A city motor vehicle inspector has been indicted on charges of allegedly soliciting and taking money from a D.C. cab driver in return for issuing a sticker showing that the cab had passed inspection.
The inspector, Henry L. Allen, said in an interview this week that he is innocent.
According to Robert O.D. Thompson, assistant director of the Bureau of Motor Vehicle Services, an investigation began after a cab driver complained to him that Allen had asked for $20 before he would allow the driver's vehicle to pass inspection.
Thompson said that he took the cab driver to the police department internal affairs division, and police wired the driver with a hidden microphone and gave him a marked $20 bill.
The cabbie, Thompson said, was told to go back through the inspection line and to signal waiting police officers by taking off his hat if the money changed hands.
Allen, 33, of Capitol Heights, was arrested after allegedly taking the money.
He was indicted by a Superior Court grand jury last week and freed on personal recognizance pending trial.
Allen said this week that he took the $20 bill from the cab driver because the driver wanted change.
"He asked me for change for the $20," Allen said, "That's how I got the money."
"I was set up by my own department," he said, adding that the incident occurred shortly after he had complained about being denied a promotion.
Thompson, apprised of this assertion, said: "I was aware of no complaint from Allen regarding any promotion he did not receive. In addition, when the complaint from the cab driver came in, we did not know which inspector was involved. I certainly have no grudge against Allen."
Allen, a 13-year veteran inspector who worked at the city inspection station at 827 West Virginia Ave. NE, has been transferred to another department pending outcome of the trial, according to Thompson.