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DC Police Union responds to investigation into several MPD officers

On Monday, the DC Police Union responded to the accusations, calling the press conference held by Chief Contee "bizarre."

WASHINGTON — The DC Police Union is responding after Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee announced an investigation into the actions of seven officers that led to the suspected officers being removed from a specialized police unit. 

In a press conference Friday, Contee claimed MPD discovered multiple cases of officers allegedly taking illegal guns from suspects and then letting the suspects go free. The seven accused officers have been removed from the specialized crime suppression unit in Southeast D.C. after reviewing three months of footage. 

On Monday, the DC Police Union responded to the accusations, calling the press conference held by Contee "bizarre."

RELATED: 7 DC officers removed from specialized police unit after misconduct

In a statement, the DC Police Union said the accused officers immediately and properly placed the illegal weapons in evidence, which is consistent with current policies and directives. Contee confirmed this. 

The union later explained that it is not unusual and completely within the law for officers to identify a suspect in possession of a weapon, then submit the weapon for processing to make a stronger case against the suspect. The union claims in every one of the cases against the seven officers, this is the situation. 

“What is unusual is that just over a year ago, a member of this same unit made a gun arrest that resulted in a physical altercation," said Chairman Pemberton. "When that arrest became public, the Chief stated to the media, ‘This is not how we train our officers to get guns!’ He went on to say, ‘I’m embarrassed and ashamed of these officers.’ Now, members of the very same unit, who have tried to adjust their strategies and tactics to the Chief’s ‘shame’, have found themselves under investigation. In Friday’s press conference, the Chief remarkably stated, ‘This is not how we train our officers to get guns.’”

The union claims that Contee arranged training for all CST units and he himself advised members that he wanted to move to more “intelligence-led” strategies, including being more diligent in making gun cases.  

"This Chief was concerned that prosecutors at the USAO were setting a high bar for the prosecution of gun possession cases," the union's statement reads. "He advised members to send the weapons to DFS for testing (fingerprint/DNA) to try to “shore up the evidence,” then apply for a warrant later, in hopes to make more successful prosecutions."

The union accuses Contee of providing inconsistent guidance and training at a time when policies are constantly changing. 

"Members are confused at which Chief is going to show up on any given day, the Chief who wants us to go after guns aggressively, or the one who wants more due diligence for prosecutions," the union's statement reads. "Our members have done everything they can to follow these inconsistent and conflicting sets of rules." 

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