DC Police captain suing over incident he says led to retaliation from supervisor

A D.C. police captain who is suing the District and DC’s police chief, is now speaking publicly about what he said was retaliation from his superior for how he handled a robbery call earlier this year.

In April, D.C. Police Captain Steve Andelman filed a civil suit in D.C. Superior Court, against the District of Columbia, Chief Robert Contee, Assistant Chief Wilfredo Manlapaz, and Commander Duncan Bedlion

According to the suit, Andelman was working the afternoon of March 7 when a call came in about four people rushing into Georgetown Opticians on Wisconsin Avenue and taking off with merchandise.

“I was the supervisor in charge. From what I heard on the radio, it appeared to be some sort of flash mob,” he said while speaking with WTOP news partner NBC Washington. Andelman told officers not to pursue, pointing out a D.C. law enacted last year.

The law updated D.C. police’s general order, which says that pursuits should be treated as a last resort.

The primary guidelines say that pursuits should only be done when the suspect(s) pose an immediate threat of death or serious injury to others, and there is probable cause that the crime involved an actual or threatened attack that could result in death or serious injury.

“Even a violent offense, most violent offenses, we cannot pursue,” Andelman stressed.

His supervisor, 2nd District Commander Duncan Bedlion, intervened and told officers to pursue what turned out to be a stolen vehicle. The vehicle flipped on the George Washington Parkway and two men were caught.

One of them, a teen, was injured in the crash. Speaking at the scene, Cmdr. Bedlion said they were armed. Days later, a news release stated the suspects were not armed.

According to NBC Washington, the whistleblower complaint Andelman filed claims Bedlion directed him to alter how the initial report was characterized.

Andelman requested a temporary restraining order after what he describes as weeks of intimidation from his commander and a transfer refusal.

“It could’ve been a use of force, it could’ve been anything. I saw something that was wrong,” Andelman said.

Cpt. Andelman’s attorney has since filed a motion asking the judge to hear oral arguments from both parties.

D.C. police and Cmdr. Bedlion declined to comment to NBC Washington due to the ongoing investigation.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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