WASHINGTON — A D.C. police officer has to resign after he pleaded guilty to bribery Thursday, officials said.
Metropolitan Police Officer Walter Lee, 36, admitted in court to accessing a confidential police database 11,000 times, often retrieving data in return for cash bribes that went unnoticed for months.
Lee will now immediately resign from law enforcement, after he pleaded guilty to felony bribery of a public official.
He is expect to be sentenced to a range likely between 20 to 30 months in prison when his formal sentencing takes place in the coming weeks.
Lee offered no comment at the conclusion of his court proceeding. The former patrol officer worked in the department’s Sixth District since July 30, 2012.
Lee admitted to accessing confidential police crash reports since late 2017, sending crash victims’ names and phone numbers to an undisclosed person.
The unnamed person would then contact the crash victims, in order to offer legal and medical assistance.
Officials declined to comment whether the person who offered the bribes has been indicted as of yet. However, Lee’s guilty plea includes a cooperation agreement, involving potential future testimony before a grand jury or other criminal investigations.
The cooperation agreement also includes the possibility of participating in undercover law enforcement operations, an element described as unusual by presiding Federal Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey.
District law strictly prohibits police crash data from becoming public, and can only be released to law enforcement or the people and family members involved in collisions.
Prosecutors said Lee transmitted the police report details via WhatsApp, taking photos of the database and then deleting them from the app.
An MPD spokesperson said Lee’s case has no connection to an earlier federal guilty plea, in which a Maryland man admitted to bribing two civilian MPD employees for similar crash data.