Library public safety director tenders resignation after officer shot

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The DC library’s director of public safety tendered his resignation hours after a 25-year-old library police officer in training was shot dead during a drill last week in Anacostia, a security guard said Wednesday. floor of the library system.

George Williams, the library’s spokesman, said officials received Douglass Morency’s resignation letter on the evening of August 4, the same day Maurica Manyan was shot and killed inside the library of the Anacostia neighborhood, on Good Hope Road in the southeast.

Police have charged retired DC police lieutenant Jesse Porter, 58, with manslaughter in the shooting. Court documents say it happened as the cadets prepared for a group photo at the end of training, and witnesses have suggested it may have stemmed from a prank gone tragically wrong.

Williams said Morency, who earns $137,700 a year, no longer handles the day-to-day operations of the department, although his official departure is scheduled for August 18. Morency did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Williams declined to provide Morency’s resignation letter, calling it a personal document, and the specific reason for leaving was unclear. But the Manyan shooting had raised questions about the training and standards of a 36-member police force that attracts little attention. The department has six police cruisers and officers patrol 26 library branches across DC

Williams said an acting director of public safety has not been named and supervisors are replacing him.

Porter has been released and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 24. His lawyer declined to comment last week; he did not respond to interview requests on Wednesday.

Libraries function as multi-purpose gathering places – where children hang out after school, the homeless seek help from social workers and residents get their taxes, renewed passports and free coronavirus tests from the town.

Retired DC police lieutenant charged with shooting library officer

In the library system, Morency oversaw people called “special constables”, whose powers of arrest are generally limited to the properties they are assigned to protect—in this case, all library grounds. These officers must meet requirements set by the DC Police Department’s Security Officer Management Branch, one of two city agencies that regulate licensed security officers.

Williams said the training and development coordinator for the library’s public safety department left in July and officials decided to contract with Porter, who runs a private company called Porter Consulting and Expert Tactical Training. , with an address in downtown Washington, according to online records.

Porter left the DC force in 2020 after roughly three decades. While a DC police officer, according to his resume, he worked on training at the academy, writing curriculum and reviewing use of force incidents to improve tactics and training.

Williams said “the library’s public safety department knew Mr. Porter because of his training” with DC police. He said the Aug. 4 training session was the first time Porter’s company had been hired to train library police.

Library officials hired Porter’s company using what’s called a city buy card and paid him $1,550.

A document titled “contract agreement,” dated June 30 and provided to The Washington Post by the library’s general counsel, outlined the specific training Porter had agreed to provide. It listed courses on use of force, de-escalation, use of expandable batons and handcuffing techniques. He claimed that the training company “will not be liable for any injuries sustained while training”.

Williams said bereavement counselors have been made available to staff in person and remotely while colleagues and friends process the tragedy. But an email sent to all discouraged librarians and other staff employees to discuss the shooting or their deceased colleague, even amongst themselves.

The email sent by Tanzi West-Barbour, director of marketing and communications for the library, warned: “Conversations with each other or with members of the public about the incident and/or matter or people involved can affect the investigation. Please don’t.

His email also warned against “engaging in conversations via social media”, specifically noting emoji like “thumbs up, heart, crying emoji”. could affect the criminal case.

She wanted to pursue a career in criminal investigation. Then she was fatally shot.

Efforts to reach West-Barbour on Wednesday were unsuccessful. Williams, the library’s spokeswoman, said she was out of the office and referred questions about her email to Kevin McIntyre, the library’s general counsel.

McIntyre said he didn’t want to stifle free speech from employees about their colleague’s death, but he was concerned about what they might say.

“The email was sent to prevent employees from speaking on behalf of the agency or to give the impression that they are speaking on behalf of the agency,” McIntyre said. “The concern was to release inaccurate or unverified information that could harm our dear colleague’s investigation.”

McIntyre said emoji can be problematic. “I think they can be taken in different ways,” he said.

After The Post asked about the note, West-Barbour sent a new email on Wednesday evening when returning his previous statement.

She said employees were still not allowed to speak to the media without permission, but added, “We continue to encourage you to check in with others and share Officer Manyan’s memories.”

Ellie Silverman contributed to this report.


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