Bryan Norwood, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s newly appointed vice president for public safety, made headlines when he was police chief in Richmond — but it might not have been the kind of press he was looking for.
In 2013, prosecutors in Los Angeles County accused Norwood’s police department of shoddy record-keeping in a case involving R&B singer Chris Brown.
As part of Brown’s sentence for the 2009 assault on his girlfriend at the time, Rihanna, Brown was sentenced to five years of probation and required to perform six months of community service. As part of the agreement, he was permitted to do some of his community service near his mother’s home near Richmond and under the supervision of Richmond police. But in court filings, prosecutors with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said the police department did a poor job of supervising Brown and questioned whether the singer performed any of the community service Richmond police said he did.
MWAA officials said they were aware of the controversy but were confident they made a good hire.
“It’s not an issue,” said Chris Paolino, a spokesman for the airports authority. “We’re excited to have him. We look forward to him bringing his 20 years of experience to the airports authority.”
Norwood stepped down from his police job just a few weeks after the controversy erupted. In a letter to the editor in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Norwood wrote that “Strained relationships and disagreements within city management made it increasingly difficult to do the work that I’ve loved doing for the past two and a half decades — which is to protect and serve.” He did not make any reference to the Brown controversy.
Efforts to reach Norwood on Thursday were unsuccessful. MWAA officials declined to make him available for an interview.
Norwood, who was Richmond’s police chief between 2008 and 2013, was appointed to the job by then-Mayor L. Douglas Wilder shortly before the current mayor, Dwight C. Jones, took office. On Thursday, a spokesman for the mayor’s office referred calls about the circumstances of Norwood’s departure to the police department. A spokesman for the police department said he could not comment because it was a personnel matter.
Norwood will start his new job overseeing the MWAA’s police force and fire and rescue department Monday. His base salary will be $200,000 a year, a significant increase from the $142,800 a year base salary he had as Richmond’s top cop.
In court filings seeking to modify the conditions of Brown’s probation, prosecutors in California noted several key discrepancies in the paperwork police in Richmond filed.
In one instance, Richmond police had reported that Brown worked from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. But prosecutors determined Brown was in the District, where he was participating in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge, and not in Richmond. Brown, noted the court documents filed by the prosecutor’s office, was the official host of the charity event.
In another instance, Richmond police reported that on March 15, 2012, Brown picked up trash for four hours between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. But information obtained from ExcelAire Service Inc., a private airline, indicated that Brown boarded a private jet bound for Cancun, which left Richmond at 4 p.m.
“Boarding a private jet prior to 1600 hours makes it physically impossible for the Defendant to have picked up trash between 1000-1800 hours on March 15, 2012,” the court filing from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office stated.
In other instances, overtime reports indicated that Richmond police provided protection for Brown. But investigators found that on five of the dates, the protection was not tied to Brown’s community service. Rather, “Richmond Police personnel provided a security detail for a concert performance by the Defendant,” according to the reports.
Brown is currently in the District in connection with an alleged assault on Oct. 27 of Parker Adams of Beltsville. Brown and his bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, 35, are charged with misdemeanor assault. Hollosy’s trial began Thursday; Brown’s is expect to start Friday or Monday.