Two D.C. homicide detectives relieved of their duties last week because of a controversy over the investigation of a police shooting were reinstated yesterday by Police Chief Maurice T. Turner.
Turner ordered that detectives Jeff Greene and Russ Drummond, who have a combined 33 years on the force, be returned to their duties in the homicide squad immediately, thus ending what Greene called the worst week of his life.
Last Thursday, the partners were called in by officials, told they were the targets of a criminal investigation and read their rights. They were temporarily transferred to the burglary division while homicide officials looked into an allegation by the U.S. attorney's office that the department's paper work on a police shooting that occurred last year was sloppy.
"I felt like a defendent being interviewed by a homicide detective," Greene said of the experience. "It would be very accurate to say the shoe was on the other foot, and it was not a good feeling."
On Monday, two television news programs aired reports that Greene and Drummond were the targets of a grand jury probe into an alleged "cover-up" of the shooting in question, which occurred on June 2, 1984.
The victim, Gregory Brown, 29, allegedly grabbed a police officer's service revolver during a struggle, fled into a house on S Street NW, then emerged and fired several shots at a police barricade. Brown, whose body was later found to contain traces of PCP, was shot seven times by police and died a short time later.
The television reports claimed that Greene and Drummond, who were the lead homicide investigators on the case, failed to report that the victim had been shot by police at close range in the back of the head.
The reports were wrong, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. There was no grand jury investigation of a cover-up, though the shooting itself will be presented to the grand jury to determine whether it was justified -- a routine procedure.
In addition, Brown was not shot in the back of the head at close range, but was shot three times in the back. And the detectives had, in fact, written a report just hours after the shooting which specifically asked the medical examiner to look for wounds inflicted at close range.
The police department had no official comment on the detectives' reinstatement.
"For reasons we don't understand, someone gave misinformation to the press," Gary Hankins, labor committee chariman for the Fraternal Order of Police, said yesterday. Hankins said the Brown case was presented to the U.S. Attorney's office and sent back to the homicide branch to be reinvestigated. At the same time, he said, U.S. Attorney Joseph E. diGenova wrote a "strong" letter to police chief Turner saying that the investigation was sloppy.
Hankins, who said he met with prosecutors to discuss the incident, said diGenova's letter was prompted by a police officer who told a prosecutor that part of a statement she had given to police the night of the shooting was not included in the case jacket sent to the U.S. Attorney's office. The U.S. Attorney's office returned the case to the homicide unit for reinvestigation.
According to police sources, the female officer had reported that another member of the department had attempted to fire a shotgun at Brown, but that the gun was not loaded. That allegation was not reported in the officer's official statement that was sent to the U.S. Attorney's office, the sources said.
Hankins said that the officer's statement was not taken by Greene or Drummond but by a member of the robbery squad who was "not trained in homicide investigations."