City Paper is not for tourists
Yesterday, plaintiffs lawyers in one of the controversial Pershing Park cases filed a scathing response to AG Peter Nickles‘ sworn statement submitted in U.S. District Court on August 12. In their response, the lawyers take a moment to defend one D.C. cop—-Sgt. Douglas Jones.
What makes Jones stand out? Jones had testified in a deposition that the now-missing running resume concerning the events of Pershing Park did in fact at one time exist. Jones stated that he knew of at least 12 hard copies that had been made along with two electronic copies. He recalled that his supervisor had requested the running resume. He believed the request had come down from the D.C. Police Department’s general counsel’s office.
So far, Jones is the only police official who would acknowledge to have seen the running resume. Both Nickles and OAG attorney Tom Koger, in their sworn statements, make a point of questioning whether Jones told the truth in his deposition. D.C. Police lawyer Ronald Harris said this in his sworn statement about Jones:
“During my involvement as the liaison to the OAG attorneys assigned to the instant cases, I have never seen a copy of the JOCC running resume….Nor do I know of any person who claims to have seen this document other than Sgt. Doug Jones.”
Jones is important because of his testimonies embarrassment factor. If his testimony is true it would mean that police officials and police lawyers may have been the last to see a crucial document that has now disappeared. It’s not that surprising that the District’s lawyers want to throw Jones under the bus.
But there are several reasons why this strategy is a loser.
After the jump, you can read the plaintiffs’ defense of Jones, along with several police documents and deposition testimony from former police Chief Charles Ramsey concerning the running resume issue. The documents and testimony seem to only bolster Jones’ credibility.
In their filing, the plaintiffs addressed Jones’ deposition testimony and his credibility regarding the running resume. Not only had he testified in their case, the lawyers write, but he successfully testified in another protest case—the Bolger case. Like the Pershing Park cases, the OAG and the police stonewalled on the running resume—-until Jones testified that it existed:
“In Bolger, the District refused and failed to produce the running resume to plaintiffs, who also had been subject to a mass false arrest. District counsel (some of the same attorneys who have represented the District in Chang and Barham), claimed there that the running resume never existed. When deposed, however, Jones testified he had located the e-mail he had sent to the OAG’s office and the running resume in Bolger was magically found.”
The plaintiffs lawyers go on to write:
“Instead of accepting Jones’ detailed testimony as true or conducting an independent law enforcement investigation of possible obstruction of justice, the Department obtained declarations of three MPD officers or employees—-Trugman, Gaffigan, and Tilghman—-to refute Jones’ sworn testimony. In essence, the District is now claiming that Jones’ testimony is itself false. Yet, these three individuals do not state categorically that the JOCC Running Resume did not exit or that copies were not distributed. Instead, they simply deny recollection of having requested or seen copies of the JOCC Running Resume. Moreover, Jones testified that the three individuals who submitted declarations were three of the MPD officers or employees who received a copy or were in control of copies of the JOCC Running Resume—-which has now disappeared.”
The plaintiffs bring up a strong point: While the OAG and the D.C. Police’s lawyers attacked Jones, they could have been investigating what happened to the missing documents. In their attacks, they suggest that the running resume never existed. That position is fundamentally flawed.
The running resume is one of the most basic documents associated with the command center’s operations during a big event like the World Bank/IMF protests. Even the D.C. Police Department suggests as much in their own documents.
Right in the department’s Joint Operations Command Center’s Activation Procedures manual, obtained by City Desk, the running resume is listed under the “operations phase.”
In three out of the seven the bullet points outlining the operations of the JOCC’s command desk, the manual mentions the running resume.
*”Monitor running resume and inform JOCC Commander of decisions needed and actions taken.”
*”Communicate decisions to Paging, Communications, or other desks, as directed. Ensure Execeutive Aide enters disposition into running resume.”
*”Direct the displays on the video screens, including but not limited to, camera displays, maps, running resume, and news stations.”
The running resume is mentioned again under the duties of the JOCC’s Executive Aide. That job entails being responsible for “categorizing and prioritizing” the running resume. And: “document decisions or other command desk actions in running resume.”
For various upper level supervisors seated within the JOCC, the manual instructs that the running resume “serves as communication channel to Command Desk.” The manual instructs that the majority of their actions be updated in the running resume. Similiar instructions for the running resume are given to other command posts—-i.e. intelligence officers—-within the JOCC.
The running resume is an essential document. And it was so in September 2002. During his deposition, former Assistant Chief Alfred Broadbent testified about the running resume:
Plaintiffs lawyer: “Is it accurate to say that at the time of September 2002 that the normal means of communication would be through the group systems running resume?”
Plaintiffs lawyer: “What is the running resume, sir?”
Broadbent: “It is—-it would keep track of different activities that were happening based on information that was coming from the field. So for example, it would say CDU 21 is taking their lunch break now. It would basically keep track of their personnel that were assigned to the ROC [Regional Operation Command] and what they were doing in the field, and it was chronological.”
Plaintiffs lawyer: “In addition to the more mundane information, for example about lunch breaks, is it correct that the running resumes also recorded significant police or special-event-related actions?”
Broadbent: “It could have.”
Plaintiffs lawyer: “Did you as the JOCC commander have access to the running resume?”
Broadbent: “I had access to it, yes.”
Plaintiffs lawyer: “Did you—-“
Broadbent: “Did I review it, no. Tended to be too much information for me to review, so other people would review it, summarize it, and then debrief me, and then I would make the decisions of what we were going to do based on the information they gave me.”
When questioned about the running resume for Pershing Park, then-Police Chief Charles Ramsey did not deny or confirm that he had seen the document:
Plaintiffs lawyer: “Did you receive a copy in your office of the JOCC, joint operations command center, running resume for the September 27, 2002 events?”
Ramsey: “I don’t recall specifically seeing it. It would be part of what we would normally do, so I don’t specifically remember seeing it, although it’s very possible.”
Plaintiffs lawyer: “Normally, would that—-would the running resume after a major deployment be, as a matter of course, sent to your office?”
Ramsey: “It would be reviewed, not necessarily by me. We’ve had a lot of incidents where there were logs or running resumes maintained and I did not review, including 9/11. I never looked at that running resume.”
Plaintiffs lawyer: “But it was—-it was received and maintained, though; correct?”
Ramsey: “I would assume it was. I really don’t know where specifically it’s maintained.”
These statements hardly put a dent in Jones’ credibility.