Commissioner Ramsey Declines Comment on Unreported DC Police Killings

Ramsey's official photo from the Metro DC police

Ramsey’s official photo from the Metro DC police

By Kenneth Lipp

The Wall Street Journal published a report yesterday on a wide discrepancy between FBI data on police-involved killings in cities throughout the United States and the statistics recorded by those local departments. According to the report, dozens of killings by officers are missing from the records kept by major cities’ departments, including Washington, DC. According to the Journal, “police in Washington, D.C., didn’t report to the FBI details about any homicides for an entire decade beginning with 1998” – beginning with the hiring and continuing throughout the term of current Philly Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey’s tenure as Chief of the District of Columbia’s police.

Current Chief Cathy Lanier said she did not know why her department stopped reporting numbers to the FBI in 1998 – as the WSJ article notes, the year the Washington Post reported that the DC police had among the country’s highest officer-involved killing rates. The Journal reports:

When [Lanier] took over in 2007, she said, reporting the statistics “was a nightmare and a very tedious process.”

Washington DC police resumed reporting numbers to the FBI in 2009, the year after Lanier became Chief, and she referred questions about the decade lapse to Commissioner Ramsey, who declined to comment.

Yesterday the Declaration reported that public interest legal organization the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCFJ) had called on President Obama to rescind his appointment of the Commissioner to a new task force on community policing. The PCFJ objected citing Ramsey’s record in DC.

About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

There are 2 comments

  1. Sally G

    It seems to me that this should be cause for disqualification of Commissioner Ramsey—certainly if he is appointed, that task force will lose (almost) all credibility. Given the recent U.N. statements, we must do better if we are to retain any shred of our former international respect.


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