A lieutenant with the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) intelligence branch is alleged to have ties to the right-wing extremist group, the Proud Boys, a key instigator of last January’s insurrection on the US Capitol.
While the lieutenant was rightfully placed on leave, this is a troubling development and his role in MPD intelligence once again raises concerns about how MPD collects information, assesses threats, and develops a response.
Shortly after last year’s failed insurrection, I introduced the Bias in Threat Assessments Evaluation Amendment Act of 2021, legislation that would mandate a study to examine bias—conscious or unconscious—in MPD’s threat assessments, and how to reduce biased policing. Last year, I secured $150,000 to fund the study proposed in the bill. It is now even more critical that the Office of Police Complaints complete this study immediately so that we can ensure that biased policing does not impact public safety in the District.
Law enforcement adopted a battle-like posture during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. That was in sharp contrast with the weaker initial response on January 6th. There are clear inconsistencies in our threat assessments and responses that have created vulnerabilities that people with ties to extremist groups could exploit. We must close this vulnerability to keep residents and our city safe.