A D.C. Superior Court grand jury yesterday indicted a nine-year city police veteran who allegedly claimed he injured a Northwest Washington man -- who eventually died -- in the line of duty in order to cover up for another man who now has been charged with murder.
The indictment charges that officer James R. Shaw told police investigators that he had injured Clifford G. Wilson in the course of making an arrest at an apartment building at 5611 Fifth St. NW on Feb. 3. Wilson, 24, died July 21 from injuries suffered during a beating.
Police investigators later discovered that Antone D. Ruffin, described by sources as a friend of Shaw, allegedly beat and kicked Wilson in a stairwell of the building, Shaw arrived at the scene shortly after the incident occurred and took responsibility for the beating.
Ruffin was indicted yesterday on a charge of second-degree murder.
According to yesterday's indictment, Shaw attempted to assist Ruffin "to conceal his identity as the perpetrator of the assault with intent to kill" Wilson and to "hinder and prevent the apprehension, trial and punishment" of Ruffin.
The indictment also charged Shaw with attempting to persuade witnesses to change the stories told to police.
Shaw, 30, was serving in the Seventh District in Southeast Washington. At the time of the incident, he was on extended sick leave with his police powers revoked because of a knee injury.
Prosecutors said Shaw, if convicted of the charges, could face up to 10 years in prison. Late yesterday, D.C. police officials suspended Shaw without pay.
Attempts to reach Shaw and Ruffin for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.
According to court papers, Shaw told several police officers who arrived on the scene that he had injured Wilson.
As the investigation continued and the severity of Wilson's injuries became apparent, police increasingly considered Shaw's version of the incident "somehow incorrect or incomplete," according to court papers.
Ruffin denied knowing anything about Wilson's injuries. But later, according to court papers, police learned that Ruffin allegedly had beaten Wilson.
Prosecutors originally charged Ruffin with assault with intent to kill and others charges, and Shaw with being an accessory after the fact. However, after Wilson died on July 21, prosecutors went back to the grand jury, which reindicted the two men yesterday.
The new charges against Ruffin included second-degree murder. Shaw is now charged with being an accessory after the fact to assault with intent to kill, and obstructing justice.
Ruffin, 22, of 1015 K. St. NE, is described in court records as unemployed.
Sources said that Wilson, 24, of 241 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW, remained in a coma until his death five months after he was beaten.
Ruffin faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life on the charge of second-degree murder, and 10 years on a charge of mayhem and malicious disfigurement.