A D.C. police officer is being investigated for allegedly “pimping” teenage girls, police sources said, but there’s no indiction that investigation is connected to another officer who was just arrested on child porn charges.
Linwood Barnhill, 47, was found with a girl who had been reported missing inside his Southeast D.C. apartment Tuesday. Police executed a search warrant on Barnhill’s home Wednesday, and seized several cell phones, marijuana and a laptop computer.
Barnhill, who has been with D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department for 24 years, has been on light duty since September 2012. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier declined to comment on why Barnhill has been on light duty, citing medical privacy laws.
In a press conference Friday, Lanier said this investigation is not connected to the Monday arrest of another D.C. police officer on child porn charges.
In that case, officer Marc Washington, who has been with the department since 2006, went to the home of a 15-year-old girl who had previously been reported missing, ordered her to remove her clothing and took photos of her, all while he was on duty.
The girl’s mother notified police, and Washington was arrested within hours.
Lanier acknowledged Friday that the arrests could erode the public’s confidence in the police department. “We’ve come so far. We have people now who feel comfortable telling us about these complaints… It only takes one cop to shake everybody in our community,” she said.
During a hearing Thursday, it was revealed Washington, 32, had hundreds of photographs on his digital camera dating back to 2011, many of which depicted women who were victims of domestic violence.
The police department has strict guidelines on what officers can and can’t do with photographs they take while on duty. All images are supposed to become property of MPD and officers are not supposed to use their own cameras, Lanier said.
Court documents allege that Washington attempted to delete the pornographic images from his digital camera prior to the arrest.
“I would say to any member of the public… if you ever have an interaction with a police officer you are not comfortable with,” call 911 and ask for a supervisor, Lanier said.
A third officer is also under investigation for possibly tipping Washington off about his forthcoming arrest earlier this week, sources said. However, Lanier would not confirm that claim Friday, saying only that is was placed on no-contact status.
Washington did not enter a plea at a hearing Thursday. A U.S. magistrate judge ordered Washington released to home detention pending trial, but a 24-hour stay was granted so prosecutors could appeal the decision.
All three officers work in MPD’s Seventh District, law enforcement sources said.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier released the following statement Thursday afternoon, referencing officers Barnhill and Washington.
The Department is very concerned about the recent allegations of egregious conduct by two officers. We recognize that the actions of individual officers reflect on the entire Department. To uncover any potential malfeasance by officers, the Department regularly conducts audits and investigations of their conduct and behavior, both when on-duty and off-duty. The misguided actions of a few in no way reflect on the professionalism, dedication, and integrity of the Department. As we have seen several times this year with three officers shot in the line of duty, MPD officers put their lives on the line every single day to protect residents and visitors in the District of Columbia. That will not change.
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