In 2017 I testified before the DC City Council during the confirmation hearing for now former Police Chief Peter Newsham. He was confirmed and a wasted 4 years of law-enforcement followed. Crime in the city multiplied and poured into Prince Georges County and Virginia.
Councilman Charles Allen conducted the hearings and half of the council were AWOL including Ward 7’s Vincent Gray, Ward 8’s Trayon White, Ward 3’s Mary Cheh, Arnita Bonds At-Large, and Kenyan McDuffie Ward 5. When the votes were counted it was 12-1 for confirmation. Councilman At-Large Charles Grosso was the only one who had the balls to say “No” to the confirmation. He knew Newsham was a corrupt cop because he had enough common sense to use the background information I had given DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Council woman Mary Cheh.
I testified Newsham was not worthy to be Chief of Police in the Nation’s Capitol with his bad history as a cop. It was not like I was bringing a news flash to the council chambers, Fox News TV 5 ran an expose relating to his violent domestic abuse of his wife and girlfriend on the side. They both had him in court before a judge on domestic violence charges.
He is a well known alcoholic (found on a DC street drunk with his gun in his holster). Talking about a cop out of control, Newsham had several of his cronies/go-fers go into the property room of the department and take documents out that were to be use against him in a court of law.
World Bank demonstrators were suing the city and Newsham for abuse by the DC police department in 2002—the lawsuit cost the city in the neighborhood of 15 million dollars.
Inspector Nate Simms was in charge of the property room during that time. He confronted Newsham’s cronies/go-fers who were abusing the system on his behalf. He told them they could no longer take police property out of the property room without signing for it. He refused to be the go along to get along “Spook That Sat by the Door” for Newsham and his band of thieves.
Newsham went to his buddy Chief Cathy Lanier and she removed Inspector Simms from the property room and demoted/busted him back to Captain. He retired.
She was the first cop in the history of the DC Police Department to go from a captail to the chief! Comparable, a captain in the U. S. military receiving a similar promotion to General.
She was appointed by former Mayor Adrian Fenty. It was rumored she received the appointment after she became Fenty’s bodyguard for his domestic abuse. In the meantime, Lanier retired after being offered the job to head security for NFL proving crime does pay.
When I met Nate Simms as young cop he was adapted to Community Policing. We met at the SE White House during Tuesday morning breakfasts. This was a meeting place for community activist and those who needed our support. The breakfast was overseen by former Assistant Police Chief Sammi Morrison. The late Chief Ike Fullwood was a frequent visitor.
I discovered Simms was a straight shooter and we became fast friends. He supported my efforts during my annual Kids In Trouble Christmas toy party for needy children and participated in several of my forums relating to youth gangs and police community relations.
When Chief Cathy Lanier kicked him to the curb we met to talk about his next move to leave the department and what the future held for him. Instead, he provided me with documented proof of dates and times of Newsham transgressions and abuse of power as a law-enforcement officer.
He got a raw deal and he refused to stand on the sidelines and cheer Newsham on as he ran for chief of the department.
I now had to figure out a game plan to derail Newsham’s rise to power as a corrupt/crooked cop. I had to do more than just write and talk about it. I need another avenue to expose him to those in so-called power. Enter, Ben’s Chili Bowl.
I was now the Historian for the World famous eatery. The family was planning on celebrating the founder, Virginia Ali’s birthday and where should they celebrate it? They had just opened a brand new Chili Bowl at 9th and H Streets on the NE corridor. There was hope they could kill two birds with one stone.
First, free publicity for the new eatery and invite the power-brokers to their new home (housewarming). This would be a great venue to see Delegate Eleanor Norton Holmes (a Chili Bowl favorite), Mayor Muriel Bowser and any City Council member, wannabees who might want to be seen.
Several days before the big party I went to my computer and printed out the information that Nate Simms had given me on Newsham’s transgression as a DC cop. I prepared 5 envelopes with all of his background information to pass on to the power-brokers in attendance for the upcoming birthday party.
Jackpot, the eatery was packed (nose to nose). First, I found my wife Hattie a place to sit and then I would start my search to see who was in the house. It was difficult trying to get from one corner of the eatery to the other corner. My struggles were rewarded, Delegate Holmes, Mayor Bowser and City Councilwoman Mary Cheh were all in the house.
I found Hattie something to eat and then I staked out Bowser, Cheh and Holmes waiting for an opportunity to approach them. Bowser had a posse of about three people, Eleanor had one and Cheh was the Lone Ranger without Tonto.
It looked like Eleanor would be easy. She had taken off her shoes and was sitting near Hattie. The two had struck up a conversation and I moved on to check out Bowser. I was patient and waited until almost the end of the celebration. I caught the Mayor eating and I handed her the envelope and told her I would contact her later. I watched her put it in her pocketbook and I moved on to track down Cheh.
I had met her at the funeral of Judge Harry T. Alexander. I was introduced by community activist Al-Malik Farrakan (Cease Fire Don’t Smoke the brothers). I ask Malik as she walked away, “Do you trust her?” He gave me a funny look and said, “Come on man, she was a prosecutor.” Enough said!
She was talking to a constituent when I interrupted it looked like he was going to go on and on. She looked relieved when I handed her the envelope, I said, “I will contact you later” and left her the same way I found her.
When I finally got back to Eleanor, she and Hattie were taking pictures together. I gave her the envelope and she put it in her pocket—mission accomplished.
The confirmation hearing on Newsham was in April at the Wilson Building. I arrived in time to be introduced to Newsham by community activist Leroy Thorpe. Newsham came to me with a song and dance explaining he would appreciate my support and if I ever needed him for anything to give him a call. He then gave me his card and we took our seats.
I spotted former DC cop Lt. Lowell Duckett moving around the perimeter of the hearing. They had run him out of the department because he did not go along to get along. I was surprised when Malik Farrakan whispered in my ear he was there looking for a job with Newsham. Commander Melvin Gresham a veteran on the department was also in attendance showing support for Newsham. He came over to say hello and tell me he knew my brother Bull and what a great cop he was. My brother Sgt. Earl ‘Bull’ Bell faced the Thin Blue Line and Code of Silence for being a good and honest cop.
During the hearings and before my testimony I knew the confirmation hearings were a sham. The decision had already been made to name Newsham the new chief.
I told Councilman Allen I didn’t appreciate them wasting my time when they had already made their decision to hire Newsham. He swore up and down that was not the case. I was not convinced and I cited the evidence I had given DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Councilwoman Mary Cheh who conveniently was sitting out this segment of the hearing.
When it was all said and done and I was leaving the building, a young lady approached me saying she represented Councilman Charles Grosso. He requested the documentation I had given Norton, Bowser and Cheh. No problem-done deal.
When it was all said and done, the council confirmed the nomination 12-1, the only dissenting vote was cast by Councilman Grosso.
In July 2020 Mayor Muriel Bowser called Grosso a “Lame Duck” for calling for the firing of Chief of Police Peter Newsham? I find this strange since Grosso was the only council person who voted against his confirmation in 2017. In 2020 his vote proved he was right when he said “NO” to his confirmation.
Evidently, he used my documentation to reach his final conclusion, but he has since become a deaf mute on how he reached that decision. I guess you would call it politics! Community advocate Leroy Thorpe said, “I am not surprised he didn’t reach out to you. I find him to be a very ungrateful politician, he is all about Grosso”.
Looking at Nesham’s job performance for past three years he needs to be fired. For example; Crimes including homicides have gone up every year since he has been chief. It was Bowser according to the Washington Post who conspired with the chief to “Stop and Frisk” New York City style. Cops profiled and ticket blacks overwhelmingly in a city that is now 50-50 as it relates to black and white folks—they can no longer lean on “Chocolate City”. See link below.
Mayor Muriel Bowser lost a lot credibility for supporting the “Stop and Frisk” act in DC that targeted black citizens. She sold the black community out.
My “Deep Throat” in the DC government whispered to me that the City Council put pressure on Mayor Bowser to get rid of Newsham. His erratic police behavior was costing the city too much money and his run–in with City Council members was not helping. Bowser then gave Newsham the 411 to resign or be fired. Newsham immediately started looking for another job or a way out with his pride intact and Prince William County answered the call. This was a step down from chief of police in Washington, DC the Nation’s Capitol and stronghold of political power to the chief of police in (Mayberry) Prince William County, Virginia.
It was difficult for me to believe, I gave three minority women information relating to a cop seeking the office of chief of police in the nation’s capitol who has a domestic violence history and they still give him a pass to be chief!
It all comes down to are women politicians just as corrupt and selfish as men? In 1968 Black male Mayors did absolutely nothing after we were forewarned (Kerner Report) that America was headed for two different societies, one black and one white. Here we are 52 years later hustling backwards!
This brings me to a difficult crossroads we are now facing in the District, Maryland and Virginia (DMV). Talking about being caught between a “Rock and a Hard place”!
There are three women in the DMV that now have their hands on the trigger to help start a new trend in Community Policing when it comes to changing the culture of policing in America.
We often hear cops saying, “Its us against them”? They forget they were not drafted into the job-they volunteered. Our tax dollars pay their salaries and if it is too hot in the kitchen-get out!
I know of no one I am connected to in the struggle is talking about defunding or dismantling police departments. The people I know are talking about better training and community policing. For example, adding armed social service advocates to the department’s payroll to address calls when it comes to domestic violence and mental health issues.
This will allow officers to stand back and stand off until these advocates arrive to address the issue. There are times when circumstances will not allow this procedure to manifest. A outside advocacy group will determine whether the act of using their weapon was justified. Police policing themselves can no longer be tolerated. Limited immunity has to be taken off the books, I cringe everytime I think of Newsham heading the Internal Affairs Department.
Newsham is carrying his racist police practices to Prince William County, Virginia. DC now has no chief and Prince Georges County still has no chief after firing their racist chief Hank Stawinski in July. This guy much like Newsham was poison to the department. Newsham had 31 years and Stawinski had 27 years to spread their racist ideology among their officers. Change is not coming easy.
During Newsham’s 31 years read like a fictional movie. Domestic violence with both black and white women, a known alcoholic, he was a bully with a badge and gun, found drunk on a DC street corner with his gun in his holster, stealing evidence out of property room, costing the city millions of dollars for wrongful arrest and abuse during World Bank protest in 2002 and DC is expected to pay out millions more for the abuse on Black Lives Matter Plaza peaceful protesters last month. He now carries his show on the road to Prince William County, Virginia—too close for me.
Stawinski on his 27 year watch witness up close one of the most brutal and racist police departments in America. Cops were scare of their own colleagues. Several appeared on television in hoods to hide their identy and discuss racism in the department. There were vigilante acts carried out, one of the most memorable was a young man found hung in his jail cell in 2007 after he was arrested for hit and run killing a county police officer. The sad part black folks were in charge, County Executive, Jack Johnson (now ex-con), Chief of Police Melvin High (now county sheriff), States Attorney Glenn Ivey (now an expert on the criminal justice system as seen on TV) the trial judge, Federal Judge, Alex Williams. The killers are still free.
There have been several lawsuits filed against the department by Black and now Hispanic officers citing racism. In September the county paid a black family 20 million dollars for a wrongful death by a police officer. The officer shot and killed a man in custody handcuffed in a police vehicle.
Checkout the reasons why Prince William County Board of Supervisor chair Ann Wheeler is welcoming Newsham with open arms. She said, “We have a wonderful police department right now, but we can always get better. Newsham with his experienced after so many years of running a large police department, we felt he could bring those techniques of racism and brutality here and definitely benefit us.
Newsham’s during his tenure allowed black children and men to be gunned down in our streets without any concern, for three straight years crime in our streets got higher and higher. It is clear why he is headed to Prince William County as its next chief of police. They are expecting more of the same.
If you need an interpreter to understand what she is saying, you are a part of the problem.