D.C. Police Rebuff the Legislative Auditor, Refuse Again to Release Report on Police Action At Inaugural Protests

July 10, 2017 3:39 PM
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the D.C. Council’s auditor are stalemated in a battle of wills over release of a report on police use of special equipment, especially at 12th and L Streets and Franklin Square Park, N.W., during the January 20, 2017, Inauguration protests. Critics charge such “riot gear” is used more to terrify the public than protect officers and keep the peace.
 
The Auditor reported last week (July 3) that it had recommended in April that police provide a public report required by law when riot gear is used, but Chief Peter Newsham  has declined, arguing the law doesn’t apply.  
 
The requirement has been law since 2005 when the D.C. Council’s Judiciary Committee (chaired then by Kathy Patterson, now the D.C. Auditor) wrote, and the Council passed, the First Amendment Rights and Police Standards Act.  Police action during the early Bush years had included many tactics questioned by experts and public witnesses in Council hearings including over-use of riot gear and pepper spray, mass arrests without warnings, confinement of large groups in harsh conditions, undercover surveillance of protesters’ planning, and more. Continue...