- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 7, 2000

The spokesman of a newly formed group of District of Columbia police officers yesterday accused Chief Charles H. Ramsey and his top aide of mismanaging the department, unfairness and racial discrimination.

Moreover, police Officer Juan Espinal, spokesman for "Revolution 2000," called on Chief Ramsey and Executive Assistant Chief Terrance W. Gainer to resign.

Chief Ramsey yesterday said most of Revolution 2000's claims are incorrect and defended his recent decision to deploy hundreds of desk officers onto foot patrols as a proactive approach to preventing crime.

"Those decisions are the ones I make, and if [Officer Espinal] sticks around long enough to ever get to the rank of chief, he can make those calls," Chief Ramsey told The Washington Times. "Right now, it's my call and not his."

As for the charge of racial discrimination, Chief Ramsey replied, "I'm black myself, so why would I want to discriminate against other minorities?"

"I'm putting the best people I know in the positions I need. I don't discriminate against anyone," he said.

Officer Espinal appeared with one other police officer and a former U.S. marshal, who won a $4 million racial-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Marshals Service, during a news conference in front of Metropolitan Police headquarters yesterday.

Officer Espinal, who says he represents 400 other officers, said other members of the department declined to stand with him for fear of retaliation for criticizing the chief.

After Officer Espinal spoke, four other D.C. police officers said they agree with him but would not give their names or identify any specific problems.

Revolution 2000 complained that Chief Ramsey:

n Has mismanaged the department through his deployment plan, which pulls detectives off their cases and makes it more difficult to solve crimes.

n Does not give commanders enough time on the job to prove themselves and promotes unqualified personnel.

n Has discriminated racially in his promotions and demotions.

n Is hiring "lateral transfers" officers from other agencies who go through an expedited training program who don't have proper experience.

Others have criticized Chief Ramsey's new deployment plan and accused top police officials of racial discrimination, but an investigation by the D.C. Inspector General could not substantiate earlier charges of racism.

Chief Ramsey noted that the deployment plan has been in effect three weeks, so it's too early to judge how well it's working.

He made no apologies for his tenure as chief yesterday, dismissing several of Officer Espinal's complaints as incorrect.

All lateral transfer officers have been through accredited law-enforcement academies and are screened, Chief Ramsey said.

The deployment plan exempts detectives working out of each of the department's seven substations in each police district, Chief Ramsey said.

What's more, Officer Espinal applauded the new deployment plan about a month ago, said Chief Ramsey, who took charge of the police force in 1998.

Officer Espinal, who lost last week's election for chairman of the Fraternal Order of Police Labor Committee for the Metropolitan Police Department, has had a rocky relationship with the department, mostly revolving around complaints of racial discrimination he has filed.

Officer Espinal, who is Hispanic, said he has been filing internal complaints since the late 1980s. He filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 1993 after he was denied a promotion to sergeant. He was then fired from the department.

The EEOC ruled in his favor, and the Justice Department's Office of Civil Rights followed up in 1996 with a report criticizing the department and its treatment of Hispanics.

In 1997, Officer Espinal filed another EEOC complaint, again citing racial discrimination and retaliation, which is being handled by a Justice Department lawyer, he said.

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