These are a series of news articles that mention Isaac Fulwood during his career with MPD, ending with a story about his retirement. 




Two men were arrested and charged with armed robbery yesterday after a chase through far Northeast Washington that followed a robbery at the American Security and Trust Co. Branch at 822 East Capitol St., police said

The two were listed by police as William Harrison, 21, of 1104 4th St. SE, and Donald Raymond Jewell, 22, of 202 L St. SE. They were charged in connection with a robbery that took place about 11:42 a.m. yesterday.

Det. Sgt. Robert Jones of the bank squad said that a gunman entered the bank, approached a teller’s cage and saw Gary Brandt, 17, a teller trainee, carrying two canvass bags containing money that had been delivered by armored truck.

Pointing a gun at Brandt, the robber demanded the bags, took them, and left the bank. As he entered a car outside, he was spotted by Sgt. Isaac Fulwood of the recruiting division, Jones said.

Suspecting trouble, Sgt. Fullwood, who was off duty, followed the car in his own auto long enough to get a description and the license number. Then he returned to the bank, checked with other police who were arriving, and put out an alarm.

A few minutes later and about a mile and one half away, two officers of the special operations division saw an auto matching the description given and began to pursue it, Jones said.

According to Jones, the chase ended near Kenilworth and Eastern Avenues, where four men abandoned the auto and fled. Police said the two suspects were arrested by the pursuing officers and others from the sixth district.




OFFICER SLAIN ON DUTY MOURNED Wearing black tape across his gold  D.C. police badge, D.C. Deputy Chief Isaac Fulwood sat at his desk yesterday afternoon and struggled with his emotions as he mourned the line-of-duty death Tuesday of one of his officers.“You ask yourself why,” Fulwood said in a low, shaking voice. “A good, young officer, married with two very young children dies at the prime of his life….”With tears streaming, Fulwood excused himself during an interview to splash water on his face, then returned. “All over a stolen auto,” he said.Fulwood commands the 6th District, where Officer Donald G. Luning, 31, had worked for 10 years. Fulwood said his men were wrestling with grief yesterday after the slaying of Luning, who was shot once in the chest with his own gun Tuesday afternoon during a struggle with the driver of a stolen car. Police said that Luning was with his partner about 4:20 p.m. Tuesday when he spotted the stolen car in the 3700 block of Jay Street NE. The driver parked the car and fled into an apartment building in the 3700 block of Hayes Street NE.According to an affidavit presented by the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. Superior Court yesterday, Luning cornered the suspect in the apartment building and was about to handcuff him when the man, described as weighing 220 pounds and standing 6-feet, 4 inches, resisted and “gained the upper hand.”During the struggle, the affidavit said, Luning’s gun fell to the floor and the suspect got on top of the officer, who was lying on his back, and held him down. The suspect then picked up the gun, stood over the officer and shot him.Police have arrested Mark Anthony Watson, 19, who told the court that he lived on Edgewood Street NE. (Police had given a different, and incorrect address for the suspect Tuesday.)Watson was arraigned yesterday on a charge of first-degree murder and ordered held without bond. At the same time, prosecutors dropped auto theft charges against a woman riding with Watson after determining she was unaware that the car had been stolen.Prosecutors said that Watson is a high school dropout who has an extensive juvenile record, is wanted in Fairfax County on a burglary charge, and has a firearms charge pending against him in the District of Columbia.Meanwhile yesterday, Heroes Inc., an organization that provides financial support for the relatives of Washington area policemen and firemen killed in the line of duty, gave $2,500 to Luning’s widow. The Fraternal Order of the Police added $1,000. She will also receive $50,000 from the federal government and widow pension benefits from the city.In the 6th District yesterday, officers put black tape across the badges on their police cars, as well as their uniforms. Said master patrolman Frederick D. Johnson, “It always seems like something like this always happens to the best





Denise Baken, who lives around the corner from the notorious illegal drug market of Hanover Place NW, recently found packets of cocaine hidden in her front yard amid the geraniums and the ivy.

The invasion of her husband’s carefully tended garden and the continued presence of drug dealers on her block were sure signs to Baken that police failed in their well-publicized attempt, called Operation Beat It,” to close down the city’s biggest cocaine street market.

“It’s like ‘Operation Beat It’ never happened,” said Baken, who has lived on nearby O Street for five years.

“It’s going more than full tilt now. When I found that coke in our garden, I was in awe. For the first time it hit me. They (the drug dealers) are entenched.”

Police officials now concede that they may never be able to eradicate drugs from the Hanover Place neighborhood. They say that drugs are a pervasive problem throughout the country, and that until the supply of illegal drugs is shut off and drug users here receive treatment, authorities have little chance of wiping out the city’s two dozen major drug markets.

They also say that thec Hanover market situation is complicated by the fact that some of the dealers are neighborhood residents. It is much easier for police to handle outsiders working on street corners than those working behind closed doors.

Hanover Place, located near North Capitol Street and New York Avenue NW, is a trash-strewn dead-end block where half of the two-story, brick row houses have windows that are boarded up ans scrawled with graffiti. Every day, drug customers with Maryland, Virginia and D.C. license tags drive into the little street to buy $60 packets of cocaine. It is one of the city’s most violent streets, where disputes are resolved with guns and knives and where four people have been slain so far this year, according to police.

On late June, 1st District police, who have jurisdiction over Hanover Place, set up a 24-hour-a-day blockade of the street and questioned everyone entering it.

For two weeks, the bustling cocaine market with its hundreds of customers and dozens of dealers was transformed by “Operation Beat It’ into a ghost town. Children suddenly were allowed to play in the empty streets and adults could sit on their front stoops, taking advantage of the calm.

The operation, named for Michael Jackson’s hit song, netted 222 arrests that resulted in 287 charges, according to police. Thirty-five of the arrests were for narcotic-related offenses, four were for weapons possession and the rest were for disorderly conduct and traffic violations, police say.

Police say they confiscated illegal drugs worth $23,750, along with $1,257.79 in cash., three handguns and one knife.

Baken, her husband and her neighbors said at the time they were pleased with the operation. But now that the blockade is gone and the drug market is booming again, they are questioning the operation’s effectiveness.

“We are mostly discouraged about Hanover,” said Baken. “When the police occupied the area like an army, it was our only respite. Now we think the drug dealers will win.”

Inspector Kris Coligan, head of the police department’s morals division, said a permanent presence of uniformed police officers on Hanover or anywhere else in the city is impossible.

“We can’t camp there,” he said. “It takes a enormous amount of resources to camp out. We have to weigh that against the other criminal activities in the community. That market will come back until people (drug users) get treatment.” 

Coligan added, “In those street market areas, people looking for cocaine know where to get it. It is hard to eradicate those known drug areas. People from Virginia, Maryland  and D.C., when they go to Hanover, they will find the drugs. It is also an area that drug dealers have identified as a place they want to deal out of. We will not say that Hanover Place will ever be completely clear (of drugs). But we will do everything we can to disrupt it. The only was to control Hanover is to camp there.” The problem of dealing with the various cocaine, heroin, PCP and marijuana markets scattered throughout the city is a difficult and frustrating one, police say. When they move into an area with an operation such as “Beat It,” they only push the market to new areas.

The dealers from Hanover Place, some of whom were arrested but not held in jail pending trial, simply moved north of Hanover to First and Florida NW and west to First and O streets NW. While police stood guard over desolate Hanover Place, suburban drivers cruised the area until they found their connections.

Residents of the new drug-market blocks complained, and police pushed the dealers farther on. According to police officials, the Hanover dealers eventually ended up in a neighboring police district, setting up shop at established drug markets at Seventh and T streets NW and at 11th and O streets NW.

Three months after police cleared Hanover of drug traffic, it started to return. “We pushed them out to somebody else’s district and they just pushed them back to us. The big crowd is definitely back,” said a police official who preferred not to be identified.

Deputy Chief Isaac Fulwood, who commands the 1st District, calls Hanover Place his district’s “number one problem due to the volume of people, the volume of traffic and the violence that goes with the sale of drugs.” 

Fulwood said some of his officers are still active on Hanover, but they are now in plain clothes.

“When we go into an area and do a ‘beat It,’ our object is to give the community the sense that we care, and they can see that visually,” he said.

“The second objective is to develop intelligence…to get to the people who are buying it and distributing it.

“We didn’t just pull out of Hanover. We went to observation posts. We are now serving warrants based on that information. In the long run, one warrant can have more impact that 20 street arrests. It is more effective than camping out.”

For Baken and her family, the long run is too far off. They have put their house up for sale and have purchased another house on Capitol Hill.

“We have done everything we can here,” she said. “We worked with the police. Timmy (her husband) worked as an advisory neighborhood commissioner for two years. We met with our councilman and with (City Council Chairman) David Clarke. Our problem is that there is never a vacation from the drug traffic. It is always there and now it is in our front yard.”

Fulwood said he cannot promise Baken or anyone else that the problem will ever be eliminated.

“If the quality of life has deteriorated so much that (Baken) can no longer deal with it, I can identity with that,” he said. “They don’t deserve the scum of the earth hanging around the neighborhood. I take it personally (that someone is moving), as if I hadn’t done everything I can. When people have to move, that is a damn shame.”





Nine fatal overdoses last weekend furnished stark new evidence of heroin’s increasingly deadly hold on Washington.

This District is a major center of the heroin trade, law enforcement officials and experts on drug abuse say.

Washington’s death rate from overdoses is far out of proportion to the city’s size. In the year that ended Sept. 30, according to federal government figures, there were 185 heroin overdose deaths in the Washington area, in contrast to much larger metropolitan areas, such as Chicago with 53, Detroit with 91, and Philadelphia with 65.

The heroin traffic here is distinctive not only for its volume but also for its openness. D.C. police have identified 20 locations throughout the city where heroin is bought and sold openly on the streets. Four are major 24-hour-a-day markets, serving as virtual convenience stores for the city’s estimated 12,500 addicts.

Often addicts and “chippers”—casual recreational users—pay to shoot up in “oil joints,” shabby basement or first-floor apartments near the marketplaces. For those too frightened to inject the drugs themselves, there are “hit doctors” who will do the job for $5.

Mayor Marion Barry, Police Chief Maurice T. Turner and other city officials years ago declared “war” on heroin in Washington, and they have been issuing new declarations ever since. But they also have spoken often of the frustrations of battle against a global drug trade. “Heroin,” Barry has often said, “doesn’t grow at 14th and T.”

Police stage periodic raids on the more flagrant heroin depots, disrupting business for a time. But in the long run they succeed mainly in pushing the dealers from one street corner to another, or dispersing them more widely throughout the city.

“We realize that we can’t stop it,” said Capt. James Nestor, head of the D.C. Narcotics Task Force. “The best we can do is try to put a hurting on the people who use it. Our job is to make the citizens happy. Citizens don’t like seeing addicts congregating on the streets, so we keep chasing them around the city.”

Despite the efforts of police and city officials, the death rate from overdoses keeps rising—in 1980 there were 82 in Washington, a high number compared to other cities but less than half as many as last year.

One contributing factor in the rise of the heroin death rate in Washington is the increasing purity of the drug sold on the city’s streets.

Inspector Kris Coligan, head of the D.C. police department’s morals division, which handles narcotics offenses, said that in 1978, heroin seized on the streets averaged 1.8 percent purity—that is, it contained 1.8 percent pure heroin. By last year, he said, the average had risen to 6.2 percent; now officers are seizing heroin of 7 percent purity.

So the police chase the addicts and the addicts chase the drugs. And on the evening of March 1, as people all around the city began dropping from overdoses of an untraced batch of lethally potent heroin, Assistant Police Chief Isaac Fulwood went on the 11 o’clock news to warn users to stay away from narcotics that night.

The city government had assumed the role of consumer watchdog.

What police are up against in the fight against drugs in this city is quite different from what they are battling in other major urban areas. Police say that instead of organized crime controlling drug trafficking, as in New York or Chicago, Washington‘s drug business is controlled by makeshift clusters of addict-dealers—a hierarchy of friends and acquaintances who operate as crime captains, lieutenants, sergeants and crew members. 

Police and other sources give this account of how these drug organizations work: A captain sets the tone for his operation with the name he chooses for his product—“Direct Hit,” “B-52,” “Cujo,” “Black Tape,” “Rattlesnake,” “J.R.” or “Murder One,” just to name a few of the scores of brand names that identify not just the drug but also the people associated with the operation.

While crew members work the street corners in eight-hour shifts, sergeants determine what kind of stolen goods will be accepted in lieu of money. Lieutenants tally the proceeds and make sure that the city’s “dope centers” are supplied at the right time of the month.

The drug business is regulated by the day of the month, with the 1st, 3rd and 15th being the days when the “best” dope is put out on the street to lure new customers. These are the days when welfare and other government benefit checks are received, and drug dealers are known to offer discounts to welfare mothers in an effort to get them hooked.

By the end of the month, when money is tight, a type of drug dealer known as the “garbage man” takes over the market, selling an “inferior quality” drug at prices as high as the market will bear.

Using a mixture of substances such as iron, quinine and confectioner’s sugar to increase the quantity of the drugs, the garbage man is often as dangerous as the dealer who puts out a purer product. 

“Last weekend will happen again,” said Coligan, referring to the overdose deaths. “They (drug dealers) are not chemists or doctors. These are street people. They are not mixing this stuff in a lab. They make mistakes and errors, and they will end up killing people.”

“It’s a hellacious cycle,” said Alfred McMaster, a D.C. narcotics detective who recently dressed up in a Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull costume and lured heroin buyers into one of this city’s most spectacular drug stings. “You have low-income kids coming out of one-parent house-holds who look at drug dealers and think that they are somebody. And the kids want to be somebody.

“They go home and ask mom for $10, but mom is on welfare and $10 is a lot—like dinner for a family of six. So mom says no. But the kid knows how he can make some money, and be somebody, too.” 

While the makeshift crime associations are more conspicuous, police say there is another group involved in the trade—perhaps three or four major heroin dealers who are second and third generation pushers. They do not use heroin themselves, and they try to avoid contact with addicts, whom they consider beneath them.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse compiled a stistical portrait of heroin users in Washington, based on 1983 and 1984 data from hospitals, the medical examiner’s office and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Seventy-two percent of the city’s heroin users are addicts, the study found. Twenty-two percent use the drug for “psychic effect,” which seems to reflect what authorities say is an increase in casual or weekend use of the drug. One percent had used heroin in a suicide attempt.

Half the city’s heroin users, according to the profile, are between theages of 20 and 29. Another 40 percent are in their thirties. Three-quarters of Washington’s heroin users are black; two-thirds are male.

The study found that the vast majority of users—more than 96 percent—take the drug by injection. Less than 1 percent take heroin by smoking, sniffing or swallowing it.

Dr. Lonnie Mitchell, head of the D.C. government’s drug abuse program, said the city’s estimates that there are 12,500 heroin addicts in Washington. He said the city’s drug treatment programs see a monthly average of 3,400 persons.

He said city officials recently decided that methadone maintenance programs—in which the heroin addict is given methadone, which also is addictive—are not a workable long-range solution.

“We have people who have been on methadone for 12 or 13 years,” he said. “In November we made a decision to limit methadone to two years.” He said the city is starting to use another substitute drug that is not addictive.

The openness of the heroin trade here is striking. “The street markets are the fastest way to sell the stuff,” police Capt. Nestor said. “It is unreasonable to expect us to eliminate drugs in the city without elimination of the supply. No enforcement age could eliminate the drug useers without stopping the supply. If the supply stopped, you won’t need us there.”

Nestor added, “The only thing that bothers people is what they can see. No one would care if it were indoors. That was the case with cocaine. It was sold indoors for years, and now that it’s on the street, people care about it.”

The heroin problem has been primarily confined to the city, but D.C. police homicide detective Ronald Taylor recently held a heroin seminar for police officials from Prince Georges, Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier and Charles counties. The session focused on such things as discerning evidence at the scene of an overdose death and how to read an addict’s “historic tracks”—the needle marks in his or her arm that give a clue to the victim’s background.

“They are just starting to see the problem,” Taylor said. “And some of these guys thought syringes were only used to shoot insulin.”

Assistant Police Chief Ronal Cox, who had jurisdiction over the morals division, said police have not given up on attempts to stop the heroin traffic and the related crime it generates as addicts steal to maintain their habits. “We don’t want to contain it,” he said, “we want to eliminate it.”

Cox added, “We are hoping to get some major traffickers off the street and make the situation unbearable….If you don’t do anything about it, then you are giving a license to people to traffik in drugs.

“When we get to the point where we accept defeat, we have lost…I have to believe that we will win. We can’t tolerate what we have got….We can’t let discouragement beat us.”

Heroin, former users say, seems to hold you in its warm arms and protect you from the cruelties of the world.

The line between being a “chipper,” or casual user, and being a junkie is a fine one. Those who have crossed it say it might be the step of injecting the drug instead of sniffing it. Ot it might be the point at which the need for heroin is not to enjoy the intoxication, but to cover the pain of heroin’s absence.

Sharon and Paul, two residents of R.A.P. Inc., a private nonprofit drug-treatment center on Willard Street NW, spoke last week about how they came to embrace heroin and how they have struggled to free themselves. Both asked that their last names not be used.

Sharon, 34, seems the picture of the young professional woman. She is educated and articulate, and she dresses with the panache of the upwardly mobile. She says she used heroin for 16 years.

“I was a chipper fom 1968 until 1979,” she said. “In ‘79 I started injecting heroin because I had blown out my nose and ears.”

She explained that the substances that are used to cut heroin damage the user’s nasal membranes, and that she also got ear infections from sniffing drugs. “I just couldn’t inhale any more. Snorters delude themselves about not having a problem.”

From 1979 until last year, Sharon said, she used heroin daily.

“I was able to work,” she said. “I was productive. I kept getting raises until the very end. There is a myth that you can have to be on the street level and act like a derelict to be a junkie. That just isn’t true.”

She said she used to buy her daily heroin at 14th and W streets NW, Washington’s best known heroin market, on lunch breaks from her office job.

“I paid my dues on 14th Street,” she said ruefully. “I got burned (sold bad dope) because I was a well-dressed female. They used to say to me, ‘Show me your track marks,’ because they thought I was a cop.

“I used to shoot up in the car. A single woman doesn’t attract attention sitting in a car alone. I’s pull up to a stoplight, have my leg all strapped up, and cook it up and shoot it before the light changed.  No one would notice.”

Paul, also 34, said he was attracted by the excitement of the life style. “The risk-taking was one of the lures,” he said. “There is an element of excitement of going downtown and buying drugs on 14th Street. I chose to go there because I liked the cat-and-mouse thing with the police.”

Sharon and Paul both described their visits to “oil joints” or “shooting galleries.” Using heroin is an expensive proposition: About $35 to $40 to buy a teaspoon’s worth of heroin, called a “quarter” on the street; $2 to enter the “oil joint”; $1 to buy a syringe; and another $5 if the user wants someone else to inject the heroin for them.

The ‘oil joints” or “oil houses” are generally furnished with old couches and chairs and other furniture, and they sometimes have mirrors positioned high on the walls so that a user can see to inject his or her neck.

“You have a certain posture when you approach an oil joint,” Sharon said. “You are ready to shoot, and you don’t want no crap from nobody.”

Paul added, “You knock on the door and someone always says, ‘Who’s there?’ And you say , “Man, open the door!’ You get a little impatient.”

It takes only a few pieces of equipment to prepare the heroin for injection: a syringe, a bottle cap, a cigarette filter and a match.

The user puts the heroin and a bit of water into the bottle cap, heats the mixture until it dissolves, and then draws the mixture into the syringe through the cigarette filter, which traps some of the impurities.

The user then injects the heroin, or has someone else perform the injection.

Sharon and Paul complained that Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola bottle caps have gotten thinner over the years, and tiny holes sometimes appear in the caps when they are heated.

“You watch it drip out,” Paul said, “and you die.”





Washington is Drugtown. In at least 50 street markets across the city, anyone can buy whatever illegal high they want.

For the past decade, the struggle of the D.C. police to keep a lid on the booming drug markets has been markedly unsuccessful. Only a year ago, Insp. Kris Coligan, head of the morals division, said of Hanover Place NW, the city’s leading cocaine market, that the only way to close it down was for the police to camp out there. And, he added, that was too expensive.

But in a complete flip-flop of police policy regarding major drug markets, Isaac Fulwood, the number two man in the city police department who, sine January, has been the man in charge of the city’s war on drugs, now says 60 officers will patrol Hanover Place per day, and they will stay there forever if necessary.

Moreover, he sees this force as an unprecedented vanguard that will hold the neighborhood until free-market capitalism, aided by city service departments, turns the entire neighborhood around economically, thus encouraging gentrification that would displace crime from one of the bleakest areas of town.

“The idea is that for blocks, there’ll be no drugs,” said Asst. Chief Fulwood last week. “That people will move in there with families and the criminal element will no longer want to be there. It’s more than just going up there and locking those (drug) people up and running them out of there. The idea of the program is to create a good quality of life and eliminate that urban blight. I think it can be done not in 10 years, not in a year, but in a six-month period.

“Law enforcement for a long time hadn’t thought about how it relates to economic development . I mean, now that crime is going down in the city, you look at downtown and how it is growing. When those businesses come in there, one of the things that they always want to know is, ‘Hey, how safe is it? Will my employes come to work? Will the customers come? So it is critical to the economic life blood for us to have a safe, stable environment. The businesses are relying on us to make the neighborhood safe.

It may take two years before businesses get (to the Hanover Place neighborhood) there and get stable,” he said. “(But) businesses will come if they know the police are going to be there. If they see us there for the duration.”

There is a certain irony in a black police official, who was raised in Washington, encouraging gentrification in a poor, mostly black neighborhood of the city. For years, black residents of the town have worried about “The Plan,” a popular myth that holds that the tiny minority of white people in the city want to take control of the town and of a government dominated by elected black politicians.

For that matter, if successful, the project offers the startling prospect of the police’s being able to pick and choose neighborhoods that they can subject to a real-estate boom.

But Fulwood is focusing on one thing: that urban decay is a nesting place for drug dealers. “The market places—where the drugs are—all of them are in neighborhoods where there is urban blight.” And he says he has a clear mandate from the police chief and from the mayor to close down the Hanover Place market permanently. Fulwood recounts that Chief Turner told him “Hey. The mayor’s called me about Hanover Place. We are going to dry Hanover Place up. I don’t care how you do it. We are giving you overtime. Do it.”

It is difficult to envision dreary and shabby Hanover Place as Washington’s next great neighborhood with real estate speculators tripping over themselves in the rush to show the tiny, two-story, brick houses to Washington yuppies. The 30 houses left on Hanover Place, a block of few residents and no stores, are valued by the city tax assessor at no more than $25,000 a piece. Only six are owned by the people who live there. About 40 percent of them are abandoned.

Then there is the problem of the police simply keeping control of a block that they have twice in 18 months swept with well-publicized raids, only to see the drug dealers swiftly return. Skeptical neighbors have adopted a wait-and-see attitude on a program that practically promises heaven to an area long plagued with all the problems an inner-city neighborhood can have—ranging from violent crime to a lack of trash removal.

Hanover Place is a one-block long dead-end street near North Capitol Street and New York Avenue NW. For five years, day and night, cars with Maryland, Virginia and D.C. tags have created traffic jams there as their occupants negotiated to buy $50 packets of exceptionally pure cocaine from the many willing vendors who lined the narrow street. In the past six months, nightly shoot-outs between rival drug dealers and between sellers and buyers were common.

Hanover Place met all of the requirements for a thriving drug market. Like many of the 50 other neighborhoods in the city that support such bazaars:

It is near major thoroughfares—North Capitol Street and New York Avenue—allowing quick and easy access for buyers from Maryland, Virginia and D.C.

Many buildings are abandoned. Therefore, there are fewer neighbors to object. Also, dealers have places to hang out, hide from police and store the drugs.

Garbage is allowed to accumulate, attracting rats, and stray dogs and cats. This is at least partially because the average trashman is reluctant to drive his truck into a dark alley which, he has reason to believe, is full of heavily armed men. The trash in turn provides thousands of hiding places for small quantities of the drugs the dealers are holding. Because it is an open-air market, the smell of urine finally permeates the entire neighborhood.

Hanover Place is typical of other drug marts, too, in that once the street and sidewalks of any neighborhood becomes the the business address of drug dealers, the residents become hostages in their own homes. Hundreds of people who don’t live on the block occupy it. The view from the front window of homes in the neighborhood is of the backs of young men lounging against the resident’s fence and gate,

It becomes impossible to park on the block because all the spaces are taken up by the customers anxious to make a connection. Friends stop visiting. Real estate values fall. And the police themselves begin to wonder how anyone could live in a neighborhood like that. As a result, they tend to disregard complaints from residents who, the police come to think, must have brought their problems on themselves.

It is this blanket of drug sellers and customers that not only alters the life style of the residents but also forces businesses to close because customers will not wade through a crowd of junkies to buy a loaf of bread. And the store owners can’t afford to stay open after repeated holdups.

But Hanover Place didn’t commit suicide; it was helped to its death bed by an indifferent city government including the police department. Residents of the area are quick to list the number of phone calls and letters they have written in an attempt to get help during the past five years. They collected signatures for petitions and they visited city council members. Meanwhile, they say they got nothing but the runaround while the drug dealers made millions from the Hanover market.

But Fulwood, a 45-year-old graduate of the District’s Eastern High School who often sounds more like a city-planner than a cop these days, flatly states that this time, the cops will hold onto Hanover Place.

“We got to take this one marketplace and win,” Fullwood said. “We have to win. I mean, there are no ifs, ands or buts about it. This is the kind of thing we can’t afford to lose.”

This is the first time that the police department has been the leader of an assault on a high-crime neighborhood that includes other city agencies such as housing and public works. Several years ago, the police department was one part of a multi-agency attack on the deteriorating neighborhood around the municipal building then under construction at 14th and U Streets NW. That operation was called Brightside. Fulwood said that his new program, called Operation Avalanche, is drawn in part from the Brightside program.

Fulwood’s plan is to have his police officials secure an 18-block buffer zone around Hanover, so that the surrounding neighborhood is not destroyed by dealers simply moving their business a few blocks away. The buffer zone is bounded by First Street NE, Fourth Street NW, Florida Avenue NW and New York Avenue NW.


This zone is inhabited partly by long-time homeowners, predominantly black, who survived the downturn their neighborhood took after the riots of 1968. It has a sizable community of newcomers both black and white who have renovated the turn-of-the-century rowhouses. Yet it is also an area of cheap rental apartments, corner mom-and-pop stores and vacant buildings.

What is striking about Operation Avalanche is its simplicity. Once his police have secured the neighborhood, all Fulwood wants to do is force the delivery of city services to a neighborhood which had none.

The housing department is checking for code violations. If the owner—who is usually an absentee landlord—does not fix his place up, he can be fined. If the problem is that the house needs boarding up, and the owner does not comply, the city will do the job and tack the cost onto the owner’s tax bill.

In some cases, the city may end up as property owner on Hanover. The police department is considering seizing several houses on Hanover that were used as distribution centers for drugs, or that had been bought with proceeds from the illegal trade.

Meanwhile, the Public Works Department has recently taken 18 tons of trash out of Hanover Place and towed 14 abandoned cars. City-installed high-intensity lights now brighten the block like a movie set.

And Fulwood said, Madeline Petty, director of the city’s Department of Housing and Community Development is involved. “We can try to stabilize the businesses that are there,” said Fulwood. “And then try to get new businesses to move in. I think that’s key to making the area a better place. It may take a year. It mat take two years. But businesses are going to see that it’s possible to make a profit. They’re not going to come up here if they know that junkies are going to be out front and cut off the customers from coming inside. But if they see that the police are going to be there, they’re going to come.”

Fulwood is a tough, no-nonsense kind of cop. He is called “dictator” and a “tyrant” by his detractors, and a “fair and up-front administrator “ by his fans. Physically imposing, if not intimidating, his style is very direct, almost brusque. Of Project Avalanche he asks,”If I don’t take the lead, who will?” and waits for an answer to the question.  When done is forthcoming, he continues “Why should I sit back? I am a risk-taker. There is no question about that. If I lose on this one, I lose big. No one will ever believe me again. But I believe I will win. And I will bring pressure to bear on other people to make sure we win.

Flat statements like these are unusual for high-ranking police officials. Such comments—which could come back to haunt him—are even more interesting given that in the police department and the District Building, Fulwood is widely regarded to be the shoo-in candidate for police chief when Maurice Turner decides to retire.

But middle-of-the-road is not Fulwood’s style. A fondness for his native city and an interest in the “little guy” comes through all his comments. He worries about people not being able to sit on their front porch or let their children play on the sidewalk. He sees the police department as having a duty to insure people’s rights to feel safe in their neighborhoods.

“To me, drugs are personal,” Fulwood says. The fact that this is happening in a town I grew up in is a personal thing with me. It’s more that just that I am a police officer. I mean, deep down inside of me, I resent it. And I resent people who talk about it as recreational drugs. Because I see so many damn people out there dying from it. It’s like the MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) lady. Her daughter got killed by one of those drunk drivers. When it became personal to her, she took a stand and she’s made it a part of her. And fighting drugs is part of what I am as a person.”

So what made Fulwood choose Hanover Place over the other 49 recognized markets as the staging ground   for his new offensive? 

It was partly the publicity given the problems of the block in the news media. “Hanover Place was just a place that had become a thorn in everybody’s side,” said Fulwood. We started to get complaints from a whole bunch of people, including the mayor, who said people were complaining to him.”

What about residents of other drug markets areas?

“I’ve been hearing from them too,” said Fulwood.





IT WAS NEARLY 6:30 P.M. WHEN  Ike Fulwood stepped from his cruiser to survey the scene that had turned Meridian Hill Park into an armed camp.

In a few minutes, some 1,000 officers under Fulwood’s command would fan out into the streets of Mount Pleasant to enforce the first night of a 10-hour curfew ordered by Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon following two nights of looting, arson and rioting.

Fulwood glanced at the rows of helmeted District officers dressed in full riot gear. He gazed beyond them to the phalanx of U.S. Park Police officers, some straddling motorcycles, others mounted on horses. In the distance, he heard the loud whir of a police helicopter landing on the northern edge of the park. Dark green prison buses with barred windows lined 15th Street NW where Fulwood stood.

As usual, the D.C. police chief was wearing a crisp, white short-sleeved shirt, but everything else about his appearance suggested a desperate need for sleep: His face, framed by silver-gray hair, was haggard, his eyes bloodshot, his broad shoulders slouched.

As dusk fell over Meridian Hill and busloads of officers set off for the curfew zone, Fulwood huddled briefly with some of his commanders and then made his way back to his navy blue Ford Crown Victoria, known on the force as Cruiser 1. He needed a few minutes away from the tumult.

Ike Fulwood had not seen this kind of civil disturbance since the 1968 riots, when he was a young officer. In 1964, he had somewhat reluctantly joined a police department that, at the time, would not even allow him to ride in a police car because of the color of his skin. Twenty-seven years later, the irony could not escape him: Now members of the Hispanic community were accusing his predominantly black police force of the same kind of harassment and insensitivity he had experienced as a teenager on the streets of Capitol Hill.

From the steamy August day he’d taken office in 1989 to this cool May evening on Meridian Hill, Fulwood and his 4,600-member department had been embroiled in turmoil. It seemed sometimes as if the city were being torn apart – by drug dealing, by gunfire, by the birth of “crack babies” and by the pain of shattered families – and for Fulwood, a District native from a large, poor and troubled family, these things were much more than mere headlines. He took them all personally.

Five months into his command, then-Mayor Marion Barry – the boss, friend and benefactor who had given Fulwood the top job – was arrested on drug charges in a sting by federal agents and Fulwood’s undercover detectives. The mayor’s subsequent trial was a painful period for Fulwood. Then, just as the Barry controversy was dying down, the chief faced a trial of his own, as his integrity came under fire in a D.C. Superior Court discrimination case. Six white officers accused Fulwood of lying about his role in the bungled “Caribbean Cruise” drug raid. They charged that Fulwood, who oversaw the 1986 operation as assistant chief, had leaked details to The Washington Post and had manipulated an internal police investigation to make them scapegoats for the raid’s highly publicized failure. Intense coverage of the court case seemed to hurt Fulwood’s already strained relationship with the new mayor.

And now the riots. It appeared that Fulwood’s integrity and his abilities were both in question. Rumors that the chief’s days were numbered had begun to fly around the District Building. Even as he prepared to enforce the curfew, his reputation was still on his mind.

“Anyone who knows Ike Fulwood knows how he feels about drugs,” he said, exasperated, in response to a reporter’s question about Caribbean Cruise. “I would never interfere with a drug investigation. I will be vindicated.”

Then he offered an analogy calculated to give his doubters pause.

“Why would I have interfered in that investigation?” Fulwood said. “I didn’t interfere in the mayor’s drug investigation. And I didn’t interfere with my own brother.”

TWENTY-ONE MONTHS EARLIER, ON A sweltering August evening, the television set was blaring in the Occoquan dormitory at Lorton Reformatory. The 145 prisoners were milling around their cramped quarters or stretched out on their cots when they heard the familiar jingle for the local crime-news show, “City Under Siege.” As inmates glanced up at the TV, Theodore Fulwood suddenly saw his brother’s face on the screen.

Isaac Fulwood was being appointed police chief.

“I really felt . . . I can’t describe it,” Teddy said, his eyes watering, as he recalled the moment. “I was happy for him, but it was a miserable experience for me. . . . He was getting ready to take on the highest position in the police department and I was in here. It created a feeling of shame . . . He had no brothers there to witness that.”

Under the fluorescent lights in a barren Lorton interview room, Teddy, 42, didn’t much resemble his burly older brother. A tall, lanky man, he was dressed in drab prison clothes: gray pants hemmed with red thread, a white T-shirt and a stained blue cotton jacket with the number 162-267 on the lining. The corrections officer who led him into the room had remarked that Teddy’s DCDC number, assigned when a suspect is first incarcerated, was a low one, indicating that his first contact with the D.C. prison system had been a long time ago.

Teddy was in Lorton for cocaine distribution. He had been unemployed, on parole for a 1986 bank robbery, when he was arrested in May 1989 trying to sell drugs to two women on a street in Northeast Washington. Teddy tested positive for cocaine, pleaded guilty to drug distribution charges and spent about eight months in prison, unable to make bail. His criminal record was publicly reported for the first time that year, and it embarrassed both Fulwood brothers, neither of whom would talk about it then.

The latest in a long string of crimes stretching back half a lifetime, Teddy’s cocaine arrest marked a turning point in Ike Fulwood’s relationship with his brother. After years of struggling and reasoning and pleading, he finally understood that Teddy would have to save himself. Nothing he could do would help. For a man who had spent his professional life fighting the city’s drug problem, the realization was doubly painful.

Teddy told his prison visitor that he believed things would be different this time. He had hit bottom, he said, and wanted to be reunited with his wife and children, who live in the old Fulwood family home on Kentucky Avenue SE. “Drugs have really done a lot as far as tearing my value system down,” he said. “Like slowly chopping the tree down. But I feel as though with the proper help I can overcome this thing.”

He stood up to return to his dormitory building. Dozens of inmates peered from barred prison windows, watching him as he passed by the barbed wire fence and turned around.

“Tell my brother I love him,” he said. “Tell my brother, God bless him.” He ambled toward the brick dormitory, opened the door and disappeared from sight.

THE LIFE OF ISAAC FULWOOD JR. IS A study in achievement framed by tragedy.

He holds one of the most high-profile law enforcement jobs in America. He’s the man who’s supposed to keep order in the nation’s capital, the cop who takes charge of D.C. police security when the likes of Mikhail Gorbachev or Nelson Mandela come to town.

But his is the sole success story in a family of nine children whose lives reflect, in magnified form, the debilitating troubles of the inner-city poor. And he’s most often in the public eye these days as a leader in the city’s endless war on drugs – a costly yet unsuccessful crusade against crack and against the seemingly unstoppable wave of homicides that has taken more than 850 lives since Fulwood became chief less than two years ago.

The tension between Fulwood’s personal achievements and the devastation that surrounds him makes him in some ways emblematic of the city he loves. And the strain shows.

“The ghosts are always around a little bit,” says one Fulwood friend. “He’s arrived. But I don’t know that he’s allowed himself to come to that realization. It seems like he’s almost afraid to slow his pace because some gremlin may jump on his shoulder . . . He has to keep on the treadmill. He sees his family’s failures and it keeps him from taking personal fulfillment in his own successes. He gives himself very few breaks.”

Fulwood’s father, Isaac Sr., a diminutive man rarely seen without his Camel cigarettes, worked long hours as a carpenter, construction worker and general handyman after moving here from South Carolina in the 1920s. A tough disciplinarian, he tolerated no back talk, set strict curfews for his kids and never hesitated to pull out his leather strap. “You’re going to kill that boy, you keep beating him,” his wife, Betsy, would say when he took the strap to Isaac Jr.

Betsy – an outspoken woman who was larger than her husband – was the center of the family, and she struggled to compensate for the Fulwoods’ lack of means. She cooked chitlins and chicken dinners on the weekends, which family members sold to supplement their income. No matter how little she managed to scrape together for the family, Betsy insisted that everyone have dinner together. Her children, crowding the table, eagerly awaited meals of fresh-baked bread, huge pancakes, chicken on Sundays, banana pudding on Tuesdays, half-smokes and beans on Fridays.

But for young Ike – known as “Junior” – the usual joys and adventures of childhood were tempered by a host of sorrows. When he was 10, his 8-year-old sister, Nora Lee, was in the basement kitchen when her nightgown brushed a burner on the stove and caught fire, engulfing her. Junior caught his last glimpse of the child as she was rushed to the hospital, where she died. “Those are the kinds of things,” he says in his deep, gruff voice, “that you don’t ever really get over.”

Nor can he forget the Christmas Eve when his brother, Robert Lee, went into convulsions several weeks after he had been hit by a taxicab on a city street. “We thought he was going to die,” Fulwood recalls. Robert, who had suffered brain damage, never returned to school and is still subject to seizures to this day.

Like Robert, three other Fulwood siblings did not attend school because of handicaps. Fulwood’s late brother Alexander had a heart disorder and a severe speech impediment, and his sister Mildred had learning disabilities. Schoolteachers of that day didn’t know how to deal with their problems, particularly in an inner-city school, so they were not educated. Nor was Fulwood’s older sister Jessie Mae, who suffered from heart disease and blindness and was not expected to survive to adulthood.

The Fulwoods lived directly across the street from a big liquor store on Kentucky Avenue, and family friends believe the temptation was just too great for two Fulwood brothers, Mac and J.C., who became alcoholics and ultimately drank themselves to death – J.C. at age 30 and Mac at about 50. But for the youngest son, Teddy, the temptation was drugs, initially during military service in the Vietnam era, when, for the first time, he was away from the protection of his parents and big brothers. Returning from the service, Teddy started racking up convictions for robbery, forgery, carrying a dangerous weapon, assault, drug possession, and more.

The Rev. J. Terry Wingate, a family friend for 25 years, sees a divine hand in Ike Fulwood’s survival. “I tend to believe that where there are weaknesses in body, mind and spirit, that God will raise up one in that family to bear the weaknesses of the rest,” says Wingate, pastor at Purity Baptist Church, where the Fulwoods worshiped. From early on, he says, Junior “looked at his brothers and sisters, saw their situations and saw what they would never be. And he saw he had to bear this, and be strong.”

“I’m an awfully lucky person who God looked out for,” says Fulwood, 51, who believes that the family’s travails fundamentally altered his outlook on life. “If you have everything God gave you, and it’s functioning like it should, you’re a lucky person. I know what it is to suffer. I know what it is to see others suffer. That’s why I don’t feel like I’m better than anyone else.”

For whatever reason, Junior endured, exhibiting a mix of his parents’ qualities – his mother’s outspokenness, his father’s pride – and his own blend of stubbornness and diligence. At age 9, he would load up his little red wagon and deliver groceries for the Kentucky and D Market, dutifully bringing his pay home to his mother.

It’s not that he never rebelled. One Sunday, for example, having decided that church didn’t fit the tough image he was trying to foster with his peers, he simply refused to go. His father ordered him to bed, “because you need to get well.”

Another time – a summer night when Junior was about 10 – he and his friends got hold of a ladder and climbed over a barbed wire fence at the Mann’s Potato Chip Co. They found a 55-gallon barrel of kosher dill pickles, tipped it over on its side and banged it against the gate until the gate collapsed. Laughing all the way, they rolled the barrel to a nearby corner and sat down to savor their ill-gotten gains.

“How many kosher dill pickles can four people eat out of a 55-gallon barrel?” Fulwood says, eyes lighting up as he re-creates his brush with juvenile delinquency. “We ate as many as we could eat. Then we said, `Hey, why don’t we roll this sucker down the street just for the hell of it?’ That thing hit two or three cars, you know? We ran and hid. And we saw the police coming . . . But they never caught us.”

Despite such pranks, Fulwood managed to steer clear of serious trouble. He got kicked out of Eastern High School once for fighting with another student, but his mother marched down and informed the assistant principal that the other youngster must have been at fault because her Junior just wasn’t the kind to start something like that.

He was an adequate student at Eastern, but his first love was sports, especially baseball and football. Most every morning he would meet teammates on the balcony of Eastern’s auditorium. “We would just sit around and talk about professional sports and dream of being a professional athlete and how much money you would make, how many girls you could have,” he says. But his quick temper – a trait that has endured – ended those fantasies: He blew up at the football coach one day and quit the team.

When Fulwood graduated from Eastern in 1959, he went to work repairing machinery in a laundry on Georgia Avenue NW, where several of his uncles and brothers worked. He enjoyed engaging the older men in heated debates on everything from civil rights to boxing, proving to his uncles what his friends had learned long ago: Ike Fulwood was one opinionated guy.

“That’s when I knew Ike was a little different,” says his aunt, Sarah Prince, the matriarch of the Fulwood clan. “He had a mind of his own. And that would surprise the older men. Most times it irritated them. But he would just stand his ground. And his father, who would stop by the laundry from time to time, would just smile, as if to say, `That’s my boy.’ ”

FULWOOD’S EARLIEST MEMORIES OF THE D.C. police are not pleasant ones.

Isaac Sr., he says, once called the cops because someone had thrown a brick through a window in the family’s row house. As the two responding officers approached, one said something about “niggers raising hell.” The elder Fulwood heard him. “And my father said to them, `We called for help. You can’t help us.’ He told them to leave.

“I basically did not like the police,” Fulwood explains. “I had met very nasty policemen who would say anything to black people or do anything to them. Very rarely did you see black police officers. And I had seen policemen call people niggers routinely.”

So he was skeptical when he ran into an old high school baseball acquaintance – Addison Davis, a rookie officer in the Metropolitan Police Department – who tried to interest Fulwood in taking the police exam.

Fulwood, then 23, was newly married to 20-year-old Ruth Elizabeth Johnson, a quiet, pretty girl from Eastern High School who initially thought him somewhat conceited, but married him after they dated for about a year. He was still working in the laundry, which made him little more than a “glorified maintenance man” in the eyes of one member of Ruth’s family. Davis, who is now an assistant chief, kept touting the benefits of police work, telling Fulwood that he could never change the way police treated blacks unless he signed up. Eventually Fulwood agreed, and on November 23, 1964, he joined the Metropolitan Police. The attractive salary of $6,010, his wife believes, was a major factor in the decision.

Blacks at that time were not allowed to ride in squad cars and could not patrol white residential areas, so Fulwood was made a foot patrolman and school crossing guard in his own Capitol Hill neighborhood. It wasn’t long before he gained a reputation as an aggressive rookie. His first night on the street, Fulwood says, he arrested a man who had beaten up his mother, helped deliver a baby and intervened in several neighborhood fights. “He was gung-ho,” says his friend Samuel Graves.

On the streets, Fulwood quickly learned, many police academy lessons go out the window. “At the academy, they told us this is what the law says, this is what the order says, these are the things that you have to have to charge somebody with `failure to move on,’ ” the chief says, laughing. “Well, I knew that on the street, you didn’t get involved in none of that. You told somebody to get going. If they didn’t move, they were locked up.”

It was during these early days that some of his worst fears about discrimination were realized. One night when his precinct was short-handed, a sergeant told Fulwood that they needed him to ride in a squad car with a white officer. Fulwood went to the cruiser and waited. But the white officer never showed up. Another night, during a heavy snow, a sergeant called Fulwood at home at 3 a.m. and said, “Boy, you got to be in here at 5 in the morning.”

“Boy plays with Tarzan,” Fulwood remembers saying, “and this ain’t no movie show, so don’t ever call me a boy.” He hung up.

But the sergeant called back. “Did you hang the phone up?” he asked.

“Did you hear it click?” Fulwood replied. Fulwood was ordered to the sergeant’s office. “I looked at him and I said, `Hey, I’m six feet tall, 23 years old and I weigh 190 pounds and I will whip you in here so bad that you’ll be hospitalized. Don’t you ever call me a boy!’ ”

Fulwood’s bitter resentment of racial inequality would become his trademark on the force. Sometimes it simmered privately, sometimes it made him explode in rage.

On his beat, Fulwood took the initiative to set up a neighborhood program he called “Talk With Ike,” through which he counseled juveniles. This led to a community relations post. Community relations officers – especially blacks – were continued on page 23 FULWOOD continued from page 15 in demand after the 1968 riots, and Fulwood caught the eye of then-Lt. Burtell M. Jefferson, who would become Washington’s first black police chief in 1978.

“I noticed the kind of respect {Fulwood} had for the people,” Jefferson says, and that “made a lasting impression on me.”

Inspired by Jefferson and eager for advancement, Fulwood was disappointed when he did poorly on the department’s next promotion exam. Jefferson and other officials took him aside and stressed that acing the exam was the only way for blacks to get ahead. So Fulwood formed a study group with six officers, some of whom are still his closest friends. They worked three or four hours a night at a table in Fulwood’s basement and, as the test approached, took vacation time to cram. In the end, they did so well that some white officers believed they cheated.

Under Chief Jefferson, Fulwood began a meteoric ascent through the ranks: lieutenant to captain to inspector to deputy chief in just 26 months. During this time, Jefferson also made him the first black to become the department’s top budget official.

Fulwood’s promotions made his parents extremely proud. Dying from lung cancer, his father still came to the ceremony when his son was made deputy chief. “He was kind of bent over in pain,” Fulwood says. “I hadn’t seen him smile in a while. When it was over and I walked over to talk to him, he had a smile on as big as his face. And he gave me an envelope with $100 in it.”

But Fulwood’s success brought with it new enemies jealous of his rapid ascent. “Ike and Jeff were very close,” says former police chief Maurice T. Turner Jr. “People want to get promoted. It’s only natural that they’re bitter when they’re not.”

“Everybody,” Samuel Graves says, “wanted Ike to mess up.”

IN A PROMINENT SPOT ON THE WALL behind his desk at headquarters, Fulwood keeps a framed 1985 Washington Post article about him. The story is headlined “Resiliency Serves Official Well, Controversy Has Not Stalled Fulwood.” It highlights two police investigations that raised questions about Fulwood while he was a district commander in Northeast. He has framed it as a sour reminder of what he sees as unfair treatment by his adversaries and by the press.

The investigations date to 1981, when Fulwood was moved out of police headquarters to command 6D, the largely residential 6th Police District east of the Anacostia River – a move some saw as an effort by Chief Turner to undercut a possible contender for his job.

Fulwood appeared to thrive in 6D, but ran into trouble when the Fraternal Order of Police accused him of juggling the police district’s crime statistics – by systematically downgrading the seriousness of the offenses – in an alleged effort to defuse the politically explosive crime issue in the 1982 election. A highly publicized probe eventually cleared Fulwood, concluding that he reported crimes differently than other officials, but finding no evidence of fraud.

Later, Fulwood came under scrutiny once more when the U.S. attorney’s office probed allegations that 6th District officers had organized a 1983 carnival featuring illegal gambling. Joseph E. diGenova, the U.S. attorney at the time, declined to prosecute, but wrote that his investigation revealed “shockingly poor judgment” by unnamed police officials.

“In my police career, I’ve had almost 200 commendations: letters, awards, City Council resolutions, mayor’s proclamations, university citations . . . The sum total of my career is not this,” Fulwood says, pointing to the framed article. But the kind of controversy it reported dogs him still.

Fulwood’s credibility was attacked again this year in the three-week Caribbean Cruise trial, with allegations that he leaked confidential police plans to the media and manipulated a subsequent internal investigation to cover up his own failures. The trial undoubtedly tarnished the chief’s reputation among some constituents. Barbara Rothenberg, vice chairman of a police department citizen’s advisory council in Northwest, said she believes Fulwood “tried to blame others for his failure and lied about it. I think he should go.” But the court case ended in a mistrial last month, and Fulwood, asserting that he did nothing wrong, predicts he will be vindicated in the retrial this fall.

By far the most controversial situation Fulwood has confronted, however, involved his relationship with Marion Barry. The former mayor was both his biggest booster – the man who replaced Burtell Jefferson as Fulwood’s principal patron – and the biggest headache any police chief could have.

Fulwood and Barry first met when Fulwood was a rookie beat cop and Barry was a civil rights activist who had been arrested while protesting at 14th and U streets NW. “He was walking around and raising hell about discrimination and how blacks were treated,” Fulwood says.”He was calling the police every kind of name you could think of.” Although opposites in many ways, their personalities clicked. “For some odd reason, we could communicate.”

But the friendship didn’t jell until years later, when Fulwood was credited with helping save Barry’s life.

Fulwood was a lieutenant assigned to Capitol Hill when, in 1977, a group of Hanafi Muslims seized the District Building. Barry, then a member of the D.C. Council, was shot in the chest and held hostage on the fifth floor. Fulwood was among the small group of officers who were able to get inside the building. While some officers stayed on the first floor, drawing up a plan, Fulwood and a few others attempted a daring rescue, crawling across a hallway to pull the bleeding Barry from a City Council office into an elevator. “He was scared to death,” Fulwood says. “He thought he was dying.”

The police were unable to rescue a young WHUR-FM radio reporter, Maurice Williams, who was shot to death near the fifth-floor elevator. “I can remember just being overwhelmed by that sense of seeing somebody laying there and you know they’re dying in a big puddle of blood,” Fulwood says. “For years, I never rode that elevator.”

Most police officials familiar with the incident believe it forever endeared Fulwood to Barry. But Fulwood disagrees. “It might have been {a bond}. But we never really had a major discussion about that. I don’t think he wants to remember.”

Whatever the nature of their relationship, it helped Fulwood become the department’s number two man in 1984. He was promoted to assistant chief in charge of the powerful field operations bureau, commanding about 85 percent of the department’s manpower, and, in a somewhat unusual move, it was Barry – rather than Turner – who announced the promotion. Fulwood had leap frogged senior officers, and Barry’s involvement prompted speculation that the mayor was grooming Fulwood to be chief.

Four years later, on December 22, 1988, two D.C. undercover police detectives were turned away from the Ramada Inn Central in Northwest, where they were trying to investigate a drug complaint against Charles Lewis, a friend of Barry’s. Not surprisingly, the incident severely strained Fulwood’s relationship with the mayor, who was in Lewis’s room at the time.

As the police investigation unfolded, Barry frantically called Fulwood. But Fulwood – who says now that he was disillusioned by the growing evidence of Barry’s drug use although the department had not substantiated any specific charges – refused to return the mayor’s calls. Barry’s calls culminated in an angry Christmas Eve exchange with police dispatchers, whom he ordered to find Fulwood. But Fulwood still did not call back.

A few days later, according to a police source, a Barry confidant gave Fulwood a none-too-subtle message: You’re not chief, yet.

In the spring of 1989, after a long-running conflict with Barry culminating with the Ramada incident, Chief Turner resigned. Although Fulwood was heir apparent and had been endorsed by Turner, Barry announced he would interview contenders for the $83,475-a-year job.

Fulwood – who wasn’t disillusioned enough with the mayor to give up a job he’d wanted for years – was the last interviewee, and he met with Barry and City Administrator Carol Thompson late into the evening. His pitch was simple: Policing today was too reactive. His vision was to get more officers walking beats and involved with communities rather than patrolling in squad cars.

When Barry subsequently offered him the job, Fulwood says, “I just sat there. I guess I was numb from it; also, sort of humbled. As the conversation ended – we were talking for about an hour – Carol Thompson said, `Well, the mayor’s offered you a job, but are you going to accept it?’ And that was the first that everyone kind of smiled.”

It was not until Fulwood got home that it all sank in. “I was kind of overwhelmed,” he says. “And I was very nervous because I realized I wouldn’t have Mo Turner to go to and say, `Hey, what do you want to do about this?’ Now it’s you. The buck stops with you.”

Six months later, Barry was arrested at the Vista Hotel. When the phone rang that night at the Fulwood home in Southeast, Ruth Fulwood recalls, her husband “was so upset that I wondered if he knew that this was happening. It seemed to come as a surprise to him . . .When it was all over and the smoke cleared he said . . . `Why did this have to happen while I’m chief?’ ” After the phone call, Fulwood stormed out of the house, slamming the door behind him, and didn’t return until 4 a.m.

It remains something of a mystery how much federal authorities told Fulwood in advance about the joint FBI-D.C. police sting on the mayor. It would seem unusual, to say the least, for his own detectives to participate in such an operation without his knowledge; yet a high-ranking law enforcement source said that Fulwood was not officially informed of the night’s plans beforehand because federal officials were concerned about his friendship with Barry. Fulwood will only say that his detectives were briefing him on the case and that he was aware of the details “in plenty of time.”

Fulwood has never been a fan of U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens, and the tension between them grew as Barry’s trial approached. The chief refused to speak publicly about the Barry case, and he bitterly resented that Stephens did so. Only after the trial was over would Fulwood share his feelings about Barry.

“I care about him as a person,” Fulwood says. “I know the throes of substance abuse because I’ve experienced it in my own family. And so I have a certain amount of empathy for it.

“But I ain’t never been nobody’s boy. I’ve never been in anybody’s pocket . . . Professionally, the mayor knew that I was going to get the job done and that I was not going to permit anything to get in the way of that.”

FULWOOD FROZE AS HE HEARD THE CALL crackle over his police radio: “Shots fired at 34th and Camden Southeast.”

Damn, Fulwood thought. That’s right near where I live. The chief, who was at a police barricade that night last year in Northwest, darted into his car and drove off.

For a man who has driven to hundreds of crime scenes, it was an emotionally wrenching ride. Who is it? he wondered, fighting back the panic. Who was shot so near my home?

When he arrived about 10 p.m., a young man was lying at the end of the alley behind Fulwood’s house. He had been shot in the head, and officers had placed a white sheet over the body, leaving only his tennis shoes protruding. Jesus, Fulwood thought, those look like the same tennis shoes as my son’s.

“I just stood there. I didn’t want to look at the body,” he recalls. He never did lift up the sheet. But the victim turned out to be a 16-year-old Maryland youth who had been killed somewhere else and dumped there. “I came home,” says Fulwood’s daughter, Angela, “and my mother said that for some reason this guy’s death had really gotten to him. That next day, he just wasn’t the same.”

A few months later, Fulwood’s cousin, Deborah Ann Davis, 38, was brutally killed after testifying about a robbery she had witnessed.

Such close-to-home violence highlights the fundamental paradox of Fulwood’s life: Even as he has survived and prospered, tragedy has never been more than a gunshot away. Most notably, Fulwood’s rise in the police ranks has been paralleled by a horrific rise in drug-related violence, beyond anything most of his predecessors could have imagined – thanks largely to the arrival of crack cocaine. When crack first appeared in the District in the spring of 1986, it was Assistant Police Chief Fulwood whom then-Chief Turner directed to devise a program to shut down the huge drug markets. Fulwood’s idea was “Operation Clean Sweep,” a massive crackdown on street dealing that involved hundreds of officers moving into neighborhoods to seize cars, stage roadblocks, raid apartments and make undercover buy-busts.

The operation was praised by the community for cleaning up certain neighborhoods and producing about 40,000 arrests in two years. Most street cops loved it because, in some cases, they doubled their salaries in overtime pay. But it also overwhelmed the District’s courts and flooded its prisons – with no end to the violence – and finally D.C. officials were forced to dismantle it. “We knew that we couldn’t just keep spending like that,” Fulwood says now. “We were going to spend $19 million in overtime, and there was a lot of burnout.”

As Clean Sweep commander, Fulwood often accompanied narcotics officers on raids and roadblocks, and it was he, rather than Chief Turner, who was increasingly visible on the city’s blood-splattered sidewalks, at anti-drug rallies and in press conferences. More than any other police official, he seemed to be wracked by the pain of it all.

The first time he saw a man killed, he says, was “when I was 6 years old in an alley off 14th and Swann Northwest. A guy shot him three or four times. And man, you talk about scared, I mean I cried like a baby.” But today, he says, “When you go to the scene of one of these things, there will be a kid standing there laughing, and there’s somebody lying there with their brains shot out. This kid is standing there, smiling, and I’m standing there almost ready to throw up.”

In a January 1989 article for The Post’s Outlook section, Fulwood noted that there’d been more than 1,200 drug-related shootings in the District the previous year and made an impassioned plea to the community to get involved. He described teenagers who would kill and then nonchalantly tell the police, ” `I offed the mother.’ Not a tear, no remorse, just matter of fact.” He wrote about brutal shootings “where young people have had their kneecaps shot off, had their testicles shot off” and concluded that “1988 changed us, whether we realized it or not. We can never go back to what we were.”

A number of police officials were skeptical about Fulwood’s increased visibility. Some thought he was angling for Turner’s job. Others thought he didn’t fully trust his subordinates. Even Turner questioned why Fulwood showed up at so many crime scenes. “Fulwood was a conscientious official,” he says. “But we have people who are sufficiently and properly trained to take command of a scene. My ego isn’t such that I have to be seen on television to recognize my abilities.”

But Fulwood’s friends and family say that he took on a prominent role because drug violence had become a personal crusade, as infuriating and painful to him as the racism of his early police years. Fulwood himself describes his first months on the job – just as the crack epidemic seemed to reach its height – as one of the worst periods of his life. “I’ve gone through tremendous pain. I never dreamt I would inherit these problems,” he says. “These are enormous pressures. It’s almost like a wall closing in on you.”

INSIDE THE STONE AND BRICK HOUSE SET high above Southern Avenue SE and surrounded by a white iron fence, his children say, Ike Fulwood doesn’t look as stern as he appears to the outside world.

“You see him on television, he’s always serious, always with a straight face and always looking mean,” says his son, Gary, 26. “Sometimes I’m sitting with him watching himself on TV and I tell him, `Loosen up, man, loosen up.’ ” It can take some prodding, but when the chief does loosen up, he can get downright silly. “My girlfriends will tell you he performs in here,” says Angela, 22. “He gets up at the table and does the butt. And he acts like he can do the electric slide.”

On weekends, Fulwood likes to hit golf balls with his spokesman, Reggie Smith. Sometimes he retreats to the kitchen to cook chili gumbo or to the barbecue to grill steaks. He rarely drinks and doesn’t particularly like to go to parties, though every Friday night he tries to take Ruth out to dinner, even if it’s only to Bob’s Big Boy.

But his main relaxation is television: sports, cable channels, news, “The Simpsons,” “In Living Color,” music videos such as Heavy D & the Boyz, all vividly displayed on the 45-inch TV screen in his basement family room. You don’t try to sit and watch with him, his family says. “He flips through the stations, I mean constantly,” says Gary. “When you get mad, he’ll say, `It’s my TV.’ ”

“He likes funny stuff,” Angela says, “and he gets down there and I have company and they’ll hear AH-HA-HA-HA. They say, `What’s that?’ I say, `That’s my father watching TV.’ He just laughs so loud.”

Friends say Fulwood has always been a devoted father. On weekends when Gary and Angela were young, he would get up early, go grocery shopping and cook breakfast for the family. When Ruth was studying at night to get her associate’s degree from George Washington University (she now works as a secretary at the National Science Foundation), Fulwood took care of the kids, cleaned the house and cooked the meals.

Early on, he showed his children his lighter side. He used to play cowboys and Indians with Gary when he was little, letting him wear his police hat and shoot at his father with his finger. Sometimes Fulwood would get down on his knees, pretend he was a tiger and come after both kids. “Me and my brother would run and scream,” Angela recalls.

These days, the family worries about his health. He smokes, eats too much junk food, often leaves home at 7 a.m. and doesn’t get back until late at night, sometimes with paperwork. “You’re going to give yourself a heart attack,” his wife and daughter sometimes warn. Ruth Fulwood says she is particularly worried about her husband’s diet, long hours and stress because he has diabetes, as did his mother.

And while he’s more relaxed at home than at work, he can still have a very short fuse. “When he asks you to do something,” Gary says, “he wants itdone now, not five minutes from now, not 10 minutes from now. NOW!” Dishes are a famous Fulwood fuse-lighter. “Those dishes are important to him,” says Angela. “Having them clean and not in the sink. Every day he comes in and before he speaks he’ll tell you, `Wash the dishes!’ That is his thing. When he cooks, he washes everything right when he’s cooking.”

A tall, attractive young woman with a husky voice, Angela Fulwood seems almost a mirror image of her father. She’s outspoken, ambitious, impatient and dedicated to a career in law enforcement. She has worked at the D.C. Probation Office and Pretrial Services Agency, and, having gotten her social work degree this year from Bowie State University, she plans to study public administration in graduate school.

When her father became chief, Angela could hardly contain herself. “I will always remember when he was standing center stage and they were reading his background,” she says. “I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or get up and scream . . . I was telling everybody, `My daddy is the chief of police!’ ”

Gary Fulwood is proud of his father too. But he has decidedly mixed feelings about the police.

In November 1989, Gary had an argument with his then-girlfriend outside the Utopia nightclub in Prince George’s County. As she was driving away, leaving him standing in the parking lot, a police officer demanded his identification, and Gary believed he was speaking disrespectfully.

“I’m just not going to be disrespected and not say something back,” Gary says. “I got a big mouth and I’m not going to let anybody talk over me for no reason at all.”

What happened next is unclear. According to Prince George’s police, Gary shoved the cop. According to Gary, he was walking away from the officer, muttering, when the cop grabbed his collar and shook him. “But he was a little police and I’m big,” says Gary, who is tall and muscular. “So he just tore my shirt. And I started laughing. I told the cop, `Either arrest me or let me go because I don’t have nothing to say.’ ”

Gary was charged with battery on a police officer, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. It was 3 a.m. when his father arrived to get him out of jail. Fulwood listened to his son’s story and agreed that the officer had not behaved well. But, he told Gary, “Whatever you play, you’re in it to win. By being quiet, you would have won. But you lost because you’re locked up.” Eventually, Gary pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a $100 fine.

It wasn’t his first arrest. When he was 21, he was charged by D.C. police with buying PCP-laced marijuana. Driving home from work, he says, he picked up an old high school friend who needed a ride. At a road blockade, police stopped and searched the car, finding marijuana on his friend.

Although Fulwood found his son a lawyer and told him “I’m in your corner all the way,” he didn’t come to court, figuring it would only create publicity. Gary was acquitted, but not before the press reported his arrest and he lost his job as a security guard.

“It wasn’t Gary Fulwood arrested,” Gary says with some bitterness today. “It was Assistant Chief Fulwood’s son. When I got locked up, they put it all on the news. But when I was found not guilty . . . they didn’t say nothing about it.”

With his father as a vocal fan, Gary played football at Potomac Senior High in Prince George’s County, where the family then lived. He passed up the chance for a college scholarship and worked as a security guard in Maryland. Once he turned 20, he considered joining the D.C. police. He passed the recruiting exam, but then got cold feet. “I wouldn’t want to have to go around in my father’s footsteps,” he explains. He got married last April and now works as a securities examiner at the Treasury Department.

Gary Fulwood has a special empathy for the difficulties of his Uncle Teddy. “I see myself in Teddy,” he said in an interview just after Teddy left prison, “We both know what we want. But we don’t know how to get it . . . When you carry that Fulwood name, you’ve got to worry about the comparison. It’s kind of messed up when you compare him to my father because they’re two different people. And if he wasn’t who he was, people might not think he was so bad.

“He wants to do right, but for some reason he just can’t . . .”

IT IS MORE THAN A YEAR NOW SINCE Teddy Fulwood got out of Lorton and into a treatment program at St. Elizabeths Hospital. He has moved into Oxford House in Northwest Washington, where he is one of 10 recovering alcohol and drug addicts who run the household collectively and hold regular group support meetings. Teddy says he is working steadily for a painting contractor while attending Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings. He looks stronger and healthier, and sounds determined to keep control of his life.

To celebrate their one-year anniversary being drug-free, Teddy and other graduates of the St. Elizabeths program held a ceremony in St. E’s basement chapel. Standing with his brother before an audience of about 60 former addicts, friends and family, Ike Fulwood spoke of the power of God to heal, and then, in the tradition of AA, he presented Teddy with an engraved bronze medallion, a “chip” for him to carry. One side said, “No addict seeking recovery need ever die,” and the other said, “To thine own self be true.” Both men had tears in their eyes as they embraced.

“You know, people say, `He is an embarrassment to you,’ ” the chief says. “No, I’m not hung up on that. Theodore Fulwood is Isaac Fulwood’s brother. And Theodore Fulwood means something to Isaac Fulwood. And I hurt when he hurts. I mean, he can’t do nothing to make me hate him. I love him.”

The other surviving Fulwood siblings don’t get together very often, although Teddy and Ike both visit their sisters, Mildred and Jessie Mae, who live together in far Northeast Washington. Mildred has a job at a McDonald’s, but Jessie Mae, whose blindness was caused by retinitis pigmentosa, does not work. The brothers also visit Robert, who never recovered from his childhood head injury and seizures and lives in a Northwest nursing home.

When he talks about his family, Ike Fulwood’s voice softens and his language becomes gentler. But it’s when he talks about his parents that his emotions really show.

“I was just a black kid from a large family who grew up in Southeast Washington and came into law enforcement at a time when it was segregated,” he says one day at the end of a lengthy conversation in his fifth-floor office at police headquarters on Indiana Avenue NW. “To have been chief of police is just a phenomenal thing, but I never forget where I came from.”

As the late afternoon sun streams through the windows, he leans back in his red leather chair and clasps his hands behind his head. He’s been talking about what he still wants to do in his remaining time with the department, rattling off different programs that he’d like to set in place. Then the conversation shifts to Isaac Sr. and Betsy Fulwood, who did not live long enough to see their son become chief.

“I had fantastic parents,” he says quietly. “I wish they could be here.” He reaches for a handkerchief and excuses himself while he regains his composure. Eyes red, he pulls out a cigarette and takes a long drag. Then his pager goes off and the desk phone begins to ring.

Fulwood slides open a drawer, loosens his belt and slips on his semiautomatic. There has been another shooting, and it’s time for him to go back to work. –




More than three hours after his retirement bash began, former Metropolitan Police Chief Isaac Fulwood Jr., known as a man who lays his feelings on the table, rose to speak to the crowd.

“I’m going to keep this brief, because I promised my daughter I wouldn’t cry,” Fulwood said. “This has been an extremely emotional period for me. Leaving law enforcement is not an easy task.”

But “real men,” he told the 1,000 guests, “feel the wide range of emotions. They feel pain, they feel love. Tonight, I feel fantastic. This has been a great day for me. I am a most blessed person.”

Outside the Ramada Renaissance hotel on Saturday night, a picket line of about 100 people protested the fact that District police have had only one pay raise since 1989, when Fulwood became chief. The mood inside, however, was decidedly light, as distinguished leaders from the city’s law enforcement and black communities honored Fulwood for his 28 years of public service – and teased him about his golf game.

Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly and her husband, John (who was sporting a black turtleneck rather than a tie), embarrassed the chief with golf-related gag gifts, including a pink putter to match his knickers and 50 cents John Kelly previously lost on a bet.

Then the mayor gave a more serious speech about growing up and serving in a “tough town” like the District. “When Bill Clinton sees how D.C. is, it’ll wipe that smile right off of his face,” she quipped. Emphasizing Fulwood’s dedication to the youth of the community and his new position as director of the mayor’s youth initiative program, Kelly asserted that he “will shepherd the way to bring our children back home.” She then proclaimed Nov. 7 as Chief Isaac Fulwood Jr. Day.

Remarks by those close to the chief and a film depicting his life and rise through the ranks presented a side of Fulwood that the public normally does not see. Mistress of ceremonies Susan Kidd of WRC-TV joked that “if I could’ve put some of the things he’s said off camera on {the air}, my ratings would have gone way up.” Fulwood’s longtime friend Thomas Queen testified that although “he may be one now, he was no angel” when they were growing up together in Southeast, alluding to the time “Junior” was reprimanded for stealing a barrel of pickles.

But particularly funny was a film of bloopers put together by some members of the police department that featured a tongue-tied and nervous chief, struggling to get through a public-service announcement about car theft. Fulwood finally completed his message after several dozen takes and much swearing. This prompted roaring applause from the guests, who themselves had been embarrassed earlier by the Rev. Joseph N. Begay when he caught the majority of the room with red faces and mouths full of salad as he gave “thanks for the food we are about to receive – or have already received.”

But for all the joking throughout the evening, there was still an underlying sense of melancholy. “He was always great to work with – always out there on the streets,” said Wilhelmina Rolark, D.C. Council member, affirming what dozens of others had said of Fulwood’s passion in his work. The most emotional remarks came from Angie and Gary Fulwood, grown children of Isaac and Ruth. “I’ll always remember him studying for promotion exams, luncheons held in his honor, and the school functions and Christmas celebrations that he never, ever missed,” Angie Fulwood said.

But perhaps the best testimony to his dedication to the community came from two girls who were involved in the D.C. Youth Task Force, a creation of Fulwood’s designed as an alternative to the streets. Mia Robinson, a 10-year-old who has been in the program for more than two years, read a poem she had written, and 11th-grader Evelyn Bitten spoke at length on what the program meant to her and the other kids. She ended by saying, “You may not be the police chief any longer, but you will always be our chief.”