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The latest in a weeklong back-and-forth between Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s administration and the Department of Justice comes in the form of another letter from acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin. On Tuesday, Sherwin suggested the Metropolitan Police Department arrested alleged “rioters” during First Amendment demonstrations without probable cause.
“Surely, by your comments, you are not suggesting that this Office skirt constitutional protections and due process,” Sherwin wrote to Bowser on Sept. 1, adding that he met with MPD leadership in an effort to “further develop these cases and establish a bare minimum of probable cause,” but none had materialized.
But by Thursday, Sherwin writes in a new letter, he’d met with MPD Chief Peter Newsham, and everything is cool now. The USAO is going to charge some of those people after all. It’s unclear how many people have been charged, but the letters between Bowser and Sherwin reference more than 50 people, who Sherwin previously said were “arrested as a collective by MPD and presented to the Office without any articulable facts linking criminal conduct to each individual arrested.”
In his Sept. 3 letter, Sherwin writes to Newsham: “You should not take my letter of September 1, 2020 as suggesting that there had been no probable cause for the arrests. That was not the Department’s position. Rather the concern was that we needed certain additional information to be reflected in the supporting affidavits to proceed with criminal charges.”
Calls to the USAO and MPD were not immediately returned.