A man who died after being pulled from the Potomac River Tuesday night has been identified as a D.C. police officer who was arrested and charged last week with producing child pornography, according to a department statement issued Wednesday morning.
Marc Washington, 32, of Waldorf, had been freed from jail on Monday after his lawyer fought with prosecutors for two days over whether the officer should be released pending trial. A federal judge had given the seven-year veteran a 24-hour curfew in his father’s southern Maryland home and forced his father to surrender the deed to ensure that his son would return to court.
Police said that they got a 911 call at about 8:15 p.m. Tuesday from a man. The U.S. Park Police responded to the first block of Ohio Drive SW, at Hains Point, and found an empty car with clothing located nearby.
Police and Fire Department dive teams found a man in the cold river shortly before 9:30 p.m. He was rushed to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to Gwendolyn Crump, the D.C. police department’s chief spokeswoman. Authorities would only say that the investigation was continuing. The police statement did not say how Washington died.
Washington was charged with showing up at the home of a 15-year-old girl in Southeast Washington who had gone missing and returned. Police said he went into her bedroom the night of Dec. 1, told her to undress and took partially nude pictures of her. The mother later called police, who arrested him a short time later.
Police have put another officer on desk duty as they investigate whether he tipped off Washington about his impending arrest. A police dispatcher had also inadvertently sent text of the mother’s complaint to computer screens of officers throughout the 7th District, where Washington was assigned.
Court charging documents allege that Washington deleted pictures of the girl and others before police arrested him, but that investigators were able to retrieve most of the images. Police also said they found pictures of other females, including two who appeared to be minors, and were urging people to call with information.
Prosecutors argued that Washington posed a threat to the community because his alleged actions occurred while he was on duty and armed. His attorney said that without his gun and badge, Washington posed no danger. He faced up to 30 years in federal prison if convicted.
Days after Washington was arrested, police searched the apartment of another 7th District officer and linked him to a child pornography ring. That also involved a teenage runaway and other women, according to a search warrant affidavit. That officer has been placed on desk duty. He has not been arrested or charged, and police officials have said they do not believe the two cases are connected.
Last week, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said the allegations tarnish the 4,000-member department, and she called the charges against Washington the most egregious because the alleged offenses occurred while he was on-duty.