A Montgomery County police officer who fatally shot a Kensington man while off duty last February lied about the incident, violated the department's rule on the use of deadly force and acted unsatisfactorily during and after the confrontation, Police Chief Bernard Crooke said yesterday in recommending that Officer Bruce Jackson be dismissed.
A second officer involved in the incident, Larry Pagley, who was also off duty, was disciplined for violating a departmental rule that police refused to specify.
Crooke's statement followed a police internal investigation into the Feb. 11 shooting of 39-year-old Jan Michael Moore at a traffic light at Wisconsin Avenue and East West Highway in Bethesda.
Crooke's recommendation was received bitterly by Moore's friends and family, who said it was small satisfaction.
A Montgomery County Circuit Court grand jury decided in March not to indict Jackson in the shooting. Jackson, who was placed on administrative leave with pay after the shooting, has requested an administrative hearing to appeal Crooke's recommendation. If the chief's recommendation holds, Jackson would be the fifth Montgomery officer dismissed in eight years, and the first because of a shooting. The officers could not be reached for comment last night.
The police department's version of the incident at the time was that Officers Jackson and Pagley had seen Moore, a hairdresser who had come from a prewedding party at a District bar, get out of his car at a red light about 2 a.m. at Bradley Lane and Wisconsin, yell at a motorist behind him and return to his car to resume driving north on Wisconsin.
Seven blocks north, Jackson, who was driving his own car and was with Pagley, caught up with Moore's car and saw Moore holding a large knife, police said at the time. Jackson identified himself as a police officer. Moore was beginning to get out of the car, with the knife pointed at Jackson, when the officer shot him, according to police. With a bullet in his chest, Moore drove north for three blocks, striking a parking meter, a parked car and a utility pole before he died.
Moore's father, his girlfriend of five years and other close friends gave a different version of the incident. They said the large knife was, in fact, an 8 1/2-inch table knife that Moore had kept in the middle air-conditioning vent of his 1974 Chevrolet Mailbu for several years to keep it from rattling. And they say that Officer Jackson had spent several hours that night at The Godfather, the bar where Moore and about seven friends were celebrating the upcoming wedding of one of their group.
"I'd run into him Jackson before," Moore's friend, Courtney Sunday of Bethesda, said yesterday. "I recognized him as a Montgomery County cop. I didn't think anything of it." He said he noticed Jackson about midnight. He said he and Moore and their friends left the bar about 1:30 a.m.
Moore's father, Jack Moore, a semiretired night auditor at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, said yesterday, "It's been a horrible part of our life . . . . Michael did a lot of talking, but he was never in a confrontation like that."
He said his son hated police officers, a feeling that stemmed from his arrest 10 years ago for possession of marijuana. "He hated cops and made no secret about it," Jack Moore said. "He wasn't afraid of them. He told them in no uncertain terms what he thought of them."
Moore's girlfriend, Brenda Workman of Annapolis, said that Moore's trademark for many years had been a long ponytail, and that this sometimes caused problems with police.
The bearded, handsome Moore, who was born and raised in Cumberland, Md., was known among his friends as an immaculately groomed, witty, opinionated man. "If you said something stupid, he'd let you know," said Danny Brayton, who was one of Moore's friends. "He was very outspoken . . . . But he wasn't a lawbreaker. He was a hairdresser."
Moore had two passions, according to his friends, hairdressing and rock 'n' roll. He worked at Hair Castle in Bethesda and Classic Hair Design in Aspen Hill and dreamed of someday owning his own salon. He frequented the Psyche Delly--a music club-restaurant in Bethesda--and the offices of FM radio station WHFS, where he had friends among the disc jockeys and had once hoped himself to work. He loved the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and Bob Dylan. His favorite song was The Eagles' "Desperado." He also was a movie trivia buff.