Pretty Demanding Standards at the D.C. Police Department

It may have been too harsh, but who knows? D.C. Office of Police complaints 21-0072 and 2021 WL6804783 were posted Dec. 10, but I just uploaded them on Westlaw). (I am concentrating here only on one of two complaints against SUBJECT OPERATOR #2).

ComplAINANT #1, his wife COMPLAINANT 2, and their children went to NW, WASHINGTON DC on the night of the 2020 Presidential Election, November 3, 2020. The event featured Go-Go music and one of their children performed. On the spot, the GoGo band played on the back of a truck. There were also protests happening at this time and location….

[At some point in the]ComplAINANT was taken into custody by the MPD in the evening. COMPLAINANT was placed in the wagon of the police car and waited for transportation. SUBJECT-OFFICER #2 came to the rescue, claiming that COMPLAINANT was his responsibility.

SUBJECT #2 approached the wagon, and inquired WITNESS 9 and 10 if COMPLAINANT wore handcuffs or zip-ties. The officers replied that they didn’t know. One officer stood there and told SUBJECT OPERATOR #2 that COMPLAINANT would act aggressively. SUBJECT #2 shined his flashlight in the vehicle. He said, “You got handcuffs on, dude? Or wire cuffs? COMPLAINANT didn’t respond. SUBJECT #2 repeated the statement, “You have handcuffs on?” COMPLAINANT didn’t respond.

SUBJECT OPERATOR #2 asked, “Are You High?” Are you able to understand English? COMPLAINANT stated, “Is the fucking mother of your child high, bitch?” SUBJECT-OFFICER #2 asked, “Are they high?” COMPLAINANT responded, “I’m high together with your mother bitch.” SUBJECT OPERATOR #2 replied, “I am glad that you asked.” Speak to her. COMPLAINANT #1 kept talking and used profanity. SUBJECT-OFFICER #2 stated, “Whatever it is that you want, handsome.” SUBJECT #2 said it in a singing tone: “Have fun!” COMPLAINANT stopped speaking. SUBJECT-OFFICER #2 sung, saying, “Have fun!” COMPLAINANT spoke using profanity as well as racial slurs. SUBJECT OPERATOR #2 replied, “That is fine.” COMPLAINANT briefly stopped speaking. Then he began rambling once more. SUBJECT-OFFICER #2 stated, “Make sure to say hello to everyone for me.” COMPLAINANT #1 kept on rambling, using profanity.

#1 SUBJECT OFFICER said that, “Is this the most terrible thing you could really think of?” Seriously? Seriously? COMPLAINANT #1 stated, “Stop the Fuck Up Now.” “Is this bothering you, nigger?” SUBJECT #2 sighed and said “Nothing bothers me.” COMPLAINANT said, “You fucking nigger. You nigger, shut up! SUBJECT #2 OFFICER said: “Whatever your say, handsome.” COMPLAINANT continued to ramble and use racial slurs. SUBJECT OFFICER #2 laughed….


MPD members shall: [b]”Be polite, orderly and courteous in dealings with public.” Specifically, “[m]The embers must perform their duties in a quiet manner, and remain calm despite any provocation. MPD General Order 201.26 (effective March 5, 2011) Duties and Responsibilities of Departmental Members. Part V Section C Conduct towards the Public. 1. Furthermore, all members must [r]Avoid harsh, abusive, vulgar, profane or insolent speech. No members shall use any terms, nor resort to name calling, that might be taken to mean derogatory or disrespectful or infringe on the dignity of another person. Id.At Part V Section C. These principles are also reflected in the guidelines for arrest procedures. They state that “prisoners or suspects shall be treated with fairness and humanity; they will not be humiliated and ridiculed, taunted, embarrassed, or tainted.” Id.Part V Section D Conduct In Arrest Procedures 1(a)(1)…..

SUBJECT #2 OFFICER not only responded in an inexcusable manner to COMPLAINANT #1 using profanity, statements about his mother and made taunting comments to COMPLAINANT. SUBJECT OPERATOR #2 engaged in an inappropriate manner with COMPLAINANT 1. These expectations call for that, even though COMPLAINANT #1 used disrespectful language or conduct, SUBJECT OPERATOR #2 ought to have been professional. In this moment of high tension between law enforcement officers and the public, the officer’s conduct must be superior to the public.

According to the General Order regarding the Duties & Responsibilities and Members of the MPD, the personal conduct and attitude police officers have is vital in order to improve the relations between them and their communities. The second subordinate officer, SUBJECT OFFER #2, abused his authority and displayed a complete lack of professionalism as expected from the MPD. In conclusion, SUBJECT OFFICER #2 engaged in conduct and used language toward COMPLAINANT #1 that was insulting, demeaning or humiliating in violation of D.C. Code § 5-1107 and MPD General Order 201.26.

{SUBJECT-OFFICER #2 offers no defenses. This examiner is aware of the fatigue members must have felt during COMPLAINANT #1’s time in custody. The circumstances are not an excuse for a lack of professionalism. If an officer is unable to carry out their responsibilities with professionalism and respect under stress, alternatives such as relying on fellow officers and excusing themselves from the situation, counseling, de-escalation training or seeking mental health leave may be appropriate.}

His reaction to the incident (“Calling him handsome” and telling his to have a pleasant day “in a taunting fashion”) was understandable, given that he had been prodded (“fucking mom,” “I’m high up with your mother,” etc. You nigger Shut up! It’s perhaps a good thing that police are requiring a high degree of verbal restraint, even when provoked (and I again note that the penalty might have been comparablely mild).