FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
Independent Monitor for DC Metropolitan Police Department Issues First Report
Washington, DC, June 12, 2002—The Office of the Independent Monitor (“OIM”) issued its first official report today, two months after its formation to monitor compliance with the landmark Memorandum of Agreement (“MOA”) entered into among the District of Columbia, its Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) and the Department of Justice on use of force issues and related matters. The 74‑page report, which assesses the MPD’s and the City’s compliance with the terms of the MOA, was issued to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the signing of the agreement in June 2001.
The report is the culmination of two months of intensive work in which the OIM gathered and analyzed a broad range of information concerning the MPD’s and the City’s compliance with the terms of the agreement. The report provides substantial background information on the events that prompted the MPD to invite the Justice Department to investigate the MPD and to provide technical assistance for reform starting in 1999, events that culminated in June 2001 with the signing of the agreement. The signing of the MOA occurred after the MPD already had made significant changes in the way it handles use of force matters involving police officers.
The agreement provides for the Independent Monitor to review and report on the implementation of a series of reforms agreed to by the MPD. These reforms are in the areas of establishing appropriate policies for the use of force, handling internal investigations of the use of force, investigating allegations of misconduct against MPD officers, creating management and computer systems to ensure civil rights integrity, and training. According to the terms of the agreement, the independent monitor will assess the MPD’s compliance with the terms of the agreement for a period of five years.
The report is divided into three main chapters. The first chapter describes the history behind the MOA, including the Justice Department’s investigation of the MPD at Chief Ramsey’s request beginning in early 1999, and discusses the initial activities of the OIM. The second chapter addresses the MPD’s and the City’s activities to comply with the agreement after its signing. The third—and, by far, the most lengthy—chapter discusses the full range of requirements imposed on the MPD and the City by the MOA, describes the status of compliance activities relating to those requirements and provides a preliminary assessment of where the MPD and City stand on compliance with the agreement.
In reviewing the MPD’s and the City’s compliance with the MOA over the past year, the OIM found that, despite substantial progress since 1999 in reforming the way the MPD manages police use of force issues, the MPD has missed virtually all of the deadlines for the accomplishment of specific tasks specified in the agreement, many of which were required to be completed last summer, within 30 or 60 days of the signing of the agreement. The report attributes the missed deadlines to the initial failure of the MPD to organize itself properly to address the tasks required by the MOA and to the failure to assign a high enough priority to compliance with the MOA, both within the MPD and within the City. However, the report observes that in recent months the MPD has substantially reformed the way it is addressing compliance issues and that there is evidence of significant progress by the MPD in dealing with its many responsibilities under the MOA.
According to Independent Monitor Michael R. Bromwich, a partner and head of the Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson Internal Investigations, Compliance and Monitoring practice group, “We have been concerned to find that missed deadlines and serious delays in dealing with the requirements of the agreement have marred the MPD’s and the City’s performance in living up to its commitments under the agreement. However, we have been impressed with Chief Ramsey’s candid recognition of these problems and his determination to turn things around in short order.” The MPD’s compliance efforts have recently been reorganized and now are coordinated by a Compliance Monitoring Team (“CMT”) within the MPD’s Office of Professional Responsibility. The report notes the improved performance by the MPD since the CMT was created. According to Bromwich, “The MPD has a lot of hard work ahead of it in the months to come to make up for lost time. Based on what we have seen recently, it appears that the commitment exists to get the job done. We will continue to assess the MPD’s performance in upcoming reports.” Under the agreement, the OIM is required to issue public reports on a quarterly basis.
The OIM’s report, as well as other materials relating to the MOA, are available to the public on the OIM’s Website, www.policemonitor.org.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson is an international law firm with approximately 560 attorneys in offices in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, London and Paris. It handles major matters involving, among other things, corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions and financings; government contracts; litigation; securities regulation, compliance and enforcement; antitrust counseling and litigation; bankruptcy and restructuring; benefits and compensation; real estate; tax; trusts and estates; and technology law.
Note: A summary of the agreement between the Justice Department and the District of Columbia appears at www.usdoj.gov/crt/split/documents/dcsummary.htm; the full agreement appears at www.usdoj.gov/crt/split/documents/dcmoa.htm; and the findings of the Justice Department’s investigation appear at www.usdoj.gov/crt/split/documents/dcfindings.htm. Each document is accessible through www.policemonitor.org.