Washington, D.C., police said they stopped one man on a street, noticed an “L shaped object” in his satchel and found a loaded .22-caliber pistol in the bag. They approached another man smoking marijuana and watched as he threw a .45-caliber ghost gun with a laser attachment into nearby bushes. In another case, officers said they spotted a man who had been smoking marijuana tossing a black bag to the floor as he hopped into a parked car. Inside, they discovered a .380-caliber gun. All three men were arrested on gun charges, but their cases were dropped. Internal affairs investigators are probing whether officers on a violent crime squad lied on internal reports, reports the Washington Post.
In October, the month after the internal probe became public, prosecutors dismissed 65 gun possession cases from 2021 and 2022. Prosecutors dropped another 25 drug cases involving officers from the city's 7th police district. The dismissals have left some city leaders fearful that the suspects who were released could commit other crimes. In 32 of the dismissed gun cases, those charged had been convicted of crimes previously, including murder, armed robbery, assault and drug possession. In the weeks following the gun case dismissals, seven people were rearrested in relation to other alleged crimes, including carrying a pistol without a license, driving under the influence and receiving stolen property. “This means there are more criminals on the street,” said D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson. “These officers jeopardized their credibility. These officers are at fault for these individuals being back on the street.” Defense attorneys and activists said the dismissed cases illustrate another problem: that officers were too often stopping people with flimsy probable cause.