Memorial to Jason E. White

End of Watch: December 30, 1993
Rank: Officer, Badge No.  3887
Age: 25  Years of Service: 4 years
Location of Death: 200 14th Street, SE
Duty Assignment: First District


Officer Jason White was shot and killed as he and his partner approached a subject sitting on the porch landing of a row house in the in the 200 block of 14th Street, SE., whom they believed was wanted on outstanding warrants.

As Officer White walked up the stairs the subject drew a .40 caliber handgun and shot Officer White striking him in his chest. Officer White was wearing a protective vest and the impact from the .40 caliber bullet knocked him down to the ground. Before Officer White had a chance to draw his weapon, the subject stood over him and shot him numerous times in the face. The subject also shot Officer White’s partner in the shoulder. The subject was convicted of murdering Officer White and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.



Officer White had served with the Metropolitan Police Department for four years and was assigned to the 1st District. He is survived by his wife and son.


Articles from the Washington Post – transcribed by Dave Richardson, MPD/Ret.



D.C. Officer Fatally Shot In Southeast; Partner Wounded; Her Bulletproof Vest May Have Saved Life:
A D.C. police officer was fatally shot and his partner was wounded last night in an exchange of gunfire with a man on a Southeast Washington street, authorities said the incident occurred just after 9 p.m. in the 200 block of 14th Street SE, on the southeastern edge of Capitol Hill. The slain officer was identified as Jason E. White, 25, who had been on the force for three years. His partner was identified as Earline Harris, 26, who has been on the force for five years. They were assigned to the 1st Police District.

D.C. police said White was shot in the head and pronounced dead on the scene. Harris was shot once in the back, but the gunfire struck her bulletproof vest, police officials said, lessening the impact of the round and apparently saving her life.
Harris was taken to Washington Hospital Center, where she was listed in stable condition. White was also wearing a bulletproof vest, police officials said. White was the son of a retired D.C. officer, Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly said at a news conference early this morning. “It is an anguishing, harrowing moment for the District of Columbia. We will move heaven and earth to find {the suspect},” she said.

It was the second fatal shooting of a law enforcement officer this month. On Dec. 19, a Metro Transit police officer was fatally shot in Landover while investigating a stolen car.

Police said the last slaying of a D.C. officer on duty occurred in May 1987. An 18-year member of the department, Officer Robert Remington, was shot to death with his own gun as he struggled with a man who allegedly was trying to steal dozens of sweat shirts in a Georgetown boutique.

In February of this year, an off-duty D.C. police officer assigned to the 5th District was shot and critically wounded after three gunmen burst into an apartment and opened fire.

Last night’s slaying, in which police said the suspect used a handgun, occurred at a time when violent crime in the city is again on the rise. Two weeks ago, the District’s homicide total surpassed the 451 slayings for all of 1992 despite a battery of anti-crime initiatives announced by Kelly and Police Chief Fred Thomas. The total now stands at 465, police said. “It just goes to show how unsafe our streets are,” Thomas said last night at the shooting scene.

City Administrator Robert L. Mallett arrived later. “This is as serious as it gets,” he said. Authorities said the two uniformed officers were in a marked police cruiser on the 200 block of 14th Street when they spotted a man possibly wanted by the police.  The officers got out of the car and the suspect started walking up the steps of a row house. The officers then identified themselves and ordered him to stop, at which time he fired at the officers, police said. Harris returned fire, but it was unknown whether she hit the man, who then fled, police said. Thomas said Harris “got a good look” at the man.

Nearby, in the 700 block of 12th Street SE, police apprehended one man shortly after the shooting and were trying to determine whether he was involved.

Police found a handgun in the 700 block of 12th St. SE after a suspect fired at but missed police officers, officials said.

High-Powered Bullets May Have Killed Officer; Judge Orders Suspect Held in D.C. Slaying:
The six bullets used to kill a D.C. police officer Thursday are believed to be the controversial, high-powered, hollow-point type called Black Talon that expand on impact to inflict maximum damage, according to a police affidavit filed in court yesterday.

The bullet casings taken from the scene have yet to be examined by ballistics specialists, but preliminary findings by the D.C. medical examiner’s office were enough for a D.C. Superior Court judge to order the suspect in the killing held without bond until a preliminary hearing Friday.

“The court notes the use of the Black Talon bullets that have no other purpose but to kill,” Judge Evelyn E.C. Queen said.
The bullets’ manufacturer, Winchester, announced in November that it would restrict sales of the Black Talons to police departments after gun-control proponents argued the bullets were inappropriate for sale to the general public.

On impact, the Black Talons expand, exposing sharp, curling metal talons that can have a devastating impact on flesh.
The suspect, Donzell M. McCauley, pleaded not guilty yesterday to first-degree murder in the shooting of Officer Jason E. White. McCauley’s lawyer argued that her client has had no prior convictions and has no cases pending against him.
White, 25, a special patrol officer assigned to high-crime neighborhoods in the 1st Police District, was shot twice in the chest and four times in the face after he attempted to question a man who was walking up the steps of a row house near Lincoln Park, the police affidavit said. The medical examiner told police that one of the bullets was fired six inches from White’s head, the document stated.

The District’s medical examiner, Dr. Joye Carter, said last night that she determined the nature of the bullets after extracting them.

She said the bullets are easily recognizable by the black color and sharp edges suggested by their name.”They’re big bullets, and they cause damage,” and are extremely difficult to remove, she said.

One of the two bullets that struck White in the chest was stopped by the officer’s bulletproof vest. A seventh bullet struck White’s partner, Earline Harris, but her armored vest prevented her from being seriously injured. She fired at least two shots at the man before he fled the 200 block of 14th Street SE.

Harris radioed a description of the suspect. Police picked up McCauley three blocks from the shooting scene moments later, according to court documents. A witness told police he had seen a man running from the scene carrying a gun and later chose McCauley from a photo spread, according to the affidavit.

Yesterday, McCauley was seated next to two other prisoners in the courtroom. He was the 53rd person to be presented to Queen on what became a busy New Year’s Day in the courthouse.

McCauley did not speak when his case was called. The short, slender man stood quietly next to his attorney, public defender Gretchen Franklin, who argued for his release.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney David Schertler successfully argued that McCauley should be held.

When McCauley was arrested about 15 minutes after the shooting, he was not armed, police said. Yesterday, police still were searching for what they believe is a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun used in the shootings.

“There is no indication in the documents that {McCauley} is a person who is dangerous,” Franklin argued in court. “There is no reason to suppose he would not return, other than the severity of the penalty.”

Franklin told Queen that the courtroom was filled with members of McCauley’s family, including his parents. No one approached by reporters would comment after the hearing.

According to the police affidavit, McCauley made a statement to police after his arrest in which he said he had been armed and had shot White.

Police said in the document that they found 13 plastic bags of what proved to be crack cocaine on McCauley when he was stopped.

According to a pretrial services report filed with the court, McCauley said he had been employed in a family landscaping business for a year, had lived at his family home in the 2000 block of Fort Davis Street SE for 15 years and had completed nine years of schooling.

The report noted that McCauley said he used marijuana and recommended that he be freed pending the preliminary hearing but get drug counseling.

Yesterday, D.C. police announced the funeral arrangements for White, the first D.C. officer killed in the line of duty in six years.

On Tuesday, a viewing will be held from 8 a.m. to noon, followed by a memorial service, at Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, 3000 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. Burial will follow the service at Lincoln Cemetery in Oxon Hill.


A Grieving Father Finds Society at Fault; Retired Detective Says Officer-Son Died Battling Climate of Disrespect for Police:
Outside the police substation on Capitol Hill yesterday, retired D.C. police detective Ronald E. White cried when he saw the police motorcycle draped in black cloth, the one his 25-year-old son had used on the job.

Then the 20-year police veteran turned and faced a dozen microphones to talk about Officer Jason E. White, who was struck down Thursday night when a man he had stopped for questioning fired six bullets into his chest and face.
“If there was a way to die, I can’t think of a better way to die than in the line of duty, attempting to make the community safe,” White said.

In a tone more stoic than bitter, White said he blamed the permissiveness of society in the last 20 years for creating a climate in which murder is common and police are not always seen as a positive force.

“I don’t the blame the police department,” he said. “I don’t blame the prison system. It is not a deterrent to crime. I don’t believe that the threat of the death penalty will make a difference. So what I do is blame the public.  “I blame my generation for maybe not properly bringing up their children,” he said.

“I get agitated, but I don’t get agitated with the system, because we are the ones who developed the system,” he said. “I get agitated with the people of the city. . . . Someone has to start teaching individuals out here that police officers are not out there to hurt you. They are out there to help you.”

Jason White had been a D.C. police officer for three years. At the time he was killed, he was assigned to special patrols in the high-crime areas on the edges of Capitol Hill. White died nine blocks from the police substation where his father stood yesterday.

The elder White, who retired from the department last year, said he did not encourage his son to become a police officer. It was, he said, a decision Jason made on his own. But, he said, his son showed a strong interest in police work from an early age, sometimes spending hours with his father as he patrolled the 7th District in far Southeast Washington.

“Jason grew up with police in this area, friends and associates of mine,” White said. “He wanted to be a police officer. He was molded to become a good cop. He loved being a cop, and he was proud of the work that he did. . . . He talked to me numerous times about {his} accomplishments . . . and about the arrests he had made. We talked for hours.”

D.C. police officials said they expect thousands of police officers from the city and surrounding jurisdictions to attend White’s funeral. Originally set for today, it was rescheduled for tomorrow because of impending bad weather. A viewing is scheduled from 8 a.m. to noon, followed by a memorial service at Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, 3000 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. He will be buried at Lincoln Cemetery in Oxon Hill.

Colleagues of Jason White said that the officer was married last year and that he and his wife, Joie, recently had bought a house near Annapolis. The couple met several years ago at a restaurant in Union Station where Joie White worked, friends said. She is now a restaurant manager in Annapolis. The couple had no children.

White was the first D.C. officer to be killed in the line of duty since May 1987. He was the next to last person to be killed in 1993 in the District, a year in which 467 people were slain in the city.

A 23-year-old Southeast man, Donzell M. McCauley, was arrested near the scene of the shooting and charged with first-degree murder. McCauley, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held without bond pending a preliminary hearing set for Friday.

An affidavit prepared by homicide officials and presented in court on Saturday said that McCauley told investigators he had killed the officer.

White said his son loved his work, but not always the people with whom he came into contact. “The only thing he hated about {his work} was the disrespect that he was getting from hoodlums and bums, however you would describe them, people who didn’t like police officers,” he said. “That was the only negative thing for him.”



Reward Posted for Gun Used to Kill D.C. Officer; Offer of Up to $5,000 Made on Eve of Funeral:
Local and federal officials yesterday offered a reward of up to $5,000 for help in finding the handgun used to kill D.C. police Officer Jason E. White last week on a Southeast Washington street.

Police are still searching for the .40-caliber semiautomatic Glock pistol that they say the gunman tossed away as he ran from the scene of the shooting in the 200 block of 14th Street SE on Thursday.

The reward offer by the D.C. police department and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration came on the eve of the funeral for the slain officer.

Attorney General Janet Reno, D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly and other federal and local officials are scheduled to join thousands of police officers at the service.

D.C. police said motorists can expect to find some streets around Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church at 3000 Pennsylvania Ave. SE closed to traffic from 10:30 a.m. until after the service. Police will close intersections as the motorcade travels through the city, looping around the Capitol Hill substation where White worked.

Police officers from as far away as Florida and Michigan and as close as Maryland and Virginia are among those expected to join D.C. police officers at a viewing inside the church from 8 a.m. to noon.

“We’ve been getting calls from all over,” said Sgt. John Cummings, the special operations division officer in charge of organizing the police part of the funeral. “They tell us they are coming, hell or high water.”

Cummings said the D.C. police assisted in the planning of the recent funeral and motorcade for Metro Transit Officer Harry Davis, who was killed in mid-December when he tried to question two people in a stolen car that was parked on Metro property.

“This is a lot of what we do,” he said. “But for all the times we do it, it always hits you hard in the heart.”
Reno will meet privately with the White family before a noon memorial service, a spokeswoman for the attorney general said.

Also planning to attend the funeral are FBI Director Louis Freeh, U.S. Marshal Herbert M. Rutherford III, Secret Service Director Eljay Bowron and John Magaw, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Jim Pasco, a spokesman for Magaw, said a large contingent of ATF agents will attend the funeral because they had worked directly with White on a task force of federal and local officers that targeted gangs and illegal guns in the city.

White, 25, who had been on the D.C. police force for three years, was shot six times in the chest and head on Dec. 30 as he and his partner, Officer Earline Harris, approached a man climbing the steps outside a row house at the edge of Capitol Hill. Harris, 26, was shot once, but her body armor saved her from serious injury. She fired two shots at the suspect and was able to radio a description of the man. A short time later, Donzell M. McCauley, 23, was arrested in the 1300 block of A Street SE, a few blocks from the shooting scene. McCauley has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder.

Police have been unable to find the gun despite intense searches of the neighborhood by on-duty and off-duty officers. Police asked that anyone with information about the handgun call the department’s homicide branch at 202-727-4347.


Farewell to a `Brave Young Man’; Thousands Listen to Words of Praise for Slain D.C. Officer:
They came by the thousands yesterday, men and women in blue saying goodbye to slain D.C. police Officer Jason E. White and offering support to a family long acquainted with the risks of police work but unaccustomed to the torment that sudden death brings.

The nation’s highest-ranking elected officials sent messages of sympathy. Members of a local citizen anti-crime patrol, wearing their signature orange hats, stood in solidarity outside crowded Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in Southeast Washington.

Inside, the slain officer’s partner, Officer Earline Harris, stumbled across the front of the church, propped on both sides by friends. Harris, who was wounded in an exchange of gunfire with White’s killer, sobbed as she stood before White’s flag-covered casket.

Shoulders heaving, she embraced White’s widow, Joie, then collapsed at her feet. Joie White reached out and guided Harris to a seat beside her on the front row with White’s family.

A retired Prince George’s County police lieutenant played “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes, a melancholy tradition at police funerals that brought more quiet crying from the packed church pews.

And then the tributes to the second-generation D.C. officer started.

Police Chief Fred Thomas called White “a brave young man.”

Vice President Gore sent a letter in which he described White as “a true American hero.”

Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly said White’s work was “exemplary” and urged officers, elected officials and the community not to “let one as beautiful as Jason to have died in vain.”

Attorney General Janet Reno, reading a letter from President Clinton, commended White for his “dedicated efforts . . . to make our streets safe.”

White, 25, was shot six times in the chest and head last Thursday as he and Harris approached a man climbing the steps outside a row house at the edge of Capitol Hill. White, whose father, Ronald E. White, is a retired D.C. police detective, had been on the force more than three years.

Though police have charged a Southeast Washington man in the killing, officers have not found the handgun used to shoot White. But tests on shell casings recovered at the shooting scene linked the weapon to two other homicides and a nonfatal shooting, two D.C. police sources said.

Kelly, who presented Joie White with a District of Columbia flag that had flown in front of police headquarters, spent several minutes before the service in embraces with Jason White’s family. Later, speaking from the church’s pulpit, Kelly abandoned her prepared statement and searched for words of comfort.

“Clearly, there are no words that can in any way fill the void,” Kelly said. “We have to ask what could we have done to have such a world? I think his father said it best when he said our generation is the one to blame, the one that failed a whole generation of children.”

After remarks from other officials, the family requested “Old Rugged Cross,” a traditional Baptist hymn, be sung for White.
Among the estimated 4,000 people who attended the funeral were members of the Barney Circle orange hat patrol who had worked with White and his partner, Officer Harris.

“Officer Harris is a tough little cop,” said Eleanor Hill, past president of the group. “She took care of some boys we were having trouble with.”

Patrol President John Capazzi said they wanted the police officers to know the community cared. “They work for us 24 hours a day, and the least we can do is come here to let the officers know how much we appreciate them,” Capazzi said.
For many officers, the pomp of police funerals – the several color guards, the bagpiper, the dozens of floral arrangements and the motorcade through the city – is important as they continue working in dangerous, often life-threatening situations.
In 1986, Steven O’Dell, a much-decorated officer now assigned to the helicopter unit, attended the funeral of his best friend and partner, Officer Kevin Welsh. Welsh drowned while trying to save a woman who had jumped into the Anacostia River.
“It is important for us to stand together, to be together, to support each other,” O’Dell said. “We have different uniforms but only one badge. We stand tall, and the message to those who would hurt us is we are bigger than life.”

The ceremony also reminds officers that they face peril every time they make a routine stop or approach a nervous suspect.
Craig Floyd, director of the fund that maintains the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in downtown Washington, said White was the last officer in the country to be killed in 1993. He said White’s name, along with 151 others killed in the line of duty last year, will be etched onto the memorial’s granite walls.

“Our figures show that an officer is killed in this country every 52 hours,” he said while waiting outside the services. “One out of every 4,000 officers will die in an average year.”

Inspector Robert Gales, the commander of the 1st Police District, where White was assigned, said White was an aggressive officer but was still full of youthful idealism.

“He still cared about people,” Gales told the crowd inside the church. “Even the bad guys. He’d tell them to get off of drugs and do something with their lives.”

For a role model, for an idea of how to be a good police officer, Gales said, White looked no farther than his family.
“What greater tribute could a son pay to his father than to walk in his footsteps,” Gales said. “He had a hero. Ron, you were that hero.”

The pews started emptying. The Ambassadors of Goodwill, the department’s choir, sang “Soon and Very Soon.” With the church empty except for family and friends, the older White approached his son’s closed casket. He laid his head on it and cried, his hands gently slapping the lid.

White’s widow came up behind her father-in-law. With the District of Columbia flag in hand, she placed her arm around him and laid her head beside his on the casket.

And they cried together.

Outside the church, several thousand officers and friends stood quietly, waiting for the casket to be carried to the hearse. At the command of “Attention,” shouted by Sgt. John Cummings of the special operations division, the 20 color guards from area law enforcement agencies stood rigidly and raised their flags.

A motorcade that police said was 2,500 vehicles long left the church in the Penn Branch neighborhood, passing the substation where White worked, before stopping at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suitland.

As a final salute, four helicopters – two from the District, one from the U.S. Park Police and one from the Maryland State Police – flew over the grave site.


Comrades Bid Sad Farewell; For Younger Officers at Substation, It’s an Unsettling Time:

Many of the veterans were familiar with the somber ritual: As a bitterly cold wind tugged an American flag at half-staff yesterday, 70 officers snapped to attention in front of the D.C. police substation on Capitol Hill.

A few cars containing police and other city officials rolled by before the hearse carrying their slain comrade, Officer Jason E. White, appeared before the officers. They brought their right hands up to their police caps, and in a moment, the hearse passed them by on its way to the cemetery in Suitland.

For the newer officers, mourning one of their own who had been killed while enforcing the law was a new – and unsettling – experience. A D.C. police officer was last killed in the line of duty in 1987.

“{White} wasn’t doing anything special when it happened, he was just doing his job,” said substation Officer Jackie Bennett, 26, who joined the department in 1988. “It could have been any of us.”

From the substation, officers patrol a section of the 1st Police District that includes diverse neighborhoods of expensive town houses near the Capitol, turn-of-the-century row houses and public housing complexes.

The two-story, red brick police building at Fifth and E streets SE was an old precinct house, saved from extinction in a police reorganization because of pressure from the Capitol Hill community, concerned about preserving a police presence.
Yesterday, the slain officer’s motorcycle was parked in front of the substation, as it has been in recent days. A black cloth was draped over the seat, and a single red rose, nestled among a few white flowers, lay between the handlebars.

Fliers mourning White were taped to the windows of many businesses in the neighborhood. Letters from schoolchildren expressing sorrow at the officer’s death adorned a hallway in the substation.

White, 25, was shot to death last Thursday night as he and his partner tried to question a man climbing the steps of a row house a few blocks southeast of Lincoln Park, near the eastern edge of the patrol zone.

Police said the man turned suddenly and fired a semiautomatic pistol at both officers. White was hit six times and died on the spot. His partner, Officer Earline Harris, 26, was injured when a bullet struck her body armor. She was at the funeral yesterday.

Police, who are still searching for the gun, have charged Donzell M. McCauley, 23, with murder.

Bennett, who patrols the area in a squad car, said she has been more cautious since White was killed.

“I watch people more than I used to,” she said.

Bennett’s mother, Lorraine, 51, stood outside the substation to watch the funeral procession. She lives in the neighborhood, and raised her daughter there.

“This is the first time since she’s been an officer that I’ve been frightened for her,” Lorraine Bennett said.
She could tell the killing of White has affected her daughter deeply because Jackie Bennett, who is usually gregarious, hasn’t said much about the attack.

Veteran officers assigned to the substation said that although White’s killing was a shock and a tragedy for all officers, it seemed to be particularly hard on the newer ones.

More than half of the 4,200 sworn officers in the department have been hired since 1989, and many of those assigned to the substation have been officers five years or less.

“The majority of officers with the department have not been through this,” said Sgt. Gary Clearwater. “The realization that the job is dangerous and it could cost them their lives is hitting many of them.”

Sgt. Chris Viamonte, who joined the department in 1978, described it as “a rude awakening for many of the younger officers.”

White’s killing also strengthened the sense of camaraderie among the police

More than a dozen officers from other districts volunteered to work the daytime shift at the substation yesterday so officers regularly assigned there could attend White’s funeral.

Since the shooting, officers have spent time with Harris and with White’s widow, Joie, trying to comfort them.


Killing of Officer Called Self-Defense; But Prosecutor Tells of Execution’:

A lawyer for the man accused of killing D.C. police Officer Jason E. White did not dispute in court yesterday that her client, Donzell M. McCauley, was the gunman who fatally shot the officer last week, and she suggested that her client acted in self-defense.

But prosecutor David A. Schertler, head of the U.S. attorney’s homicide unit, described the killing as “a deliberate execution.”

He and D.C. Medical Examiner Joye M. Carter said White, 25, was knocked down but not seriously hurt by the first two bullets, which were stopped or slowed by his protective vest. But the gunman then stood over White and fired four more shots from a range of six to 18 inches into the officer’s head and face, Schertler and Carter said.

At the D.C. Superior Court hearing, public defender Gretchen Franklin said authorities had produced no strong evidence to show that McCauley, 23, realized White and his partner were police officers. Both were in uniform when they tried to detain McCauley outside a Southeast Washington row house the night of Dec. 30.

In a hint of what could become a trial strategy, Franklin cited “significant evidence of self-defense” and suggested that McCauley drew a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol from a coat pocket because he feared for his life.

“At worst, it’s second-degree murder,” Franklin argued, prompting a chorus of low groans from several off-duty officers seated in the courtroom gallery. Two of them stood and walked out, muttering.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly called that version of the shooting “somewhat self-serving,” “implausible” and “incredible.” She declined to dismiss the first-degree murder charge against McCauley and ordered him held in the D.C. jail without bond while prosecutors prepare to seek a grand jury indictment.

Friends and relatives of the slain officer, including his widow, sat quietly in the courtroom’s first row, listening as two police homicide detectives and Carter described the shooting and White’s wounds.

McCauley swiveled in his chair and perched his chin on his fingertips as Carter described the fatal damage caused to White’s brain. Later, McCauley glanced at two female acquaintances among the spectators and gave them a wink and a smile.

White’s partner, Officer Earline Harris, was hit by one bullet but saved from serious injury by her protective vest. A homicide detective testified that Harris told investigators she fired at least two shots at McCauley before her 9mm Glock police pistol jammed.

The detective, George R. Taylor Jr., said Harris was so traumatized by the shooting that she still is unable to give a complete report. But Harris did provide police with some details of the incident immediately afterward, Taylor said.
He said Harris and White, both assigned to the department’s 1st District, were patrolling in an unmarked car when they “recognized” McCauley, who was driving a blue Ford station wagon. Taylor said he did not know specifically why Harris and White decided to detain McCauley.

He said McCauley stopped the station wagon shortly after 9 p.m. in front of a brick row house in the 200 block of 14th Street SE, got out and began walking up the steps toward the front door. The officers parked abreast of the station wagon, got out of their car and followed McCauley, Taylor said.

Sgt. Daniel Wagner, a homicide detective, testified that in a statement after his arrest, McCauley said that White and Harris did not identify themselves but that he knew they were police officers. McCauley said that one of the officers told him to halt but that he ignored the order, according to Wagner.

The tape-recorded statement was not offered as evidence yesterday, and defense attorney Franklin challenged Wagner’s testimony, suggesting that McCauley did not recognize White and Harris as officers.

According to Taylor, Harris told police that White, in ordering McCauley to halt, identified himself as an officer. By Harris’s account, he said, McCauley spun to face the officers and opened fire from the porch.

McCauley, in his statement, said that when he turned, he saw White pointing a gun at him, according to Wagner. McCauley said he decided to shoot because he feared for his life, Wagner testified.

But Wagner said police who examined White’s body where it lay in front of the row house found his police pistol “in his holster, which was snapped shut. It was fully loaded and had not been fired.”

McCauley, allegedly carrying 13 rocks of crack cocaine in his underwear, was arrested a short distance from the crime scene about 10 minutes after the shooting. He told police that he had tossed his gun into a sewer, according to Wagner. The gun has not been found.

A police department source said yesterday that the .40-caliber, semiautomatic handgun used to kill White also was used last year in three shootings, two of them fatal. The first two occurred in the same neighborhood where White was shot, according to the source.

The gun was matched through shell casings to the slaying of Lamont R. Thomas, 24, who was found dead in his car about 5 p.m. last Jan. 25 at 18th and D streets NE, the source said. Thomas, who lived in the neighborhood, had been shot several times. A department spokesman said no arrest had been made in the case.

The same gun was used last spring in the wounding of a 25-year-old man at 17th Street and Independence Avenue SE, the source said. Police would not disclose whether an arrest has been made.

The gun also was used in the slaying last April 5 of Jerome Williams, 24, in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood in far Northeast, the source said. Williams had been shot several times. Police say they closed the case with an arrest Sept. 9, 1993, but would not release the name of the suspect. Police have not said that McCauley is a suspect in any of those shootings.



Brutal Message in Bullet’s Hollow Point; Growing Use of Black Talon Ammunition Causes Alarm in D.C.:
The bullet is turning up for the first time in bodies brought to the District medical examiner’s office and has been spotted during surgery on shooting victims at Washington Hospital Center’s trauma unit.

On Dec. 30, a man killed D.C. police Officer Jason E. White with six of them.

The Black Talon and similar ammunition – high-powered and with expanding hollow-point projectiles designed to inflict maximum damage – have begun to seep into the culture of violence in the city, to the alarm of both law enforcement and medical officials.

Until last fall, Joye M. Carter, the D.C. medical examiner, had not found the Black Talon bullet in an autopsy. Since then, she said, she has encountered it three times, the latest case being White’s.

Surgeons at the Medstar trauma unit at Washington Hospital Center said that in recent months, they have found the bullet in shooting victims, some of whom survived, at least 10 times.

By all accounts, the Black Talon, whose manufacturer has stopped selling it to the public, is still far from being the ammunition of choice in the shooting wars that plague some District neighborhoods and keep the city’s homicide rate at near-record levels.

But the bullet’s mere presence, some officials say, is reason for serious concern; for its use reflects the brutal intentions of some criminals and increases the risks both to shooting victims and the emergency room surgeons who try to save them.
“When you use this kind of bullet as an offensive weapon, what you’re looking for is something that you know will really tear someone up,” said Jack Killorin, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

On impact, the Black Talon bullet expands and peels back, exposing sharp, curling metal talons that can strike more organs and arteries in the body. Unlike most bullets, the Black Talon stays intact, instead of fragmenting on impact.

“Basically, it creates a bigger hole and can cause much bigger damage,” said Duncan Harviel, director of Medstar, which treats many of the city’s shooting victims.

The Black Talon was the ammunition that police say was used by Colin Ferguson, a Brooklyn, N.Y., man accused in December of opening fire indiscriminately on a crowded Long Island commuter train, killing six people and wounding more than a dozen others.

Winchester, which manufacturers the Black Talon, in an unprecedented move last November announced that it would no longer sell the ammunition to the public but only to law enforcement agencies and the military.

Winchester officials said the ammunition is used by several hundred police departments nationally, in large part because its design limits the chance it will ricochet and strike bystanders or pass through an intended target and hit someone else.
The Black Talon, which had been on gun shop shelves for nearly two years, became a rallying point for some gun-control proponents, including several members of Congress, who proposed bans or extraordinary taxes on it and several other types of high-powered, hollow-point ammunition.

Although the ammunition is no longer distributed publicly, law enforcement officials said countless numbers of Black Talons will be circulating for some time. A spokesman for Winchester said the company could not say how many of the cartridges had been distributed or sold.

Amid the debate, defenders of the Black Talon have said that it has been targeted unfairly – there are several types of ammunition like it – and that it had legitimate uses in hunting big game, for which it is especially effective.
But some medical groups have complained that the Black Talon’s sharp, curling edges pose risks during surgery because they are more likely to tear a surgeon’s gloves and expose the surgeon and victim to infection during an attempt to remove the bullet.

“You could easily injure yourself,” Carter said. “I can’t say we’re seeing it a lot, but the mere fact that we’re seeing it at all is not a good sign.”

Carter and other doctors familiar with the Black Talon added, however, that a shooting victim’s chance of survival still depends as much on how many bullets hit a body, where they hit and at what speed as on the type of bullet used.
White, 25, a three-year member of the D.C. police force, was shot six times as he attempted to question a man who was walking up the steps of a row house in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Southeast Washington.

A Superior Court judge, Evelyn E.C. Queen, cited the use of the Black Talon as one reason that she decided to hold the suspect in White’s shooting, Donzell M. McCauley, 23, without bond. McCauley, of Southeast Washington, was arrested a few blocks from the shooting about 15 minutes after it occurred. Police have not found the semiautomatic pistol that he allegedly used.

“The court notes the use of the Black Talon bullets that have no other purpose but to kill,” Queen said.

Since the 1980s, federal law has banned “cop killer” bullets, which are able to rip through bulletproof vests. But it does not address “barbed” ammunition such as the Black Talon.

“It’s not the kind of bullet that has achieved any kind of great or widespread street rep yet, like some of the powerful pistols have,” said Killorin, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, “but it’s definitely out there, and it’s causing some horrible effects.”



Time to Act:
How angry do people have to get before this country undergoes a fundamental change in its thinking about violent crime and violent criminals? How hot does the temperature have to get?

Each day some new atrocity occurs, and each day we think, “That’s it. It can’t get any worse.” It can’t get any worse than some loser venting his rage by killing a half-dozen people on a Long Island commuter train. In sheer numbers, maybe not. But each shooting, each killing, has its own story, its own web of violence, grief and tragedy that is rapidly expanding and touching all of us.

Maybe you can explain the nut on the train by saying, hey, that’s New York. It’s crazy in New York. Then you read that a 16-year-old girl, an honor student at Banneker High School in the District, has been shot in the head and critically wounded, apparently by a rejected boyfriend. If you have a daughter, you identify with this one. Daughters go out on dates; they have boyfriends who are being raised in this violence. Gretchen Wright’s father called her a scholar. Whose daughter is next?
The Constitution guarantees us the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is an implicit guarantee that we have the right to establish some kind of quality of life. But what kind of quality of life is it when a woman gets on a Metro train in a nice neighborhood in the nation’s capital and is terrorized by black teenagers, apparently just because she is white? This happened Friday afternoon near the Tenleytown station. Lila Pavelec, 48, later told authorities, “Those kids were full of anger, rage and hatred, and they loved it.”

What kind of quality of life do we have when a lawyer gets up in court and suggests – apparently with a straight face – that her client killed a D.C. police officer in self-defense, not realizing he was an officer, when he was wearing his uniform and when the police who examined the body found the officer’s gun secured in his holster? When the prosecutor and the medical examiner testify that Officer Jason E. White was knocked down by the first two bullets that hit him, and then his killer stood over him and fired four more shots from six to 18 inches away into his head, using Black Talon bullets that expand in their target? To suggest that this was self-defense is so cynical as to be downright sickening.

The killers are using very sophisticated and extraordinarily powerful weapons. The police are scared and demoralized, and who can blame them? How many of us who sit behind computers for a living would be brave enough to do what police are doing? Quick, raise your hands. Sure.

And it’s going to get worse. This stuff feeds on itself: The children who are 8, 10 and 12 years old now are being exposed to higher doses of violence than were the 18- to 25-year-olds who are committing the violence.

What’s the answer? Incarceration alone doesn’t work. We have more people per capita in jails than any other country. Besides, locking up people takes money away from the preventive measures that we know work: fully funded Head Start programs; schools that graduate students who can read, think and hold down jobs; youth service programs that teach youngsters to seek opportunities and to achieve, as opposed to hanging out and having babies when they aren’t old enough to be good parents.

Last weekend, Jesse L. Jackson’s National Rainbow Coalition held a conference on crime at which there was frank talk about the black community taking responsibility for some of the violence being perpetrated by young black people. The coalition issued some concrete proposals, including calling on churches to undertake mentoring programs and families to get more involved with their children’s education. The coalition also wants to meet with President Clinton to talk about job programs.

We may be at a turning point when black leaders are saying that the carnage is endangering the entire black community. Ministers are decrying the hideous rap music that debases women and girls and glorifies guns and violence. The black community is moving to take action to save itself, to save its young, and it should not have to do it alone because this is not only a black problem. It affects us all.

Violence is the most critical problem facing the country. We will either respond rationally to it now, or if we don’t, we’ll eventually respond irrationally. We need a great deal more national leadership than we have seen so far – with a combination of tough measures to insulate society from the killers and strong preventive programs to keep children from turning into killers. We know a lot about how to do this, and it’s going to cost a lot of money. At the end of the Rainbow conference, Jackson put it well: “We are analyzed-out. It’s now time to act.”



Bounty on Gun Is Doubled:
The reward for the gun used to kill D.C. police Officer Jason E. White was doubled yesterday to $15,000, Police Chief Fred Thomas said.

Police originally offered a $5,000 reward for the weapon used in the Dec. 30 slaying, then increased it to $7,500 Saturday.

Efforts to locate the gun, believed to be a .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol, have included exploration of the sewer system in the area surrounding the 200 block of 14th Street SE, where White was killed.

Police said Donzell M. McCauley, the man charged with killing White, told them he threw the gun into the sewer.
Unnia Pettus, a spokeswoman for Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly, said doubling the reward was appropriate. “This administration will do everything it takes to convict a suspect and find the weapon,” she said.



Honoring A Slain Officer; Playground May Be Dedicated to White:
A group of Capitol Hill residents and business owners is proposing dedicating a playground in the neighborhood to D.C. police Officer Jason E. White, who was killed while patrolling the area last month.

The proposed dedication of the playground, which is yet to be built, is one of many recent expressions of support for the officers of the 1st District substation at 500 E St. SE, to which White was assigned. The substation, a former police precinct building, faces Marion Park, where the playground would be built.

White, 25, was killed Dec. 30 as he tried to stop a man for questioning in the 200 block of 14th Street SE. His partner, Officer Earline Harris, was shot but not seriously injured. A District resident, Donzell M. McCauley, 23, is charged with White’s slaying and is being held without bond.

White was buried with full police honors Jan. 5.

As soon as word of White’s death spread through the community, offers of support flowed into the police department, said Officer Rita Hunt, the department’s liaison to the neighborhood.

“The community has been absolutely wonderful,” Hunt said. “When we asked for help, they were right there for us.”
Real estate agent Chuck Burger said the people of Capitol Hill reacted to White’s death as though a member of the family had died.

“Everyone has an energy to do something good,” he said. “That is very Capitol Hill-eques.”

In the last four years, residents and merchants have gotten to know the beat officers through a department program called community empowerment policing. The offers of help after White’s death were a natural response from people who had gotten to know each other, Hunt said.

Help took several forms, including hot meals sent by various restaurants to the White family in Annapolis and donations to Heroes Inc., an organization that assists families of slain officers.

Hunt said people also brought cookies, sandwiches and flowers to the substation in the days after White’s death. Neighbors and officers jointly conducted a candlelight vigil on the one-week anniversary of the slaying.

On the day of White’s funeral, storefronts along Pennsylvania Avenue displayed a three-color poster in honor of White. Judy Jennings said her husband, Ben, suggested the idea. She teamed up with photographer Bruce Robey and his wife, Adele, a graphics designer, to create the poster.

With the help of the local Kinko’s Copies outlet, the posters were printed, and Jennings and others distributed it to businesses.

A tradition says that the officers who work with an officer killed in the line of duty provide a meal for everyone attending the service. But with only 100 officers assigned to the 1st District substation, known as 1D1 that was impossible, given the thousands expected for the funeral.

Hunt said she turned to Paul Meagher, manager of the Hawk and Dove restaurant, who is also president of the Pennsylvania Avenue Proprietors Association. The new organization represents restaurants and liquor stores between Second and Fourth streets along Pennsylvania Avenue SE.

Maegher said his restaurant and nine others supplied platters of food, and two liquor stores donated soft drinks.
“All Rita had to do was call, and we were ready to do it,” he said. “We had Greek, Thai, Korean, Chinese, French and American-style food. . . . We had a lot of food.”

So much food that Hunt said there was enough left over to donate to a group that feeds homeless people.

Hunt said that on Monday she brought 20 cards to Harris, White’s partner, from Capitol Hill residents.
“She was really surprised,” Hunt said of Harris. “She said, `People really do care, don’t they?’ “

Meanwhile, Libby Kelley Dingeldein, president of Friends of Marion Park, had started a project last year to raise up to $15,000 for a playground in Marion Park.

“In the last 10 days, there has been a strong community interest in doing something in Officer White’s name, and the playground seems like a way to that,” she said.

National Park Service spokeswoman Sandra Alley said officials are checking regulations to see if a plaque with White’s name can be added to the playground.



A Bridge in Blue; A Story of One Elite Police Unit and the Two Worlds of Capitol Hill:
IT HAPPENED just around the corner from where I live. The gunshots echoed down the street, but as is often the case, you couldn’t tell which direction they came from, even though they were very near.
I was sitting near a police scanner that I bought because there’s often a feeling in this neighborhood, on the fringes of Capitol Hill, that things are going on – sirens, helicopters hovering, gunfire – and there’s no quick way of knowing what or where or why. On the scanner that night, Dec. 30, I heard a D.C. policewoman frantically calling for help in the 200 block of 14th Street SE. When I got to the corner moments later, Officer Earline Harris was standing in the street, sobbing, still frantic, trying to direct help to a form lying on the steps of a row house.

It’s a moment in human hell that’s far too common here: Before the eyes of a relative or friend, a life oozes out into the street. This time that life belonged to a police officer, a 25-year-old named Jason E. White. He had been shot in the head at close range.

Much mayhem had occurred here before Dec. 30 that didn’t make the news. Wild gunfights, car chases and Hollywood stuff almost – don’t get noted, as some neighbors say, unless someone dies. But that’s not always true. Some shooting deaths, horrible scenes of gore that even neighborhood children witness, don’t make the news either. Officer White’s death, of course, did make the news. The neighborhood made the news; the neighborhood sounded pretty awful at points, a bad place to live, and that upset people. It’s a good neighborhood, they said. Lots of good people.

And it’s true: We see major national figures like House Speaker Tom Foley happily shopping at the local Safeway. The kids who go off to Payne Elementary School seem full of promise. Churches appear to thrive, judging from the double-parked cars on Sunday. But it’s also a paradoxical place, as if two entirely opposite worlds, ultimate insiders and ultimate outsiders, have come together in the same place, on the same streets, at the same time. Only they’re a million miles apart; they have no contact whatsoever. The police are the ones who bridge the worlds. White was bridging them when he died.
Donzell McCauley, the man charged with White’s murder, was known in the neighborhood, but more to the police than the rest of us. When White and his partner, Earline Harris, stopped McCauley outside 232 14th, it wasn’t some anonymous encounter between people who’d never seen each other. It wasn’t some random event out in the cosmos. White knew who McCauley was; McCauley in all likelihood recognized White. Their worlds had clashed before. That makes what happened – the firing of ultra-deadly Black Talon bullets at close, very personal range – seem all the more chilling.

McCauley had relatives in the neighborhood. He had grown up about a mile away, across the river. He’d gone to D.C. public schools until he dropped out, in ninth grade.

White grew up just over the District line, in Fairmount Heights. His father was a D.C. police officer, and later a detective. When Jason White died, he was wearing his father’s badge – No. 3778.

For 14 short weeks, White was a member of a special uniformed motor tactical unit: six officers who patrol as a team on a small motorcycle called “scooters.” They’re a bit like the cavalry. White drove a Honda Nighthawk. Instead of waiting passively for calls, he and his colleagues went out every night to try to stop trouble before it started. The unit makes nightly rounds of “hot spots,” places where drug sales and violence are likely. In less than a year, the group has made more than 300 arrests.

Prominent in the parallel worlds of our neighborhood is Master Patrolman Richard Kennedy, who supervises the tactical unit. His is a tight group, he says, like family. Kennedy has spent virtually all his 22 years of police duty in these streets. Kennedy travels with the group or scouts ahead in a rust-red 1982 Monte Carlo. Kennedy’s car is well known.
This master patrolman is preceded by a reputation for toughness and various nicknames like “Big Foot.” At 46, he is a presence – 6-foot-4, 248 pounds – with long, powerful arms and silver-gray hair. He sees himself as a man of action, not words, though he’s capable at both. White’s death hit him hard; Kennedy has a special affinity for young cops. He likes the ones with youthful élan. When White graduated from the D.C. Police Academy in 1990, Kennedy conducted White’s field training. Kennedy recalls the rookie as a bit of a know-it-all – understandable, given White’s police lineage. Still, Kennedy liked what he saw: a young cop who wanted to be aggressive.

White and Kennedy had to be a classic match – youth meets street experience. Kennedy is the son of a Wilkes-Barre, Pa., coal miner. He played high school football and was a wrestling champion in a state where high school wrestling matches are aired live on the radio. And once a wrestler, always a wrestler, one might say. Kennedy’s had plenty of battles on the D.C. streets; he’s got broken knuckles and stories to show for it.

From 6:30 p.m. to 3 a.m., his tactical unit covers a two-mile swath of the city from the Washington Navy Yard across Capitol Hill to the streets behind Union Station. Along the route are dozens of locales notorious for shootings and drug sales, and much of the mayhem keeps happening at the same places. Streetside crap games are infamous for devolving into shootouts. Tactics evolve for each spot the unit hits – how the scooter officers approach, where Kennedy pulls up in his Monte Carlo, so there’s an element of surprise and reduced chance anyone can run off with guns or drugs.

Often, little happens when the officers arrive; they spend few minutes at the scene, exchanging pleasantries, of sorts. But when their suspicions are roused or they meet resistance, the officers order individuals or groups to their knees or up against the wall. And there are tactics for that – which officers search suspects, which ones watch the perimeter of the scene. Understand, these are not always genteel encounters. Many individuals on the streets don’t take kindly to the unit.
Nightly, the scooters tour back alleys, gathering points near public housing complexes, trashed-out corners or addresses like 232 14th St., narrowly defined like this, it’s not an uplifting world. But thousands of D.C. residents live around these problems, law-abiding, productive citizens who want a chance to raise families in the absence of fear.

The officers know this. They need to believe they’re protecting someone, even if its people they rarely see; give them credit for that.

Looks, however, can be deceiving. Of all the areas where the tactical unit goes, the streets near the 200 block of 14th Street – east of the more upscale sectors of Capitol Hill – might seem the least ominous. Many are lined with trees and neat rowhouses. Kennedy knows many of these residents too as the patrol supervisor for Beat 27, part of the District’s community empowerment policing program.

Beat 27, which comprises roughly 3,500 residents, had eight murders in 1992. That count dropped to five in 1993, but it included Officer White. Other crimes dropped too but crazy things still happened: In September, for example, a drive-by shooting attempt occurred on my block; the would-be assailants were on bicycles.

Kennedy’s tactical unit regularly hit Beat 27 hot spots, including Kentucky Courts on C Street between Kentucky Avenue and 14th; it’s almost across the street from the house where White died. This one section of Kentucky Courts – there’s another, quiet section for senior citizens – has a history of drug activity and shootings, and the place looks badly battered. Residents are worn down from complaining about maintenance and security. The exterior doors have no locks; the halls, the stairways, even the roof have become parts of an interconnecting labyrinth some use to escape the police or enemies.
Police killed one drug figure there in September 1992, after, they said, he fired a TEC-9 automatic pistol at them. Hardly more than a month earlier, McCauley’s brother, Jamal, was shot dead in the complex’s courtyard. Kennedy’s tactical unit often stopped at Kentucky Courts. In recent months, the major gathering point of the street drug trade, with cars coming and going at all hours, was a breezeway that exits on C Street near 14th and is referred to as “The Tunnel.”

Sometimes, the tactical unit merely stopped to chat with the young men. Sometimes they rousted the group. They also hit the 200 block of 15th Street and 16th and D. One of the individuals they encountered in these visits was McCauley. In the neighborhood, he wasn’t known as a hothead, or even as all that outgoing, but members of the tactical unit knew the young man by sight.

Dec. 30, a Thursday, was a cold night; the streets were icy, no night for the scooters. It was also an unlikely night for action at the open-air hot spots.

Kennedy and four officers of the tactical unit were on duty, but short of cars to use. Two officers set out in a private car. White and Harris took Kennedy’s Monte Carlo, and their first stop was the shop to replace a burned-out headlight. Next, they met the other car at First and M SE, a hot spot near Federal Center. After they drove through the Arthur Capper Dwellings, the officers in the private car decided to eat and left for Pennsylvania Avenue. White and Harris crossed through the fringes of Capitol Hill, where about 9 p.m. they spotted a silver-gray Taurus station wagon familiar to them from Kentucky Courts.

A police lookout was out for a similar car in connection with a shooting, but when the Taurus stopped at 232 14th, it added to the officers’ interest. The house was linked to the troubles at Kentucky Courts.

White and Harris actually stopped the Monte Carlo in the middle of 14th Street as McCauley mounted the porch. The confrontation began when McCauley refused to take his hand out of a pocket of his blue-gray parka – a parka that hid 13 bags of cocaine and one semiautomatic handgun.

Kennedy, meanwhile, got a patrol car at about 8:45 p.m. and set out to find his officers. He stopped to pick up coffee at 8th and E streets and heard Harris’s frantic call for help on the radio there. His was one of the first police cars at the scene, but an ambulance crew got there first and had already covered White’s body with a white sheet that quickly turned blood red.
In the days that followed, Kennedy was left to wonder if things would have been different had he not stopped for coffee. What if … ? As the man who trained officers on the street and led White’s unit, he also wondered if they had done the right things, followed the right procedures on the porch. He’s convinced they did.

He also worried about morale of his young officers, all in their twenties. White’s death was probably their first loss of such magnitude and immediacy. It made their work seem momentarily pointless, which is understandable. You can get killed out there. And for what?

I don’t know the answer.

I didn’t know Officer White, but after his death, I realized I’d briefly spoken to him one night in early December at 14th and C streets. Police were photographing and picking up shell casings from another Hollywood-style car chase. I wouldn’t want to say White seemed beleaguered – not at all, not in the slightest. We were just standing there. But there’s a tone that sometimes enters these conversations, a sense that the problems that have come to the neighborhood, and too many other places, are bigger than all of us.

The conversation also took place just after 12 D.C. officers were arrested on corruption charges. White brought it up, not me. I remember that. He must have been thinking about whatever ideals he had in mind as a police officer. Clearly, he was set on pursuing them.

“It’ll just make things harder,” he said.


Nonviolence Stressed at King Rally

Three hundred people, undaunted by the ice and snow that canceled most other celebrations, gathered yesterday at the District’s Martin Luther King Jr. Library to honor King’s memory and rededicate themselves to his legacy of nonviolence.
Urging his peers to step forward and carry out King’s dreams of racial equality and harmony, [Tommy Brewer] thanked the slain civil rights leader for daring to dream.

Meanwhile, the planned Children’s Crusade for Peace and Non-Violence, in which hundreds of children were to have marched through the District’s Petworth neighborhood, and a parade in the District’s Ward 8 were both postponed.
The miserable weather also failed to stop more than 40 Barney Circle orange hat patrol members who held a march and candlelight vigil last night to honor the memory of both King and recently slain police Officer Jason E. White.


Clinton Honors Slain Officers In Radio Talk at Police Station

President Clinton delivered his weekly radio message yesterday from a D.C. police station to pay tribute to two recently slain officers, including Jason E. White, who was gunned down two months ago in Southeast Washington by a man he had stopped for questioning.

Clinton spoke before an overflow crowd of more than 60 officers at 1st Police District headquarters in the 400 block of Fourth Street SW, and he urged Congress to pass tough anti-crime legislation.

White, 25, a three-year police officer, worked out of a 1st District substation and patrolled high-crime areas on the edges of Capitol Hill.

Faces became somber as Clinton spoke of White and Cristy Lynne Hamilton, 45, a rookie Los Angeles officer slain last week by a teenager with a semiautomatic weapon who had just killed his father.

The president received nods of approval as he implored Congress to complete action on a crime bill that would ban assault weapons, increase death-penalty provisions, finance 100,000 more community police officers and require life imprisonment without parole for certain three-time violent felons.

“If we do that, we can replace fear with confidence and help to make our country whole again,” said Clinton, who usually delivers the address from the Oval Office.
He also cited a Justice Department report that says 53 percent of criminals who kill police officers – 150 officers were slain nationwide last year – had prior convictions but were able to buy firearms in stores.

Capt. Charles L. Fonville said Clinton’s address made him realize how fortunate he was to have survived 22 years on the job. Fonville said he would like to see guns off the street, “but then again, criminals are going to get guns. They always do.”
Just seven hours before Clinton arrived at the police station, more than 30 federal agents and D.C. police raided two houses in the 200 block of 14th Street SE, one of them the residence outside of which White was gunned down. Four people were arrested and three guns seized, but none was the sought-after Glock pistol that killed White.


Embracing a Memory; Widow Seeks Comfort in Trappings of Slain D.C. Officer’s Life:

Each night before going to bed, Joie White sprays her sheets and pillows with the cologne that her husband, D.C. police Officer Jason E. White, splashed on every day.

“What I am afraid of is forgetting, forgetting all the wonderful things about Jason,” the 30-year-old widow said.
In one agonizing ritual after another, Joie White has been trying to hold on to the trappings of a life that was savagely torn apart on the night of Dec. 30, when a man her husband confronted on the steps of a Capitol Hill row house pumped three bullets into his chest and four more point-blank into his face.

Since then, Joie White has found some solace in little reminders, such as the three-quarters-empty bottle of Liz Claiborne for Men she keeps on what had been her husband’s night table, exactly as he had, in their Annapolis town house. And she often wears her husband’s clothes, from his shirts and ties down to his jeans and boxer shorts, all of which are slightly too big but nonetheless comforting as a way to recapture the memory of her 25-year-old husband.

“I wear his clothes more than mine. I’ve got one of his sweaters on right now,” she said during a recent interview, sitting in a gazebo at an Annapolis park near her home. “If I could wear Jason’s shoes, I would.”

Her husband’s gold wedding band dangles on her ring finger, next to the band that he gave her a year and a half ago at the altar. She also wears a small reproduction of his badge on another finger and one on a chain around her neck.

“I will never take any of these off for as long as I live,” she said, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.
The usually intensely private experience of grief has been a public drama for Joie White.

About 4,000 people, including officers from across the nation and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, attended Jason White’s funeral in January. Storefronts along Pennsylvania Avenue displayed posters in his honor.

Last month, President Clinton delivered his weekly radio address from the headquarters of the 1st Police District, where White was assigned, in a tribute to the second-generation police officer.

Joie White also has maintained a public identity. She participated in a neighborhood vigil the day after her husband was buried and attended the funeral of a Montgomery County police officer, James E. Walch, who died Jan. 25 in a car crash.
“It’s a brotherhood that I am in now. I’ll be damned if I am going to sit at home when another officer was slain,” she said.
Although honored that her husband’s case has received so much attention, White said she wishes that public officials would do more to pay tribute to officers when they are alive.

“They deserve more praise, before a tragedy occurs and it’s too late,” she said. “Would you go chasing drug dealers through high-crime neighborhoods for $30,000 a year?” – her husband’s pay after three years on the force.

It was on a frigid night in such a neighborhood, a few blocks from Lincoln Park in Southeast Washington, that Jason White and his partner, Earline Harris, 26, tried to question a man climbing the steps of a row house.

Police said the man turned suddenly and fired a semiautomatic pistol at both officers. White died on the spot, and Harris was wounded by a bullet that pierced her bulletproof vest. Police have charged Donzell M. McCauley, 23, with murder.
About 11 p.m., two hours after the shooting, Joie White was working her usual shift as a manager at the Outback Steak House in Annapolis when she saw a chaplain and several D.C. police officers walk into the restaurant through a side door.
They met in the manager’s office.

“The men in blue circled around me and the chaplain said, `There has been a terrible accident,’ ” she recalled. “I said, `Jason has been shot. Is he okay? Can we go see him?’ “

The chaplain, Manuel Rivera, told her to sit down.

Holding her hand, he told her that her husband was dead.

“I just fell on the floor and started hollering and kicking and screaming,” White said. “I was calling the chaplain a liar and yelling that this must be a mistake. . . . I was always prepared for him to be shot, but not to die.”

The officers escorted her back to her house, where the chaplain telephoned Jason White’s parents in Murray, Ky., to tell them about their son’s death.

Roused from sleep, Ronald E. White, a retired D.C. detective of 20 years, at first thought the call might be a prank; he had mistaken his daughter-in-law’s wailing in the background for laughter.

“When I found out, I paced the floor and cursed God for about 30 or 40 minutes easy,” Ronald White said.

A week later, Joie White arranged to see her husband’s body, even though other officers implored her not to until cosmetic work had been done to his face.

She slowly walked toward the body, which was lying on a gurney and covered up to the shoulders with a white sheet.
“I could only recognize his lips and the cleft in his chin,” she recalled. “The bridge of his nose was gone. His temple was gone. His forehead was gone. There was just flesh.”

Crying over the body, Joie White talked out loud for about 10 minutes, saying how much she loved and missed him, before kissing his chin and leaving the room at Francis J. Collins Funeral Home in Silver Spring.

Outside, Rivera said a prayer as the widow kneeled next to Jason White’s mother, holding her hand.

“It really helped to see him and to know that his spirit was gone and in a better place,” she said.

Joie and Jason White met 2 1/2 years ago under unusual circumstances: He had shown up at her Capitol Hill apartment to investigate a report that she had threatened to kill an elderly neighbor.

Joie White had knocked on the neighbor’s door after discovering that the water had been shut off in her apartment. The neighbor, an elderly woman who apparently was confused, responded by screaming, “Go away. Don’t kill me. Don’t kill me.”

Joie White soon heard a knock at her door. “Police Officer White; open up,” she recalled him bellowing before jovially taking a report and leaving.

Nine months later, they were married.

Joie White said that for a while after her husband’s death, she continued to wait for him by the front door of their house each night at 11 p.m., the time that he used to pull into the driveway after work.

“I was in total denial,” she said. “I kept telling people that it didn’t happen, that it was a mistake.”

Living in the house that the couple once shared has been painful. She has been finding pieces of paper containing words of affection, such as “I miss you,” that her husband used to hide.

The reality of the tragedy, she said, particularly overwhelmed her when she was filling out an application to return to school soon after the funeral.

“I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown, because that was the first time, I actually had to state that I was a widow,” she said.

Instead, Joie White wrote on the application that she was married.

White said the denial has given way to anger, and she plans to start seeing a psychiatrist to help her deal with her emotions.
Dozens of officers have visited her, and the department has helped her take care of banking and insurance details. She receives several telephone calls a week from Rivera and Jason White’s captain, Michael Radzilowski.

“From the beginning, she has been very strong. There were times when she was consoling the officers instead of them consoling her,” Radzilowski said. “But I’ve told her she should be prepared for the day when everyone is gone and she’ll be in the house alone. That’s when it really hits.”
She returned to school briefly after the death to study to be a nurse, but she was doing poorly because of her inability to concentrate and withdrew. Her job at the restaurant is now part-time.

She said her friends have been diligent about trying to keep her busy so she doesn’t stew alone at home, rerunning in her mind, as she often does, the way in which her husband was killed and the last words he uttered to her that day: “I love you, and I’ll see you later when I get home.”

Today, she leaves for the beach resort of Mazatlan on the west coast of Mexico with two friends who are taking her on a week’s vacation to help her distance herself from the grief.

Part of that grief, the widow said, is that she no longer dreams at night.

“And that bothers me, because I would like to dream about Jason.”



Suspect in D.C. Officer’s Killing Pleads Not Guilty to 14 Charges:

The man accused of fatally shooting a District police officer and wounding another in December entered a not-guilty plea to a 14-count indictment in federal court yesterday.

Donzell M. McCauley appeared before U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin. McCauley is accused of killing Officer Jason E. White and wounding White’s partner, Earline Harris, Dec. 30 on Kentucky Avenue SE.

McCauley’s attorney, G. Allen Dale, said McCauley is scheduled to reappear before Sporkin Monday for a bond hearing. McCauley is being held without bail until then.

U.S. Attorney Eric C. Holder Jr. said last week that he is dissatisfied with the murder sentences available in D.C. Superior Court, so he sought federal murder and cocaine trafficking charges against McCauley.

Holder said he has not decided whether to seek the death penalty for McCauley, who is accused of shooting White six times after the officer stopped him for questioning in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. White was the first D.C. officer killed in the line of duty since 1987.

Seven codefendants named in a drug and racketeering indictment also appeared before Sporkin. He separated the two cases and ordered five of the suspects held until their bond hearings, also on Monday. Two other suspects, both juveniles, were confined to halfway houses.



1,000 Gather to Honor Fallen Officers; 260 Names Are Added to Marble Walls of National Law Enforcement Memorial:
When Nevada State Trooper Ken Gager stood up last night and explained his own personal sacrifice, he was met with a standing ovation.

“I love being a cop,” Gager told the 1,000 family members and friends of fallen law enforcement officers who had gathered in the dusk to light candles and honor their loved ones at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Gager opened a package bomb last year, sent to him by a man he had arrested during a traffic stop in 1991. The incident took one of Gager’s eyes and one hand. “Our fallen officers did not just stand on the sidelines. They got out into life to reach out and help people,” he said as darkness fell and bagpipes played in the background.

More than 13,000 names are already engraved on the gray marble walls of the memorial, an open space in downtown Washington, and last night’s ceremony was a solemn reminder of the 260 whose names are newly added, either because they died last year or because their deaths from previous years were recently documented as occurring while on duty.
Among the names added this year were D.C. police Officer Jason E. White, fatally shot in December on the steps of a row house in Southeast Washington; Metro Transit Officer Harry Davis, fatally shot after he spotted two people sitting in a stolen car parked at a Metrorail station in Prince George’s County; Virginia State Trooper Jose Maria Cavazos, slain after pulling over a car in February 1993; and Montgomery County police Officer Mark Filer, who died in a fiery crash on his way to help another officer. The names are part of the $11 million memorial at Fourth and E streets NW dedicated to all law enforcement officers in this country who lost their lives in the line of duty.

D.C. Police Chief Fred Thomas told the large crowd of family members and friends of the slain officers that he had hoped he would never have the task of burying an officer killed on the job.

“Night is falling in Washington,” Thomas said. “Officer Jason White walked Beat 27 and died on Beat 27, in the darkness of the night.”

One officer from Nassau County, N.Y., said he was here to remember his friend and fellow officer Gary R. Farley, who died after an assailant punched him in the chest.

“When Farley went home that night, everything was fine,” said the officer, who did not give his name. “The next morning, he dropped dead. It was a tragedy that never should have happened.”

As the names of the officers were read, Larry Stone remembered his son, Officer Todd Wayne Stone, 29, who died last year when his car crashed into a utility pole during a high-speed chase. “This turned out to be more emotional than we expected,” said Stone, who had traveled from Milan, Ill., with his wife and five other children. “But having his name on a wall helps, because it is something you can look at and know that it will stay there forever.”


Grief Binds Survivors of Fallen Officers:

Under a muted gray sky on the west lawn of the Capitol yesterday, hundreds of relatives and friends of police officers killed in the line of duty last year made a somber procession to a simple wreath honoring the fallen.

It was a delegation of strangers bound by grief.

Two of them, Linda Cavazos and Thomas Visney, were there to mourn the same loss. Cavazos’s husband, Virginia State Trooper Jose M. Cavazos, 50, was shot to death during a traffic stop last year. Visney, a Miami police officer, knew Jose Cavazos in the National Guard.

Visney, dressed in his dark blue police uniform, a strip of black cloth across his badge, introduced himself to Cavazos as she was walking back to her seat after having placed a red carnation in the wreath. He told her that his love and prayers were with her and Jose, then gently hugged her.

Until that moment, Cavazos had been dry-eyed, but as Visney stepped away, she began to weep softly. Visney walked a short distance, turned toward the ongoing procession, then stood ramrod-straight, fighting back tears.

The 147 slain officers and federal agents were from 38 states, the District and Puerto Rico. In the crowd of about 5,000 were their spouses, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.

After the ceremony, the wreath – its red carnations forming the shape of a law enforcement badge – was placed in front of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in a small park near Judiciary Square, where the names of 13,000 officers killed in the line of duty since 1794 are engraved on gray marble walls.

Among the names added were those of Cavazos; D.C. police Officer Jason E. White, 25, shot to death on the steps of a row house in Southeast Washington; Metro Transit Officer Harry Davis, 40, fatally shot when he questioned a man who was in a stolen car parked in a Metrorail station in Prince George’s County; and Montgomery County police Officer Mark Filer, who died in a fiery crash as he drove to help another officer.

Suspects are awaiting trial in the slayings of White and Davis. Two men have been found guilty of killing Cavazos, and one of them may receive the death penalty.

Survivors of White and Davis said their pain has not abated.

“Not a bit. You don’t stop loving your son,” said Ronald E. White, Jason White’s father and a retired D.C. police detective.
“There’s a piece of me that’s been ripped out,” said Cathy Davis, Harry Davis’s widow. “You see places you’ve been together, and you know you won’t be there again. You won’t grow old together. It’s a pain you don’t wish on anybody.”

Although she knew attending the ceremony would be painful, Davis said, she was determined to be there. “I had to do it for Harry,” she said.

In addition to yesterday’s ceremonies, the weekend of tribute included seminars and other informal gatherings for survivors of officers killed in the line of duty.

Davis and White attended some of those events, and both said that talking to other survivors has been helpful.
“They know what you’re feeling, because they’ve been through it,” Davis said.

“You feel a sense of camaraderie,” White said. “It spreads the pain a little bit.”

The ceremony on the Capitol grounds, sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police, included speeches by Attorney General Janet Reno and President Clinton, who hailed the gallantry of those who died and acknowledged the loved ones they left behind.

“We pay tribute not only to those who have died but to those who have lost them,” he said.

The president said everyone, not just law enforcement agents, must try to combat violence.

“We ought to rededicate ourselves to becoming a country worthy of the heroes we come here to honor,” Clinton said. “We must determine that we are going to become a less violent, less dangerous, less crime-ridden, more hopeful, more unified society. We owe that to the people who we will honor today.”

Clinton also promoted his anti-crime package, which would provide money for 100,000 more police officers nationwide, and praised the 216 House members who voted recently to ban 19 so-called assault weapons.

The president placed a red carnation in the wreath before the procession of relatives and friends began.

The ceremony ended with the singing of “Amazing Grace” and “The Policeman’s Tribute” and the playing of taps over the public address system.


Officers Remembered

A slain D.C. police officer and five officers who were killed in the line of duty in Maryland were remembered yesterday at a memorial service outside D.C. police headquarters.

Jason E. White, a D.C. officer shot on the steps of a row house near Capitol Hill on Dec. 30, was honored during the program.

Also remembered were Officers Mark M. Filer and James E. Walch, of the Montgomery County police; Harry Davis Jr., of the Metro Transit Police; John L. Bagileo, of the Prince George’s County police; and Herman A. Jones, of the Baltimore police.

The memorial service was the 15th annual ceremony honoring slain police officers, sponsored by the D.C. police and the auxiliary of the Fraternal Order of Police.



A children’s playground on Capitol Hill honors the memory of slain D.C. police Officer Jason E. White. Officer White was incorrectly identified in last week’s Weekly.

The location of a new bank was incorrectly reported in last week’s Weekly. The site of the branch office First Union Bank will open in December in the 2400 block of Good Hope Road SE is in Ward 6.

The telephone number and address of the Sanghomar Cafe were incorrectly reported in last week’s Weekly. The cafe is at 2341 18th St. NW. The telephone number is 202-745-6200.


For the Most Part, Washington’s Finest:

I’ve been an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department for 21 proud years. I was raised and schooled in Brooklyn, and in 1972 I attended the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I guess I always wanted to be a cop. Back then the New York City Police Department had a freeze on jobs, and as I walked past my college’s personnel office, I saw a sign reading “Become One Of The Nation’s Finest.” I did, and I still feel that the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is one of the finest.

The recent news stories in The Post are true {“Law and Disorder: The District’s Troubled Police,” Aug. 28-31}; the department does have problems. A large part of them are a reflection of our society, corruption, drugs and lack of family. These are not excuses, just possible reasons. There is no excuse for a bad cop.

I was one of the many police officers involved in the investigation of the murder of Officer Jason E. White, a graduate of the class the series examined: the class of 1990. Officer White was superb. As a detective, I had the opportunity to see his ability to police and care for the community he gave his life for.

I’m now working with another officer who graduated from the academy during the questionable years. This detective also is a good officer. Most officers who were trained and hired during those years are hard-working and caring. The department has improved its hiring and training process greatly. There is much more in-service training, and new equipment is arriving. This community should be proud of its police department and the job it does.




Their Mettle Tested, Heroes Of All Stripes Earn Medals; 32 of D.C.’s Finest Praised at Award Ceremony:

Without any weapons of his own, one waded into a crowd of angry inmates armed with homemade knives to break up a prison fight. One ran into a burning apartment without any protective gear and rescued a child. Another leaped over an electrified Metro rail to help rescue a man who had suffered a seizure and fallen on the tracks.

The three men were among 32 District public safety employees honored yesterday for displaying exceptional valor both on and off duty in the last year.

The 1994 Meritorious Service Awards went to 16 police officers, 11 firefighters, 1 fire inspector, 1 civilian fire department dispatcher and 3 corrections officers. Two of the award winners are women.

One medal was awarded posthumously to Officer Jason E. White, who was shot to death in December as he and his partner attempted to question a man in Southeast. His widow, Joie White, accepted the award. Jason White’s partner, Officer Earline Harris, also received a medal yesterday; she also was shot in the incident.

During the last year, the city’s public safety agencies, particularly the police and corrections departments, have been stung by several officers who have been charged with or convicted of protecting drug shipments in an FBI sting and taking bribes to smuggle drugs to prison inmates. Police and corrections departments also have come under fire for lax screening and training of recruits who were hired in 1989 and 1990. Police officers hired in those years account for more than half of the 200 officers facing criminal charges since 1989.

In spite of those problems, police and corrections officials said that most of their officers are honest and hard-working, and the D.C. Chamber of Commerce-sponsored luncheon at the J.W. Marriott Hotel was an opportunity to cast a spotlight on some of the best.

Ten of the 16 police officers honored yesterday joined the force in 1989 and 1990.

“We can’t have enough thank-yous for these great individuals who make such an extraordinary difference,” said Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly, who helped distribute the medals.

In June 1993, police Officer Juan Burford, who joined the force in 1990, chased a man with a gun in the 1400 block of Park Road NW when a second man with a gun approached Burford from behind. The two gunmen exchanged shots, with Burford caught in the cross-fire. Burford wounded one of the men, and subdued the other, whose store had been robbed by the wounded gunman.

In March, Pvt. Frederick Montanya, a corrections officer, responded to a report of an inmate fight on a recreational field in the Occoquan prison at the Lorton Correctional Complex. Montanya saw eight inmates fighting with homemade knives and bricks. He ordered them to stop, and one inmate hit Montanya in the head with a brick.

Montanya gave a hand signal for fellow officers in a tower to fire their rifles. They fired in the air, other officers arrived and restored order.

In November, fire Inspector Alan Lancaster rushed into a burning apartment on 13th Place SE and saved a child, then reentered the unit and brought out another. Forced from the building by heat and fire, he directed just-arriving rescue personnel to a third child.

Another honoree, police Officer Ervin Pinckney Jr., was off duty in June 1993 when he helped a man who apparently had a seizure and fell to the tracks at Metro Center. Pinckney negotiated two high-voltage rails to lift the man from the tracks and onto the station platform.


Judge Orders Arrest of 2 Witnesses; To Aid Suspect in D.C. Officer’s Death:

A federal judge issued arrest warrants yesterday for two men who may have information that could exonerate Donzell McCauley, a Southeast Washington man charged with the December 1993 killing of D.C. police Officer Jason E. White.
U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin issued “material fact witness” warrants for Antonio “Boo” Alexander, 22, and Derrick Frey, 23, after McCauley’s lawyers, G. Allen Dale and Robert Morin, said prosecutors had only recently notified them about the two men.

During an interview with police in March 1994, Alexander, who lived less than a block from where White was killed, said three men told him that Rahim Winston had shot White, not McCauley. Alexander said the three men told him that Winston was “telling on” McCauley to “save himself,” according to an FBI report of the interview. He also told police that Frey had the murder weapon, which police have not found.

Winston was one of 10 defendants in drug cases related to the McCauley case. He has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing Jan. 31.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. O’Malley said he did not know anything about Alexander and Frey until December.
He also said investigators now cannot find Alexander or Frey.


Material Witness Appears

Antonio Alexander, a Southeast Washington man who authorities thought might have information about the December 1993 killing of D.C. police officer Jason E. White, appeared yesterday before a federal judge. His attorney said he had no such information.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin said he was issuing a “material fact witness” warrant for Alexander, 22, after defense attorneys for Donzell McCauley, who is accused of shooting White, complained that prosecutors had only recently told them that Alexander might have information about the slaying. A prosecutor told the judge that police could not find Alexander.

Alexander’s attorney, Thomas Abbenante, said Alexander is not a material fact witness for either side. Alexander’s aunt told a reporter that Alexander denies statements attributed to him in an FBI report, which said he told police that another person had shot White, not McCauley. Abbenante said Alexander had not been eluding police or McCauley’s attorneys.


U.S. to Seek Death in D.C. Case; Prosecutor Accedes To Reno’s Decision In Officer’s Slaying:

Attorney General Janet Reno yesterday persuaded the District’s top prosecutor to change his mind and go along with her decision to seek the death penalty against a Southeast Washington man accused in the 1993 killing of a D.C. police officer.
U.S. Attorney Eric H. Holder Jr. said a death sentence would be sought under federal law against Donzell McCauley, charged with fatally shooting Officer Jason E. White during a confrontation nearly 15 months ago.

Holder, who originally had recommended that the death penalty not be sought in the case, said he was persuaded by Reno and other Justice Department officials after more than a week of high-level meetings.

Holder said Reno did not overrule him, telling him she would not force him to seek the death penalty if he had strong feelings about the issue. After talking with her last week and again yesterday morning, he said he was persuaded.

“I think the decision is an appropriate one given the nature of the offense and given the fact that a law enforcement officer was killed,” Holder said. “That’s the thing that drives this decision for me.”

Both Reno and Holder have said they personally oppose capital punishment. But, like Reno, who sought the death penalty in more than 100 cases when she was a prosecutor in Florida, Holder said he can put aside his personal feelings and enforce the laws passed by Congress.

The case will be brought in a city where voters, by a 2 to 1 ratio, rejected the death penalty in a 1992 referendum that the city was ordered to hold by Congress. Some of the District’s poorest communities, hit the hardest by violence and drugs, recorded the heaviest margins against capital punishment.

Though there are no provisions in city law for the death penalty, an assortment of federal crimes — including the slaying of a law enforcement officer — allow for the death penalty.

This is the second time in recent years that prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty in the District. Two years ago, before Holder became U.S. attorney, prosecutors announced that they would seek the death penalty against a drug ring enforcer, Wayne Anthony Perry. But he was sentenced to life in prison in exchange for pleading guilty.

If the McCauley case goes to trial in U.S. District Court on Sept. 11 as scheduled, it would be the first involving the death penalty in the District in more than two decades. The last execution carried out in the District was in 1957.

Holder, the city’s first African American U.S. attorney, said his initial inclination not to seek the death penalty was rooted in legal issues, not the politics of the death penalty. “I would hope that people would see this decision in a nonracial way,” he said.

G. Allen Dale, one of McCauley’s lawyers, criticized the decision. “We are disappointed in the Department of Justice,” he said. “We are especially disappointed that the Department of Justice would make a decision on the death penalty given this city’s historic opposition to it, both by its citizens and its elected officials.”

D.C. Police Chief Fred Thomas applauded the decision. “I am certainly elated. It sends the right message,” to police officers and criminals, he said.

McCauley, 24, is accused of the Dec. 30, 1993, shooting of White, 25, a three-year member of the D.C. police force. Prosecutors intend to portray McCauley as the leader of a large, violent drug-trafficking organization based in the Kentucky Courts public housing development.

Specifically, McCauley is charged with the intentional killing of a law enforcement officer during a drug-trafficking offense. Holder said that law, passed in 1988, is fairly untested, with little legal precedent on how such cases are to be handled. He said he was worried about legal definitions for “heinous, atrocious and cruel” in the law and how a judge would apply them to the McCauley case.

Prosecutors say that White and his partner, Earline Harris, tried to stop McCauley as he went up the steps to a house where the officers believed drugs were being sold. They say that White and Harris only wanted to talk to McCauley and that the shooting was unprovoked. White was shot six times — four times in the face and twice in the chest. Harris was hit once in the back, but she was protected by her bulletproof vest.

However, there is a dispute about the confrontation at the house in the 200 block of 14th Street SE. Court papers filed by defense attorneys say White lunged at McCauley and “engaged him in a bear hug.” Harris was shot at this point and knocked off her feet, they say. White and McCauley then tumbled down the stairs, out of Harris’s view. She managed to get one round off as White’s assailant fled, the defense attorneys said.


Choosing the Death Penalty

UNQUESTIONABLY, the crime for which Donzell McCauley will soon be tried was a terrible one. It is alleged that he killed D.C. police officer Jason White a few days after Christmas 1993. The officer, on duty with his partner outside a house thought to be used by drug dealers, was shot six times, the last four bullets fired in his face as he lay wounded. On Monday, U.S. Attorney Eric Holder announced that he would seek the death penalty for this murder.

Ordinarily, it would not be difficult to understand a prosecutor’s decision along these lines. Even though this city does not have a death penalty, the federal statute allowing capital punishment in cases where a law enforcement officer working on a narcotics case has been killed is available. There appear to be no extenuating circumstances to justify a lesser penalty. And the killing of a police officer, like the murder of a prosecutor, judge or witness, is a particularly serious offense because it undermines the system of justice necessary for a civilized society.

Nevertheless, the fact that this decision was made by Mr. Holder at the urging of Attorney General Janet Reno is unfortunate. Both profess to be personally opposed to capital punishment. Both are familiar with the views of the citizens of the District of Columbia on this subject: The death penalty was resoundingly defeated by the voters in a referendum in 1992.

This is not simply a question of enforcing a personally repugnant law, as Mr. Holder and Miss Reno would have us believe. It’s not like collecting a tax you think is unfair or submitting to the draft when you oppose the war. The only way to comply with the law in those cases is to set aside personal objections and do what the law has made mandatory. But a prosecutor’s decision to ask for the death penalty is a choice, not a requirement. In this case, Mr. Holder had options. He could have chosen to seek a life sentence, but he made a personal decision to go beyond that and ask for a penalty that has not been imposed in this city for almost 40 years.

The public should be spared the complaints of the prosecutor and the attorney general that this was for them a difficult responsibility carried out against their personal inclinations in order to uphold the law. They did not have to make this choice, but they did. It was the wrong one.


D.C. Defendant Says Slaying Of Officer Was Self-Defense; Taped Statement Played in Pretrial Arguments:

In a recorded statement, Donzell McCauley told detectives that he shot D.C. police Officer Jason White on a cold December night in 1993 because he believed his life was in danger.

McCauley, 24, told D.C. homicide detectives that White acted unprofessionally when he and his partner “ran up on me,” and that he put a gun to McCauley’s head on a porch in the 200 block of 14th Street SE.

“I knew the officer was police because he was a white male in the neighborhood with a gun,” McCauley said in the statement to police made Dec. 31, 1993, about eight hours after the killing. “I didn’t think he was professional about it. He didn’t identify himself as a police officer at all.”

White, 25, and his partner, Earline Harris, were not in uniform and were in an unmarked rust-colored car when they approached McCauley as he walked up to the porch on 14th Street SE. McCauley told detectives that White called out “some slurs” but that he ignored White and kept walking. Later, he said the slurs were not racial, just degrading.

McCauley said he had his hands in his pockets, with one resting on his .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol, when White ran at him. “When I looked and I saw how he was looking at me, like he was scared too — he was tensed up. I felt he was ready to pull the trigger. I felt my life was in danger,” he said. “I didn’t think he was going to lock me up. . . . He didn’t act like he should’ve acted. . . . So, I drew, too . . . and we exchanged gunfire.”

But Sgt. Daniel Wagner testified that he learned later that White’s gun was in its holster when police found him on the street. The prosecution contends that McCauley deserves the death penalty for shooting White at least four times in the head and twice in the chest.

Prosecutor David Schertler played the tape during the second day of pretrial arguments in the murder case before U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin. McCauley’s attorneys, G. Allen Dale and Robert Morin, are arguing that the statement should be suppressed because it was coerced.

Dale and Morin argue that McCauley was beaten by police when he was picked up within minutes of the shooting. Detectives also testified that McCauley was chained to the floor of a small interview room for nearly eight hours. During that time, he vomited and was allowed to go to the bathroom once. He was not given any food, just water, a soft drink and cigarettes, according to testimony.


Man Identifies Defendant:

A key government witness in the case against a Southeast Washington man accused of killing a D.C. police officer testified yesterday that he is certain he picked the right man out of police photographs and a lineup.

“His face I’ll never forget,” the witness, Dennis Simpson, said in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin.
Simpson is hearing-impaired but can hear loud noises and voices. He testified through an interpreter that he saw a man who has since been identified as Donzell McCauley fleeing the 200 block of 14th Street SE on Dec. 30, 1993, after the shooting of Officer Jason White.

Simpson testified during the final day of a series of pretrial hearings on several defense motions. McCauley’s attorneys are asking Sporkin to block prosecutors from seeking the death penalty.

They also want him to suppress McCauley’s statement about the slaying, which they say was coerced.
Defense attorneys argued that McCauley was “manhandled” by police when he was picked up within minutes of the shooting.



D.C. Officer’s Killer Avoids Death Sentence Plea Deal Calls for Life Term Without Parole Donzell Michael McCauley avoided a possible death sentence yesterday by admitting that he killed a D.C. police officer in 1993 and accepting a sentence of life in prison without a chance of parole.

Dressed in a charcoal gray, double-breasted suit, McCauley, 24, apologized for the slaying that sent the family of Jason E. White and his co-workers on the D.C. police force into shock days after Christmas 1993. “I’d just like to say that I’m terribly sorry for what happened,” he said. “I know I’m going to have to spend the rest of my life in prison.”

But McCauley’s apology and his deal with the government angered family and friends of White, 25, who was shot four times in the face and once in the chest as he lay on the steps of a house in the 200 block of 14th Street SE.

“I will not be satisfied until McCauley is dead,” said White’s father, Ronald E. White, a retired D.C. police detective. “I still believe in an eye for an eye. He killed my son, and he deserves to die.”

U.S. Attorney Eric H. Holder Jr. said he sympathized with the Whites. “It was a difficult decision to make,” he said. “But what I looked at was the certainty we would get with this plea. Given the fact that {McCauley} will not ever, ever, ever walk the streets as a free man that made the plea in this case appropriate.”

Holder had opposed seeking the death penalty in the case but was overruled in March by Attorney General Janet Reno. Holder said the law allowed him to make such a deal. On Wednesday, he said that he had talked with Reno and that she supported his decision.

Holder said he was concerned that a trial of a black defendant accused of killing a white police officer would have been “painful and potentially divisive” for the city. He also said the District’s long-standing opposition to the death penalty gave prosecutors reason to worry that a jury might not go along with a death sentence.

But Holder said the city has become a “vastly different place” since the death penalty was overwhelming rejected in a 1992 referendum. “I see a city now that is more conservative and a lot more concerned about crime,” he said.

U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin, in approving the deal, said he thought it was in the public interest. “Of course, there is nothing that can be done to bring back the officer whose life was ruthlessly cut short by these senseless acts,” he said.

White and McCauley crossed paths in the early evening of Dec. 30, 1993. Court records give the following account:
White and his partner, Earline Harris, who were in uniform, approached McCauley because White thought the car McCauley had been driving was being sought by police. McCauley kept walking as White asked to talk to him, and the officers followed him onto a porch.

When McCauley went for a handgun in his pocket, White grabbed him in a bear hug. A shot went off, striking Harris in the back, but her bulletproof vest protected her from injury.

The two men tumbled down the steps. Harris saw McCauley standing over White, firing a gun. She fired one shot, but her gun jammed. McCauley fled and was captured within minutes.

After the hearing, White’s widow, Joie, said she was “so sick” of hearing that McCauley was a victim. He has been portrayed by his lawyers, G. Allen Dale and Robert Morin, as a poor youth who became a gun-toting drug dealer in the Kentucky Courts public housing complex after his younger brother died in his arms, the victim of a masked gunman.

Arguing for the death penalty, Joie White said, “We are cheating ourselves, and we are not being accountable ourselves” by “throwing money” at violent crime and simply locking up people such as McCauley.

Her husband’s mother, Martha White, said she was disappointed. “This is not a racial thing,” she said. “It’s a good-versus-evil thing. Until the people of the District of Columbia and the United States wake up to reality and deal with crime . . . good is going to lose.”

During the hearing, Martha White and her family — accompanied by more than two dozen police officers — sat on one side of the courtroom, as McCauley’s mother, father and stepmother sat quietly on the other side. McCauley’s family would not comment, but they were very much on Martha White’s mind.

“I lost as a mother. But so did Mrs. McCauley, except she can go visit her son, and I will never see mine again,” Martha White said, breaking down in tears.


DONZELL MICHAEL MCCAULEY is confined at the United States Canaan Penitentiary. It is a high security institution housing male inmates, with a satellite camp that houses male minimum security inmates. The facility is located in the most northeastern county in Pennsylvania, 20 miles east of Scranton, and 134 miles north of Philadelphia.

McCauley is sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.