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Lou Cannon, the head of the D.C. Protective Services Police Department, was fired today, a city spokesman confirms to LL.
Cannon oversaw the small police agency tasked with protecting city-owned buildings. Kenny Diggs, a spokesman for the Department of General Services, said Cannon was let go today but could not specify why citing privacy rules governing personnel decisions. A spokesman for Mayor Vince Gray also declined to explain Cannon’s firing (get it?!). A call to Cannon’s home line was not immediately returned.
Cannon was one of several retired Metropolitan Police Department officers who returned to District employment and was receiving both a full salary and a full pension, a double dipping deal the Gray administration said was illegal. Earlier this year, Cannon and a handful of his deputies sued the District after they stopped receiving both their full salaries and their full pensions.
LL is still trying to track down why exactly Cannon was canned, and will update as necessary.
UPDATE: Pedro Ribeiro, the mayor’s spokesman, says another Protective Services employee was also let go today. But Diggs says only Cannon was fired today.
UPDATE No. 2: Cannon’s lawyer, Matt LeFande, was able to shed a little bit of light on the situation. LeFande says Cannon was given a letter today telling him he was fired. LeFande has not seen the letter, but says it’s his understanding that the letter said Cannon’s firing was related to an incident in October involving Occupy D.C. protestors taking down the District of Columbia flag from the Wilson Building. LeFande says the letter says there was something wrong with how Cannon’s agency handled and reported the incident.
The letter says that “there’s false information in the report as a result of [Cannon’s] failure to interview some persons involved,” LeFande says.
LeFande added that he’s “extremely concerned given the close temporal proximity” of Cannon’s dismissal and his lawsuit against the city. “It smacks of retaliation,” he says.
LeFande also said that one of Cannon’s deputies, Benjamin Pietra, was also fired today. Pietra is not one of Cannon’s co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the District.
UPDATE No. 3: Pietra, in email to LL’s boss, says he’s currently in Florida and was not fired today. “However, earlier today, I resigned from PSPD due to a personal family issue,” he writes.
UPDATE No. 4: Rodney Parks, an assistant chief at MPD, will be taking over as interim chief of Protective Services, according to an email sent to all Protective Services employees today by Assistant PSPD Chief Stephen Watkins. (Watkins, by the way, is suing the District along with Cannon over the pension payment issue.) The full email:
From: Watkins, Stephen (DGS)
To: DGS PSPD All (DGS)
Sent: Wed Feb 08 17:51:46 2012
Subject: Chief Cannon
Effective immediately, Chief Lou Cannon is no longer with PSPD. Deputy Chief Scott or I will be attending the roll calls to answer any questions you may have. In the interim, Assistant Chief Rodney Parks, MPD, has been appointed as Interim Chief and will be performing duties with both departments. A/C Parks is a strong and capable leader and I urge all members to give him your full support and loyalty. Thank you.