FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13, 2001
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACHES AGREEMENT WITH DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT
Chief Ramsey, Attorney General Ashcroft, Mayor
Williams, May 13, 2001
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), under an agreement
reached today between the Justice Department and the District of Columbia, will implement new policies
and procedures in its use of force training, management, supervision, and discipline of officers to
ensure that MPD minimizes and deters the use of excessive force.
Today's agreement resolves an investigation by the Justice Department into allegations that MPD
officers engaged in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force. The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
is an out-of-court settlement agreed to by both parties.
"We are pleased that our negotiations with the District of Columbia and MPD have resulted in an
agreement which provides for immediate, as well as long-term, reforms in MPD's use of force policies and
procedures," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "This agreement provides the foundation for
meaningful reforms in the manner in which MPD manages use of force by its officers- reforms that all the
parties agreed were necessary."
The Justice Department investigation was initiated in January 1999, following a request from
Mayor Anthony Williams and Chief of Police Charles Ramsey that the Justice Department review MPD's use
of force to determine whether MPD officers engaged in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force.
The Department is pleased to cooperate with the police and the community to reach shared solutions on
Results of the review released today by the Justice Department indicate that cases involving use
of excessive force by MPD officers have been higher than typical in a police department. While this
investigation was ongoing, the MPD embraced several initiatives designed to improve police performance
regarding the use of force. These extraordinary efforts have already resulted in significant
In the past two years, for example, MPD has achieved a significant reduction in the rate at
which it uses deadly force and the rate at which its canines bite subjects. In the early 1990s, MPD
officers were involved in as many as 16 fatal shootings each year. In 1999 four fatalities were
reported and two in 2000. Additionally, changes in MPD's canine operations, over the same period, have
led to a 70 percent reduction in canine bites. These reforms have been implemented without impairing
the MPD's ability to fight crime or placing its officers' safety at risk.
"This is an extremely positive development that will pay tremendous dividends for the District
of Columbia. We applaud the Metropolitan Police Department's desire to improve its ability to address
excessive force allegations swiftly, professionally and with certainty," said District of Columbia
United States Attorney Kenneth L. Weinstein.
As a result of the agreement, the City and MPD will:
- implement a variety of citizen-friendly changes in the procedures used for receiving,
investigating, and resolving misconduct allegations and develop a plan to coordinate activities with the
new Office of Citizen Complaint Review.
- train officers on the new use of force policies, emphasizing de-escalation techniques of
potentially violent situations;
- analyze trends in uses of force, searches, seizures, and other law enforcement activities that
create a risk of officer misconduct;
- expand a new unit that is specially trained and responsible for investigating serious uses of
- change the procedures for investigating alleged misconduct and uses of force by MPD officers;
"We are confident," Attorney General Ashcroft stated at a press conference held with
D.C. Mayor Williams and Metropolitan D.C. Police Chief Ramsey, "that when the balance of the reforms
contained in this agreement are implemented, the DC Metropolitan Police Department will be a model for
the nation on how to uphold the rule of law while using force only when and to the extent necessary.
And, we hope that the cooperative approach adopted by MPD and the Department of Justice likewise will
serve as a model for how Justice can help police agencies fix a problem, rather than merely fix the
"Mayor Williams and Chief Ramsey deserve our praise for their courage in asking for the
investigation and for their commitment to improving the DC Metropolitan Police Department's practices."
"And the officers of the MPD deserve our thanks for their cooperation. Without their
earnest cooperation, this show of progress would not be possible. I look forward to working with them
and with the Metropolitan Police Department as partners in a problem solving effort, to make sure that
they enjoy the trust and respect of everyone in the District of Columbia."
There remains work to be done. This settlement does not include allegations of racially
discriminatory communications by MPD officers on Mobile Data Terminals. The Metropolitan Police
Department has pledged their continued cooperation, to help the Department complete its review of these
efforts as soon as practicable.
Under the 1994 Crime Bill, the Justice Department has the authority to file civil suits
against law enforcement agencies that engage in a pattern of misconduct. In addition to the cases
already mentioned, the Department is currently investigating a number of other law enforcement agencies
across the country.
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Attorney General News Conference
with DC Mayor Anthony Williams and DC Police Chief Charles Ramsey
June 13, 2001
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: Good afternoon. It's a privilege for me to join Mayor Williams and Metropolitan
Police Chief Ramsey to announce an agreement between the Department of Justice, the District of Columbia
and the Metropolitan Police Department. It's an agreement to enhance law enforcement, it's an agreement
to prevent the excessive use of force by those that we trust to enforce the law.
We are gathered here today at a time of great grief for the District law enforcement community and
for all residents of Washington, D.C. And as a person who maintains a home on 3rd Street, I put myself
in that population. This morning a black drape was hung on the wall of the Metro Transit Police
Headquarters in Northwest Washington. It was a drape to signal that the Metropolitan Police had lost --
the Metro Police had lost one of their own. Metro Transit Officer Marlon Francisco Morales was a
dedicated law enforcement official. He was a Gulf War veteran. He was a father of three, including
three-week old Megan (sp). Officer Morales was shot in the line of duty and he died this morning on the
day of his oldest son, Jeremy's birthday. Officer Morales' family is in our prayers today, his memory is
in our hearts, and his dedication guides us to a deeper commitment to the noble cause of law enforcement
that he died serving.
The agreement we are announcing today is in furtherance of that noble cause of law enforcement. It
implements new policies and procedures regarding the use of force training, management, supervision, and
discipline practices at the Metropolitan D.C. Police Department. It is the result of an unprecedented
act of outreach by Mayor Williams and Chief Ramsey. They came to the Department of Justice in 1999 and
requested that the Civil Rights Division investigate whether there was a pattern of excessive force use
at the police department. In addition, they asked the division to identify any reasons for the
occurrence of excessive force and to work with them to develop practices that minimize and deter
excessive use of force.
The Department of Justice agreed to this request. We undertook a comprehensive examination of the
police department. We analyzed over five years of force incidents, reviewed MPD policies and procedures,
and audited MPD training courses, and gathered information from people who live and work in the
District. We found that 15.6 percent of the randomly sampled use of force incidents involved use of
excessive force by MPD officers. This contrasts with a target figure of no more than 1 to 2 percent.
Based on this information, the Department of Justice concluded that in the past, there had been a
pattern or practice of excessive force.
Today's agreement targets this problem, addressing all aspects of MPD's use of force, including
policies, management practices, supervision, discipline, training, and monitoring of use of force.
Thanks to the extraordinary cooperation that we have received, I am pleased to report to you that
significant progress has already been made. While our investigation was under way, the Metropolitan
Police Department embraced and began to initiate a number of reforms designed to improve police
practices regarding the use of force. And these reforms have already shown results.
Serious uses of force, including shootings and canine bites, have been decreased without impairing
the MPD's ability to fight crime or placing its own officers' safety at risk. In the mid-1990s, MPD
officers were involved in as many as 16 fatal shootings each year. In 1999, the number of fatal
shootings decreased to four. In the year 2000, the number decreased to two. This year there have been
three fatal shootings to date. Likewise, reforms in the use of canine policy have led to a 70 percent
reduction in canine bites.
These reforms have been implemented without impairing the ability of the police department to fight
crime. In fact, last year we saw a decline in the number of murders and in the crime indexed in the
District of Columbia. We are confident that when the reforms contained in this agreement are implemented
fully, the D.C. Metropolitan Police will be a model for the nation on how to uphold the rule of law
while using force only when and to the extent necessary. And we hope that the cooperative approach
adopted by the MPD and the Department of Justice likewise will serve as a model for how the Justice
Department can help police agencies fix problems and address circumstances that require attention in
regard to the defense of the people's liberty and the enforcement of the people's laws.
Mayor Williams and Chief Ramsey deserve our praise for their courage in asking for the
investigation and for their commitment to improving the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police
Department's practices. And the officers of the Metropolitan Police Department deserve our thanks for
their cooperation. Without their earnest cooperation, this show of progress would not be possible.
I look forward to working with the mayor, the police chief, the Metropolitan Police Department
officials as partners in a problem- solving effort to make sure that they enjoy the trust and respect of
everyone in the District of Columbia.
I might add that the appropriate level of trust and respect between the citizenry and those who are
responsible for enforcing the law as full-time participants in the governmental responsibility of law
enforcement -- that trust is fundamental to the achievement of the kind of safe and secure and orderly
communities that we must have and that we want for our families and for ourselves. And it is the basis
for that trust that comes through cooperation and working together that can provide a higher quality of
life for Americans.
I thank you very much, and I welcome to the podium the mayor of the District of Columbia for his
remarks. Mayor Williams.
MAYOR WILLIAMS: Let me say good afternoon to everyone, and let me acknowledge our Attorney General
Ashcroft; my deputy mayor for public safety, Margaret Kellems, who's with us today; and Chief Chuck
Ramsey; and join all of them and certainly all the citizens of our nation's capital in extending our
condolences to Officer Morales's family and to WMATA for their loss and our loss at a very, very troubling time.
And I agree with our attorney general that this speaks to the need more than ever to foster and
promote the kind of partnerships that we're pursuing today in the interest of public safety and law
You know, a year ago, MPD protected the residents of our city and the leaders of the world as
protesters, we all know, descended on our city at the meeting of the World Bank and the IMF. This is a
responsibility of our city. It's something that we can't shirk. You know, I've often said that I'd like
to have them meet out on some cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, but they can't; they have to meet
here. So we have to deal with it. And they do it well, our police department.
In January, we all know that our police department -- and I was very, very proud of Chief Ramsey --
did an excellent job as a peacekeeper of a democratic transition in securing the safety of our city
during the president's Inauguration.
The fact is, a good job is being done. Crime in our city is at its lowest point in three decades,
proving that community policing and resident partnerships can and do make a difference.
And today our MPD, I'm proud to say, makes another step in improving itself, advancing law
enforcement as a profession and addressing the needs of our communities. I'm proud to tell you that our
MPD has voluntarily asked the Department of Justice to help lessen its use of force.
Now, in 1998 we all know there wasn't a lot to be proud of. In a national study on the use of force
our department ranked last -- last. But since that time MPD has reformed its practices and improved its
performance. Officer-involved shootings fell 78 percent from 1998 to 2000, and citizen complaints of
excessive force fell 36 percent from 1999 to 2000. And with today's memorandum of understanding, the
improvement will continue. Rather than being forced into reform by the Justice Department,
this voluntary pact between the Justice Department, the District and the Metropolitan Police outlines
100 critical tasks from working with citizens to review force cases to early identification of officers
using too much force with specific time lines for completion. Some tasks have already begun; others will
take some time. But we have a road map now and an agenda for improvement, and very importantly, a
commitment of all the parties to follow through toward that destination and toward that objective.
Now, we expect our officers to perform extraordinarily difficult and dangerous tasks, and we see
that danger certainly right now. We provide them with the authority to use force, including deadly
force, to carry out that mission. But ensuring that officers use force appropriately and judiciously and
use that discretion properly is critical to the integrity of our justice system, our public safety
system, and even most importantly, to the trust of the community we serve. So it's with that spirit in
mind and with that goal that we all maintain and promote that I am very, very happy to be here today to
foster the partnership that we've had in many, many different areas with the Justice Department in this
And as you all know, it's easy as mayor to take credit for a lot of things like this on a local
level, but the work has to get done somewhere. And it's done by our men and women in blue. And it's done
by a leader of our police department who I think is second to none in our local law enforcement, and
that is our own chief, Charles Ramsey. I'm proud of the work that he does. I'm proud to be his partner
in every neighborhood, in every block, in every community in this city.
Ladies and gentlemen, our chief, Chuck Ramsey.
CHIEF RAMSEY: Thank you very much, General Ashcroft and Mayor Williams, for all your support and
helping us get to this day. I'd also like to acknowledge my immediate boss, Margaret Combs (sp), deputy
mayor for public safety and justice.
And one person who isn't here and one person who is here, for their hard work in putting this
agreement together -- Steve Rosenbaum, from the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division who, from
the very beginning, worked very hard with us over about a two-and-a-half-year period, and only those
people in Justice and in my department that were part of the working groups know how difficult that was,
over that period of time; and Terry Gainer, who is not here today, but who really
spearheaded this effort for me, in the police department, to make all this a reality.
There is no issue that is of more importance in law enforcement than the issue of use of force by
police officers. We expect our police officers to perform extraordinarily difficult and dangerous tasks,
and we provide our officers with the authority to use force, up to and including deadly force, in
carrying out their work. Ensuring that our officers use that authority appropriately and judiciously is
critical to the work of law enforcement and to the crime-fighting relationships we build in the
This historic MOA is a milestone in our ongoing efforts to reform our use-of-force policies and
procedures, and to make the Metropolitan Police Department a national model in this area. This MOA will
strengthen our department. The MOA codifies many of the reforms we have already initiated in such
critical areas as use-of-force training, policies, investigations, and reporting and tracking. Let me
give you one example.
A little more than three years ago, the majority of our officers had not completed mandatory
firearms certification within that previous year. Many had not gone through training in several years.
Today, every sworn member of our department, from the chief of police on down, completes firearms
training twice a year; and if they don't, they can't continue being a Metropolitan Police officer.
That's just one of the reforms that will be institutionalized and improved upon with the signing of this
The MOA also identifies areas where we need to implement new policies and programs; for example,
the development of a personnel performance management system to track both exemplary and troublesome
conduct on the part of individual officers.
This MOA will also enhance officers' safety through better policies, better training, and better
equipment. We're giving our officers the tools they need to do their jobs and to do them in a way that
enhances their own safety and the safety of the community.
Much of our new training focuses on tactics and techniques, on ways to help officers avoid
dangerous situations that require the use of force in the first place. We've equipped our officers with
new, less-than-lethal weaponry and, under this MOA, we are making significant upgrades in our K-9 unit
policies, procedures and training.
Finally, this MOA will improve the quality of the service we provide to the community.
The MOA identifies those key areas where we need to continue to get better. These reforms are
critical to making the MPD a more professional, more responsive and higher-quality organization.
Just as importantly, the memorandum of agreement sets specific time lines for implementing these
tasks, and it requires monitors, both internal and external, who will track our progress. This process
is an open book. We will be held accountable not only to the Justice Department, but also to the
community for how we perform. The bottom line is we will be in a better position to serve the community
and do so in much stronger partnerships with the community.
I want to thank Attorney General Ashcroft and also his predecessor, Ms. Reno; Steve Rosenbaum, as I
mentioned before, and all the Justice Department staff members and outside experts who came in and
helped us work on this project. Just as my staff and I are working to make the Metropolitan Police
Department a national model of community policing, I think this process that we undertook can also serve
as a national model for conducting these types of investigations and achieving real reform and not doing
so in an adversarial way.
Thank you very much.
ATTY. GEN. ASHCROFT: Yes.
Q You mentioned that there's been progress already in what's happening with excessive force in the
department. Did you find in your review that the problem was mainly a lack of training, or was there
some sort of culture within the department?
ATTY. GEN. ASHCROFT: Well, first of all, we're very grateful for the decline. If you get as high as
16 a year and you're down into the neighborhood of four, sometimes as low as two, that's a major
achievement, when you interpret it against the decline in the crime rate generally, so that we haven't
had to give up law enforcement at all to do this.
I think the chief indicated that the matter of training was very significant, and one of the things
that caught my eye was that training involves even the use of dogs; the way dogs are deployed can make a
difference -- 70 percent decline in the incidence of canine bites. So that I don't know if you can
divorce training from culture, but whenever you signal by training that this is something that's
important, you establish a new culture of attention to the details. And I would yield to the other
gentlemen for their response.
CHIEF RAMSEY: I agree with that. I think really it's a combination of both. If you don't have
policies and procedures in place and you don't reinforce it through training, then you create a culture
where people can begin to believe that, you know, it doesn't matter how much force they use because no
one is monitoring it to begin with.
So I think that we can create an environment that causes us to have problems in the area of use of
force; we can also create an environment where we also can be this model that we're talking about in
terms of how we deal with the public and how we use force, not just deadly force, but throughout the
use-of-force continuum. That's something that we've begun doing. It certainly does change the behavior
of the officers. And having this in place is only going to strengthen that because it really does have a
lot of teeth in it, and it's going to hold us accountable, and we should be held accountable.
Q Chief Ramsey, on that point, the Civilian Complaint Review Board -- (off mike) -- start again in
January. What is the status of all those hundreds of cases that were left to the police department to
take care of? (Off mike.)
CHIEF RAMSEY: The 800-or-so cases from 1995 that were passed along to the police department at the
breakup of the original CCRB, is that what you're referring to, Tom?
CHIEF RAMSEY: They have all been dealt with. Now, they haven't been dealt with in a timely fashion.
I admit that at the time they were passed out to the department, the department did not make the
investment in the resources it should have in order to do it in a timely fashion. As a result of that, a
lot was lost in the investigations. Any investigation that isn't investigated immediately, certainly the
outcome of it could be different than perhaps it would have been had it been done properly. But they
have been resolved.
Our job now, and of course through this MOA, is to have things in place where we don't allow these
kinds of delays to take place and there is a more clearly defined process. I think that's in the letter
that accompanies this MOA that the Justice Department -- they make reference to that.
Q Did the study find that there was a core group of officers that may have been responsible for a
lot of these cases of excessive force, or were they spread out among the force itself? And what -- (off
CHIEF RAMSEY: Well, some of that I could probably could actually defer to Steve, who did most of
the work on this.
But let me just say that I think that there are some officers whose past behavior has been one
where they tended to use greater amounts of force than other officers over time. That's part of the
reason why it's part of this MOA. There is an insistence on the part of the Department of Justice, and I
agree with it fully, that we need this performance management system in place so that we can detect
early on changes in officers' behavior that might indicate to us that there is a problem. We don't want
it to escalate to the point where you're talking about serious uses of force, both deadly force as well
as anything else that could cause great bodily harm to an individual.
But that's why we need to track that very, very carefully, and start with things such as verbal
abuse complaints, things that one may look at and not consider to be important, but it's a sign of more
serious behavioral problems later on.
Q What kind of resources are attached to this agreement? And then, when you talk about teeth being
put in it to make sureit's implemented, what are those teeth?
CHIEF RAMSEY: Well, as far as resources, much of what's going to be done now, a lot of the uses of
force, serious uses of force, including deadly force and some non-deadly force, will be handled by our
Force Investigation Team. That means I have to increase the number of members assigned to that
particular unit. We'll also be increasing the overall size of our Office of Professional Responsibility.
We're taking a lot of the investigations that had been formerly conducted in the District away from the
districts and it will be conducted by the Force Investigation Team and the Office of Professional
Responsibility, those that don't fall under the CCRB, because, depending on the type of case, some of
them will go to the CCRB. So there is an expenditure of manpower or redeployment of manpower regarding
The teeth are very simple. If we don't come into compliance, we can be taken to court. And quite
frankly, if we were taken to court, I don't think we'd stand much chance of winning. That's why I think
that this is something that benefits both our department, it benefits the Department of Justice, and
most importantly, it benefits the citizens that we serve.
Q (Off mike) -- home rule to sign agreements with the Justice Department?
CHIEF RAMSEY: Well, now Sam, I'll let the mayor handle that home rule part of that. That sounds to
me kind of like one of those questions I don't want to touch. Okay?
But as far as our signing this agreement, it's the right thing to do. I asked for help from the
Justice Department because I couldn't fix this problem by myself. And I took a chance, quite frankly,
because the Justice Department, prior to this we didn't know about one another, we never really worked
that closely on issues like that, like what we're talking about now, and didn't really know what the
outcome would be. It has proven to be something that I would urge any police chief anywhere in this
country to reach out and to get the kind of cooperation and assistance the DOJ is capable of providing
and provided us.
It is the right thing to do. It's helping us put together the policies, the procedures, the
training that's state of the art, the very best practices in the United States and elsewhere that we
will be able to put together here in the Metropolitan Police Department. We couldn't have done that
without the Department of Justice and their assistance, couldn't have done it at all. And I believe that
we should be held accountable. There is no issue more important than use of force on the part of police
And unfortunately, I can't stand here and guarantee that there will never be a situation where an
officer will not have to resort to deadly force, but if they do so, the community and everyone needs to
be assured that they have done so under circumstances that were such there were no other alternatives,
and that these offices are thoroughly trained, and there's a complete and thorough independent
investigation just to make sure that everything is above board.
Q Attorney General Ashcroft, I want to ask a home rule question. Thirteen members of the City
Council are in favor of electing a local attorney general, local prosecuting attorney. This is the third
stool of the home rule -- (off mike) -- elected legislature, elected mayor -- (off mike) --local
prosecuting attorney. For the Bush administration, what is your personal view on the citizens of the
District of Columbia electing their own local prosecuting attorney? As you know, the U.S. attorney
prosecutes all crimes in the District.
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: You know, let me just say this on this topic here. That the pattern and
practice jurisdiction of the Justice Department is a nationwide jurisdiction. And when we were invited
in to make an evaluation that's consistent with those kinds of responsibilities, it doesn't single
Washington, D.C., out and differentiate it from a number of other communities where this kind of
activity is under way. We've announced that this kind of activity is under way in Cincinnati. You know
about that. And there are a number of other cities across the country. Los Angeles has recently been
involved. So it would be unfair to characterize what's being done here in this universe as somehow
singling out the District of Columbia for unique or differentiated treatment.
What is unique about this is that the leadership of the District of Columbia has come to the
Justice Department and asked for us to work together, and we have made a decision that we should work
together and receive this good faith and to memorialize it, rather than with a consent decree in the
court, with a memorandum of understanding which requires substantial compliance to recognize the
responsibilities, which are national in scope and inure to every city in America. And if, as a of fact,
for some reason this compliance is not forthcoming, then the memorandum of understanding provides that
the jurisdiction of the Justice Department will be able to move toward the kind of enforcement that has
been more traditional in this area, with the mandates from the court system.
Now, if you're asking me for a position on the home rule question, I'm not prepared to comment on
Q Would the Bush administration stop the city from moving ahead to elect their own local
ATTY. GEN. ASHCROFT: I think my answer to that is the same as my answer was on the previous
question. (Chuckles.) I'm not prepared to comment on that.
Q (Off mike) -- the Civil Rights Division is investigating a number of other cases of alleged
police misconduct in many locations, including one in (Fenwick ?) County that has been ongoing for more
than a year. You said last week before Congress and before the District Committee -- (off mike) -- that
you did not want those inquiries to languish -- (off mike). Can you point to any specific actions that
you've taken to expedite the resolution of those cases -- (off mike)?
ATTY. GEN. ASHCROFT: First of all, I've made it clear that I would hope that we can begin progress
as early in the process as is possible. This is a great case in point. As a matter of fact, I indicated
that I thought the District of Columbia could be a model for the way its police conduct themselves with
regard to their citizens, but our cooperation could be a model for the way the Justice Department works
with police departments.
What's interesting about this case is that we asked for and cooperated with the department to begin
making changes before the end of the process, and I have indicated that that's the way I want the
department to move forward; that as soon as we find something that can be done to improve the situation,
we don't catalogue that and wait for the end of the investigation and for the outcome and then announce,
"These are the things that you've got to do, under court order." We begin to provide the help and
assistance, the resources in terms of expertise and the like, for changes to be made readily. And that's
the kind of philosophy that I have asked be undertaken in the Civil Rights Division, and I'm very
pleased that that philosophy has persisted in this case to the point of having the kind of improvements
which are announcable at the conclusion of the process.
Rather than now we starting a reform, we're announcing results of reform. A 70 percent decline in
canine bites is substantial. Moving from 16 fatal shootings a year to four or to two is very
substantial, and that's the way we want to cooperate. I would hope we'll be able to expedite these
matters on a cooperational basis, rather than a confrontational basis.
And I just have to add one final thing, that the department will never yield its capacity under the
law to do what is necessary to do, either by consent decrees or going to court, but to the extent we can
make the progress we need to with memoranda of understanding and agreements such as this one that's been
struck in this area, and do so on an expedited basis, we deliver to people the defense of their
liberties at an earlier date, and that's what I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to do.
Q Do you intend to apply that model in cases where -- (inaudible)?
ATTY. GEN. ASHCROFT: I would hope to be able to apply it in any case that the division is involved
Q What about New York, General Ashcroft? Is there any move to perhaps have an agreement like this
with New York, which has had similar problems -- (off mike)?
ATTY. GEN. ASHCROFT: As a matter of policy, my door will always be open to reaching conclusions
which can remediate the pathologies we face, to solve the problems we face at earliest possible time,
with a credible expectation that we have enforceability and the cooperation of the departments.
Q General, a question on a different topic. June 25th will be the fifth anniversary of the Khobar
Towers bombing. As of yet, the -- (inaudible) -- filed any charges in that case. Can you tell me whether
the department will in fact bring charges, indictments, and if so, will they include any Iranian --
ATTY. GEN. ASHCROFT: It's really the prudent policy of this department not to make announcements or
comment upon investigations or the lack thereof while they may or may not be in process, and I'm going
to adhere to Ms. Reno's outstanding example in setting that precedent.
Q (Off mike) -- to determine compliance and noncompliance? What says that they're not compliant or
they are compliant?
ATTY. GEN. ASHCROFT: Well, the monitoring that's provided for under this agreement, which has been
stated by the chief and by the mayor, is twofold. And I should probably indicate that it's even more
substantial than that. But there is a Justice Department responsibility to continue to be involved with
the city. There is an independent evaluator's responsibility to monitor compliance, and then we believe
that there is enough transparency that's a part of the way the department will operate and the
way in which the system will operate and the agreement will be understood, so that the public has the
opportunity to monitor this.
And the agreement will only be successfully concluded at the end of a five-year period if, as a
result, there is a minimum of at least two years of very substantial compliance that extends to the end
of the five-year period. Now, obviously we'd be very pleased to have five years of total compliance, and
we expect five years of total effort.
When you're talking about 100 different recommendations and opportunities, it's going to take some
time for implementation, but the road to a complete and satisfactory set of compliances has been charted
out and mapped and I think we have the will, the energy and the capacity to
reach the destination.
Q General Ashcroft, the new crime stats out today from the department show a 15 percent drop in
violent crime. That seems to conflict, at least on the surface, with the FBI stats out a few weeks ago.
Which stats are you relying on in -- (off mike)?
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: Well, the statistics which were released today with the 15 percent decline in
violent crime are a result of a very substantial survey which interviews about 160,000 Americans about
the nature of crime and the impact on their lives. We feel that it's a very important survey and by and
large feel like it tracks with FBI data. I will be happy to make available to you people from the
department who could compare the data and go over it with you. But we believe that this is a very
important step forward in the reduction of crime. When you get a 15 percent reduction, that's one out of
every seven crimes that would have happened last year doesn't happen this year. And that, in our view is
a very, very favorable sign.
Q General Ashcroft?
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: Yes?
Q In the Chandra Levy case, what can you tell us about the FBI's involvement in -- (off mike)?
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: I'm not prepared to make any comment on that case today.
Q And Chief Ramsey, are you able to speak to what you're doing today as far as the Chandra Levy
CHIEF RAMSEY: The investigation is continuing. In fact, I spoke with the sheriff out in Modesto,
California, today just to see if there was anything new on that end. There isn't. It's still an ongoing
missing person investigation. The FBI has worked very hard with us because of the fact that this
involves not only someone who was employed by the Bureau of Prisons, but
also we're talking about her -- she traveled back and forth between California and a lot of the witnesses are spread out all over the
So we really have nothing new to report and, again, encourage people to give us a call if they have
Q Thank you.
Q Chief Ramsey, just a question about -- (off mike) -- Mr. Rosenbaum. You said it was incredibly
difficult, or very difficult, and it took two years. Why was it so difficult? What was the difficulty?
CHIEF RAMSEY: Well, I mean, you're talking about a lot of changes in policies, training, practices,
some things we agreed on, some things we may not have agreed on. But we were able to work through every
single issue as it came up. It was just a tremendous amount of work. We had a system that was pretty
broken in terms of our ability to actually be able to monitor, even, our uses of force. I mean, just
trying to get data going back past 1998 is nearly impossible, and I certainly wouldn't stand here and
say that it's accurate. So, we had all those --
Q (Off mike.)
CHIEF RAMSEY: It wasn't resistance. It was simply trying to work through tough issues. And we were
able to do that. And going through drafts is like writing something. If you've got to through several
drafts, it's never quite right. In fact, the final one you may look back on later and think you could
have some something different.
But, you know, the mayor has been -- and again, he was what, a month in office when I came to him
with this bomb about --
Q (Off mike.)
CHIEF RAMSEY: -- (laughs) -- about working DOJ? And, I mean, he stood tall and was very, very
supportive from the very beginning.
And it is because of that kind of support that we were able to work through those tough issues and
we're here today.
Q And the officers --
ATTY GEN. ASHCROFT: May I just conclude this by again thanking the mayor and the police chief for
their willingness to move forward, in conjunction with the department, for outcomes which are going to
be a very great benefit to the people who live in this city, and as a person who spends a lot of time in
this city and has a home in this city, that I'm grateful to them and look forward to working with them
for this improved performance on the law enforcement -- by the law enforcement community, which results
in greater freedom and an elevated quality of life for all our citizens.
Thank you very much.
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Memorandum of Agreement
Signing on Use of Force
US Department of Justice, District of Columbia Metropolitan Police
Chief Charles H. Ramsey - Talking Points
There is probably no law enforcement issue of
greater importance than use of force.
- We expect our police officers to perform
extraordinarily difficult and dangerous
tasks. And we provide our officers with
the authority to use force -- up to, and including,
deadly force -- in carrying out their work.
- Ensuring that our officers use that authority
appropriately and judiciously is critical to the
work of law enforcement ... and to the
crime-fighting relationships we build
- This historic MOA is a milestone in our
ongoing efforts to reform our
use-of-force policies and procedures, and to
make the MPD a national model in this area.
This MOA will strengthen our Department.
- The MOA codifies many of the reforms we have
already initiated - in such critical
areas as use-of-force training, policies,
investigations, and reporting and tracking.
- Let me give you one example: three years ago,
the majority of our officers had not
completed mandatory firearms
certification within the past year - many had not
gone through the training in several years.
- Today, every sworn member - from the Chief of
Police on down - completes firearms
training twice a year. And if they don't,
they cannot continue being a Metropolitan
- That is just one of the reforms that will be
institutionalized and improved upon - with the
signing of this MQA.
- The MOA also identifies areas where we need to
implement new policies and programs -- for
example, the development of a Personnel
Performance Management System ... to
track both exemplary and troublesome
conduct on the part of individual officers.
This MOA will enhance officer safety.
- Through better policies, better training and
better equipment -- we are giving our
officers the tools they need to do their
jobs ... and do them in a way that enhances
their own safety and the safety of the community.
- Much of our new training focuses on tactics
and techniques -- on ways to keep
officers from avoiding dangerous
situations that require the use of force in the first
- We have equipped our officers with new,
- And under this MOA, we are making significant
upgrades to our Canine Unit policies, procedures
Finally, this MOA will improve the quality of the
service we provide to the community.
- The MOA identifies those key areas where we
need to continue to get better -- these
reforms are critical to making the MPD a
more professional, more responsive, higher quality organization.
- Just as importantly, the MOA sets specific
timelines for implementing these tasks
... and it requires monitors -- both
internal and external -- who will track our progress.
- This process is an open book -- we will be
accountable not only to the Justice
Department, but also to the community ...
for how we perform.
- The bottom line will be better service to the
community and stronger partnerships with
I thank Attorney General Ashcroft, his
predecessor (Ms. Reno), Steve Rosenbaum, and
all of the Justice Department staff members
and outside experts who worked on this project.
- Just as my staff and I are working to make the
MPD a national model of community
policing ... I think this process can
serve as a national model for conducting these
types of investigations and achieving real reform.
- I am very proud to add my name to this