Two dozen police officers in Washington, D.C., have been arrested this year on charges ranging from attempted murder to drunken driving, the Washington Post reports.
In the year’s first 10 months, the total exceeds last year’s 22 arrests. The percentage of arrested officers on the 3,600-member force is much greater than that of other big cities and the area’s suburbs.
One officer is accused of shooting a teenager in south Baltimore. Another pleaded guilty to operating while impaired after his Jeep hit a marked police cruiser. In most recent case, officer David E. Parnigoni was accused of stripping naked during games with 11-year-old boys at two houses. Most of the charges this year do not stem from illegal activities on duty.
Officials said the arrest total has remained fairly steady in recent years. But the cases have generated concerns from police union leaders and some city officials about training and recruiting. D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said this year’s arrests seem to reflect “severe management deficiencies.”
Gary Hankins, a former D.C. police officer and consultant to the city’s police union, Asked whether the city is “competitive for getting the very best, the very brightest and the most stable individuals? No, we’re not.”
Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said he did not believe such off-duty arrests signaled any grave problem. “If one officer is arrested for domestic violence or arrested for driving under the influence, I don’t know how that’s [evidence of] no moral guidelines for the whole department,” Ramsey said. “That’s the act of one individual.”
Of those arrested this year, one officer has resigned and another has been fired. Most are on desk duty or suspension. In the courts, seven of the officers arrested this year have been acquitted or had charges dropped. Ten cases are pending. Five of the officers have pleaded guilty.