A gay Virginia man has accused Second District D.C. police officials of losing an $8,000 diamond ring he says they took from him at the time they placed him in a cell following his July 21 arrest on an assault charge.
Clifford Ward told the Blade that officers took the ring and other personal belongings from him when they processed his arrest. He said that when he was released the following day after a court appearance, officers told him the ring was reported missing in a police log.
“Our Internal Affairs Division will look into the allegations addressed in this complaint,” said Gwendolyn Crump, a police spokesperson. “I cannot comment further at this time.”
Ward said police have not returned his repeated calls asking about the ring. He describes it as a platinum ring with four black diamonds, saying its disappearance added to the emotional stress he suffered from his arrest.
A police charging document filed in D.C. Superior Court says Ward was charged with assault with significant bodily injury, a felony, for allegedly punching a woman in the face “with a closed fist causing a severe laceration to her lip.” The charging document says the alleged assault occurred on the sidewalk in front of 2130 P Street, N.W., near several gay bars, about 6 p.m. on July 21.
The document says the alleged victim is the owner of the Solar Planet tanning salon at that address. It says the woman, identified as Karen Weber, accuses Ward of entering her shop and placing three bottles of tanning lotion worth $185.97 in the pockets of his cargo shorts before leaving the shop without paying for them.
It says Weber followed Ward out of the store and confronted him about the items, at which time he allegedly punched her in the face.
Ward, in a telephone interview, denied he took anything from Weber’s store. He said he entered the store to look for his sister, who he said entered the shop to ask about prices for tanning services. He said he left the store and was standing on the sidewalk waiting for his sister when Weber “attacked” him and began “ripping off all my clothes” while accusing him of shoplifting.
He said he hit her with his elbow in self-defense, fearing that she would seriously injure him.
But the police charging document says at least three witnesses told police they saw Ward hit Weber in the face with his fist. The document says “Weber recovered during the struggle with defendant Ward” three bottles of tanning lotion. She told the Blade that witnesses on the street saw the bottles fall out of Ward’s pockets.
Ward was scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 9 for a preliminary hearing on the case.