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Thread: MD - (update) Homeland Security Official Sentenced to 45 years

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    Regular Member BUBB4H's Avatar
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    Here's the link

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...?nav=rss_metro



    By Ruben Castaneda
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, May 28, 2008; Page A01




    Former Prince George's County homeland security official Keith A. Washington was sentenced to 45 years in prison yesterday for fatally shooting one unarmed furniture deliveryman and wounding another at his Accokeek home last year.


    Circuit Court Judge Michael P. Whalen said the evidence contradicted Washington's claim that he was under attack by the two larger men when he opened fire. "There wasn't one discernible injury [on Washington] to any of the medical personnel who examined him," said the judge, who imposed a term five years longer than prosecutors had sought.

    Washington, who was also a county police officer at the time of the shooting, addressed the court for more than 10 minutes, apologizing to his family and friends for putting them through what he called a "spectacle." He spoke of his effort to live with "courage and integrity," and he cited historical figures, including Sojourner Truth, W.E.B. DuBois, Crispus Attucks, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

    Washington, 46, admitted no wrongdoing. At one point, he turned to Marilynn Clark, mother of slain deliveryman Brandon Clark, and said, "I did not murder your son."

    "I feel your pain," he said. "No parent should ever have to bury a child. . . . I don't want you to go away thinking some monster shot your son and is indifferent to his death."

    Turning to Robert White, the surviving deliveryman, Washington said, "I want you to know, Mr. White, I have no animosity towards you. I feel your pain also."

    Later, as Washington was led out of the courtroom, he appeared to mouth the words "I'm okay" to his wife, Stacey Washington, and their daughter.

    Stacey Washington said after the hearing: "Keith Washington is now and will forever be my hero. I saw what happened. I saw him being beaten. He is a protector and a defender."

    Washington's lawyers, who had requested that he be given a five-year term, declined to comment.

    State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said he thought the sentence was appropriate. He said Washington opened fire "basically because furniture was delivered late."

    Clark and White were at Washington's home in Accokeek on Jan. 24, 2007, to swap one set of Marlo Furniture bed rails for another. An argument broke out between the men and Washington, who opened fire. Clark, 22, died nine days later. White, 37, was wounded.

    During the trial in February, White testified that he and Clark did nothing to provoke the shooting. He said Washington, already angry that he had been waiting all day for the delivery, became enraged when Clark asked why the original set of bed rails wasn't dismantled. Washington replied, "[Expletive], you telling me what to do in my house?" White testified.

    White said that he suggested he and Clark leave and that he got between Clark and Washington. He testified that Washington said, "I know how to get you the [expletive] out of my house."



    Several months after the shooting, Washington left his homeland security post, and he was later granted medical disability from the police force. His disability benefits and police pension are not affected by his convictions, county spokesman John Erzen said.

    The case has drawn attention in part because of past abuse allegations against Washington and because of his ties to County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D). Washington was a driver for Johnson during the 2002 campaign, and Johnson named him deputy director of homeland security two years later. The two are members of the same college fraternity, Omega Psi Phi.

    After the shooting, Johnson distanced himself from Washington. "We are not friends," he said at one point. He also said that he "never promoted" Washington, despite having given him the homeland security position.

    Yesterday, at a news conference, Marilynn Clark said of Washington's remarks in court, "I didn't want to hear it."

    White said he accepted Washington's apology. "Justice has prevailed," White said.

    During the four-hour sentencing hearing, Whalen also heard testimony about an incident in March in which correctional officers found a handcuff key in the breast pocket of Washington's orange jumpsuit shortly before he was to be transferred to the Calvert County jail.

    Lt. Avery Johnson of the county corrections department testified that Washington provided two explanations for the key. In one version, Johnson said, Washington said he found it on the windowsill of his cell. In another version, Washington said the key was "planted," Johnson said. Corrections investigators have not determined how Washington got the key, Johnson said.

    Also yesterday, Daniel Smart, a retired county police sergeant, testified about an incident years ago in which Washington became enraged at Smart's request that he drive an intoxicated man from a scene where officers were arresting drug dealing suspects. Washington went "from zero to 100, with nothing in between," Smart said.

    The 45-year sentence is high for people convicted of the offenses of which Washington was found guilty: involuntary manslaughter, two counts of first-degree assault and two handgun violations. A jury acquitted him of second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder.

    In court, Whalen said that Washington had put his police handgun inside the waistband of his jeans in anticipation of the furniture deliverymen's arrival. Whalen said White and Clark had begun working at 6 a.m. that day and had made numerous deliveries without incident.

    Finally, Whalen said, Washington's voice in court yesterday -- when he struggled to maintain his composure -- was far different from that of the "very composed man" who told a 911 operator on the night of the shootings that he had been beaten.

    Yesterday, as Washington was preparing to leave the Calvert County Detention Center, officers found that he had two binder clips and a paper clip, which are not allowed under jail rules, said Calvert Sheriff Mike Evans (R).

    Evans said he did not know how Washington obtained the materials, which can be used to create weapons or pick locks, and Washington offered officers no explanation about how he got them. Evans said Washington might have picked them up from a table after meeting with his lawyers.

    "You can assume all sorts of things, but who knows?" Evans said. "He's got a history of trying to do something sneaky."

    Staff writers Rosalind S. Helderman and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.





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    I found it real hard to swallow that it was in self defense!

    Two guys there doing a job and they decided to go after the home owner??

    I have had movers in my house and I never had any conflicts. Not even any arguments over their work. So it was strange to see his incident occur.

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Washington sounds like a loose cannon with a bad temper. I'm glad he is off the streets and out of (hopefully permanently) any position of authority over the citizen population of this nation.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    Regular Member possumboy's Avatar
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    If I remember correctly, earlier reports talked about previous issues with this officer. They just did not lead to a shooting.

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    Isn't this what the antis always talk about with regular citizens, arguments becoming shootings. Yeah, its citizens who are out of control, only police should have guns, they're some how by birth more responsible.

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    asforme wrote:
    Isn't this what the antis always talk about with regular citizens, arguments becoming shootings. Yeah, its citizens who are out of control, only police should have guns, they're some how by birth more responsible.
    Anyone can be irresponsible.

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    Regular Member possumboy's Avatar
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    LEO 229 wrote:
    asforme wrote:
    Isn't this what the antis always talk about with regular citizens, arguments becoming shootings. Yeah, its citizens who are out of control, only police should have guns, they're some how by birth more responsible.
    Anyone can be irresponsible.
    This was more than one irresponsible person. This Law Enforcement Officer showed a pattern of abuse of power. Also, show the system of protecting LEOs when non-LEOs would already be convicted.

    This is the few that give all the bad name.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...022502459.html

    From the beginning, Mr. Johnson and the police department did everything they could to shield Mr. Washington, a 16-year police veteran. They ignored multiple reports that Mr. Washington had used excessive force as a police officer. They overlooked Mr. Washington's volcanic temper, off-duty scuffles and penchant for turning routine encounters into turbulent ones. Even after Mr. Washington shot the deliverymen amid an argument, killing one of them, Mr. Johnson said Mr. Washington should resume work as a police officer, and a police spokeswoman initially suggested that the deliverymen, not Mr. Washington, would probably be charged with assault. At each and every stage, the priority seemed to be protecting Mr. Washington, not the public.

    It was only after yet another incident last spring, in which Mr. Washington allegedly waved a gun at a real estate appraiser who had blundered too near to his house, that the official wall of denial and indifference started to crumble in the face of adverse publicity. Against all evidence, Mr. Johnson said that he and Mr. Washington had never been friends. And the police chief, Melvin C. High, finally stripped Mr. Washington of his police powers and his service weapon.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    asforme wrote:
    Isn't this what the antis always talk about with regular citizens, arguments becoming shootings. Yeah, its citizens who are out of control, only police should have guns, they're some how by birth more responsible.
    Anyone can be irresponsible.
    Exactly. Nothing intrinsically makes a police officer responsible. If citizens must be disarmed to prevent western shootouts, so must the police. We are all people.

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    asforme wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    asforme wrote:
    Isn't this what the antis always talk about with regular citizens, arguments becoming shootings. Yeah, its citizens who are out of control, only police should have guns, they're some how by birth more responsible.
    Anyone can be irresponsible.
    Exactly. Nothing intrinsically makes a police officer responsible. If citizens must be disarmed to prevent western shootouts, so must the police. We are all people.
    Unfortunately.... Just like on Survivor... People will always look for someone to take charge and act while others sit back. This is a fact of life and often how the world operates. You have those that act and those that sit back and wish someone would do something.

    Police agencies evolved over time and this made one person, the Sheriff or a US Marshal, to be in charge. This person was either elected or appointed and his job was to act in the best interests of the people and to carry out all the laws as necessary.

    Would it make sense todisarm the person assigned to keep the peace just because the other people have been disarmed? I would think not. The person who is to keep the peace needs to tools required to carry out that job.

    Assigning this one person to be in chargewas better than the people acting on emotions and having a lynch mob stringing people up before they had a chance to have their day in court.

    The police can abuse the system just like citizens. But do all citizens abuse the system as it exists? No.The same goes for the police. Most of the police candidates have been picked out of the best that the citizens have to offer.

    Just like at the supermarket..... sometimes the pile of apples are not the best but you need some to make a pie.You have to take what is available to get the job done.

    So in the end.... you may have to pick an apple you later find has a worm in it.

    You can only hope for the best and try to throw away those that turn out to be bad.

    The rest of the apples make a sweet pie!! But when you get onebite of thatapple the entire pie is ruined.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    Most of the police candidates have been picked out of the best that the citizens have to offer.
    I would suggest a more accurate statement would be that police officers are picked from a pool of citizens (at least in most cases they are citizens) where the worst choices have been removed from the pool.



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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Carrying out/enforcing the laws and keeping the peace are NOT inherently, intrinsically or necessarily the same function. Please do not conflate the two. Such confusion is how we got to this point in the first place.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    ilbob wrote:
    LEO 229 wrote:
    Most of the police candidates have been picked out of the best that the citizens have to offer.
    I would suggest a more accurate statement would be that police officers are picked from a pool of citizens (at least in most cases they are citizens) where the worst choices have been removed from the pool.
    Actually.... it is both!!!

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    While I applaud that someone like this is off the streets, I fear that he is being used as an example, to LEOs, criminals, as well as law-abiding citizens who use deadly force in self-defense. Had a typical gang-banger done this, he would have been sentenced to half the time.

    It also concerns me that this sentence stems from an involuntary manslaughter charge, two first degree assaults, and two weapons violations. If they wanted to sentence him for second-degree murder and an attempt, they should have convicted him on those charges. How many years, according to this jury, should go to a LAC who shoots someone not in perfect self-defense? That would be involuntary manslaughter, a weapons violation or two... that should be good for at least 20 years, no?

    ETA: The choice of charges of which the jury found him guilty also seem to suggest that they were more concerned with the use of a gun than the act itself. I would have liked to have seen second-degree murder and an attempt instead of those weapons charges.

    I mean, if courts want to get tough on violent crime, good for them. But I get the odd feeling that this is the exception to the rule, and juries will be handing out minimum sentences for first-degree murder from here on out.

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