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Washington, DC police officers under investigation after confiscating guns without making arrests

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert J. Contee III announced Friday an investigation into seven Washington, D.C., police officers and supervisors within the department who confiscated illegal guns without making arrests.

“In these cases, the suspect was not arrested, and the suspect should’ve been arrested,” Contee said during a press conference Friday evening. “The firearm was taken and placed into evidence, however, the suspect was allowed to go free, and that’s just not the way that we conduct business in the Metropolitan Police Department.”

The investigation into the alleged misconduct started after a community member made an unrelated complaint against D.C. officers on Sept. 11, according to Contee. 

During an investigation into that complaint, officials learned of a separate incident involving two officers confiscating an illegal gun from a suspect without making an arrest. 

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Contee said the officers placed the gun into evidence, but their written account of what unfolded during the seizure did not match body camera footage.

As officials continued their review of the incident, they found that five more members of the department had been involved in similar cases, Contee explained.

Two sergeants and five officers have now been placed on non-contact status amid the internal investigation. 

The names of the accused have not been released. Contee said investigators have found a total of seven similar incidents, all of which took place in the 7th District.

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Contee said he is unsure why the alleged misconduct occurred.

“I can’t even speculate as to why that is,” Contee told reporters. “That’s not the way that we train, it’s not the way that I’ve been trained, it’s not what we expect of our members.”

“We expect our members that when they encounter armed individuals on the street who are in possession of illegal firearms that those people are taken into custody,” he continued. “In these cases, that did not happen. I wish I could tell you why. At this stage of the investigation, I don’t know why.”

The seven members of the department involved in these incidents were all part of a unit targeting violent crime in the 7th District. Contee said the other members of that unit have been temporarily reassigned while this investigation continues.

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