Support Your Local Police
It turns out that there is a disciplinary panel, staffed by DC police, that has routinely blocked disciplinary actions against police officers in the depart convicted of crimes.
The old adage that, “Self-regulation is to regulation as self-importance is to importance,” applies here.
In fact, I would argue that the police are even less capable of regulating themselves than the Wall Street banksters:
The two sex workers in Washington, D.C., suspected that the drunk, bearded man in the silver Nissan Maxima was a police officer. Standing outside the car on a December night in 2015, they could see his black boots and blue cargo pants. Then there was the way he held his gun as he pointed it at them. Exactly how a cop is trained to do, one of the workers thought, according to internal police records.
After they’d called 911 reporting that a belligerent man had solicited sex, threatened one of them with a gun and then accused them of stealing his phone, the Metropolitan Police Department officer dispatched to the scene ran the Nissan’s plates, the documents show. Sure enough, it belonged to Ronald Faunteroy, a fellow MPD officer.
The officer on the scene immediately notified Agent Charles Weeks, a 20-year veteran tasked with investigating his fellow officers. Weeks’ investigative notes suggest he threw himself into the case, seemingly dispelling any notion that there was a buddy-buddy culture within the department that would protect Faunteroy.
That very day, Weeks recorded video interviews with both of the sex workers who interacted with Faunteroy, according to Weeks’ investigative files. In the weeks that followed, he reviewed surveillance footage from two cameras in the area and interviewed every officer involved with the case. He acquired equipment records, incident reports, 911 audio, dispatch logs and property records. He had even photocopied the notebooks of the officers responding at the scene, scouring through their chicken-scratched notes to understand what exactly happened.
The Metropolitan Police Department swiftly took action, moving to terminate Faunteroy. The Internal Affairs Division determined that “a preponderance of evidence existed to sustain the allegations” that he violated D.C. laws and department policy.
Yet a powerful tribunal of three high-ranking officers, known as the Adverse Action Panel, overruled the department’s decision to fire Faunteroy. The officer in charge of the panel: Robert J. Contee, who has since risen to become chief of police. Faunteroy was stripped of his title of master patrol officer, a high-ranking patrol officer paid extra to “provide effective coaching, mentoring, and guidance to other officers,” but the department roster shows he’s since regained the title.
Internal records show that MPD’s Disciplinary Review Division sought to terminate at least 24 officers currently on the force for criminal misconduct from 2009 to 2019. In all but three of those cases, the records show, the Adverse Action Panel blocked the termination and instead issued much lighter punishment — an average of a 29-day suspension without pay. These officers amassed disciplinary records for domestic violence, DUIs, indecent exposure, sexual solicitation, stalking and more. In several instances, they fled the scenes of their crimes.
Details from misconduct investigations like these have typically remained hidden from the public, with police departments citing personal privacy laws. In April, a ransomware attack on D.C. police by a group called Babuk resulted in the hacking of 250 gigabytes of police data. Reveal gained access to the entire data trove through DDoSecrets, a transparency nonprofit made up of journalists and technologists unaffiliated with the hack. Reveal found the misconduct investigations and disciplinary decisions buried in tens of thousands of records that included a controversial gang database, intelligence briefs on right-wing activists and emails describing the conduct of a specialized police unit trying to suppress robberies.
Mike Gottert, who served as the director of MPD’s Disciplinary Review Division from 2016 to late 2019, said he and many within the department’s management were frustrated by how infrequently officers ended up being fired after a panel hearing. “Obviously, when we recommend people to be terminated, we think they should be terminated,” he said. “We’d go through this whole process, and the panel would say no for whatever reason.”
Gottert provided additional records from his tenure that show the Adverse Action Panels overturned nearly two-thirds of all terminations his department sought.
Policing in DC, and in much of the nation, is deeply and profoundly corrupt.