November 1, 2016 at 11:05 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
LGBT police liaison supervisor faces complaint
Jessica Hawkins, gay news, Washington Blade

Sgt. Jessica Hawkins is under investigation following an undisclosed complaint. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is investigating an unspecified complaint filed against Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, supervisor of the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, according to a knowledgeable source familiar with the department.

Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham confirmed that a complaint against Hawkins had been filed but said personnel rules prevent the department from disclosing any further details at this time.

“We’re in the process right now of investigating the complaint and we’ll see what happens when we get to the bottom of it,” he told the Washington Blade.

“It’s a personnel matter so we don’t discuss that publicly because there are rules regarding personnel,” he said. “But I can tell you it is not uncommon for members of this agency to receive complaints. And some of them are sustained and some of them are not.”

Newsham said Hawkins remains in her current position as head of the LGBT Liaison Unit under full duty status while the investigation is being conducted. “We’ll take a look at it and when we get to the bottom of it we’ll be able to share more,” he said.

Hawkins is the second head of the LGBT Liaison Unit to come under investigation. Sometime in late 2012 her predecessor, Sgt. Matthew Mahl, was stripped of his police powers, including his uniform, badge and gun, while under investigation for an undisclosed allegation, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Then-police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump said Mahl was on “non-contact status pending the outcome of an administrative matter” while remaining a member of the liaison unit.

In March 2013, police officials returned Mahl to full police duties.

“I can only say he is back to full duty,” Crump said. “We cannot comment further on a personnel matter.”

In January of this year Mahl won election as chair of the Labor Committee of the Fraternal Order of Police, which serves as the D.C. police union.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

2 Comments
  • Chief Newsham ought to give us more specifics so everyone can better understand this complaint process. Appearing to bar all information associated with a complaint against MPD or an officer doesn’t seem credible.

    How do we know this is not another MPD-HQ coverup?

    MPD’s “rules” are public information, are they not? Certainly, specific information about MPD protocols and procedures should be able to be disclosed as a matter of open government and transparency.

    — What specific rules regarding personnel is Newsham referring to? Why isn’t MPD providing/citing a copy of those rules?

    — Was the complaint filed by a member of the Department or a civilian MPD employee? Or by a citizen against MPD and/or the Sergeant?

    — Also what “agency” was the Interim Chief referring to? The LGBTLU? The SLD? Or the Department as a whole (‘MPD’)?

    — Just so we can be clear, do members of the LGBTLU receive a higher (on average) number of complaints– e.g., compared to other SLD units? Or higher than Departmental or PSA units? If so, why is that? What are those stats?

    ——-
    \“It’s a personnel matter so we don’t discuss that publicly because there are rules regarding personnel,” he said. “But I can tell you it is not uncommon for members of this agency to receive complaints. And some of them are sustained and some of them are not.”//

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