- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey yesterday declared a citywide crime emergency in response to a “troubling increase” in homicides — 13 this month, including the stabbing of an aspiring British politician Sunday in Georgetown.

More police officers will be placed on foot and bike patrols, the chief said, adding that officials have noted a 14 percent increase in assaults with a deadly weapon and an 8 percent rise in robberies in the past 30 days.

In addition, Chief Ramsey reassigned a top commander because of his comments Monday during a community meeting in Georgetown about the slaying of Alan Senitt, 27.

Cmdr. Andy Solberg was transferred from the 2nd Police District to the department’s Office of Security.

During Monday’s meeting at Christ Church, Cmdr. Solberg was trying to urge vigilance among hundreds of Georgetown residents concerned by the brutality of the killing of the British political activist.

Mr. Senitt’s throat was slashed as he tried to prevent the robbery and rape of a female companion about 2:15 a.m. Sunday.

“I would think that at 2 o’clock in the morning on the streets of Georgetown, a group of three people, one of whom is 15 yearsold, one of whom is a bald chunky fat guy, are going to stand out,” Cmdr. Solberg said. “They were black. This is not a racial thing to say that black people are unusual in Georgetown. This is a fact of life.”

The four suspects in the Senitt slaying — including a 15-year-old boy — are black and have been charged with murder and attempted robbery.

The commander’s comments did not prompt any complaints, said Chief Ramsey, adding that he transferred Cmdr. Solberg to “maintain public confidence.”

Cmdr. Solberg, who is white, was not available for comment yesterday.

Chief Ramsey, who is black, said the commander is a “very, very good guy” and not a racist. He declined to comment on the reassignment yesterday.

Two of the defendants in Mr. Senitt’s attack — Jeffrey J. Rice, 22, and Christopher Piper, 25 — have been in and out of jail for years, court records show.

Rice has been convicted of cocaine possession and assault. Piper was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1998 in an armed robbery before being released on parole.

The other suspects are Olivia Miles, 26, and the teenager, who has not been identified because he has been charged as a juvenile.

“We have a lot of people on the street with charges against them,” Chief Ramsey said, adding that the District is like most large cities in that respect.

He said Georgetown “is normally pretty quiet” with regard to crime.

Police statistics show that overall crime has decreased by more than 5 percent in the 2nd District through June, compared to the first half of last year.

However, the 2nd District has recorded three homicides this year, including Mr. Senitt’s. It had no homicides last year.

Chief Ramsey said he will evaluate the need for crime emergency after 30 days.

A crime emergency allows police commanders more flexibility in adjusting work schedules and assigning officers to high-crime areas.

Gary Emerling contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire reports.

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