Former D.C. Officer Gets 15 Years

Former D.C. Officer Gets 15 Years
Posted by FoM on September 28, 2000 at 21:25:03 PT
By Ruben Castaneda, Washington Post Staff Writer
Source: Washington Post
Former D.C. police Officer Andrew James McGill Jr. was sentenced yesterday to spend 15 years and eight months in federal prison for assisting a Southwest Washington drug gang that operated in the District through most of the 1990s. Before nearly two dozen of his relatives and friends in a Greenbelt courtroom, McGill struggled to maintain his composure as U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow imposed the sentence. Moments before, McGill had vehemently maintained his innocence.
"Your honor, I did my job," McGill said."This court has slandered me, has caused major embarrassment to my family and my friends. Through it all, I stood and fought because I am innocent," McGill said.McGill said he did not testify during his eight-day trial because he didn't believe that he would be convicted based on the testimony of "drug dealers and murderers," a reference to the six drug gang members prosecutors called to testify."It's true I did claim the drug dealers as my friends. . . . I was raised to treat people as you want to be treated, not to judge them," McGill said. "It was my error that I took these co-defendants as my friends. I'm here to take the punishment you will give me."McGill ended by apologizing to his family for the pain he caused them, fighting back tears, and asking Chasanow for mercy.The judge said she saw things differently."Mr. McGill did clearly abuse his very important position of trust as a police officer," Chasanow said.In addition to the prison term, Chasanow ordered that McGill be on supervised release for three years afterward and that he pay $100 to a fund for crime victims.Before passing sentence, Chasanow had to rule on a motion by defense attorney William C. Brennan that argued McGill could not be sentenced to more than a year in prison because of a recent Supreme Court ruling.But Chasanow agreed with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stuart A. Berman and James A. Trusty that McGill was part of a drug conspiracy that sold far more than 50 kilograms of marijuana over 10 years, making him subject to a maximum of 20 years in prison."To suggest for a second that there was less than 50 kilograms of marijuana involved is absurd," Chasanow said.In May, a federal jury convicted McGill of one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. The jury acquitted him of transporting a stolen car across state lines and deadlocked on a charge of perjury.According to evidence at his trial, McGill, 30, helped a drug gang he had been assigned to investigate in the 7th Police District in 1996 and 1997, when he was a member of a narcotics unit.With no video or audio evidence of McGill engaging in any illegal activity, prosecutors and agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration based their case on an unusual combination: testimony by drug gang members and by McGill's fellow police officers, and cell phone records.Six drug gang members testified that McGill paged them numerous times to warn them of imminent police raids, that he took cash payoffs ranging from $50 to $200, and that he drove two of them around the city the night the gang members stole two sport-utility vehicles.Two of the members testified that McGill purchased a half-pound and a pound of marijuana from them, respectively. The gang members all pleaded guilty to federal drug charges and agreed to testify against McGill in exchange for consideration for lighter sentences.Eight D.C. police officers testified against McGill, detailing several instances in which McGill made phone calls moments before drug raids, which were thwarted.Buttressing the officers' testimony, a DEA intelligence analyst testified that 18 calls were made from McGill's phone, or phones the officer used, to the pager of a drug gang member. That gang member testified that McGill paged him to warn him of drug raids.McGill joined the police department in 1990 and was assigned to the 7th District.By then, the FBI was already investigating a drug gang led by Erskine "Pee Wee" Hartwell, which operated primarily out of a four-unit apartment building at 37 Forrester St. SW.The DEA began to investigate the gang in 1998. By May 1999, about a dozen members of the gang, including Hartwell, had been indicted and arrested.Source: Washington Post (DC) Published: Friday, September 29, 2000; Page B01Author: Ruben Castaneda, Washington Post Staff WriterContact: letterstoed washpost.comAddress: 1150 15th Street NorthwestWashington, DC 20071 2000 The Washington Post Company Website: Related Articles:Misconduct Cited in Internal Affairs Transfer Officer's Alleged Drug Role Detailed Officer Allegedly Leaked Information Police Officer Charged With Drug Trafficking
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Comment #1 posted by Rainbow on September 29, 2000 at 06:35:13 PT
Maybe he will come out corrected and reformed and help change the laws. It takes a jail sentence for some to realize the absurdity if the present day system.He gets what he is doing to others and I have NO sympathy even if he is innocent of this particular crime. He has probably hurt more people than we know about through his police duties.Pax,Rainbow
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