The name of the D.C. police officer who was hurt during the Ku Klux Klan march on Sunday was misspelled Tuesday. She is Michelle Bullard. (Published 11/3/90)
Rocks, bricks and bottles showered down on the D.C. police officers standing shoulder to shoulder across Sixth Street NW on Sunday to protect Ku Klux Klan marchers a block away on Constitution Avenue.
"The bricks were really flying," Michelle Boullard said yesterday. "I ducked one or two. I kind of remember seeing a brick very close. Then I heard my helmet get hit. Then all I felt was the pain."
Boullard was knocked out cold.
Later that day, D.C. Police Chief Isaac Fulwood Jr. told reporters, "We had one officer get hit with a brick and we think her neck is broken. She is in critical condition."
As it turned out, X-rays showed no broken bones. Boullard was sent home yesterday.
"I am lying here with heat and hot pads and medication," she said. "They say the worst I got was muscle strain."
Boullard, 30, said she had no opinion about the 27 Klan members who strode along Constitution Avenue untouched by about 1,200 demonstrators who clashed with police as they tried to get at the white supremacists.
"I guess everyone is entitled to their opinions," she said. "As an officer, I have to be neutral. I can't be choosing sides. If they choose to come back again, I will be there again."
Boullard was thought to be the most seriously injured of the eight officers taken to local hospitals Sunday during and after the Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan marched from the Washington Monument to the Capitol.
Two thousand D.C. police officers, 800 U.S. Capitol Police officers and 325 U.S. Park Police officers lined the march route and the Capitol Plaza to keep counter-demonstrators, who had announced that they would try to stop the march, away from the Klan.
The Klan's march was opposed by D.C. police officials, who contended that they could not protect marchers over a mile-long route and said they should walk a shorter, safer four-block course. The American Civil Liberties Union interceded for the Klan and won a federal court ruling allowing the group to walk the longer route.
Boullard said she thought D.C. police had done a good job and were well prepared for the violence. She had also worked over Labor Day weekend when members of the same Klan organization were prevented by police from marching because several thousand demonstrators had massed along the route and blocked Constitution Avenue NW. Although the anti-Klan contingent never saw the Klan that day, they still confronted police, injuring four officers.
Boullard faced missile-throwers that day too.
"I played baseball with full soda cans, so I expected trouble on Sunday," she said.
On Sunday, Boullard said, she and other Civil Disturbance Unit officers who are specially trained for street demonstrations were suddenly redeployed from 15th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, near where the march started, to a new trouble spot at Sixth Street and Indiana Avenue NW.
"I remembered hearing an officer had been hurt, that they messed up her hand with a cinder block," she said. When her commanders heard that, "they started moving the formation up the street. We were trying to find a spot to cut people off because the Klan was still marching.
"That was where people were trying to get through," she said. "We were trying to block them."
Then she was hit. She said she remembers nothing until she opened her eyes and saw other officers staring down at her. After an ambulance crew took Boullard to Washington Hospital Center, D.C. police Capt. Robert Noyes found her helmet on the ground.
"The visor was cracked, right next to where the screw is on the side," he said yesterday. "That helmet saved her life."
Noyes called Boullard "a good, aggressive officer."
Boullard said she likes to think of herself as a good officer too. She waited until she was 29 to join the police department.
"I was in the military for six years," the former Army reservist said. "Everyone said that was too rough for a woman, but I did it. I proved a point." Then she worked for Giant supermarkets for three years before taking the police department examination.
"I was getting older and realized I had to do it then if I was ever going to do it," she said. "I love my job. I can't wait to go back to work."