Former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown, who says he was paid and promised a city job to disparage then-mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) in last year’s election, was arrested early Monday for driving without a D.C. permit and failure to obey a lawful order.
About 1 a.m., D.C. police officers spotted a gray 2003 Mercedes-Benz with a broken headlight and stopped the driver in the 600 block of Florida Avenue NW, according to an incident report. Brown gave them proof of insurance, registration and a Maryland license, which the police discovered was suspended.
The traffic stop turned confrontational when Brown, who said he was returning home after celebrating his sister’s birthday, said he was wary of the plainclothes officers and demanded to see a supervisor. He also said the car flashed lights but did not sound a siren, although the incident report differs with his recollection.
The arrest is yet another public occurrence for Brown, whose claims of a job deal and payments by campaign aides of Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) are being investigated by the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office. He made the allegations after he was fired this year from a $110,000 city job.
According to the incident report, an officer “asked him politely to step out of his vehicle,” but Brown “refused to comply and immediately rolled up all of his vehicle windows, locked all four doors, grabbed his cell phone and made a phone call.”
In an interview, Brown said he called 911 and talked to a dispatcher who told him there was no record of a traffic stop, which he said made him suspicious. “She said, ‘Just stay in the car.’ ”
Brown said that after he placed the call, another officer arrived, wearing a vest with stripes, but that the dispatcher said that officer was not the supervisor.
According to Brown, the officer in the vest said: “I am an official. Don’t you see these stripes?’ . . . He said, ‘Oh, you’re the guy who tried to get the mayor arrested. We definitely have to arrest you now.’ ”
The incident report makes no mention of such an exchange. However, it says “all three officers took turns asking Defendant (Brown) to step out of the vehicle.”
A sergeant arrived and identified himself, gave his rank and again asked Brown to step out of the car. Brown said, “I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t want to get out right now, I want an official,” according to the report.
After the sergeant again showed a badge and an identification card, Brown got out of the car and was arrested. According to the report, Brown said, “That’s OK, you all know who I am, I’ll have each and every one of the you on the news by next week!”
The Mercedes was impounded, and police confiscated a laminated placard that read “Metropolitan Police Department POLICE Official Business” and a retractable baton that were found in the vehicle.
Brown said the parking permit was not real. “It was a gift shop purchase,” he said.
He said he later leaned that his license was suspended because of a parking ticket, which he paid Monday.
At a news conference Monday afternoon, Brown — accompanied by James W. Rudasill, his attorney — said he thought he was targeted. He said he was “unsettled” by the police officers’ actions, which included beating on his window and one officer drawing her weapon. Rudasill said Brown should have had a D.C. driver’s license, but he declined to comment further.
Assistant Chief Peter Newsham said Monday that the department will “be looking at whatever occurred in detail to see if there was any misconduct on the officer’s part.”
Brown is scheduled to appear in Superior Court on Thursday regarding the efforts of a D.C. Council special committee to subpoena his records as part of a probe into hiring practices by the Gray administration.
Staff writer Theola Labbé-DeBose contributed to this report.