Prosecutors are expected to drop criminal gun and drug charges against dozens of people because of an internal D.C. police investigation into seven officers accused of misconduct.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said it began reviewing pending cases after learning that officers from the Seventh District’s Crime Suppression Team were under internal investigation.
“In determining how to proceed with each case, we take a number of factors into consideration, including burden of proof, witness availability, likelihood of success on the merits at trial, and the applicable law,” U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia spokesman Bill Miller said in a statement. “Our review is ongoing, but at this point we expect to dismiss dozens of gun and drug possession cases.”
D.C. police Chief Robert Contee said in September that seven officers from the department’s Seventh District station were accused of confiscating illegal guns without making arrests or seeking an arrest warrant. The district covers much of Southeast D.C., including Anacostia, Barry Farm, Naylor Gardens and Washington Highlands.
In a statement to WTOP, Deputy Director of Communications Paris Lewbel said when the department first notified the U.S. Attorney’s Office about the Internal Affairs Division’s investigation into the matter in September, D.C. police was told that it would be working on “a case-specific review of any cases involving the officers to ensure they could prosecute each case.”
“We continue to work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office on this internal investigation,” Lewbel said. “As a matter of practice, MPD does not discuss specific elements of ongoing investigations.
The D.C. Police Union defended the work of the officers and charged that the actions of the U.S. Attorney’s Office are an affront. A statement from the union said that allegations against the officers are unclear, and all seven officers properly followed policy and the directions of their commanders.