Three Milwaukee aldermen called on the city’s police chief Friday, to appear before the Equal Rights Commission to provide concerned citizens answers to the handling of the Darius Simmons homicide investigation. Aldermen Milele Coggs, Ashanti Hamilton and Jose’ G. Perez made their request in a joint statement the day after they attended a community meeting at Rufus King High School about the Simmons case. Simmons is the 13-year-old who was murdered in front of his mother by neighbor John Spooner on the city’s near Southside. Spooner believed Simmons was involved in a series of burglaries of his home. Spooner shot Simmons despite the fact the youth had his hands in the air and denied involvement in the burglaries. The aldermen expressed disappointment in Flynn for leaving the meeting–which was planned for weeks–to attend another event before members of the community could question him about the Simmons case. “As public servants we know that opportunities for communication and information exchange with residents are critically important, because they offer the chance for healing and understanding on sensitive issues,” the aldermen wrote. “In this instance, we think a very real opportunity at fostering communication and understanding–and perhaps, healing–was lost.”
An officer who works as a motorcycle escort for the White House is on administrative leave while police investigate allegations he threatened Michelle Obama.
WASHINGTON — D.C. police have stripped an officer of his police powers and gun as they investigate his alleged threat against Michelle Obama, the District’s police chief said Friday.
Police and the Secret Service have not yet determined precisely what was said by the officer or his intent, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said Friday. During a Wednesday breakfast with other officers, police officials have said, the officer threatened to shoot the first lady.
A genuine threat would be a crime and referred to the U.S. Attorneys Office for prosecution, Lanier said. A comment made in jest would be disciplined as conduct unbecoming an officer, she said.
“If it was a threat, it was criminal,” Lanier said.
The officer under investigation, whom authorities have not named, works on motorcycle escorts and has been with the force for about 17 years, Lanier said. She said he was put on paid desk duty and his badge and gun were revoked after the alleged threat was reported to a supervisor by another officer.
The comments were said to have been made Wednesday morning over breakfast at a downtown restaurant with at least five officers present. They allegedly involved shooting the first lady, according to police officials.
A group of officers from the Special Operations Division were at the restaurant when the conversation turned to the first lady, the police officials said.
Several police officials said they had received initial reports the officer used his mobile phone to display a picture of the firearm he intended to use. Those officials later said he may have used an application on his phone that makes the sound of gunfire.
Lanier declined to address whether a photo of a gun was shown or other details. She also declined to discuss where the conversation took place or how many officers have been interviewed during the investigation.
“It is very early on,” she said. “We are not 100 percent sure what the statement was that was made.”
On Friday, Lanier addressed the possibility the officer’s alleged statement was intended as humor.
“There’s absolutely no place for jokes that could be perceived as a threat to the first lady” or anybody else, Lanier said. “That’s not funny,” she said, adding that her department’s officers “get it.”
Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan declined to comment on the investigation Friday.
The Special Operations Division performs escorts for the first family and other dignitaries. The department takes pride in that work and does it “flawlessly,” Lanier said.
The allegation of a threat has left officers across the force frustrated and angry, she said. If proven true, “the outrage and hurt” in the department “cannot be overstated,” Lanier said.
“You don’t say things like that, especially when you have access to the South Grounds of the White House and a gun on your hip,” said a Special Operations officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment. “It’s a black eye to our unit. It’s an embarrassment.”