A Superior Court judge has halted temporarily the suspension of a D.C. police officer who refused to undergo a urinalysis test, calling forced testing unconstitutional without a search warrant.
Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. issued the injunction late yesterday at the request of lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Fraternal Order of Police, who represented 3rd District Officer Charles E. Buie.
Buie, who joined the D.C. police in December 1981, was ordered to provide a urine sample while on duty yesterday. Police said they asked for the sample after receiving allegations that Buie was using marijuana.
Buie initially was suspended without pay when he refused to provide the sample but was placed on administrative leave with pay after the injunction was issued.
"He was faced with a choice as far as the department was concerned," said Arthur Spitzer, local ACLU legal director. "Take the test or be suspended and probably fired. We don't trust those tests very much. They're not always accurate."
A hearing on the matter is set for Friday.
Police Chief Maurice T. Turner said the injunction applies only to those cases--about 10 to 20 a year--when officials suspect an officer of drug use, and not to regular testing during physicals at the police clinic.
Officer Buie could not be reached for comment last night.
Capt. William Riley, a watch commander for the 3rd District, said Buie was questioned just after roll call yesterday and ordered to provide a sample as part of an internal investigation within the District. Riley declined to comment further on the investigation.
"The FOP does not support drug abuse, and we don't want drug abusers working next to us on the street," said Gary Hankins, FOP spokesman. "But we do support constitutional rights for everyone, including our own members."