First, the D.C. crime lab lost its accreditation. Soon, the Department of Forensic Sciences will be without a director. Last night, officials announced Jenifer Smith, who has led DFS since 2015, will resign effective May 26.
Recent problems with ballistics testing prompted the national board that certifies forensic labs to suspend D.C.’s accreditation, preventing it from evaluating any evidence related to criminal investigations. This includes rape kits and DNA evidence, as well as ballistics. Although DFS has stated that it’s working to regain accreditation, it’s unclear when or whether that will happen.
Elected officials who called for changes at the lab in the aftermath of the accreditation loss believe Smith’s resignation is the right move. In a statement issued last night, Attorney General Karl Racine, who asked Mayor Muriel Bowser for an immediate leadership change, calls Smith’s departure “an important first step in addressing the substantial issues that led to the decision of the local and federal prosecutors to cease using the lab and its accreditation being stripped.”
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, who chairs the Council’s public safety committee and stated his belief that Smith should resign last week, echoed those sentiments. “New leadership will allow the agency a chance to chart a path back to being the independent and trusted lab that our city needs,” he told the Washington Post.
Rather than comment on issues at the lab, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Chris Geldart thanked Smith for her service. “We thank Dr. Smith for her service and appreciate the job she has done in progressing the agency during her tenure,” his statement reads.
DFS and Smith have yet to comment on the resignation news, making the path forward even less clear.
— Caroline Jones (tips? email@example.com)
By Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
- It might be a little while until the Council resumes in-person meetings. [DCist]
- Former prosecutors are asking the DOJ to stop charging D.C. gun crimes in federal court. [Post]
By Mitch Ryals (tips? email@example.com)
- Foggy Bottom’s forthcoming food hall adds more vendors. [Eater DC]
- D.C.’s new mini golf bar, Swingers, sets June 18 opening date in Dupont Circle. [WBJ]
- Posts on social media prompt some craft beer leaders to step down as industry reckons with widespread sexual harassment. [Eater]
By Laura Hayes (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our City, Ourselves: Women Photograph Washington The online photography exhibition Our City, Ourselves: Women Photograph […]
- Drake was not in D.C. Barbz helped crack the case. [DCist]
- Mark Reigelman’s Groundswell makes a point about rising water levels on the shore of the Potomac. [Post]
- “The museum is driven by words, so who better than a poet to lead it?” says Lonnie Bunch of poet Kevin Young, his successor as the director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. [Post]
By Emma Sarappo (tips? email@example.com)
- Dave Martinez did a little bit of everything to show his displeasure at a call during the Nationals’ 4-3 win over the Cubs, including pulling first base out of the ground and tossing it. [MLB.com]
- It’s win or go home for the Wizards, who take on the Indiana Pacers at 8 p.m. tonight at Capital One Arena. Winner gets the eighth and final seed for the Eastern Conference in the NBA Playoffs. [Bullets Forever]
- The Caps lost in double overtime to the Bruins, 3-2, and now trail in the series 2-1. Camera caught Alex Ovechkin breaking his stick in frustration after the Bruins scored the deciding goal. Game 4 will be tomorrow at 6 p.m. in Boston. [NBC Sports Washington]
By Kelyn Soong (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)