- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Several black community organizations yesterday said a report U.S. Park Police leaked to the media that they found illegal drugs in former D.C. Mayor Marion S. Barry's car during a routine search is false, slanderous and reeks of racial harassment.
Members of the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, the Alliance of Concerned Black Men and the Black Citizens Action Committee yesterday demonstrated in front of Park Police headquarters. The groups maintain that Mr. Barry is being "set up for a second time" by the U.S. government's constabulary.
"This is not an accident, by any means. There is nothing in this report which leads me to believe the police had any reason to search [Mr. Barrys] car," said Malik Zulu Shabazz, a lawyer for the New Black Panthers.
"It is also very convenient that this comes just after [Mr. Barry] announced his political return."
Mr. Barry left office in disgrace after serving three terms as mayor. He was caught on videotape smoking crack cocaine in the Vista Hotel during an FBI sting operation involving Mr. Barry's then-girlfriend Rashida Moore. He was later elected to a fourth term.
Supporters and Mr. Barry himself cried setup. Mr. Barry was convicted of misdemeanor drug possession and served six months in prison. He was acquitted on 12 other charges.
Controversy has long dogged Mr. Barry. His first wife, Mary Treadwell, who co-founded Pride Inc. with him, was accused in 1979 of skimming rent payments from poor tenants to support her lavish lifestyle. Mrs. Treadwell was indicted in 1982 for stealing and misappropriating federal funds. She was sentenced to three years in prison in 1985, though still maintaining her innocence.
Civil rights activist Ivanhoe Donaldson, who served in several top posts in Mr. Barry's administration, including director of employment services, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven years in prison in 1985 for embezzling $190,000 in city funds to support his luxurious lifestyle and business ventures. Mr. Donaldson's scheme entangled several unsuspecting friends who had admired and trusted him.
Mr. Barry was not implicated or found to have committed any wrongdoing in any of these cases.
"During his tenure as mayor," Mr. Shabazz said, "Mr. Barry stood up for blacks, for civil rights for the poor and the elderly in this city."
Holding up a copy of the Park Police report of Thursday's incident, Mr. Shabazz said, "This is just another example of the Park Police and racial profiling trying to bring down one of our black elected officials."
He said Mr. Barry has a good case to sue the department on the grounds of "defamation, and clearly for an illegal search."
Sgt. Scott Fear, spokesman for the Park Police, said officers responded to a suspicious car Mr. Barry's Jaguar parked in a "no-parking zone" at Buzzard Point in Southwest about 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Officers said as they pulled up, they saw Mr. Barry ingest something and observed a powdery substance under his nose. Officers then used a drug-sniffing dog to search the vehicle and said they found a $5 rock of crack cocaine and trace amounts of marijuana.
"Our officers were very professional and followed normal procedure," Sgt. Fear said.
Mr. Barry said he was not charged in the incident and was released due to lack of sufficient evidence.
Protesters said the incident was "clearly staged" to create scandal against Mr. Barry.
"This plot by Park Police is an insult to the intelligence of the black citizens, for them to believe that we would fall for something like this," said the Rev. Shazza Nzinga of the Black Citizens Action Committee.
Sgt. Fear said the conspiracy charge is "absolutely not true."
Mr. Shabazz reiterated several times that it is not a crime "to be seated in a parked car."
"It may have been a parking infraction, but certainly no reason to commit a search," said Mr. Shabazz, who called the rally a "demo-statement" against racial profiling and harassment of black elected officials.
Imam Akbar Bilal of the Alliance for Concerned Black Men said, "our goal here is to alert the Park Police and police around the nation that the days of racial profiling are over and we won't tolerate it anymore."
Amir Muhammad, national assistant secretary for the New Black Panther Party, said, "Since we are throwing out rumors, maybe the police dogs went with the police to a local club they patrol and picked up the cocaine there."
Several D.C. Council members yesterday declined to comment on the matter.
Mr. Barry began his political career in 1974 as an at-large council member on the first D.C. Council. He was elected to his first term as mayor in 1978.
The Washington Times reported yesterday that members of the District's Democratic Party were split on their belief in the accounts given by Park Police about the former mayor.
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Dorthea Farrell, 8A02, said she and her husband would continue to support Mr. Barry and they would both be voting for him in the coming election.
Others, like ANC Richard Wesbrook, 2D01, said Mr. Barry should drop out of the race whether the facts about the Thursday night incident are true or not.


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