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Police Handling of Allegations Stirs DisputeBy Athelia Knight
Washington Post Staff Writer
March 13, 1983
A dispute surfaced last week between D.C. Police Chief Maurice Turner and one of his principal subordinates, Inspector Fred Raines, head of the department’s intelligence unit, over how the police department should have handled unsubstantiated allegations last year about Mayor Marion Barry.
In an unsual series of interviews last week, both Turner and Raines talked about their differences of opinion on department procedure for following up such sensitive allegations about their ultimate boss.
Four separate raw intelligence reports written by D.C. police detectives and received by Raines between Jan. 29 and Sept. 9, 1982, described allegations involving the mayor.
Though Raines said Wednesday he has drawn no conclusions on the merit of the allegations, he believes there should have been at least a follow-up inquiry or formal investigation by the D.C. police or an outside investigative agency, if only to show that such politically sensitive allegations would be checked thoroughly.
Raines said he was sufficiently convinced of the need for an outside investigation and last March 31, on his own authority and without informing Turner or other police department officials, he went to the U.S. Justice Department and suggested that it handle the matter. Justice declined to get involved, which left the decision with the D.C. police. The police department has made no attempt to determine if the allegations are true or false, according to Raines.
Turner only learned of Raines’ visit to the Justice department last week from this reporter. He said that Raines showed insubordination and disloyalty for going outside the department without informing his superiors. Turner also said the U.S. Attorney’s office, which is part of the Justice Department, was aware of at least some of the allegations involving the mayor and Turner believes that office would pursue any inquiry if they determined it was necessary.
Turner said he plans to discipline Raines in some way.
Raines said last week that he acted properly, but that on Monday the chief threatened to demote him to captain because he went outside the chain of command.
Turner said last week that he personally had informed the mayor of some of the allegations last year after he understood the information was so unsubstantiated that no investigation was warranted.
Three of the intelligence reports contained inconclusive allegations that on Dec. 22, 1981, Mayor Barry attended a party at a nightspot near 14th and H Streets NW, and that he either allegedly used cocaine or was present while others use the drug.
The fourth report alleges he had used cocaine at after-hours bars in the city.
The mayor said emphatically last week that he did not use cocaine last year and also has never used cocaine. Barry also said the allegations first arose during his 1982 reelection campaign and in addition to being totally unfounded, clearly were politically inspired.
A two-month inquiry by The Washington Post supports the mayor’s statement, and has turned up no evidence whatsoever that the mayor has ever used cocaine or any illegal drug.
Barry confirmed one piece of information contained in three of the reports: that on Dec. 22, 1981, he attended a party at "This Is It," a bar noted for its nude dancers and located in the heart of downtown Washington’s adult entertainment district.
The party was given by the owner of the establishment, who, along with her husband, was at the time—and still is—under investigation by a federal grand jury. Barry said he did not know of such an investigation when he attended the 1981 party and did not know if there is one today.
The mayor said last week it was probably a mistake to have gone to the party. He said he had been invited by a lawyer friend named Larry Williams, who represents adult entertainment enterprises in Washington.
When told there were allegations that the mayor may have used cocaine at "This Is It," that night, Williams said: "That’s absolutely untrue. During the time I was there, there was no cocaine there. The mayor was never out of my eyesight."
Turner said last week he had informed the mayor of the allegations concerning the party because, "I don’t think he should be seen in places like that." He later added: "I thought it was bad judgement. I don’t think it is a proper place for the mayor to be." Turner said the mayor told him he had gone to the party either to pick up or to seek out a campaign contribution.
In the course of pursuing the story, The Washington Post obtained several of the detectives’ reports. The reports seem largely to be based on impressions of witnesses and it is not clear whether the allegations come from any first-hand observers. They are the kind of raw reports that frequently get passed around investigative agencies.
Interviews with key officials last week and a review of some of the reports show the following happened when the police department received the first allegations:
On Jan. 29, 1982, one of Raines’ sergeants overheard detectives discussing information that alleged the mayor may have used cocaine at a Christmas party at "This Is It." Later that day Raines asked for and received written reports from the detectives.
Raines said he advised Turner in January of this initial allegation against the mayor and that the chief said, "If the mayor is doing that he ought to be locked up."
Raines said he told the chief that the information was vague and that he was just informing him of the allegation and did not plan to pursue an investigation.
Turner denied last week that Raines informed him about this in January and said he therefore did not say anything about the mayor’s alleged activities.
On March 12, 1982, a detective who was in the federal grand jury section of the courthouse called Raines to tell him there were some witnesses who ought to talk with someone from his office. Raines sent a detective, who returned with the information and later did a report, dated March 29, 1982, of his interviews with three women employees of "This Is It."
"This Is It" was at the time one of several adult entertainment businesses run by Herbert and Mary Cole.
The report said the three women "expressed concern that any cooperation provided the police in investigating the 800 block [of 14th Street] would become public knowledge."
The report stated that one witness, Agni Lee Graham, said that "Herb and Mary Cole had many police friends who would advise them. At this point, Graham said that if the mayor of D.C. could come to ‘This Is It’ for the Christmas party, use coke in the open; it was obvious that there was no fear of the police."
The report ended with a notation that "arrangements for future contact were made" with the women, though no one from the department apparently contacted them again.
Contacted earlier this year by The Washington Post, Graham refused to comment. Herbert and Mary Cole denied last week that any concaine was used at the party. Raines said one of his detectives reported that Barry was photographed either arriving or leaving the party that night by an FBI stakeout of a nearby pornography establishment. The FBI would not comment last week.
Having received the January allegations about the same party, Raines decided to call someone at the FBI for advice. He said he told the person that "I have some extremely sensitive information." The person suggested he go to the Justice Department public integrity section, which had handled the 1979 allegation that former White House Chief of Staff Hamilton Jordan had used cocaine. Jordan was cleared of that matter after an extensive grand jury probe.
Raines says he talked to William Hendricks at the Justice Department on March 31. He explained the allegations to Hendricks, but did not give him any copies of the reports. He says Hendricks told him that he would discuss it with his supervisor, and get back to him.
A few days later, Raines said Hendricks told him that, with few exceptions, the Justice Department did not investigate what appeared to be allegations of recreational use of cocaine. Since the matter was now in the hands of the police department, and because Raines wanted to keep the chief informed, Raines then told Turner about the allegations contained in the third report.
Raines did not hear anything else about the allegations until August 1982, when he says the chief called him and told him "they want us down at the District Building." He says Turner asked him to put together the three report on the allegations about the mayor at the party. Raines said he encountered the chief in the hall and the chief took the reports and then said he was going alone.
Two or three hours later, Raines said, Turner returned the reports without saying what had happened at the District Building.
Raines said he learned in a subsequent conversation with Turner that the chief had talked to the mayor, who acknowledged to Turner he had gone to the party once, and also apparently had returned again later the same night.
Turner denied last week that he had talked to Raines about the conversation with the mayor.
In September, Raines received another report alleging drug use by the mayor. That report, dated Sept. 9, 1982, does not indicate, and it could not be learned last week, who gave the police this information, or if it was based on an eyewitness account or accounts.
Raines said he went to Asst. Chief Marty Tapscott, who had referred the report to him, to say he did not want to get involved in this last allegation. "It was just political dynamite," Raines said. "I figured I had done what I was obligated to do."
He says on Sept. 14 or 15, 1982, he took the new allegations to Turner and again said he didn't want to get involved in the matter.
According to Raines, Turner said he would pass the information on to the internal affairs division, which also investigates allegations concerning city employees. Turner denied this and said on Thursday he knows nothing about a fourth report.
Raines said the next time he and the chief talked about the allegations was last Monday when the chief asked him if he had gone to the Justice Department. He says he told the chief he had.
He says Turner replied, "Oh my God, you ought to have told me that."
According to Raines, the chief then said he might have to demote Raines from inspector to captain for going to Justice without informing his superiors. Raines said that Turner adopted a "very fatherly" attitude and told him "you were a rising star ... if the mayor is a vindictive man and is mayor four more years ..." Raines said the clear implication was that he had wrecked his career by going to the Justice Department.
"Fred Raines owes a loyalty to me and the police department," Turner said. He said Raines first should have told his superiors what he wanted to do, and if he wasn't satisfied with their actions, he then could have gone to Justice. Turner said he has ordered an in-house investigation of Raines' handling of the matter.
Raines said in an interview Monday, "I have observed all regulations and acted properly in this matter."
Turner called the mayor on Monday to inform him that Raines had gone to the Justice Department with allegations about the party at "This Is It."
Asked if Raines should have informed the chief before going to the Justice Department, Barry said, "You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't." Turner said on Thursday he was waiting for the in-house report before deciding what action to take.