A Metropolitan Police Department detective has been convicted of one count of simple assault, and one count of fleeing and eluding. Detective William J. Witkowski is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 25. Witkowski was found guilty on Jan. 31 following a bench trial in D.C. Superior Court. A simple assault charge carries a maximum sentence of $1,000 or 180 days of incarceration—or both. The charge of fleeing law enforcement carries a maximum sentence of three years imprisonment.
According to court papers, in June, the detective was arrested for shoving two men, then putting one of them in a choke hold and slamming him against a car. The violence broke out as a result of an argument. Witkowski was driving along 14th Street NW at about 3 a.m. when he stopped at a light at Fairmont Street. That’s when, prosecutors say, he began yelling at two men parked on the corner. The men, who told cops they were waiting for a friend, got out of their car—supposedly to get some air—and conflict ensued.
Witkowski was also accused and convicted of leaving the scene, despite being asked not to by a uniformed officer who showed up during the conflict. The Washington Post reported the detective also refused to take a sobriety test. In court papers, Witkowski’s lawyer suggested the arresting officer (different from the officer who ordered Witkowski to stick around) had some sort of bias against the defendant.
The detective’s lawyer declined comment, as did the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Court filings say Witkowski has worked for MPD for more than 20 years and has received over 20 commendations and letters of appreciation for his service. He has no previous record. MPD spokesperson Gwen Crump says that whether Witkowski keeps his job depends on the “outcome of an internal affairs investigation.”