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D.C. Officer Convicted of PCP Possession

By Nicole Fuller
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 12, 2004; Page B03

A D.C. police officer was found guilty of possession of phencyclidine, PCP, yesterday and was ordered held without bond until his sentencing next month, officials said.

Joseph M. Jennifer, 38, a 13-year veteran of the force, last served as a patrol officer in the city's 4th District.

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Although the government did not request that Jennifer be held, D.C. Superior Court Judge Craig Iscoe ordered him held without bond on the misdemeanor charge until his Sept. 29 sentencing hearing.

Jennifer pleaded not guilty and testified during the three-day, non-jury trial. His lawyer, W. Louis Hennessy, a former commander of the D.C. police department's homicide unit, did not respond to a call seeking comment yesterday afternoon.

Jennifer could be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail.

"The overwhelming majority of the Metropolitan Police Department's officers are fine public servants who represent the District with dignity and honor," said Kenneth L. Wainstein, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, through his spokesman. "The very small number who violate their oath damage the public's confidence and its police force. MPD's strong investigative efforts in this case and the resulting conviction are a reminder that those who enforce the law must always obey the law."

Jennifer, of Clinton, accompanied two women to buy a "dipper," a cigarette dipped in liquid PCP, in the early morning of July 7, 2002, authorities said, adding that he provided $20 to buy it.

Jennifer, authorities said, then watched the women smoke the dipper in a Southeast Washington apartment. Later that morning, the female tenant of the apartment was found dead 12 stories below her balcony. The circumstances of the woman's death are still under investigation.

Jennifer has been suspended without pay since the incident, a police spokesman said.

Jennifer was one of 22 D.C. police officers arrested in 2002. In 2003, 28 officers were arrested. For the first four months this year, 13 were arrested on charges of sexual assault, drunken driving and drug possession.


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