DC Police Chief Lanier testifies in DC whistleblower case

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier took the stand in her own defense Friday in the Hilton Burton whistleblower trial.

Before she took the stand, she lost a major piece of her defense.

Judge Brian Holeman told the jury they were to disregard all of the testimony about the way Burton handled a barricade in Mount Pleasant in which a man lost his life at the hands of the police.

An assistant chief has already testified that it was "botched." But that was before the judge found out city attorneys argued exactly the opposite in a civil suit.

Chief Lanier then took the stand and began explaining her reasons for demoting Burton from commander to captain.

Burton claims Chief Lanier dropped him two ranks in August of 2011 in retaliation for his testimony in front of the D.C. city council in which he questioned the chief's veracity and blew the whistle on the inside story of celebrity escorts.

But on the witness stand Friday, Lanier told the jury she became increasingly unhappy with Burton's performance in the way he handled three different barricade situations, the Caribbean Festival Parade, an overtime policy that wasn't being implemented the way the chief wanted it to be along with a list of other issues.

Lanier told the jury her mind was made up when she received a memo from a desperate assistant chief who wanted Burton removed.

It was a memo that was written in mid-July -- well after Burton's testimony in front of the D.C. Council.

When Lanier tried to tell the jury why she was unhappy with a deadly barricade in Mount Pleasant, Burton's attorney objected and the judge ordered her response stricken from the record.

Judge Holeman said it was unfair for the chief's attorneys to argue the barricade was botched when city attorneys argued the exact opposite in a federal court civil suit.

Chief Lanier was also asked about a comment she made to FOX 5 two days after the Charlie Sheen police escort that is now at the center of this court case.

Here is what she said in April of 2011 after we asked her if celebrities who want to pay for escorts are able to call D.C. police for them.

"We don't do escorts of celebrities," she told us. "There are events that we do reimbursable details for. If there is a large event -- performances, entertainment that may involve celebrities that will draw a large crowd, traffic congestion, things like that -- we would want reimbursable detail to avoid any public safety hazard by the large event. But we do not do escorts of celebrities."

That comment along with a press release put out by the police department is now at the heart of the case.

Burton told the city council it wasn't true and Chief Lanier knew it.

The jury has been dismissed for the day and the case will resume on Monday.

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