D.C. police officer linked to prostitution ring

Accusation involves girl, other women in his apartment

Authorities are investigating whether a D.C. police officer was running a prostitution ring out of his Southeast home after a missing teenage girl was found there.

The 16-year-old girl told investigators she had met the officer two weeks earlier and that during that time he put her in contact with a man who would pay her $80 for sex, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in federal court. She said she also met six other women at the officer’s apartment who told the girl they made money prostituting themselves for him.

Investigators from the police department’s Internal Affairs Bureau and Youth Division found the girl and an 18-year-old woman at the officer’s apartment Tuesday.

A Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman identified the officer as Linwood Barnhill, who has worked for the department since 1989 and was assigned to the Seventh District. As of Thursday, the police department said he has not been arrested or charged but that the department has placed him on noncontact status.

According to the search warrant, which alleges sex trafficking of a minor and production of child pornography, the officer took photos of the girl “fully nude wearing sparkly high-heel shoes” and arranged a “date” for her with an unidentified older white man. He also paid to have the girl’s hair done and promised to take her shopping for clothes at Rainbow, a store that sells low-end women’s clothing.

In the apartment, located at 3066 Stanton Road Southeast near St. Elizabeths Hospital, investigators also found marijuana, a large number of condoms and nine pairs of women’s high-heeled shoes. Also seized was a mirror with the names of women whom the girl said had also engaged in prostitution.

Police plan to search several electronic devices also seized from the apartment.

The search comes the same week another Seventh District officer was arrested and charged with child pornography after it was reported Monday that the officer had taken photos of a teenager girl. That officer, Marc Washington, joined the department in 2006. He was arraigned in court Thursday and remains in custody, according to federal prosecutors.

Authorities say the two cases are not related.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier issued a statement Thursday saying the department is “very concerned about the recent allegations of egregious conduct by two officers.”

“To uncover any potential malfeasance by officers, the Department regularly conducts audits and investigations of their conduct and behavior, both when on-duty and off-duty,” she said. “The misguided actions of a few in no way reflect on the professionalism, dedication, and integrity of the Department.”

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