Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

MPD Chief Peter Newsham Responds to Deanwood Police Search Video (Listen)

June 26, 2018

By Erin Thibeau

A controversial stop-and-frisk has raised some concerns about police tactics in D.C. 

D.C.’s top cop answered some of these concerns Tuesday on the Joe Clair Morning Show. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham spoke with Joe Clair about the June 22 police search in Deanwood, which was caught on video and is currently being investigated by the ACLU of the District of Columbia.

In the video, plainclothes officers appear to find a gun (later found to be a BB gun) on a man outside Nook’s Barbershop, in the 5200 block of Sheriff Road NE. The man was a stranger to the group recording the video.

Officers then explain they have probable cause to search all of them for weapons. The men say they've done nothing wrong and don't know him.

Anthony Lorenzo Green, an advisory neighborhood commissioner for Deanwood, says the neighborhood believes the man was working for the police, as he was allowed to drive away as the officers searched rest of the men present.

"There was a suggestion that one of the guys there was an undercover police officer," Chief Newsham said on WPGC, "and we've determined that's not the case."

"They located a BB gun on a gentleman that was up there, they identified him, they did not charge him, and they allowed him to leave," he continued.

When Joe said the incident still looks suspect, the chief responded that he thinks people have "to listen to all the facts before they react."

"I got emails from people who live in that community, and they welcome the fact that the police were up there," because people who smoke weed and carry guns by the daycare center ward off parents. 

Joe pushed back, saying black men in that neighborhood are all painted with the same brush by police.

Both agreed it's important to differentiate between innocent people and those creating problems. "If we are wrong, I'm the first one to say 'listen, that's not what we do as a police department.'"

Listen to the full interview below:

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