Police officers indicted in nightclub beating
By Keith L. Alexanderand Clarence Williams,
The four D.C. police officers accused of roles in last year’s beating of a District Heights man outside a downtown nightclub were indicted on charges alleging a range of offenses including assault, conspiracy and perjury, according to court documents.
Federal prosecutors Wednesday charged nine people in the beating of Walter Blair Jr., a patron at the downtown Lotus Lounge nightclub on June 10, 2011.
According to a 10-count indictment that followed a year-long investigation, off-duty officers Kenneth McRavin and Thaddeus Modlin Jr. and two other men beat Blair during a fight outside the club at 1420 K St. NW.
The four repeatedly kicked and beat Blair in the face and head as Blair lay on the ground in a “defensive posture," according to the indictment. The four worked in security for the club at the time, according to a lawsuit that Blair filed against the club and the District this month.
In a report that Blair filed days after the incident, he told police that about 21 people were involved in a fight that took place shortly before 3 a.m. At one point, he said, someone held his arms behind his back while someone else hit him in the face.
Blair said in his $10 million civil lawsuit that he was blinded in his right eye as a result of the attack. Another club patron also was beaten during the fight, according to the indictment. Three other men also were charged with assault in the incident.
D.C. Officer Yolanda Lampkin allegedly lied to a grand jury that was hearing details of the case, according to prosecutors. The fourth officer, Nikeith Goins, was accused of observing the fight and failing to make an arrest or file a report.
Lampkin and Goins were also off duty during the incident, police said.
Wednesday’s police statement — which did not detail the charges against the officers — said they had been placed on administrative leave with pay while the incident was being investigated. Now that they have been charged, a police spokeswoman said, they face suspension without pay.
“This is a harsh reminder for all law enforcement personnel that just because we are trusted with enforcing laws, that doesn’t mean we are exempt from abiding by the same laws and standards as the people we serve, on or off duty,” Chief Cathy L. Lanier said in the statement.
McRavin has been with the department since 2008; Modlin since 2000; Goins since 1999; and Lampkin since 1998, according to D.C. Department of Human Resources records.
Calls to numbers listed for Modlin and Lampkin were not returned. A phone number for McRavin could not be found, and a number listed for Goins was busy.
Ted Gest, a spokesman for the D.C. Attorney General’s office, did not comment on the civil suit Thursday. Michael Romeo, one of the club’s owners who is named in the lawsuit, said in an interview that “we had nothing to do with” the incident.
Blair’s lawyer, Ronald Karp, said in an interview Thursday that he was “extremely impressed and appreciative” that prosecutors investigated the case and charged the officers.
Mihir Zaveri contributed to this report.