Acting Atty. Gen. Peter Nickles
Acting Atty. Gen. Peter Nickles

Today, former Ward 3 Councilmember Kathy Patterson submitted a letter [PDF] to U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan regarding the troubled Pershing Park Case.

Patterson, who headed up the council judiciary committee at the time of the mass arrests and spearheaded an exhaustive investigation into the incident, may be the best authority on the subject (not including plaintiffs’ attorneys).  It appears she wrote the letter to refute several assertions made by Attorney General Peter Nickles in his sworn statement turned into Sullivan on August 12.

In particular, Patterson takes issue with Nickles’ assertion that the Metropolitan Police Department’s general counsel never received the running resume. In fact, Patterson points out that she received a November 21, 2003, letter from General Counsel Terrance Ryan in which he promises the running resume. She quotes Ryan’s letter in which he states:

The department has substituted the SOCC/JOCC running resumes for the Commander’s Mass Demonstration Event Logs. The running resumes for the above listed events are being produced today.

Patterson goes on to state that Nickles erred when he stated in his sworn testimony that the D.C. Council’s investigative report on Pershing Park was written by “now-Councilmember Mary Cheh.” Patterson says that was not the case—-she wrote the report. Nickles needs a fact-checker!

There’s more. In his statement, Nickles claimed that the OAG had been denied access to the police department’s after-action reports, running resume, and event logs—-materials used in her investigation. Patterson says the OAG had access to such materials. She writes:

By the conclusion of the Committee’s investigation—-and the publication of the Committee report on March 24, 2004—-the thousands of pages of documents gathered by the investigation were made public, with the exception of depositions taken from two undercover officers, and a portion of the deposition taken from Assistant Chief Peter Newsham.

Patterson continues:

On December 4, 2003, the Judiciary Committee voted to release from executive session the bulk of the documents received under subpoena from the Metropolitan Police Department. We made the documents public at that time because we planned to make use of the information during two days of public hearings held two weeks later….To the best of my knowledge, all of the Committee’s investigation files remain available today for public review through the Office of the Secretary of the Council.

Patterson goes further:

Mr. Nickles makes reference to a subpoena seeking documents provided to the Committee, but the Committee on the Judiciary was never the subject of an OAG subpoena—that would have been unnecessary, since, as indicated, the documents had been placed in the public domain.

Nickles could not be reached for comment.

UPDATE, 5:36 P.M.: I e-mailed Patterson regarding the issue of whether or not her committee received the running resume. It is the plaintiffs’ lawyers who contend that the committee did not get the real running resume. Patterson writes:

I don’t have the documents in my possession, since they are official Council records, but I assume we did receive the running resume because we stated on the record that we were releasing it publicly and we quoted from it. I have not followed minutely the back and forth in the two cases so I can’t distinguish between what we asked for and received, and what the attorneys for the plaintiffs now claim they never got. We were pretty careful about documents, so I have to assume that if we had NOT received the 2002 running resume, we would have continued to object and would have followed up by going to court to enforce the subpoena. We did secure a Council vote to do that and would have if it had been necessary.  So I can’t speak to ‘missing evidence.’  We had materials that were severely redacted and felt that was inappropriate. But our focus was on setting policies and standards for the future, and we had sufficient evidence and documentation to issue the report and move on to write the First Amendment legislation.

Here is a draft of the report Patterson submitted on Pershing Park and other police actions.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery