- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 27, 2003

D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson yesterday said Mayor Anthony A. Williams failed to deal with human rights violations by police officers.
Mrs. Patterson released her analysis of a confidential internal affairs report detailing police officers' improper arrest and detainment procedures during last fall's protests against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
She said Mr. Williams' handling of the report " violated the rights of hundreds of District residents and visitors and may have compromised the future effectiveness of dozens of police officers."
During the Sept. 27-29 protests, police officers arrested about 400 protesters and bystanders, many of whom were "hogtied" for more than 24 hours, said Mrs. Patterson, who heads the council's Judiciary Committee, which oversees the police department. All charges against those who were arrested were ultimately dropped.
Hogtying binding a person's ankle to the opposite wrist to prevent them from standing violates police depatment policies, Mrs. Patterson said.
She said the internal affairs report notes numerous instances of officers filing false reports about witnessing individuals disobeying police orders. Other officers stated that they heard no warnings or orders to disperse before arrests were made.
"I was hoping the mayor would release a document of some kind addressing what changes needed to be made, and at the very least acknowledge that mistakes were made," said Mrs. Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat.
She said the report supports committee testimony submitted by three persons who were arrested. Some who testified have since filed lawsuits against the city.
Those lawsuits could have been avoided if Mr. Williams had taken swifter action to address the problems, Mrs. Patterson said.
Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey and the Metropolitan Police Department have received national and international recognition for their handling of anti-globalization protests since April 2000. Similar protests have turned violent and ended in millions of dollars worth of damage in cities in the United States and abroad.
Mr. Williams requested the internal investigation after complaints were raised in an October committee hearing. He called the situation a "serious matter" but disagreed with Mrs. Patterson's analysis of the report.
"We're balancing a free society with a safe city. And here in the heat of battle in a high-pressure situation, it is important for us to back our officers," Mr. Williams said. "And an excessive amount of Monday-morning quarterbacking isn't helpful."
He said Chief Ramsey and his officers did an "outstanding" job of dealing with a tense and possibly explosive situation.
Margaret Nedelkoff-Kellems, deputy mayor for public safety and justice, said changes are under way. "Chief Ramsey is looking at stiffening training policies and procedures for mass arrests," she said.
Mr. Williams and Chief Ramsey both disagreed with the assertion that officers were directed to make false statements in signing arrest forms.


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