they a minority? Of course. But Solberg's comment implied that seeing one black person in this affluent area is reason to be alarmed. That's indefensible and encourages whites to be fearful of blacks. Solberg is stoking racial tension. That's the last thing this city needs right now.
I was most disappointed by the thoughts of Marc Fisher. I was disappointed because, well, I kind of have a man-crush on him. He doesn't take Washington too seriously and he loves pointing out how silly the city can be. He is an awesome "must read" guy.
But his defense of Solberg was stupid**.
Solberg apologized for his "insensitive" and "inartful" comments, but that's not enough for those who are eager to see bias and to play gotcha.
I am not eager to see bias nor am I eager to play "gotcha." What Solberg said, even if he immediately regretted it, had the effect of making black people feel awkward and unwanted in white areas. That isn't good policing. That isn't commendable human behavior.
Then Fisher uses anecdotal evidence from Solberg's friends and neighbors. Solberg's black friends and neighbors. They say Solberg isn't racist. That may very well be true, but it doesn't really matter if he's racist or not. He said something racist at a time when everyone was hanging on his every word. I don't care if he's a good man. When the pressure was on, he fucked up. He may have been a "good cop" before, but his "inartful" comment has stripped that away.
*I stole that joke from Stripes. He was really reassigned to school security.
**The rest of Fisher's column is typically excellent. Only the Solberg part sucks.