D.C. Police Officer Homer Littlejohn, investigated numerous times by federal authorities in the past three years, kept his record unblemished Feb. 26 when a jury in U.S. District Court acquitted him of lying to a grand jury.
The longtime Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) narcotics officer, who worked in the 6th District, had been indicted after an investigation of one of his searches. In 2001, according to court records, Littlejohn had searched an idling car in the 1100 block of Stevens Road SE. The car belonged to an informant working for the FBI/MPD Safe Streets Gang Task Force, and the incident drew scrutiny from the FBI and the MPD’s Office of Internal Affairs.
In September 2002, Littlejohn told the grand jury that he hadn’t discussed the incident with Officer Robert Schmidt, who’d participated in the search, and that he had in fact no way of contacting Schmidt. At Littlejohn’s trial, three witnesses—Schmidt, a prosecutor who’d interviewed Littlejohn, and a Nextel employee who verified phone records—contradicted those claims. Littlejohn was suspended from the force over the allegation.
But Littlejohn’s defense attorney argued that the disputed testimony hadn’t hindered the grand jury’s investigation and therefore was not illegal. It took a jury less than two hours to return a not-guilty verdict.
“This whole investigation is just a witch hunt to get me,” Littlejohn says.
Despite the acquittal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office says the case could hamper Littlejohn’s future police work. “Given the nature of the allegation, we would have an obligation under the law to disclose it to the defense, as it could bear directly on his credibility,” spokesperson Channing Phillips writes in an e-mail. “Accordingly, it is unlikely this office would ever use him again as a witness.”
Littlejohn says he’s still awaiting the opportunity to rejoin the police force. “I didn’t work all these years to be a felon,” the officer says. “I’m not criminal-minded.” CP