Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has concluded its investigation into NBC anchor David Gregory without an arrest.
Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier’s spokesman Gwendolyn Crump emailed Wednesday morning: “Emily, MPD has completed the investigation into this matter, and the case has been presented to the OAG for a determination of the prosecutorial merit of the case.”
I’ve asked Ms. Crump several follow-up questions about the case, including why Mr. Gregory was not interviewed and why a search warrant was not issued for the subject’s home and office.
Ted Gest, the spokesman for the District’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG), told the decision whether or not to prosecute Mr. Gregory will come “possibly this week.”
Richard Gardiner, a firearms attorney, said that MPD referring the case to the OAG without arrest is not unexpected. “This is not unusual for high-profile cases. The police investigate the facts and give the results to the prosecutor to decide whether to bring charges,” he explained.
He added that, “It’s also routine in cases like this where the crime was not committed in police officers’ presence.” If the OAG decides to prosecute, a warrant for Mr. Gregory’s arrest will be requested.
I asked Mr. Gardiner if it was normal that the police would not interview the subject, Mr. Gregory, as part of their investigation. “I’m not surprised at all they didn’t interview him,” he said. “The police usually only interview people who are not sophisticated and wealthy because the police figure they don’t have counsel and so don’t know that they can say, ‘no.’”
The police chief has led a inquiry for three and a half weeks into whether the “Meet the Press” anchor broke the firearms law on Dec. 23 when when he held up a 30-round rifle magazine on his D.C.-based show. Magazines over 10 rounds are considered “high capacity” by the District and banned. NBC called MPD in advance of the show for permission to break the law and was refused.
While Mr. Gregory got away without being arrested or going to jail, the police arrested 105 other people in 2012 on charges that included possession of “high capacity” feeding devices.
One of those cases was James Brinkley, an Army Veteran and federal employee, who was handcuffed, arrested and jailed for possessing two so-called high-capacity magazines and an unregistered firearm. The OAG refused to drop the charges, despite overwhelming evidence that he was legally transporting through Washington.
Mr. Brinkley refused to accept a guilty plea and went to the expense of taking the matter to court. At trial at D.C. Superior Court, Mr. Brinkley said of OAG’s Assistant Attorney General Rachel Bohlen: “I thought I was going to lose because the prosecutor was so rough. She was coming at me like I’d shot somebody.” Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Carroll Wingo acquitted Mr. Brinkley of all the charges.
So while the rich and powerful NBC anchor knowingly broke the firearm law, he was never subjected to the humiliation of being arrested by the police for breaking the same law as ordinary, law-abiding citizens like Mr. Brinkley did last year.
Justice can only prevail if the prosecutor’s office at least offers Mr. Gregory a deal to plead guilty, pay a fine and be put on the Gun Offenders’ Registry, like so many others who have been caught up in the city’s inane firearms laws.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times. Her “Emily Gets Her Gun” series on the District’s gun laws won the 2012 Clark Mollenhoff Award for Investigative Reporting from the Institute on Political Journalism.You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.