DC Cops Being Investigated For Beating Man; Man Lost An Eye

4:37 PM, Jun 28, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- We have new information on a violent beating outside Lotus nightclub in downtown DC that may have been at the hands of off-duty police officers.

Tuesday, sources told 9NEWS NOW two DC Police officers are facing felony charges of mayhem stemming from the alleged beating of a man outside the Lotus Lounge on K St., Northwest. According to sources, the man who was allegedly beaten lost an eye.

The charge of mayhem refers to a serious assault that leaves a lasting physical impact. As of Wednesday evening, no DC Police officers had been charged with a crime. The department will only say it's an allegation under investigation.

Both officers were off duty at the time and are allegedly members of the vice squad, sources told 9NEWS NOW. A third officer is under investigation as well for allegedly standing by and not intervening. The three officers are from the First District, and sources say there may have been other officers involved as well.

It is unclear if the officers were patrons at the club or if they were moonlighting. The DC Police Department bans officers from working at any establishment that serves alcohol, unless it's a job organized through the department.

The victim is a former student-athlete who was at the club celebrating his 24th birthday. Walter Blair, Jr., was not charged with a crime and has no criminal history. In fact, he was an honor student and athlete at Bishop McNamara High School, who graduated from college in 2009. He also worked with Upward Bound, tutoring underprivileged children in physics and chemistry.

The beating was caught on the club's surveillance cameras, and his lawyer says it was unprovoked.

"They are acting as judge, jury and executioner. And they're kicking him in the head," said Ron Karp, Blair's lawyer.

He also said, "It has shades of the Rodney King video that all of us remember years ago. Somebody is on the ground, in this case he was in fetal position trying to protect himself."

According to the victim's lawyer, the violence erupted in the early hours of June 10th, just after Lotus had closed. Witnesses say the bouncers were hitting on some of the women who had just left the club. A street brawl ensued and Blair was caught in the melee.

"He told me he went up to one person and said, 'Please calm down. Please calm down,'" stated Karp.

Police are now investigating some of their own.

"When you see something like this happen, you keep asking yourself 'Why? Why did this young man have to lose his eye?' There's no reason for it," said Karp.

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