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Barry's Son Charged With Assaulting Police

24-Year-Old Arrested at D.C. Apartment

By Tim Craig and Yolanda Woodlee
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 20, 2005; Page C03

Christopher Barry, the adult son of D.C. Council member and former mayor Marion Barry, was charged with assaulting a police officer Friday night after police said he repeatedly punched an officer sent to investigate a possible disturbance.

"For no apparent reason he just attacked one of the officers," said Capt. Angel Medina, of the 1st District, where the arresting officers are assigned. "He just reacted and put one of the officers in a headlock and started to punch him."

Christopher Barry will have to have weekly drug tests. (Lucian Perkins -- The Washington Post)

Barry, 24, was released on his own recognizance yesterday pending a preliminary hearing March 10.

Barry's attorney, A. Scott Bolden, said his client did nothing wrong. Bolden said the officers assaulted Barry after entering the apartment without a warrant or probable cause.

"My client didn't assault anyone. If you look at the bruises on his face and nose, he clearly was the one who was assaulted by police," Bolden said. "There were three police officers against one guy who did not resist, did not assault anyone. This case requires a lot more investigation by the government."

Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said the matter will be fully investigated if Barry files a complaint with the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

"Until it is proven otherwise, I believe what my officers are telling me," Ramsey said.

According to a court document, three officers responded to the Court Square Apartments in the 700 block of Fourth Street NW about 9:45 p.m. Friday after receiving a call about a possible disturbance or domestic dispute.

When they arrived, the document indicates, the officers heard loud music and smelled "a strong odor" they suspected was marijuana. After no one answered the door, the officers opened an unlocked door, according to the document.

Barry, the report states, then tried to close the door on the officer's arm. Barry, who was apparently alone in the apartment, then put Officer M. Fanone in a headlock and "began striking" the officer "numerous times with a closed fist," according to the report.

After two other officers subdued him, Barry was taken to George Washington University Hospital, where he was treated and later released.

In the ambulance on the way to the hospital, according to the court document, one officer overheard Barry say, "Yeah, I jumped on them. I didn't know that they were the police; anyone can get a uniform. I could have taken all three of them."

Fanone suffered abrasions in the scuffle and was treated at Washington Hospital Center, Medina said.

Police also recovered two plastic bags, each containing a small amount of what appeared to be marijuana, Medina said. The captain said a grand jury would have to decide whether to charge Barry with drug possession.

As a condition of Barry's release yesterday, Bolden said, a judge ordered his client to submit to weekly drug tests.

But Bolden said the absence of drug charges yesterday supported his view that police had no reason to be at the apartment.

"Why were they there in the first place?" Bolden asked. "Where is the underlying crime? Where's the domestic dispute?"

Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) released a statement yesterday asking that his son's privacy be respected.

"My son, Marion Christopher Barry, is a private citizen, not an elected official," Barry said. "His arrest is a private family matter."

Staff writer Hamil R. Harris and researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company