Last Monday, At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson held one of his Judiciary Committee’s oversight hearings on the D.C. Police Department. For the most part, the hearing was routine: right down to the councilmember asking for the investigative materials related to the DeOnte Rawlings shootings. By Mendo’s own count, he has asked for the Rawlings report at least three times.
At Monday’s hearing, D.C.Police Chief Cathy Lanier and her top brass assured Mendelson that he would have the Rawlings case report on his desk very soon. The expection was for a Friday deadline. In an editorial the day of the deadline, the Post urged the police department to release more information about shootings—including the details on the recent police shooting death of a bus driver. We’d like the records behind the David Kerstetter shooting on November 6. And the Osman Abdullahi shooting in late February. The Post sort of piggybacked on David Simon‘s own editorial in its newspaper a few weeks ago.
So is it shocking that on Friday, the D.C. Police failed to give Mendelson the DeOnte Rawlings report? Of course not. This is what the department does with such things.
“I think that’s still at the factory for redactions,” Mendelson joked during a phone interview. It was 5 p.m. on Friday. “This is at least the third time I’ve asked for the D. Rawlings report.”
Mendelson believes getting these force-investigation shooting reports is important. “If the executive branch does not want accountability and transparency then they will ignore the legislature’s request,” Mendelson says. “I agree with what [the Post] wrote. How do we do oversight if they withhold information? Of course that raises the question: Is there something they are trying to hide? Maybe it’s nothing but it certainly provokes the question. Anything controversial like that sunshine is most helpful.”