- The Washington Times - Monday, April 2, 2007

A former D.C. Jail lieutenant says he was fired after alerting supervisors that the facility’s internal affairs office disclosed the home addresses of guards set to testify in a court case.

Emmette McCormick Jr. made the accusation in a recent whistleblower case against the District and D.C. Department of Corrections officials that seeks $6 million in damages.

Mr. McCormick’s complaint states he conducted an investigation that found the internal affairs office leaked the address of two guards slated to testify in the prosecution of a violent inmate accused of assaulting another guard.

The leak prompted threats to officers and their families, according to the suit.

Mr. McCormick’s attorney, Robert C. Seldon, said his client found out the office had failed to remove the home addresses from witness impact statements provided to the inmate before the court case.

D.C. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Beverly Young declined to discuss the case, saying the agency cannot comment on “a personnel issue involving litigation.”

The lawsuit names as defendants agency Director Devon Brown and Wanda Patten, chief of the office of internal affairs. The office investigates crime and misconduct in the jail by inmates and employees.

Mr. McCormick’s career at the jail began as an officer in 1984. By 2004, he was appointed captain in charge of the special-management unit, where violent inmates are incarcerated.

Mr. McCormick, now a truck driver, was fired March 31, 2006. The dismissal came after the office reopened an investigation into whether he used excessive force in a separate incident months earlier, the lawsuit states.

Mr. McCormick also was involved in an incident in January 2006 in which about 100 inmates refused to return to their cells and threatened violence, according to the complaint.

During the incident, Mr. McCormick’s lawsuit states, he “used reasonable and appropriate physical force and chemical sprays upon three inmates.” A report later exonerated him of wrongdoing, the lawsuit states.

However, the internal affairs office reopened its investigation into the incident, resulting in Mr. McCormick’s firing, according to the suit.

The lawsuit also states the dismissal was retaliatory because Mr. McCormick uncovered the leaks from the office.

The lawsuit by Mr. McCormick was filed in D.C. Superior Court in February, but it was recently transferred to federal court. It marks the latest in a string of lawsuits against the jail.

Last week, a federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit accusing the jail of holding inmates well past their release date, in some cases weeks late. Another inmate filed a similar lawsuit last month.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide