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Fenty takes break-in blame, but record shows harsh treatment of guards

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Local,Bill Myers

Mayor Adrian Fenty publicly absolved the police officer who was on duty when bikes were stolen from his garage, but critics pointed out that the mayor has a history of disciplining his security team when things go bad.

The Washington Examiner
reported that Officer Wilson Liriano was facing discipline after three thieves made off with a pair of mountain bikes from the mayor's garage.

On Monday, Fenty spokeswoman Mafara Hobson issued a statement saying that "the officer on duty followed proper protocol" and that the Fentys "take full responsibility for the open garage."

But records obtained by The Examiner show that at least two officers have been disciplined in previous incidents on the Fenty property. In June 2008, vandals sprayed "Bact3ria" and "MC Gang Member" on the mayor's garage door.

As in the bike theft, the crime was caught on surveillance tape while an officer was in the nearby guard post. That officer was given a written reprimand for dereliction, internal police documents show. In December 2009, a neighbor knocked on Fenty's door, carrying some pamphlets for the mayor.

The veteran officer who was on duty in the guardhouse at the time has been transferred from the mayor's security team and given a 15-day suspension for failing to keep the woman away, records show.

The officer is fighting that suspension, arguing that rules requiring the officers to remain in their guard posts and to respect "the privacy of the mayor, his family, friends, neighbors and visitors" meant that he had no right to interfere with the pamphleteer.

According to internal police documents, Fenty walked to the guardhouse and demanded that his neighbor be escorted off his lawn. Liriano, the officer who was on duty during the bike thefts, is being defended by his union.

Kris Baumann, who heads the union, said he had received no formal notice that the department's internal investigation had been dropped. "I hope it's true that the officer has been cleared, but the problems still exist," Baumann said. "They can't make this go away and vanish just because they're embarrassed."

Liriano was in a guardhouse just a few yards away from where three youngsters nabbed Fenty family mountain bikes June 3.

Internal police investigators told Liriano they had opened a neglect investigation.

bmyers@washingtonexaminer.com

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