FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. - The Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has placed two sheriff’s officials on their "Brady list" following a spat at a courthouse security checkpoint involving the commonwealth’s attorney.
Brady lists track law enforcement officers with credibility and misconduct problems and can prevent those officers from testifying in court.
The incident in question happened on Sept. 28. According to a sheriff’s office report, Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano and Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Kyle Manikas were being "unprofessional" and abusive toward security staff at a courthouse security checkpoint.
The report says Descano and Manikas cursed at security officers because they were angry they had to be screened. It says Descano told security officers he was exempt, threw his umbrella directly into the X-Ray machine and said "Don’t you know who I am?" "I’m the top law enforcement officer in Fairfax County."
On the day the incident took place, the Fairfax County courthouse was performing security screenings on every person entering the courthouse, to include those who aren’t typically required to be screened.
Descano and Manikas dispute the report that was signed by Fairfax County Sheriff’s Sgt. Christopher Blaine and 2nd Lt. Mona Williams.
According to a memo obtained by FOX 5’s Lindsay Watts, Manikas says the two officials made "false and misleading" statements.
The memo from Manikas notifies the sheriff’s office internal affairs section that Blaine and Williams will be placed on their office’s Brady list and prosecutors could decline to prosecute cases they’re involved in.
"At a minimum, this action will amount to making the proper disclosure and stipulation in any criminal case in which either Sergeant Christopher Blaine or Second Lieutenant Mona Williams is involved. However, depending on the level and nature of involvement of either deputy in a particular case, more drastic action, including declining prosecution, may be necessitated," it reads.
Brad Carruthers, President of Fairfax Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 77 says his union represents the two sheriff’s employees.
"Obviously it’s something very new for us. This has never occurred before," said Carruthers.
He says FOP’s legal services is looking into this and the sheriff’s office is conducting an internal investigation. He said there could ultimately be larger scale investigation.
"What could potentially be on the table is asking for an outside investigation, possibly through the Attorney General‘s office," said Carruthers.
He says these law enforcement members being put on the Brady list is a big deal. A law enforcement source calls it a "career killer."
"It’s very humiliating. You know this kind of stuff takes a mental toll on officers and deputies," said Carruthers.
The incident involved two security officers who work with Allied Security. The sheriff’s report indicates Blaine and Williams were not there at the time. The report says, "Facility Security provided video to corroborate the visual part of the incident."
The memo from Manikas states that video of the incident disputes what the sheriff’s officials account in their report. The sheriff’s office provided FOX 5 courthouse security footage of some of what happened, but it has no audio and does not show the entire incident, only what happened at the end of the security screening once Descano and Manikas have gone through the checkpoint. The sheriff’s office says that is the only video of the incident.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney Office says the sheriff’s officials who wrote the report either intentionally made untruthful statements, were untruthful about having watched the video or watched the video but were "grossly incompetent in their duties."
American University Law Professor Cynthia Jones has written about Brady lists.
"I’ve not ever heard of the Brady list being used in this way," said Jones.
She said the lists are typically used for on the record misconduct and not internal disputes between officials.
The sheriff’s office would not comment because they say their internal investigation is underway.
A spokesperson for the commonwealth attorney’s office said Wednesday that Descano and Manikas had no comment and were not available for interviews.