DC police captain's leadership, judgment under scrutiny at whistleblower trial

The defense in the Hilton Burton whistleblower case came out swinging on Wednesday. They painted the D.C. police captain as an official with questionable judgment and integrity issues.

Two police assistant chiefs took the stand and said Burton's decision making showed a lack of leadership and recommended his demotion.

Burton claims his demotion was in retaliation for his testimony before the D.C. city council where he questioned the veracity of D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

Burton is trying to prove here that he was only demoted after airing the police department's dirty laundry and telling the council the chief was not telling the truth about celebrity escorts -- that there was no policy in effect and he was asked to lie by an assistant chief.

The day began with Assistant Chief Lamar Greene taking the stand and telling the court what he thought of Burton's management style.

In particular, he spoke about the way Burton handled a barricade on Irving Street in the Mount Pleasant area.

Greene said it was "botched" and Burton authorized a use of force that was unnecessary.

Greene then said the man who was killed would probably be alive today if the tactical team had not been so aggressive. He told the jury that was poor judgment and Burton was in charge.

Assistant Chief Greene spent the day answering question after question about his relationship with Burton and why he grew concerned over his management style.

After the barricade on Irving Street, he said he lost confidence in Burton's ability to lead and preservation of life is the number one priority.

Greene also said he had issues with how Burton handled a second barricade and was very disappointed in the way the security for the Caribbean Festival Parade was designed and carried out. He said there were numerous complaints from council members and the community.

A second assistant chief, Al Durham, now the chief in Richmond, Va., also told the court he had concerns with Burton's decision making and leadership.

He told the jury he was "very disturbed by the way Burton handled the barricade in Mount Pleasant."

In his lawsuit, Burton claims he was only made aware of these concerns about his leadership after testifying at the D.C. city council and telling council members that Chief Lanier was not telling the truth about celebrity escorts and how they were handled.

The family of the man killed in Mount Pleasant filed a lawsuit, but the lawyer who litigated the case says it never got to court. A judge sided with the District government and threw it out.

There were no charges in the case. The U.S. Attorney's Office found no negligence on the part of the officers involved and they were cleared.

Chief Lanier sat in court all day long and listened to the testimony. She will likely take the stand on Thursday.

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