Worker hurt in fall at construction site

A construction worker fell and was critically injured at the construction site for the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall on Wednesday night, authorities said.

The worker fell about 20 feet from scaffolding into an underground trench in the 1400 block of Constitution Avenue NW about 7:15 p.m., said Timothy Wilson, a spokesman for D.C. fire and emergency services.

The worker was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

— Clarence Williams

City police officer convicted of assault

A D.C. police officer was convicted of misdemeanor assault Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court for use of excessive force during a 2011 arrest at a Northeast Washington store.

Officer Clinton Turner, 42, was found guilty of simple assault by Judge Robert E. Morin for the incident at Downtown Locker Room in the 3900 block of Minnesota Avenue on Jan. 20, 2011, while he was on duty.

Prosecutors said Turner, who was a patrol officer in the 6th District, exchanged words with a store employee. Soon after, the officer slammed the worker into a wall after he spoke when Turner told him not to, prosecutors said. The officer then pulled the employee’s hair and put him in a chokehold, they said.

A D.C. police spokeswoman said Turner joined the department in 2004 and is on non-
contact status.

— Clarence Williams

Unemployment taxes to decrease sharply

The unemployment insurance tax rates paid by most Maryland businesses will be cut by up to 70 percent in January, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Wednesday.

The adoption of the lowest of five possible brackets under Maryland’s tax system was made possible by a recovering state economy, O’Malley said at an event with business leaders at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

The rates paid by businesses vary based on their employment history, but most can expect to pay significantly less next year. A business that paid $85 per employee this year, for example, can expect to pay $25.50 per employee next year, state officials said.

Kathy Snyder, president of the Maryland chamber, called it “a big day for employers in Maryland.”

— John Wagner