The City's Best are Back on the Streets

When a police officer fucks up - and boy oh boy can they fuck up royally - the officer in question must be notified of the charges against them. Then the city has 55 days to make a final decision on the officer's employment status. That seems easy enough, right?


Seventeen fired officers were just rehired, with back pay and restored seniority, because the city failed to tell them they were fired after the 55 day deadline.

Officials promised to be more careful about meeting deadlines after a Washington Post article revealed that more than 200 officers who were fired or suspended from 1991 to 1993 had their penalties overturned by courts or labor arbitrators because of lapses.

Assistant Chief Peter Newsham, who is in charge of internal affairs, said the department had been misinterpreting the 55-day deadline. In the 1990s, the department mistakenly interpreted the time rule as a guideline, not a requirement, causing judges and arbitrators to torpedo case after case.

Fantastic. Seventeen officers who have no business having a badge get their guns, handcuffs, and authority back when they've proven they're incapable of bearing such a weighty responsibility.

Oh, hey, Peter Newsham. "Misinterpreting" something is fine once. Letting this happen again is all kinds of stupid. Fool you once, shame on you. Fool you 17 times, go fuck yourself.

In one recent case, arbitrator Michael A. Murphy sided with an officer who had been fired for taking disability leave while working at another job. Murphy ruled that the officer, Toledo Kelley, should get her job back and chastised the department for violating the 55-day rule yet again.

The city should know better, Murphy declared, citing "a cumulative series of awards, over an extended period of time, addressing the very same issue between the very same parties, and reaching a unanimous conclusion." He added that there has been an "unbroken string of precedent, spanning a period of more than twenty years."

An "unbroken string of precedent" is the perfect term to describe the city's incompetence. I need to use it more often.

All things considered, taking disability leave and lying about giving blood to get four hours off are all firable offenses, but are they really that bad in the grand scheme of things? Maybe, maybe not. But some of the other reinstated cops are monsters.

Falsifying forms and records, not turning in off-duty police officers for assaulting citizens, and then there's the case of Officer Ariel Mannes.

...Mannes was investigated in 2003 for retaliating against City Paper reporter Jason Cherkis, according to an arbitration filing. In police trial board proceedings, he admitted using his position as an officer to access Cherkis's personal records and posting the information on a law enforcement Web site.

So a police officer used his position of authority to harass and intimidate a journalist? I can't think of an offense short of sexual assault or murder that would be worse for a police officer to commit. Again, to reiterate, he abused his authority by obtaining Cherkis's information and then abused his authority by egging on other cops to give Cherkis a hard time. Write a negative story about MPD officers and the result is clear, the cops will fuck with you.

This treatment of the Fourth Estate is a big deal. It undercuts the very values that we share as Americans. When someone in authority fucks up, the media has to be there to point it out. When asshole cops start monkeying with a free press, when authoritative figures use intimidation to disembowel the people's right to know, then we as DC residents are totally boned. We depend on a free press just as much as we depend on cops. If a cop can pull something so outlandishly corrupt and evil and keep his job, it really makes you think of the other things DC cops are capable of without being shown the door.

You'd think the MPD would take special care to make sure this asshole loses his job. The MPD failed in that regard and failed the people they're supposed to protect. Bone chilling.

And if Officer Mannes ever shows up on my doorstep, I would gladly sacrifice a frog march to tell him that's he a worthless piece of shit.


  1. This is not just DC, it's pervasive. I read theagitator blog, and it makes me sad and scared at teh same time.

  2. AnonymousMay 21, 2008

    I agree, I don't think Rusty should delete anon... or "annon"'s comments. I mean this guy is always one of the first to post. He must check for updates 5 times a day, or subscribe to the feed. Anon must really love this blog.

  3. AnonymousMay 22, 2008

    even aside from this incident, mannes is a complete joke. absolute trash.

  4. AnonymousMay 23, 2008

    Thanks T Unit ... if only others would carry on the tradition, rusty could never delete all the douche posts

  5. AnonymousMay 24, 2008

    OMG, I agree with Rusty. He's still a fucking idiot though.

  6. It's important to read between the lines and not believe everything Lanier and Fenty feed the press. The more disturbing truth is these officers were part of a group that were fired arbitrarily by MPD during the Ramsey years. You can't fire civil service employees without due process, which includes progressive discipline. Mannes was stupid for posting what he did, but I was among a few Mt. Pleasant residents saw the post and it was done in a tounge and cheek way. Google DC gov't's disciplinary records and you'll find that a latino investigator sent email info on an open case to his cousin who was a gang member - and got a 10 day suspension. If he got 10 days for leaking a case to a felon, why did Mannes get fired?
    They also fired a veteran sgt (Lindsay) for lying about giving blood to get a half day off. Another Sgt working in Northeast went AWOL for a month and missed over 4 court dates (where criminals walked free) and served a 30 day suspension. Why was Lindsay fired? Furthermore, why does DC continue to have hardened criminals on the payroll? You fire two officers for a minor fistfight in a private area of the station, but pay Officer J. Robinson for two years to stay at home after he shot and killed his wife in PG county?

    My point is to try and not demonize these guys for being exhonorated (even if it is a technicality) because a lot of what you've heard in the media is the DC government spinning the fact that they have been totally incompetent in their personnel process - and I'd be really interested to see what minor suspensions may have been served in the past by Peter Newsham or Cathy Lanier in the days they were working the street, and see if they themselves would have been fired in the age of the political chief (Ramsey and Lanier).

  7. To add to annonymous' post, I wonder why there were no comments obtained from any of the 17 cops in question...

  8. Probably because they were NEVER contacted by the press in the 1st place. The media is just a court reporter for MPD.