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D.C. cop sentenced for shooting involving transgenders

- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 10, 2013

An off-duty D.C. police officer convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon and solicitation of prostitution will spend three years on probation for an incident that ended with him drunkenly firing a gun into a car full of people.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell F. Canan on Thursday sentenced Metropolitan Police Department Officer Kenneth Furr to 14 months in prison, but gave him credit for time served while he was awaiting trial, meaning the officer will not spend any more time in jail.

A jury acquitted Officer Furr, who remains a member of the police department but is suspended without pay, of several more serious charges — including assault with intent to kill — from the Aug. 26, 2011, incident.

Prosecutors said the altercation started as Officer Furr was trolling the area of Fifth and K streets in Northwest looking to pick up transgender prostitutes. One transgender woman rejected his advances, but he followed her into a nearby CVS, at which point he got into a verbal altercation with one of the woman's friends. After leaving the store, Officer Furr went to his car and pointed a pistol at the same group of people as they walked by his vehicle. The jury convicted the officer of assault from the encounter.

The incident escalated when the two sides encountered one another again about 20 minutes later, but the jury did not convict Officer Furr of any charges stemming from the later interactions, which involved him firing a gun at the car in which the group was riding.

Prosecutors said the group was driving through the area when they saw the officer again trying to pick up a prostitute. One of the five people in the car assaulted the off-duty officer, and the vehicle pulled away. Officer Furr sped after the vehicle, eventually parking, getting out of his car and firing towards their vehicle. The driver of the car ducked to avoid being shot and the vehicle crashed into Officer Furr's white Cadillac, at which point the officer jumped on top of the hood of their car and fired five shots down through the windshield of the car. One person was shot several times, and two others were injured in the crash.

According to charging documents in the case, officers responding to the scene found Officer Furr standing on top of the hood of the car pointing his gun at the windshield.

The officer's attorney, David Knight, argued during trial that Officer Furr was defending himself as he was being pursued by the group, according to news reports. Attorneys representing him could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

One of the five people in the car filed a civil lawsuit this year against Officer Furr and the police department, alleging assault and battery from the incident. That case is still pending.

Court documents state that Officer Furr's blood alcohol level was recorded at 0.15, nearly twice the legal limit. Several of the people in the car admitted to either drinking heavily or smoking marijuana earlier in the evening.

In addition to probation, Judge Canan also ordered that Officer Furr attend an in-patient alcohol-treatment program and anger-management classes, as well as complete 50 hours of community service.

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