The flatfeet lost to the fleet feet yesterday afternoon.
The sports world's famed Harlem Globetrotters committed basketball thievery and disorderly hardcourt conduct against D.C. police officers as they beat and befuddled a police department team in a brief and unconventional game at Capital Centre to help raise money to buy the police bulletproof vests.
The city government has declined to provide money to buy the vests for the 3,000 officers on street duty, but the City Council has said recently that it will budget $250,000 for that purpose if the police raise a matching amount. Police officers started their own drive last November, two months after Officer Donald G. Luning was shot in the chest and fatally wounded with his own service revolver while trying to question a 19-year-old about an auto theft.
When Luning was killed, "that provided the catalyst to go to the public directly," Gary L. Hankins, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the union that represents D.C. police officers, said yesterday.
"There is an increasing quickness among criminals to shoot police officers," Hankins continued. "We just made the decison we could not take a chance on a police officer dying while we were waiting for the city."
So far, nearly $90,000 has been collected, mostly in small contributions, said Officer Allen Harper, who is in charge of the fund drive.
The Globetrotters, who came here to play a team called the Washington Generals as part of their nationwide tour, suggested yesterday's five-minute game with the police during intermission. They agreed to donate an undisclosed share of the gate receipts collected from the crowd of about 10,000, according to a Globetrotters spokesman.
"I don't like cops being shot," said Joseph Aro, a Globetrotters vice president. "We're not arming the police but protecting them so that they can do their job."
The police team, dressed in baby-blue uniforms, was drawn primarily from the department's community relations division. Accustomed to opposition from teams made up of teachers from city schools, Inspector James Shugart and his officers, joined by Assistant Chief Marty Tapscott, found themselves bamboozled and bedazzled.
Within little more than a second after the jump ball that opened the game, the Globetrotters had scored, while the police team stood helplessly in the center of the court. After the basket, the police were given the ball, only to have a 'Trotter steal it away.
With less than three minutes left and the score 7-4 in favor of the Globetrotters, two Redskinettes appeared on the court and began to wriggle to a disco record. While the police looked bewildered at this unexpected turn of events, the 'Trotters continued to play with their traditional poise.
Police Chief Maurice Turner, serving as referee, appeared uncertain about what infraction, if any, was being committed.
When the police finally resumed play, they scored another basket, for which they were awarded 100 points. The final score was recorded as 123-106, in favor of the Globetrotters. The Globetrotters' scorekeeping appeared as unconventional as their style of play.