Why is the Washington Post ignoring the SEIU protest at the homes of two bank executives, one being an employee of the Bank of America? Aside from a brief mention in a larger story on May 17 about SEIU protests, the paper of record in the nation’s capital has been strangely silent.
Even after the story broke here that the buses that carried an estimated 500 protesters to the Greenville Rd, Chevy Chase residence of a B of A executive were escorted by at least two units of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the incuriosity of the WaPo continues.
You Go Megan! Would have liked to see you put more wood to the only hot looking female Democratic I’ve seen. Good at her talking points. Short on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac duplicity. As a reminder, for your viewing pleasure today’s history lesson below. Rational thoughts while observing a national charade, I’m J.C.
This afternoon, all the details of this story were reconfirmed through the Montgomery County Police Department spokesperson, Corporal Daniel Friz. Meanwhile, two high-level D.C. police officials have disputed their department’s police presence at the B of A executive’s home.
Operating in full CYA mode, the first statement cames from D.C. Chief of Police Cathy Lanier:
In a blog posted on Bigjournalism.com there is an allegation that CDU officers from the DC Metropolitan Police Department escorted protestors into Montgomery County MD – and specifically to the home of a bank executive. The MPD refutes this claim and our officers merely shadowed protest groups while they were in the District of Columbia to insure that DC laws were obeyed and that noone [sic] would be injured as a result of a traffic collision or other event. This is standard protocol for protests of this nature as we seek to balance public safety with first amendment protections. There were no arrests or injuries as a result of this protest, and the Metropolitan Police Department notified the Montgomery County Police Department when we became aware that the group was leaving Washington DC. Our officers staged along Western Avenue (DC/Montgomery County Line), and did not leave the District of Columbia. MPD had no knowledge of the locations in MD where the protestors were planning to visit – and thus had no role in this alleged escort to homes.
This statement raises several important questions:
If their units were not present at the protest, how would the D.C. cops know there were “no arrests or injuries as a result of this protest?” It would, after all, not be their responsibility or authority to make arrests. On its face, the statement appears to be an attempt to diminish the significance of the entire event.
Also, the Montgomery County PD, through its spokesperson Cpl. Friz, denies having received a “heads-up” – the words used in posing the question – that the SEIU protesters were headed into their jurisdiction.
A second statement came from senior D.C. police official Patrick Burke and is identical to much of Chief Lanier’s statement, including the same typographical error noted above. To Chief Lanier’s statement, Burke adds,
MPD does not escort to homes as alleged. I oversee SOD and was monitoring this event. My officers would not be able to escort persons to any location outside of DC – and secondly, we have no information on adresses [sic] in MD that protestors are targeting.
So if the Chief is correct in stating that “MPD had no knowledge of the locations in MD where the protestors were planning to visit,” and, likewise, Burke correctly states “we have no information on addresses in D.C. that protestors are targeting,” and the Chief correctly states that “the Metropolitan Police Department notified the Montgomery County Police Department when we became aware that the group was leaving Washington DC,” what’s the substance of the “notification?”
Was it merely that: “There’s a protest group headed your way, we think?”
The spokespersons for both departments involved have acknowledged the practice of cross-jurisdictional escorting for the purpose of assuring public safety.
On May 24, a Washington Examiner op-ed piece entitled “No more police escorts for union thugs” was later updated with a police union response that states, in part, that:
Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the labor committee of the District of Columbia’s Metropolitican [sic] Police Department chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, provided the following response to today’s Examiner editorial: “The editorial treated as fact unconfirmed, and apparently inaccurate, claims that Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) vehicles and police officers escorted and provided protection for a group of protestors at an individual’s residence in the state of Maryland.
Additionally, the Fraternal Order of Police (the cops’ union) stated, in its rebuttal to the Washington Examiner op-ed, that:
That would mean that any such action [Metropolitan PD cops escorting the SEIU protestors to the BoA executive’s home], if it occurred, would have to have been ordered by MPD officials. The FOP and its officers have taken a hard stand against any misuse of official police resources by MPD. Your own newspaper has reported on that issue (see, e.g., “Dozens of local police officers assigned to concierge duties,” January 29, 2009).
In fact, several FOP officers have faced retaliation and are currently involved in whistleblower litigation over the very issue of MPD misusing resources. Accusing the FOP of directing, or even participating, in the misuse of MPD resources is inexcusable, particularly given the fact that FOP officers have risked their careers to end this type of abuse.
On its face, the FOP statement is tacit admission that “misusing resources” has happened in the past, and may have happened (“if it occurred”) in this case. Did it happen here without having been ordered by MPD officials?
In summary, here’s the situation as it stands now: Two police departments offer varying accounts of the involvement of the Metropolitan Police Department in the SEIU protest at the home of the B of A executive. Specifically:
- The Montgomery County PD, through its spokesperson CPL Friz, denies having been notified by the D.C. cops that the SEIU protestors were headed their way.
- The MCPD states, through its spokesperson, that when its four patrol units arrived on scene at the private residence, at least two D.C. units were already present. And –
- A police escort, according to the MCPD, is not uncommon practice when a protest group travels from D.C. into its jurisdiction, as well as on those occasions when the circumstances are reversed.
When the MPD spokesperson, Officer Eric Frost, was queried as to why Washington units would be accompanying the SEIU group, he reported that such was one role of the Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU). When they accompany DC-based protest groups to another adjacent jurisdiction they’re present to assure the safety of the group, but they have no authority to enforce the laws of the neighboring jurisdiction visited.
In this case, the SEIU group had no Montgomery County permit to demonstrate at the private residence. It was not the responsibility of the D.C. police to enforce that Montgomery County requirement, or any other Montgomery County code applicable to demonstrations, such as the requirement to keep moving during the protest.
Meanwhile, the silence from the Washington Post concerning the SEIU demonstrations at the homes of two bank executives continues to be…deafening.
Where’s the outrage?