Two sergeants and five officers with the District’s Metropolitan Police Department are under internal investigation for misconduct over allegations of confiscating guns without making arrests.
The seven department members are part of a violent crime unit that operates in the 7th District in Southeast D.C.
Those under investigation are now removed from the streets, while the rest of the unit has been temporarily reassigned.
“In these cases the suspect was not arrested, and the suspect should’ve been arrested. The firearm was taken and placed into evidence, however, the suspect was allowed to go free,” MPD Chief Robert Contee III said at a press conference announcing the investigation on Friday.
While investigating an unrelated matter, the department uncovered an incident involving two of the unit’s officers, who seized a gun without then arresting the suspect.
The body camera footage contradicted what the officers had written up in their reports.
Officials then continued their investigation, uncovering the five other unit members involved in similar incidents.
Chief Contee said he is as puzzled as the public regarding the officers’ behavior.
“I can’t even speculate as to why that is. That’s not the way that we train, it’s not the way that I’ve been trained, it’s not what we expect of our members… I wish I could tell you why. At this stage of the investigation I don’t know why,” Chief Contee said at the press conference, according to Fox 5 News.
Chief Contee also highlighted the contradiction between the incidents and the MPD’s responsibility to citizens.
“We have a responsibility to the community, to make communities safer, and that includes taking bad guys to jail, people who have illegal firearms. That does not make communities safer when we allow people, in some instances, potentially armed felons to go about their business,” Chief Contee said, according to WUSA 9 News.