Ward 4 Gets a New Police Commander

A note from Council Member Muriel Bowser from the Petworth Listserv: “ Chief Lanier called to discuss with me a leadership change in the Fourth District. Commander Hilton Burton has been temporarily reassigned. Inspector Linda Gilmore Brown has been named the Acting Commander. Chief Lanier will address Ward 4 residents and introduce the Acting Commander at an Emergency Crime Meeting in Takoma tomorrow.”

Following is a note from Chief Lanier:
Dear Fourth District Residents,

As a result of additional allegations of misconduct that have recently
come to my attention, I have decided that it is in the best interest of
the community and the Department that Commander Hilton Burton be
temporarily reassigned while the investigation is conducted.

Effective today, Inspector Linda Gilmore Brown will be the Acting
Commander of the Fourth District. Inspector Gilmore Brown is a 19-year
veteran of the Department and has spent her entire career at MPD. She
is both responsive and engaged in the community, and she will serve 4D
residents well. Please welcome Inspector Linda Gilmore Brown
(Linda.Gilmore@ dc.gov) to this listserv as well.

Thank you.

Cathy L. Lanier

Chief of Police

Thoughts on this? I’m all for some change. Wow, allegations of misconduct? What have I missed? I wish Cmdr Brown the best of luck and hope she supports proper patrols, of the foot or bicycle variety preferably. What are your thoughts on Cmdr Burton being reassigned?

For those interested in the meeting tomorrow the details are after the jump.

Thursday, November 15, 2007
5:45 PM — Community Walk with Councilmember Bowser and MPD Chief Cathy Lanier (meet at Takoma Metro Station)
6:30- 8:00 PM – Emergency Crime Meeting (Takoma Village Cohousing at 6827 4th Street, NW)

36 Comment

  • I was quite baffled by that too. If you haven’t talked about the allegations to this point, why bring them up now? Innocent until proven guilty applies here.

  • anyone else know anything about this situation?

  • So who replaces Inspector Brown at 3D?

  • The allegations against Cmdr. Burton are serious and substantiated. It is not just the claims of extramarital affairs. Rather, the seriousness is that Cmdr Burton appears to have been using his time during work to send explicit emails and pictures, not to mention have sex in an MPD vehicle. In addition, he used his MPD-issued cell phone to send graphic and sexual text messages. Finally, I think that has even more to do with the crime surge in the Fourth District and the overall lack of leadership that Commander Burton has provided. Many patrol officers have lodged complaints against Burton. In addition, when Lt. Brown (of PSA 403) “lost” her gun last year, only to have it turn up at a crime scene, Cmdr. Burton defended her and, according to officers, even helped her try to cover up the truth. Finally, although it has received little attention, there was a recent drug bust at an MPD sergeant’s house in PSA 403 (in the 5600 block of 9th Street NW). This raises all sorts of concerns about whether MPD officers are actually involved in drug dealing; such accusations have been around for years, although this may be definitive proof that we have some seriously crooked officers in 4D. Basically, Lanier is trying to clean house and I give her credit. She knows where the problems are, and that is because she has worked in the MPD for so long. It will take some time, but we’re on the right track. Things in 4D need to change fast because crime is out of control.

  • Personally, I could not be any happier to see Commander Hilton Burton go away .

  • There was a post about this on DCist last week, but Ward4Resident hits the main points related to his cheating on his wife and (more importantly in MPD’s eyes) having sex in his car and doing other stuff on his work phone/cpu that are no-nos.

    The stuff about the MPD Seargent’s house bust is news to me…I’d love to hear more about that.

  • Officers involved in drug dealing in DC? Gee now, how could that be? Where could they ever find the time with all the endless hours of patrolling they do in 4D?

    According to DCer they’re doing a “heck of a job,” and it’s the rest of us that aren’t pulling our weight (especially PoP). My best guess is that if DCer is right (and how could he be wrong with such logic?) then MPD must spend millions and millions on invisibility suits and stealth radio cars.

    Of course the rest of us must be wrong. Who you gonna believe? DCer or your lyin’ eyes? We’re missing all of this magically invisible police work and, BTW, we have the wrong idea about what police are supposed to do. DCer, a paragon of practical thinking, has pointed out fairly that it’s the stupid crime victim’s fault they aren’t crime-defeatin’ badasses like his boyhood hero “Rambo”. DCer saw how this is supposed to work in them movie shows back when he was a pup in the “suburbs” and we need to arm ourselves with those hand-held crossbows that PoP covets so much and “take back the streets”; not wait around like girlie-men for the police to… er… police.

    Never you mind that notion of yours that MPD having a busy drug dealing schedule just might explain why they fail to perform their boring extra jobs as policemen in 4D. You just spend all of your free time practicing your take-down moves and grief-counselin’ PoP after each vicious assault at the hands of the Illinois Street Pre-Teen Girl’s Club & Hopscotch Ass’n.

    C’mon DCer, let’s hear your excuses for this one… it’s our fault for not conducting citizen’s arrests of cops dealing dope, right? It’s our job to retrieve firearms that the officers lose while they’re having illicit sex on duty or tripping hard like a rock star and then return the stray peacemakers to the station? It’s our job to investigate, patrol, and contain any criminal element in our city? And what is it, exactly, that the PoPo are to do?

    Oh right, drug dealing. Check.

    Well, at least I know where I can get quality heroin now — if I’m lucky enough to ever see an MPD officer not engaged in a shakedown of local 12 year olds playing b-ball or busy having sex in their radio car with someone else’s wife.

    I mean, this all makes perfect sense in the ASININE bizarro world DCer suggested where tax-paying, hard-working citizens, retirees, and children are responsible for patrolling the streets and dealing with crime and police are…


    free to pursue hobbies, have sex on the tax payer’s dime, and become drug dealers.

  • Good riddance. Long before this behavior was exposed, he was known to be a demoralizing leader at 4D and nonresponsive to the citizens in Ward4. As a Ward4 resident, I certainly won’t miss him.

  • Appalling to hear about but it sure beats keeping it hid! I am hopeful this will improve the job MPD is doing in Ward 4. Whether of not the charges of misconduct against him stand up to scrutinuy, Commander Burton’s leadership (“we know where the problems are, and we will continue doing what we have been doing to ensure that nothing changes…”) will not be missed.

  • The bust on the sergeant’s house was relatively quiet news. She is on administrative leave pending the investigation. She herself was not arrested, but three people in her home were. Drugs were also found. Here is the link to the article in the Examiner – http://www.examiner.com/a-1006651~Three_arrested_on_drug_charges_at_home_of_D_C__police_sergeant.html.

    The bottom line is that there is some shady stuff going on within the MPD and I think Chief Lanier is making an admiral efforts to get rid of the dead weight and bring in some good police. Cmdr. Burton has been ineffective. He has stuck up for people and tried to help them cover up their mistakes (i.e., Lt. Teresa Brown’s lost gun), but has not stood by some of the best patrol officers in 4D. In addition, Cmdr. Burton has not aggressively addressed some very serious complaints from citizens about gun violence and robberies. That’s why we’re in the situation that we’re in right now in 4D. When I saw the article about the sgt’s house being busted, well, it made me wonder if this has something to do with the drug dealers constantly being able to avoid getting caught. They always seem two steps ahead of the MPD. Time to clean house.

  • Oden, not only does it seem to be the ordinary citizen’s job to patrol the streets, but it is also seems to be our fault when we “let” ourselves be targets for crime (according to the MPD). I am SICK AND TIRED of seeing emails from the MPD about efforts to teach citizens how to not be victims of crime. It’s suddenly our responsibility to not walk here or there at such-and-such time because of the risk of being robbed, mugged, or worse. I should be able to lock my front door or car door and feel relatively safe that neither will be broken into. I should be able to walk to the corner store at 8pm without bullets whizzing around my house as they did last night. My friend had her car stolen from Capitol Hill and do you know what the MPD told her? That it was her fault because she didn’t have a club on it! Excuse me, but last I checked, there was a law against stealing cars. There is no law that says you have to put a freakin’ club on your car when you park it on the street.

    I am a native Washingtonian and I am tired of this crap. I am tired of the MPD constantly making excuses, making it everyone’s fault BUT the criminal who pulls the trigger or robs the old lady at the bus stop. I am tired of the MPD not enforcing basic laws that get readily enforced everywhere else in this country. I am ready for some serious policing, and I’m talking a popo-on-every-corner-shaking-down-every-person-who-walks-by sort tactics. I am ready for some serious jail time for these little thugs who like to play gangsta’ on our street corners, recruiting their next generation of drug dealers and shooting at one another just for the hell of it. If I, the ordinary citizen, can see the baggies and money changing hands, why does it take months and months of police and vice work to arrest these guys, only to have them turned back out on the street the next day to continue their work?

  • According to DCer they’re doing a “heck of a job,”

    yeah, no, I never said that. You are going off the deep end.

  • I am SICK AND TIRED of seeing emails from the MPD about efforts to teach citizens how to not be victims of crime. It’s suddenly our responsibility to not walk here or there at such-and-such time because of the risk of being robbed, mugged, or worse.

    Wow, I’d hate to be you!

    How can you misconstrue crime prevention into “blame the victim” I’ll never know.

    Y’all need to read about karma people. Karma.

  • Uh, read the description of what I posted regarding my friend’s car being stolen. And I’ve had similar reactions from MPD officers when I report crime (i.e., the “Well, why were you walking there?” or “It’s your fault because you should have done blah, blah, blah.”) The MPD’s crime prevention tips are just band aids for a huge, freaking gunshot wound (no pun intended). We have kids running around Petworth and shooting at one another. We have kids dealing drugs all hours of the day. Those are the problems and I shouldn’t have to take extreme measures to protect myself. That is what I pay taxes to law enforcement for. I’ve never been a huge gun fan, but I’m starting to hope that the DC gun ban will be repealed. I am feeling as though I’m the only one without a weapon in my neighborhood.

  • As annoying as you are, Mr. DCer, I was with you with the “How can you misconstrue crime prevention into “blame the victim”…” part, but then you brough up karma. What does karma have to do with it? Are you saying that the people who are mugged and beaten up somehow had it coming? Really? I want to hope you don’t mean that, but who can tell.

  • Oden, in all seriousness, I read your entire screed. You’re imagining discussions that never took place, you create quotes I’ve never said, you’re assigning attitudes to me that I don’t agree with and reflect nothing I’ve ever written. I do not know why you want to have a fantasy straw man, but can you be a pal and make the straw man someone else who isn’t me? Would that be ok if you created someone else to argue with who doesn’t have the same handle as I do?

  • Fair enough, the quotation marks around that particular phrase were in error. But do you now deny that you said that continued crime issues were the fault of citizens failing to patrol the city themselves (and root out “bad guys”), and suggested the police were not only blameless for their failure to patrol but expecting them to do so is “science fiction”? Those not your words?

    And where is your answer to PoP’s original question (for which you insulted him)? What is it you think the police are supposed to do if not patrol a community?

    You can claim confusion all you want DCer, but you posts clearly state that you think the police shouldn’t be called on to do anything more than what they are (i.e. not much), and that the rest of us need to take karate lessons and watch Steven Segal films for pointers. I said clearly that such a suggestion is foolishness, that police need to become more involved and familiar with the streets they patrol, then you claim you don’t understand — as if that wasn’t already abundantly clear.

  • I’m beginning to think that DCer is Oden’s version of Tyler Durden. Have you been blacking out a lot lately, Oden?

  • I think I made a mistake by mentioning karma because:
    1. It could be thought that I was blaming a victim
    2. Even talking about these kinds of philosophical issues invites people to make knee-jerk comments about hippies, freaks, Buddhists, and weirdos who post about philosophy on message boards.

    sigh. I’m stuck in a lose-lose right now, so I better just move forward and post one last thing and that’s it.

    A friend sent me this link which I thought was interesting and I was thinking about it when I wrote about Karma.

    I believe that a good portion of the public safety issues can be solved by anti-crime activists doing anti-crime activities publicly. People who are pro-crime or people who hide in their houses doing nothing actively allow criminals to exist in their neighborhoods. As such I suggested that the best way to solve these mugging issues is to have a neighborhood watch group so that instead of cursing the darkness, one lights a candle. The first solution to our crime issue came when I visited the police station with donuts and sat down with our lieutenant to talk about my block and became, in some small way, his friend.

    For some reason people seem to think that my rejection of police activity is in some way suggesting the police are doing a great job. I fail to understand that leap of logic. The police are doing a lame job, but there’s no reason for me to wallow in that when I have the authority to fix my community.

    This becomes philosophically hard when you are working with criminal actors. You can control your own karmic impression of “I like this neighborhood, it’s fun” vs “Those people on the streets look like potential criminals.” But when someone else victimizes you it gets harder.

    The quote I was thinking of was:
    Karma draws your attention to what you have created. Is your attention not captured when you are in pain? Asking why the Universe is treating you badly when you experience painful circumstances in your life is like asking a mirror why you look the way that you do. Your reflection will not change until you change. Karma is your reflection. You can throw away a mirror but your reflection will be the same when you look into another one. You can blame the Universe for your pain, but your pain will continue. Only you can change that and, eventually, you will.

  • No blackouts, but I am working earnestly to create a hyperbole detector for pedants that make silly statements and then claim confusion when people make fun of them.

  • See, you guys posted so close together. It’s true. DCer, you’re not planning on destroying the entire banking sector are you? Cause, I mean, it’s sort of already doing that itself.

  • “Rejection of police activity” might as well be “rejection of the community”. The police need to be a fixture here, not a flaw. The idea that fixing a broken police department that has an antagonistic relationship with the city is less important than impotent half-measures by otherwise pre-occupied citizens is pointless. There is no data to suggest any citizen-sponsored group, often even with the partnership of motivated police and city officials, does a damn thing. Your belief that this approach works, while steeped in self-admiration, is not supportable in fact. Meanwhile people like “Ward4” duck bullets.

    Do people in Bethesda or Arlington think they ought to round up the posse because patrolling is too burdensome for the police? Are you smoking crack? There is no doubt that everyone needs to be aware and participate where they can, but the notion that citizens can replace the role police ought to play here in DC is foolish gibberish.

    “Rejection of police activity”. Jeeze.

    I ask you again: what are the police for then? Should we just disband them in the “man up” world of DCer and save the tax dollars for buddhist training?

  • To end on a positive note (HA!), like I said yesterday, average citizens can do something to help occupy and enrich fellas between the ages of 15 and 30 and/or aid the organizations that serve that population (Boys & Girls Clubs spring to mind). That is the one of the few provable things citizens can do truly impact the neighborhood.

    Everything else is just floodlights in Chinatown and Curtis Sliwa in a prissy beret.

  • But do you now deny that you said that continued crime issues were the fault of citizens failing to patrol the city themselves (and root out “bad guys”), and suggested the police were not only blameless for their failure to patrol but expecting them to do so is “science fiction”? Those not your words?
    you would have to be literally insane, or else new to the english language, to think that was my point. That description is just bizarre! Where did I say anything of the sort?

  • Oden, there are plenty of great community centers in DC and other activities and services to help those between the ages of 15 and 30 NOT engage in crime. The problem is that in the black community here in DC, being a little ghetto thug gangsta is “cool.” Hanging out at one of the great community centers is not. Emery rec center on Georgia Ave is relatively new and the city has done an excellent job at staffing the place, providing activities, and ensuring that there are things for kids of all age groups (older kids can work there). The problem is that the kids who we need to get off the street have no desire to go there. They are having too much fun dealing drugs and trashing our streets. And keep in mind that many of the dealers and criminals are not kids, but grown adults. I am all for neighborhood watches, but my tax dollars pay the MPD to enforce the law. That is what I expect.

  • DCer, besides ending this discussion by saying that you “reject police activity,” thus exposing you to be a tinfoil hat afficionado, you have said very clearly that it’s a DC citizen’s “job to get out there and be a presence on your block at all times so that the ‘bad guys’ … see you and know that they can’t mug people on this block.” You also very clearly and specifically called PoP’s suggestion that the police ought to patrol the neighborhood “science fiction” and called him a “dork” to boot. If you have forgotten what you wrote then you can go back and read it yourself.

    Your continued retreat to “me no understand” is a pathetic tactic that is transparently a sign that you don’t know what you’re saying. Just stop responding if you can’t answer the basic question we’ve all been asking you for DAYS, namely, what is it the police are supposed to do if not patrol the city they serve?

    It’s clear you have boxed yourself in to a stupid position, so just live with it.

    Ward4: I’m with you, I agree there are some fellas who aren’t going to be persuaded away from certain activities, either by alternatives or police. I’m just pointing out that contrary to DCer’s notion that the answer is citizens doing the police’s job, the best and most appropriate thing for people to do is contribute time and dollars to existing and proven community resources for youth.


    Organizations like these (and many, many others) actually help out, and have dedicated full-time professionals devoting themselves to complex problems, and unlike DCer’s orange hat fantasies that amount to nothing, you can provably make the neighborhood a better place to live by engaging youth in better habits and alternatives.

  • Just stop responding if you can’t answer the basic question we’ve all been asking you for DAYS, namely, what is it the police are supposed to do if not patrol the city they serve?
    Once again you attribute quotes to me I never wrote and ask me to defend positions that I FLATLY NEVER TOOK. You address me by name but then talk about things I never wrote. Can you please, seriously, understand the position this puts me in?

    I never, under any circumstances said that PoP’s suggestion was “science fiction” and would suggest you step back, take a deep breath, and read my original post:

    “It’s a great sounding goal in a science fiction future, but that kind of policing never ever existed here.”

    I said, and I quote, “It’s a great sounding goal IN A SCIENCE FICTION FUTURE” and clarified that such policing was unrealistic and never existed here. You yourself filled in blanks that I never wrote. Can you see that at long last that you’re just imagining me saying things I never did?

    I do not read all your posts because they contain so much weirdness like the above! I have little idea what you’re asking me because it’s confused and disjointed and arguing about things I never wrote. You cannot expect me to follow your off-topic trains of thought.

    But if you want to know what the job of the police is to enforce the laws of the district of columbia and the safety of its residents. The officers should investigate crimes in the immediate sense, respond to emergencies, assist the detectives in detailed investigations, enforce traffic and parking laws. That is there job.

    I hope my answer helps you, though I have reason to fear you will twist my words so that I don’t recognize them as has been my experience with you. Remember, you’ve mis-quoted me about 10 times in two days. Only you know what you hope to achieve by looking so freaking weird in print.

    I think you will find that once you accept your responsibility as part of society and stop running from it or hiding from it that you will achieve a lot better balance in your life.

  • you know, I must be a glutton for punishment because I finished reading your thing where you cite the Latin American Youth Center as an organization that is worth supporting more than neighborhood watch. Well apples taste better than oranges to some, but that doesn’t mean one is better than the other.

    Only that I volunteered there talking about computer literacy with Byte Back in the 1990s. I also assisted a friend of mine who used to work there with Lori like every day. Did you volunteer there in the 90s? Do I know you?

    Why did I stop going? Because around Spring/Summer 1999 it became obvious, even to this gabacho that the LAYC was fostering gang recruiting on its very premises. I knew the kids they were helping were dealing drugs as part of Brown Union and uhhh… La Mara R? La Gang R?, I couldn’t prove it, but I knew it. Those kids were using the LAYC as a Brown Union “house” if you will- totally against its anti-gang premise, but the gang kids were the kids who were there and they were exploiting the volunteers. I think the BU kids shot like FOUR kids some night… right before July 4, 1999 I think. I never went back.

    So is the LAYC REALLY the group you think it is or are you just talking without any knowledge of our community, its groups or its history?

  • Commander Burton stood up for Lt. T. Brown because the “word” around 4D was he was sleeping with her as well. He was also sleeping with Lt. Suleika Brooks as well. Now MPD is investigating the principal at Rudolph because she and Commander Burton were sending nude pictures of each other to each other. Now another question should be was she sending them from her DCPS email also?

    So between the ones who other officers knew about, and now the press knows about the principal at Rudolph…how many other women out there besides his wife was he sleeping with????

    No wonder crime is up in 4D…Commnder Burton was always laying down!

  • You are the first person that has ever suggested that LAYC is a front for gang activity. I used to live a block away from that site and am familiar with many of the kids and the staff their so, to answer your quest, no I didn’t pull it out of a hat.

    Further, I love how you say “I couldn’t prove it, but I knew it.” Wonderful. Sums up all of your posts. 100% tinfoil hat.

  • One last note, in fairness, what you saw in 1999 LAYC probably has little to do with what is going on in a vastly different neighborhood in 2007. Second, and for one final time, it is not “science fiction future” to expect police officers to patrol neighborhoods, they do it in larger cities with smaller police forces every day. The idea that we can’t expect MPD to do the same is lunacy.

  • Yes in other neighborhoods they can concentrate on direct patrol with smaller numbers…However if you check the numbers per capita MPDC handles more radio assignments and details than any other jurisdiction…Yes have batch of apples may have one bad one amongst them but that does not make the whole batch bad…just weed out the bad ones…There r many good officers on MPDC that really care about the communities that live and patrol in…I invite all of u too participate in the MPDC ride along program so that u can get a little taste of what is that the officers of MPDC do…

    I can speak of the loyalty to the community that many MPDC officers have because I am not only a tax paying DC Resident and have been all my life I am also proud to be one of DC’s Finest… I am an Officer of the MPDC

  • So, is the investigation and temporary reassignmment of Commander Burton still ongoing? Two months later this story wants an update. Anyone know?

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