The Allegations in this Lawsuit from the owner of Little Miss Whiskey’s and Jimmy Valentines are Terrifying

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Thanks to a reader for sending: “Not sure if you had already seen this but if the allegations are true it’s pretty crazy.” The allegations are absolutely terrifying – just a sample:

“35. Despite immediately finding upon entry the Plaintiff’s pedigreed dog to be in good health and temperament, and without any evident injury or mistreatment, Defendant Kyle seized the Plaintiff’s dog as “evidence”.
36. After finding no evidence of animal cruelty, Defendant Kyle began opening closed containers within the Plaintiff’s residence, and began “field testing” capsules he found therein for illegal drugs.
37. Such searches by Defendant Kyle exceeded the limited scope of the defective animal cruelty warrant authorized by the Superior Court.
38. After claiming one such capsule he found inside a closed container to have tested positive for amphetamines, Defendant Kyle sought an additional search warrant from the Superior Court for the capsules he had already obtained through his initial illegal search of the Plaintiff’s residence.
39. The Plaintiff was arrested and charged by Defendant Kyle with animal cruelty and possession of illegal drugs.
40. Such charges lacked any factual basis of lawfully obtained evidence supporting probable cause.
41. The cash receipts of the Plaintiff’s two nightclub businesses found in his residence were seized by Defendant Kyle without explanation and have not been returned.
42. Such cash was seized without any lawful authority.
43. The Plaintiff’s dog has been seized by the Washington Humane Society without any kind of hearing or recourse and the Washington Humane Society refuses to release the dog to anyone including the Plaintiff.”


Thorp Lawsuit (PDF)

105 Comment

  • Wait – so is the owner in trouble, or someone else? So confused.

  • Aglets

    This is crazy. Mark Thorpe is a good dude.
    it sounds like Mr. Kyle had some personal beef with him.

  • If there is any merit to this whatsoever this cop needs to be fired.

  • Aglets

    Oh wait- Kathy Henderson is involved because OF COURSE SHE IS

  • Is it me or is this complaint poorly written?

  • What the hell. I’m so confused. He was accused of animal cruelty by whom? And honestly, if someone accuses someone else of animal cruelty, I have NEVER heard of MPD actually busting down someone’s door to seize the dog.
    Usually animal control handles this sort of thing and they certainly can’t bust anyone’s door down. Example: there is a garage in the alley behind my house that some guys use to keep scrap metal and such. They also keep very large Cane Corsos in said garage. My neighbors have called animal control on them repeatedly and NOTHING has happened. No one has busted the door down and those animals are definitely being mistreated and neglected.

    • it was an excuse made by the MPD officer to get into his house and then (unlawfully) search for illegal drugs.

    • Yikes – that sounds awful. You should really take pictures of the dogs (if you feel you can do so without putting yourself at risk) and give them to animal control. I think sometimes they avoid pursuing these things because it’s difficult to gather evidence, or other things seem more important. Visual evidence might be the push they need.

      • he can’t – that’s the point. his dog was seized by the police and is being held by WHS

        • Uh, you misread that comment — or didn’t read the comment to which the poster was replying. He wasn’t speaking about the article, but about a different situation described by the parent commenter.

  • If these allegations are true, heads are going to roll.

    • unfortunately the Court has held pretext searches as perfectly acceptable police behavior. and the searching through containers might be excluded, but this is a standard cop tactic and will not lead to any negative repercussions for the police.
      on the other hand, if a judge actually signed a no knock warrant for animal cruelty, the judge will receive some blowback.

      • According to the complaint, those searches are illegal in DC.

      • To provide a quote from the complaint:
        “34. No knock executions of search warrants are made solely for the purpose
        of inhibiting drug dealers from destroying evidence of such drug trade. Such no knock
        executions of warrants are categorically prohibited in the District of Columbia.”

      • So would the drugs be admissible? Are you telling me Law&Order:SVU has been lying to me all this time?

      • It’s not a pretext search without a valid pretext, which it sounds like the office did not have (if the allegations in the complaint are true)

      • It sounds like the purpose of this search was to intimidate the plaintiff. The case that arose from the search would likely be dismissed for many different reasons. Although, I would assume that the cop’s contention would be that this was not a “no knock” search. He would probably say that the door was kicked in or the window was broken after no one answered and they heard activity in the residence that led them to believe that the plaintiff was flushing drugs or harming himself, etc.

  • I remember reading about Henderson’s issues with JVLHC years ago, but didn’t realize it had evolved into this. I hope POP will update as the case moves forward.

  • Mark LOVES that dog. Everyone in the neighborhood loves that dog.

  • msmaryedith

    This makes me so incredibly upset. Mark is a great person, and his dog is very well-treated (to think of his dog being stuck in a cage at the WHS makes me rethink giving them money ever again although I realize that they aren’t entirely at fault). I knew that Kathy Henderson had given LMW and JVLHC a hard time in the past but had no idea of the magnitude of it.

    • I’d be less concerned about the dog sitting in a cage and more concerned that he may be put down, either by “accident” or intentionally. It might make sense for people to call WHS to check in on the pup, to make sure that nothing happens to him.

    • I don’t see how this is WHS’s fault at all. Who knows what kind of (probably false) allegations were made in the first place, and it sounds like the MPD officer was the only one present – not humane law enforcement. Also DC’s animal cruelty law DOES provide for a hearing procedure for owners of seized animals, and it’s established mayor’s office rather than WHS. So I’m not sure how they could be denying him a hearing.

  • Kathy Henderson needs to go. She’s been at best a horrible nuisance for years now, but this is far beyond the pale and she’s clearly crossed over, with the help of MPD henchmen, into intimidation of her own constituents.

    Mark Thorp is a good guy and JVLHC is a great place. I hope he takes her for everything she is worth and that this blows up into a serious investigation of both her abuse of power and MPD’s apparently illegal and downright terrifying actions in this case.

    • He already got a $175,000 libel judgment against her, and hasn’t been able to collect that. So “taking her for everything she’s worth” doesn’t seem possible.

      • He hasn’t been able to collect on that only because MPD allegedly interfered with the sale process on Henderson’s behalf. Also, the condo is in Adams Morgan so it’s sure to sell for much more than $175k. He could probably take the rest of the sale proceeds and then some. I hope he does once all this clears up. Once it becomes public of acts of malfeasance interfering with US Marshal business, I bet that possession and sale of the condo will happen relatively quickly.

        • “He hasn’t been able to collect on that only because MPD allegedly interfered with the sale process on Henderson’s behalf.”

          Yep. And if these allegations are correct, then it looks like they’re going to continue to do so. So much for taking Kathy Henderson for all she’s worth.

  • Can you keep us updated about this? Mark is a great guy and the work he’s done to create a sense of community around his bars still amazes me.

  • There are a couple of things about this that smell fishy and/or should probably be clarified:
    1) Lt Kyle is the head of 5D Vice, not just a regular officer. What little I know about him is that he doesn’t involved unless there are serious allegations involving drugs, prostitution or anything else falling under the vice umbrella. I find it hard to believe that he would get involved in a Kathy Henderson vendetta.
    2) MPD doesn’t generally do no knock warrants willy nilly and certainly not at the behest of a crazy ANC commisioner.
    3) My feeling is that the no-knock warrant was for drugs and while they were in there, the animal control complaint was addressed at the same time, not the other way around.

    Either way, the complaint is presenting a one-sided story at the moment. I am going to let this play out in the judicial system and see what happens.

    • How about the interference on selling the condo in a previous judgement? Is that not fishy to you?

    • while based on the reading all of this seems absurd i cant say id argue with any of these three points above
      but, if everything is indeed true in the complaint then heads should roll for sure because that is unacceptable

    • “My feeling is that the no-knock warrant was for drugs and while they were in there, the animal control complaint was addressed at the same time, not the other way around.”
      Your speculation (based on . . . what?) is unnecessary – this is not a matter that is open for interpretation. The police are obliged to provide a copy of the warrant, and the grounds for the search must be specified in the warrant. Now, I obviously haven’t seen the warrant, but the complaint states in pertinent part, in paragraph 30, that the warrant was issued “purportedly and solely for an allegation of animal cruelty regarding the Plaintiff’s dog.” Given that the warrant is readily available, I have a hard time believing the plaintiff’s counsel would lie about that.

      • Also, with respect to the argument that can be summed up as, “He’s a senior police officer – he wouldn’t do THAT! And MPD certainly wouldn’t circumvent the law!”

    • Yeah, folks should remember this isnt a news article, its his complaint, with the goal to get out of the pretty serious drug charge. A plaintiff can claim anything until the court decides whats true.

      That said Kathy Henderson should be banished immediately.

      • I’m confused about the “drug charge” as well. Couldn’t capsules of amphetamines just be adderall? I guess that’s still illegal if you don’t have prescription?

  • Wow. If true: Henderson needs to be permanently barred from any political office and Kyle needs to be fired, immediately.

  • I hope this Mark guy sues the city for an enomious amount of money. It’s the only way to teach cops like this a lesson.

    • If the allegations are true, then I hope he sues the city for an enormous sum of money as well, because he deserves it. But don’t think for a second that that’s “the only way to teach cops … a lesson.” The cops don’t pay the cost of lawsuits like this. You and I do.

      • The only way to teach the cops a lesson is to get better governance there. It is the mayor’s job to ensure that the police commissioner takes these issues seriously.

  • Holy crap. This should be on the front page of the Metro section. Talk about your constitutional violations and abuse of authority. It looks like Ms. Henderson just used the DC Police to get some petty revenge on the plaintiff. it’s disturbing that the cops can be used like your own private enforcers if you have some influence.

  • Does anyone know what kind of discretion WHS has in a case like this? Seems pretty obvious that the abuse allegation is specious. Would it make any difference if folks emailed/called them about this issue? Loss of donations is a powerful incentive to reevaluate bad decisions.

    • No, no- don’t go after WHS. In cases like this, they’re usually required to hold animals as evidence until there’s a ruling. They have no role other than caring for the animal until everything has played out.

      • Fair enough! Will hold my tongue & hope another player can get some movement in the right direction.

      • I’ve written them requesting they explain their role, in their own terms. I donate a lot of money to WHS, and am a bit saddened by their role here.

        • houseintherear

          WHS is Animal Control here in DC. Their role in this type of situation is to hold an animal when there is a question of abuse. They are not giving the animal to the owner or to anyone else right now because they are holding it until there is a hearing. They are doing absolutely nothing wrong, and they are doing their jobs.

          • Except there doesn’t seem to actually be “a question of abuse”. Unless a random, anonymous, unsubstantiated complaint of abuse suffices to get a dog seized, which would be news to me when there are *definitely* abused dog in my hood and complaints about their abuse seem to generate no response at all.

          • Agreed. They need to give the dog back; I’ve been to the Dc Animal Shelter and that’s not a great environment. I’m sure the dog misses his dad.

      • +1. Leave WHS alone. At the very least – this is a complaint, guys. The lawyer is putting the plaintiff’s slant on the facts; it clearly has had the intended effect on commenters here, but please remember that a judge or jury look at both sides of this. It’s silly to think that you can determine what actually happened from reading an abbreviated version of one side of the story. In any event, it’s really not clear that WHS has any role in this other than holding the dog until this is resolved.

        • But with extremely limited space for WARL to hold truly abused/neglected /abandoned dogs, this is a deadly decision. Some poor dog really in need of shelter will now be denied – or killed – because an essential space is taken up for an absolutely needless caging of a beloved and well-cared for pet simply due to horrific police abuse.

        • Slant or not; you have a dog that is clearly not abused and should be returned to his human. Vaughn is a beautiful well cared for dog that is well known on H St.

          I’m sure there are dozens of H St residents who would be willing to testify that the dog is well cared for.

          If I were the owner, I’d be suing the hell out of Washington Humane Society for holding my dog.

  • The excerpt is a bit confusing, but just click on the link and read the relevant fact section. I am shocked and OUTRAGED after reading that. I also know Mark, and he’s a super nice guy. Even if I didn’t, this is still ridiculous. Can someone explain what the deal is with Kathy Henderson? She was re-elected even after a six figure judgement was decided against her in a defamation case? Have there been posts about this in the past?

  • i’d like to hear the other side to this. yes, mpd is awful, but i don’t think they go barging into houses, seizing dogs and looking for drugs unless there is at least some probable cause. i don’t think it was only kathy henderson’s word, or at least i’d hope that there’s more to it.

    • MPD could easily go barging into 80% of houses looking for drugs anywhere in the city and find them. This is absolute abuse of power and should horrify all of us.

      • I have a friend who was thrown in jail for a few days while MPD searched his apartment for a gun that his vindictive ex-girlfriend claimed he had. He’d done nothing illegal and the police had only the ex’s word to go by. He ended up losing his job because he couldn’t show up for work while he was in jail, so it screwed up his life quite a bit.

  • I Dont Get It

    If true this abuse of power is frightening.

  • Not even two months in office and Bowser is already getting named in a lawsuit. She can’t be happy with that. Hopefully there’s some immediate action taken on this, including immediate suspension of Lt. Kyle and release of Mark’s dog. I would like to see the Feds get involved too since it looked like both Henderson and MPD assets interfered with a federal judgement to sell Henderson’s assets.

  • Few people who have had interactions with cops will be surprised.

  • If you read the full complaint the story is clearer. Mark was awarded 100k in a defamation lawsuit against Kathy. The DC Superior Court ordered a rental condo she owns seized and sold to pay. Friends of hers at MPD somehow convinced the Federal Marshals not to execute the Court Order and are now retaliating against Mark for having brought (and won) the lawsuit. This is terrifying and terrible. We should all support Mark in this awful abuse of power and miscarriage of justice.

  • Andie302

    Is this 1950? WTF Granted, I’ve already admitted elsewhere today that I’m in a mood…but this just struck me as sad/petty/ridiculous. If these allegations are even remotely true, I hope this comes to light in wider circles in the city. This sounds like an extreme case of intimidation by MULTIPLE people that should be held to a higher standard. I would’ve hoped that after the judgment for defamation was rendered, that this person (who, by the way, I haven’t heard of before, so no dog in this fight…pun intended) would’ve learned their lesson, shut their mouth, paid up, and left this guy alone. If not, I hope they learn their lesson this time around – our city should have no patience for this crap.

  • Awful. As others have said, anyone who has interacted with Mark’s dog knows that he is well-cared for and a positive joy. This is sickening.

  • If the plaintiff’s account is even partially accurate, this is a horrid abuse of power that should be front page of the Washington Post. Heads should certainly roll.

  • Everyone needs to remember that this is the PLAINTIFF’s Lawyer. It is his job to make this sound as bad for the defendant as possible and to present facts or opinions in that manner. The whole story is not known, for all you know this lawsuit is bullshit but presented in such a damning manner. Not faulting anyone here, but understand that that is this lawyers JOB and obligation to his CLIENT.

  • This is outrageous! Kathy Henderson should lose her job for this coercion. DC was once like this, where you could bully your way around the law but that was a different age. Things have changed Kathy and they will keep changing.

  • I just sent a link to this story to the Metro desk at WashPo. I hope they follow up and give this the full exposure it deserves!

  • Isn’t the FBI supposed to be investigating stuff like this (i.e. public corruption?)? If this is true, they need to bring Kathy Henderson down. Anyone here any contacts at the FBI?

  • Frozen Tropics posted an update saying that Kathy Henderson’s seized condo is now up for auction:

  • For your sake, I hope you have some evidence to back those assertions up. Kathy Henderson already has judges forcing her to give up her home in Adams Morgan for libeling the same man.

  • Mark is an amazing person who has done so much for the H St community. He adores his dog and treats him so well. I am shocked and completely horrified by this situation. I wish Mark nothing but the best and I hope that he will be able to overcome this and in the very least, get Vaughn back safe and sound.

  • Totally unrelated, but as long as we are talking about drugs and dogs…

    Years ago I had a wonderful dog who became incontinent in old age. The vet prescribed some meds to treat it that I later learned were classified as amphetamines. I went away with the dog on a trip and had a supply of the pills in one of those pill cases. Well she got into them one day and ate three days worth of pills in one gulp, I didn’t realize this till several hours later. It explained why she walked in a circle for about 6 hours that night. ; )

  • The entire ANC needs to be completely overhauled they have too much power.The fact that a personal vendetta would go this far is proof enough.

    • The fact that there are some ANC Single Member District (SMD) reps who are bad — be it vindictive, incompetent, whatever — doesn’t mean that the whole system is flawed. I appreciate having some representation at a level below the Councilmember level, and although there are some bad apples out there, there are also some fantastic ANC reps.

      • “tesxtdoc” Open a small restaurant bar in DC and tell me how much you like ANC.. Enjoy your voluntary agreement!

      • In the 20 years I’ve lived in DC, I’ve come to the conclusion that if you add up the ANC commissioners who are incompetent, vindictive, corrupt, crazy, etc. and those who just do no harm but don’t really do anything really good either, they vastly (and I mean vastly) outnumber those who could correctly be called “fantastic.” Sadly, the ANCs are — as a collective institution — a joke. Even the decent ones (and I live in a decent one) aren’t good enough to make the system worth it.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      I agree the ANC system is clearly a flawed one.

  • looks like there’s been several new court filings on this. Does some good hearted lawyer/law student with free access to PACER want to send in an update?

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