FATAL FLAWS

New Team To Review District Homicides

By Cheryl W. Thompson and Robert Pierre
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, December 7, 2000

D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said yesterday that he will create a case management review team to examine homicides to make sure they are thoroughly investigated and have the necessary paperwork before they are officially closed.

The team will include eight retired detectives and police administrators from inside and outside the department, Ramsey said. They will have the final say about whether a case should be closed. The team is expected to be in place next month and will work out of police headquarters downtown on Indiana Avenue NW.

"There are some things that people just weren't doing on a consistent basis," Ramsey said. "This is like an audit that will be done with the file. We can't afford to have any of these cases fall through the cracks."

The team will conduct random daily audits. If a case has not been appropriately investigated, the detective and supervisor overseeing it "will be questioned," he said. "We will take whatever action we deem necessary," he said.

A year-long investigation by The Washington Post published this week found fundamental flaws with the quality of homicide investigations, including hundreds of missing and incomplete case files, dozens of cases closed without arrests under unclear circumstances and poor supervision of detectives.

Ramsey said yesterday that at least 130 case files remain missing.


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