WASHINGTON CITY PAPER: An affidavit filed today in U.S. District Court raises questions as to whether former D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey may have committed perjury in his sworn testimony about the Pershing Park fiasco. Ramsey had repeatedly stated in depositions that he had not ordered the mass arrest of approximately 400 people during the Sept. 27, 2002, World Bank/IMF protests. Yet the affidavit, by Det. Paul Hustler, a 22-year D.C. Police veteran, maintains that Ramsey indeed ordered the arrests. Hustler’s affidavit, taken Nov. 16, [PDF] is just the latest shock in a pair of Pershing Park class-action civil suits in U.S. District Court. In recent months, the case has been dogged by allegations of massive discovery violations. Judge Emmet Sullivan has called for an outside investigation into how basic evidence in the cases had gone missing. On the day of the protests, Hustler’s squad had been dispatched to Pershing Park to assist with crowd control. At the time, the police had surrounded anyone in the park whether they were IMF protesters or innocent bystanders. Hustler states in his affidavit that officers were ordered to funnel people into the park. Hustler was standing near Ramsey and various police officials at the time. He then goes on to state:
“As I walked closer, about five or six feet away from them, I heard Chief Ramsey say, ‘We’re going to lock them up and teach them a lesson.’” MORE
RELATED: On January 13, 2006, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the arrests violated the Fourth Amendment and that Chief Ramsey could be held personally liable for the violations. On August 2, 2007, City officials in Washington agreed to pay $1 million to more than 120 of the protesters, on top of other settlements by the D.C. government, including one for $640,000. MORE
D.C. Police Prepare for Protests at Inauguration
by John Drake
Published on Wednesday, December 13, 2000 in the Washington Times
Anti-establishment activists and liberals are planning to flood the District with massive protests on Inauguration Day, prompting city police to brace for the deluge with an unprecedented level of security. “What we would hope is that any demonstrations that are planned are peaceful,” said Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey. “We’ll be as gentle or as forceful as we need to be, and play the situation out based on what they do.”
“We have to be prepared for anything that may occur. It will not be [the police department] that creates the problem, but we will resolve it,” he added. Chief Ramsey will mobilize the entire Metropolitan Police Department for the event, and he has invoked “mutual aid” agreements with police in surrounding counties to increase staffing.
As many as 950 officers from Fairfax, Montgomery, Arlington and Prince George’s counties and Alexandria will be federally deputized so they can enforce D.C. laws, officials said. Federal police agencies will be out in force, and other agencies — such as the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms — will be on standby for major incidents. MORE
Lawsuit Alleging Abuse During 2001 Inauguration Is Settled
The D.C. police department agreed yesterday to pay $685,000 and take steps to protect protesters from police abuse and ensure their rights to settle a lawsuit over the treatment of demonstrators at President Bush’s inauguration in 2001. The lawsuit uncovered evidence that the department had suspended rules limiting the use of force during the protests, had pressed undercover officers to infiltrate protest groups and had sought to provoke protesters and uninvolved bystanders by attacking them with batons and pepper spray.
The Partnership for Civil Justice, a civil liberties advocacy group, and a group of local residents brought the suit five years ago to try to force the police department under Chief Charles H. Ramsey to change what it considered an illegal pattern of treating protesters like suspected criminals. One of the suit’s lead attorneys, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, said yesterday that the group thinks that it achieved much of that goal through painstaking litigation and depositions that revealed the department’s behavior and led to the D.C. Council passing legislation last year to reform police handling of protests.
The settlement, which comes as Ramsey is preparing to leave his post, is the latest in a series of payments the city has made stemming from police conduct at demonstrations. In January 2005, the District government agreed to pay $425,000 to seven people caught up in a mass arrest at Pershing Park in September 2002. More than 400 people were rounded up at the downtown park during demonstrations against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Several investigations found that Assistant Chief Peter J. Newsham, after conferring with Ramsey, had ordered arrests without warning or evidence of a crime — including of people who had nothing to do with the protests. MORE
D.C. Settles With Mass Arrest Victims
7 Rounded Up in 2002 IMF Protest to Get $425,000 and an Apology
The District government agreed yesterday to pay a total of $425,000 to seven people caught up in a mass arrest at a downtown park in September 2002, acknowledging that they were wrongfully arrested and promising to adopt changes in police procedures.
The agreement settles a lawsuit in which the seven alleged that D.C. police violated their constitutional rights and department policy during the roundup of about 400 protesters and bystanders in Pershing Park. The settlement also requires D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey to send a personal letter of apology to each of the plaintiffs.
Ramsey said yesterday that city attorneys have instructed him not to comment on the settlement because of the ongoing litigation.
The arrests occurred Sept. 27, 2002, during demonstrations against the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. With Ramsey’s approval, Assistant Police Chief Peter J. Newsham ordered officers to corral demonstrators and anyone else within the boundaries of the park, on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, and to charge them with failing to obey police. Those arrested were put in plastic handcuffs, taken away on buses and detained on floors for as long as 36 hours. MORE