2 cruisers totaled, 4 DC officers investigated for street racing

Four D.C. police officers are being investigated after they crashed two cruisers in a Northeast neighborhood Thursday, apparently while street racing, police said.

The officers have also been ordered to not have contact with the public, according to the department.

“The officers were assigned to the Sixth District, and were transported to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries,” said Dustin Sternbeck, director of communications with D.C. police. “They’ve been placed on non-contact status during the internal affairs investigation — it appears they may have been racing their cruisers.”

The posted speed limit in the area of the crash is 25 mph, according to the incident report. The drivers and passengers were not wearing seat belts, and they did not make any statements on the scene.

On Monday afternoon, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser was asked about the incident and said, “If we had officers who were engaging in this dangerous behavior, it would be, in my view, a dereliction of their duty, and they have to be held accountable.”

While awaiting the results of an internal affairs investigation: “It appears we had officers who were using their government property, putting themselves at risk, and obviously putting anybody else on the street at risk, and that’s unacceptable.”

Earlier, the head of the Sixth District sent an email to command staff, expressing frustration with the situation.

“[Thursday], two 6D scout cars were totaled because officers decided instead of fighting crime, patrolling their beats, or engaging the community, they decided to drag race each other on Anacostia Avenue at 5 p.m. in the evening,” wrote 6D Commander Durriyyah Habeebullah.

“What does this say to all of the members of MPD who are passionate about their job and work hard every day to make a difference,” Habeebullah wrote in the internal email, which was first reported by Fox 5.

In her email, the commander said she had talked with D.C. police Chief Robert Contee about the incident, and expected supervisors to deal with officers who speed and drive recklessly.

“These are not our cars and we are all liable for driving them with negligence but most importantly, we are all impacted by the actions of each other,” Habeebullah wrote.

Below is an illustration of what happened.

(Courtesy D.C. police)

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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