The Washington Post

3 D.C. officers suspended while civilian beating probed, sources say

Three D.C. police officers are being investigated in connection with the beating of a Maryland man this month outside a Northwest Washington nightclub, law enforcement sources said.

Police officials have not provided details about the investigation, but one officer with knowledge of the probe said the three officers were suspended from their regular duties Tuesday.

The three officers were reportedly off duty during the June 10 incident outside the Lotus nightclub in the 1400 block of K Street NW. The beating was so severe that the victim, 24-year-old Walter Blair II of District Heights, lost his right eye, according to his attorney, Ronald Karp.

Karp said he has watched video footage of the attack showing at least two men in security uniforms repeatedly kicking Blair as he lay on the ground in the fetal position. He declined to cite the source of the video.

“I saw one video, and we talked to some witnesses, and what I saw was ugly and mean,” Karp said in an interview. “They were not trying to apprehend the young man, they were punishing him.”

Blair, a recent graduate of University of Delaware, was at the club celebrating his birthday, Karp said. He was beaten around 2:30 a.m., after the club had closed for the night. Blair was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where doctors were unable to save his eye, Karp said.

Karp said he did not know whether the men seen beating Blair in the video were police officers. Many off-duty D.C. police officers work as security guards at nightclubs and other establishments.

“All we have is an allegation at this time,” police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said Wednesday. “The allegation is under investigation. This is being handled as any other allegation of this nature would be.”

Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation said two of the officers are being investigated for kicking and assaulting a man outside the club, and a third is being investigated for failure to take police action.

Clarence Williams is the night police reporter for The Washington Post and has spent the better part of 13 years standing next to crime scene tape, riding in police cars or waking officials in the middle of night to gather information about breaking news in and around Washington.


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