The chairman of the bargaining unit for D.C. police officers said yesterday that his criticism of the mayor and the police chief for their handling of an investigation into alleged irregularities in crime reporting was not racially motivated, as some have complained.
Earlier this week, Gary Hankins, chairman of the labor committee of the Fraternal Order of Police, called for a new investigation into allegations that at the direction of Deputy Chief Isaac Fulwood, crime reports in the 6th District were systematically downgraded to suggest a decrease in serious crime.
On Friday, D.C. City Council member H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7) and Virginia Morris, chairman of the 6th District Police Citizens Advisory Council, held a press conference outside the district station at 42nd Street and Benning Road NE and said that Hankins, who is white, would not have made his complaint if Fulwood, the mayor and the police chief were not black.
Hankins said yesterday, however, "Our problem doesn't rest with race. Our differences, our crusade or whatever you want to call it, is based in ethics not in politics and racism."
"We differ with the practices of the 6th District," Hankins said. "I don't care what they call me. We ought to get back to the roots of this whole thing: When one of my men Sgt. Raymond Dyer stood up, based on his oath as a police officer, and said that something is wrong, he was harassed."
Dyer, who first alleged improprieties in the crime reporting, later was transferred from an investigator's unit to a uniformed scooter patrol.
Hankins, who asked City Council Chairman Arrington Dixon last week to hold hearings on the investigation of the 6th District, accused police officials of covering up findings in that investigation and of unfair labor practice in the reassignment of Dyer.
Dyer's allegations were investigated by Deputy Chief Roland W. Perry, who reported that some police officers "were directed to reclassify reports to lesser offenses" and that "Dyer did have his assignment changed as a direct result of the opposition he continued to voice."
Perry recommended that disciplinary action be taken against several 6th District officials for allegedly making false statements.
However, Perry's supervisor, Assistant Chief Marty M. Tapscott, reviewed the investigation and held his own interviews with officials. Tapscott said he saw no need for disciplinary action, found no deliberate effort to falsify reports or crime statistics and noted that crimes were similarly downgraded in other police districts.
Police Chief Maurice T. Turner accepted Tapscott's recommendations.