The Washington D.C. police department used police cruisers as emergency vehicles at speeds of at least 80 miles per hour to escort Charlie Sheen from Dulles Airport in Virginia to his show in Washington, D.C. on April 19, 2011. Apparently, arriving in his private jet, Sheen was late for his performance and D.C.'s Homeland Security and Special Operations Division authorized and approved the high speed escort.
Documents obtained by a D.C.-based civil rights group, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, and provided to Jalopnik, show that D.C. police's high-speed escort of Charlie Sheen violated a police General Order.
The police teletype made available today by the PCJF states that police may not use their vehicles as emergency vehicles outside of the District of Columbia except "while engaged in the fresh pursuit of a fleeing felon. ... When responding on an assignment, no vehicle shall be operated at a speed greater than ten miles per hour in excess of the posted speed limit, except when operating an emergency vehicle in pursuit of a felon." These documents were obtained by the PCJF in litigation against the MPD.
"This shows a shameful disregard for the lives and safety of area residents and an unprofessional interest in serving celebrity clientele," stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director and attorney with the PCJF.
"Not only is the MPD apparently using DC taxpayer resources to act as a private security service for celebrities, in so doing they are risking the lives of the residents of DC and the surrounding region," stated Carl Messineo, Legal Director of the PCJF. "How many lives is the MPD willing to risk with a high speed escort simply because Charlie Sheen can't manage himself and is late to his own show?" he commented.
Police testimony in 2004 revealed that the high cost and tragic results of police cruisers driven at high speeds. "Research has found that 40% of all police pursuits result in some type of police collision, 20% in personal injury, and 1% in death." MPD testified against the expansion of authority to engage in high-speed police activities.
The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund has filed a Freedom of Information Act demand with the DC Metropolitan Police Department seeking records and communications related to the deployment of police services for the purpose of providing a high-speed escort to celebrity Charlie Sheen. The FOIA request is available here.
This story was syndicated from The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. The PCJF is a not-for-profit legal and educational organization which, among other things, seeks to ensure constitutional accountability within police practices and government transparency in operations. For more information go to: www.JusticeOnline.org