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See the testimony by Dorothy Brizill referring to this letter

Letter of Robert E. Deso to US Attorney Joseph DiGenova alleging possible misconduct and criminal violations in the MPD
July 17, 1987




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1750 K STREET, N.W.

(202) 785-4428
FACSIMILE: 429-9683

July 17, 1987


(703) 273-7736



Joseph DiGenova, Esquire
United States Attorney for the District of Columbia
Judiciary Center
555 4th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001


Dear Mr. DiGenova:

I am writing to you at the request of certain employees of the Metropolitan Police Department who have brought to my attention allegations of misconduct and possible criminal violations by officials of the Metropolitan Police Department, possibly including the Chief of Police. The allegations pertain to irregularities in the MPD drug testing procedures, and may involve other areas of the operations of the Police and Fire Clinic. The employees came to me in confidence, through the FOP, because they are extremely concerned that professional and personal reprisals may be taken against them if MPD officials learn that they have disclosed the information set forth in this letter. They have already been subject to harassment for having reported certain irregularities in the drug testing program through MPD channels. Also, their concern is heightened by the fact that members of the MPD Internal Affairs Division are directly implicated in some of the incidents of misconduct. Accordingly, it is requested that you treat this matter with the highest degree of confidentiality. This information is being provided to you in documentary form at the suggestion of AUSA Tim Reardon, who had a preliminary conversation regarding this matter with Gary Hankins.

Mrs. Marguerite Anastasi is a civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police Department. She has been employed by MPD for the past 24 years. From 1977 through February 1987 she was employed as the Administrative Officer at the Police and Fire Clinic. She has been significantly involved with MPD drug testing procedures at the Police and Fire Clinic since the inception of the drug testing program in July 1982. As the Clinic Drug Screening Coordinator, she supervised the officers who conducted the EMIT drug testing at the Clinic, including Officer Vernon Richardson. On February 18, 1987, she was summarily relieved of all duties as Administrative Officer by Inspector Winston Robinson, the newly appointed Director of the Police and Fire Clinic. She was ordered to turn over all keys to the building, to include the drug testing laboratory and her office where the drug records were maintained. No explanation was given for this action, although she had previously heard that Inspector Robinson had been directed to remove her from the drug program. In March 1987 her title was changed to Chief, Drug Screening Unit. Her responsibilities for the drug testing program were significantly curtailed, and she was directed to report to a sergeant rather than to the Inspector.

Officer Vernon Richardson was appointed to the Metropolitan Police Department on June 24, 1973. Officer Richardson has not been the subject of disciplinary action during his career, until he was written up for being two minutes late reporting to sick call at the Clinic in June 1987. Officer Richardson has been assigned to the Police and Fire Clinic since March 1984. He has been conducting EMIT drug tests at the Police and Fire Clinic since June 1984, and testifies frequently on behalf of the Department in disciplinary cases involving drugs.

He conducts the great majority of all drug tests performed at the Police and Fire Clinic. The procedure at the Clinic is that MPD members report to the Clinic and submit a urine sample in one room at the Clinic. The samples are then labeled by number and delivered to the drug lab where Officer Richardson conducts the preliminary EMIT drug test. Officer Richardson does not know whose samples he is testing. If a sample is identified as pending positive because it registers above a certain level for nanograms of THC (cannabinoids) or other illicit substances, the sample is immediately retested at the Clinic, and then the sample is packaged and sent to CompuChem Laboratories in North Carolina for confirmatory GC/MS testing. There is supposed to be a strict chain of custody for all samples, and anonymity of all members who submit samples is supposed to be ensured through the use of a numbering system.

On May 30, 1985, Officer Richardson was routinely conducting drug tests of urine samples. At that time he had been in the drug testing program for approximately ten months and was still learning certain aspects of the job. On May 30, 1985, Officer Richardson was running the EMIT drug tests for cocaine, PCP and cannabinoids. He was assisted in performing the tests by Officer Claudia A. Hayes, who has been assigned to the Police and Fire Clinic for approximately twelve years. Also present in the Clinic drug laboratory were Sgt. Richard Caron and Sgt. Steve McDonald, both members of IAD. For a period of several months IAD sergeants had routinely been assigned to the drug lab to monitor the drug testing process. On May 30, 1985, Lt. Robert Noyes was the Administrative Lieutenant at the Clinic. He has subsequently been promoted to captain.

On May 30, 1985, Officer Richardson completed routine testing on a batch of urine samples. When he concluded the testing he notified Lt. Noyes that sample number 851292 was pending positive for cannabinoids and sample number 851291 was questionable for cannabinoids. Officer Richardson had no idea who had submitted the urine samples for these two sample numbers. Shortly after Lt. Noyes received this information he returned to drug lab and confronted Officer Richardson. Lt. Noyes appeared to be very upset and nervous. He pointed his finger in Officer Richardson's face and said in a loud agitated voice, "You all better know what the fuck your doing back here, you've really fucked up now!". Officer Hayes and the two IAD sergeants were present in the room at the time. Officer Richardson was shocked but said nothing. Lt. Noyes left. Officer Hayes called Mrs. Anastasi, her supervisor, at home to tell her that apparently they had a "hit" on somebody big, because of the way Lt. Noyes was acting. Officer Hayes told Mrs. Anastasi that she would call her back.

After Officer Richardson completed his work and cleaned up he reported to Lt. Noyes' office. Present in Lt. Noyes' office was Lt. Noyes, IAD Sergeant Kathy Tapscott, who is the drug screening coordinator for IAD, and another IAD official. Everyone appeared nervous, and Lt. Noyes was speaking on the so telephone to a person unknown to Officer Richardson. Lt. Noyes and the IAD officials were discussing who was going to stay. Officer Richardson was told that he was to remain at the Clinic and that Officer Hayes was to go home. Shortly thereafter, Lt. Noyes ordered Officer Hayes out of the Clinic. Officer Hayes immediately called Mrs. Anastasi and told her that Lt. Noyes was ordering her out of the Clinic, and that they were going to keep Officer Richardson there. A few minutes later Officer Hayes called Mrs. Anastasi again and told her she was out of the Clinic. (Later that night Officer Hayes called Mrs. Anastasi again and told her that Lt. Noyes had called her at home to apologize for his earlier behavior, and to order her to report to work early at 5:30 a.m. the next day. Officer Hayes also told Mrs. Anastasi that she had made several calls to the Chief of Police and had left several messages for him, but her calls were not returned.) Lt. Noyes also ordered another female officer, Cynthia Hannibal, who was on limited duty and working at the front desk, to go into Inspector Brunzos' office and close the door and remain there until she was told to come out. At that point Officer Richardson learned that the individual whose urine sample tested positive was going to return to the Clinic to submit another sample. Lt. Noyes told him someone would be coming back to give another sample. IAD Sgt. Kathy Tapscott seemed upset and angry and was heard by Officer Richardson to mutter, "My urine better never come up dirty over here!". Officer Richardson was told to remain outside Lt. Noyes' office until the individual responded to the Clinic. While there he could overhear bits and pieces of conversations between Lt. Noyes, the IAD officials, and someone to whom Lt. Noyes was speaking on the telephone. Lt. Noyes seemed to be seeking guidance and taking directions from the person on the telephone. Officer Richardson believes it was a high ranking MPD official, possibly the Chief of Police. Lt. Noyes, rather than the IAD officials, appeared to be in charge at the Clinic.

After awhile a black male unknown to Officer Richardson responded to the Clinic, dressed in civilian clothing. Lt. Noyes ordered Officer Richardson to face the person and asked Officer Richardson if he knew the person. Since all urine samples had always been processed anonymously, this action was extraordinary and in direct conflict with prior procedures. Officer Richardson stated no, he had never seen the person before. Officer Richardson was then told to go back to the liaison office. Officer Richardson overheard one of the IAD officials ask the person a question to the effect, "How is it going?". The person replied, "I have to see whether or not I have a job first". During this time Lt. Noyes was constantly on the phone with someone. After awhile Lt. Noyes and the individual who had reported to the Clinic went down the hall towards the mens room. After awhile Lt. Noyes came to Officer Richardson with a bottle of urine with sample number 851318 on the bottle. Lt. Noyes and the IAD officials then discussed whether or not an EMIT test should be performed on the urine pursuant to normal Clinic procedure. A decision was made not to run an EMIT test on the urine, but rather to send it to CompuChem Laboratories without preliminary testing at the Clinic. Officer Richardson does not know of any other sample that has ever been sent directly to CompuChem without first being tested at the Clinic. Officer Richardson was directed to seal the urine sample in the presence of the unknown individual. Lt. Noyes told Officer Richardson that he wanted the man to witness Officer Richardson seal the bottle. This has never been done before. Sgt. Tapscott suggested that the sample be sent to CompuChem Laboratories by Federal Express, which was normal Clinic procedure. Another telephone call was made by Lt. Noyes, and Officer Richardson was informed that Sgt. Caron was to fly the urine sample to CompuChem Laboratories in North Carolina the next day. This is the only known instance of a sample being delivered to CompuChem by a member of MPD. Officer Richardson was then specifically directed by Lt. Noyes not to report to work early the next morning. Instead, Officer Claudia Hayes, who had been ordered to leave the Clinic early on May 30, 1985,  was told to report at 5:30 a.m. on May 31, 1985. In the presence of Sgt. Tapscott and other members of IAD, Lt. Noyes said to Officer Richardson, "I am giving you a direct order not to tell anyone about what went on".

A Clinic log entry shows that sometime after Officer Richardson left the Clinic on May 30, 1985, and prior to the time that Officer Hayes reported on May 31, 1985, Sgt. Caron of IAD returned three of the four urine samples that he had taken from the drug lab refrigerator at 1600 hours, including samples 851291 and 851292. Sgt. Caron would not handle any urine samples under normal Clinic procedures.

At 0525 hours on May 31, 1985, Officer Hayes opened the drug lab in the presence of Sgt. Caron. She discovered that the top lock on the laboratory door was not secured. She reported this to Mrs. Anastasi, her supervisor. Officer Hayes then gave Sgt. Caron five urine samples from the refrigerator, to include samples 851291, 851292 and 851318. The instructions completed on the shipping label for these samples by Officer Richardson directed CompuChem Laboratories to test only for cannabinoids. Subsequently, reports were received from CompuChem Laboratories indicating that samples 851291 and 851292 were "not confirmed" for cannabinoids and sample 851318 had been tested and found to be "negative" for nine different drugs, including cannabinoids. This is considered highly unusual, since sample 851292 tested 12 and 10 points above the low cut off point of 20 nanograms of THC on the EMIT tests (44 and 42 above negative), and therefore should easily have been confirmed by the GC/MS test at CompuChem Laboratories. Specimen 851291 was more questionable, since on the first EMIT test it tested only 3 points above the low cut off point of 20 nanograms (35 points above negative) and on the second test it tested 8 points below the low cut off point (23 points above negative). There was no way to compare sample 851318, since no EMIT test had been run on that sample at the direction of Lt. Noyes.

The extraordinary events of May 30, 1985 were reported to Mrs. Anastasi by Officer Hayes. Mrs. Anastasi, who was responsible for the drug testing procedures, was extremely upset by what had occurred and tried on two occasions to speak to Inspector Brunzos, the Administrative Director of the Clinic. He flatly refused to speak with her about the incident. When she approached Lt. Noyes about his actions he merely stated to her, "my back was against the wall".

While Officer Richardson was concerned about the irregular procedures which had been implemented on May 30, 1985, he did not grasp the significance of what had occurred until much later. In 1986, while he was testifying as a representative of the Clinic in an MPD adverse action hearing, he was shocked to see the individual who had reported to the Clinic on May 30, 1985 to submit the urine sample which he was not allowed to test, sitting as a member of the Adverse Action Panel. He then identified that individual as Captain Robert C. White, assigned to the Morals Division as Commander of the Narcotics Branch. Subsequently, in 1987, Officer Richardson was told by another officer of a remark by Sgt. Kent Pullian, a close friend of Inspector Robinson who was recently assigned to the Police and Fire Clinic, (and who was recently appointed as supervisor of the drug testing program) that Lt. Noyes and Sgt John Harding, who also had been assigned to the Police and Fire Clinic and who also was recently promoted, had on more than one occasion covered up for MPD officials who submitted urine samples for drug testing which resulted in pending positive tests. It was this statement, and other recent events at the Clinic, which convinced Officer Richardson and Mrs. Anastasi that there has been gross misconduct and possible criminal violations in the manner in which the drug testing program at the Clinic has been and is being administered

Since Inspector Winston Robinson assumed command at the Police and Fire Clinic in February 1987 there have been a number of administrative changes which, in the opinion of Officer Richardson and Mrs. Anastasi, severely compromise the integrity of the drug testing program. Officer Richardson has reported a number of problems, including a deliberate falsification of a record, through Mrs. Anastasi to MPD officials. As a result Officer Richardson has been characterized as a trouble maker and disciplined for reporting two minutes late for sick call. He has specifically been told by Lt. Michael Irish, who replaced Lt. Noyes, to stop filing complaints and reports. Examples of reports submitted by Officer Richardson to Clinic officials, and provided to Lt. Sonya Proctor of MPD Internal Affairs Division on June 3, 1987, are enclosed. (Exhibits 1-6). Officer Richardson has been interrogated by Lt. Irish and ordered not to discuss his complaints with anyone. (Exhibit 7).

As recently as June 1, 1987, Officer Richardson discovered that seven consecutive dates of drug screening records were missing from the files. He reported this to Mrs. Anastasi and the two of them conducted a thorough search. When it was reported to Sgt. King, Mrs. Anastasi's new supervisor, the files were subsequently "located" by Sgt. King, who told Mrs. Anastasi that the files had been found in one of the places that she and Officer Richardson had specifically looked. Mrs. Anastasi and Officer Richardson are certain that the files were not there at the time of their search. Mrs. Anastasi and Officer Richardson believe that Sgt. King is lying, and that the records were removed from the files for purposes unknown to them, but inconsistent with normal procedures at the Clinic. Officer Richardson is also aware, from personal observation, of at least one incident on June 26, 1987 in which Lt. Irish and Sgt. King entered the locked drug laboratory alone, locked the door behind them, and subsequently removed unknown material in a large brown envelope. When Officer Richardson confronted the two officials as they exited the drug lab they seemed extremely flustered, and subsequently Sgt. King made a remark to Officer Richardson that if he had nothing more to do than to follow officials around, he would see that he was kept busy.

Based upon their personal experiences and information they learned about incidents at the Clinic which have occurred since Inspector Robinson assumed command as Director of the Clinic, Officer Richardson and Mrs. Anastasi are convinced that there is a systematic effort to subvert the integrity of the drug testing procedures at the Police and Fire Clinic and to manipulate the procedures so that desired results can be obtained. Given the known involvement of IAD officials and other unknown high ranking MPD officials in the May 1985 incident involving Captain White, the current actions being taken to compromise the integrity of the drug testing procedures, the hostility of the current officials at the Clinic towards them, and Inspector Robinson's close relationship with Assistant Chief Profater and the Chief of Police, Officer Richardson and Mrs.

Anastasi frankly do not know where to turn to seek an objective investigation of the apparent improprieties at the Clinic which can have a profound effect on the lives of many people and upon the integrity of the Metropolitan Police Department. While it appears that drug testing procedures have been subverted to protect one and possibly more MPD officials from the results of positive urinalysis tests, it is also quite possible that procedures have been subverted to report positive results on certain individuals whose tests may not have been positive, thus causing them to lose their employment. If the system has been corrupted, the ramifications are wide-spread. If records have been falsified, false statements made, or testing procedures subverted for gain (such as promotion), it is likely that criminal as well as ethical violations have been committed.1

Officer Richardson and Mrs. Anastasi are prepared to cooperate fully with any investigation you may conduct, notwithstanding their great concern regarding reprisals. Should you determine not to take action regarding this matter, they would appreciate any suggestions or advice you may have to offer regarding a future course of action.


Robert E. Deso

1. Possible statutory violations include 18 U.S.C Section 201 (bribery); D.C. Code Sections 22-712 (bribery); 22-723 (tampering with physical evidence); and l-619.1 (standards of conduct).

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