With Washington, D.C., being one of the safest cities in the countries, its local police force has the resources and the time to prioritize executing a no-knock warrant over alleged animal cruelty, perhaps even at the behest of spiteful and petty local politicians. It's what Mark Thorp, the owner of two bars in D.C., says happened to him.
In a lawsuit filed Monday, Thorp claims three Washington police officers raided his home with a "defective" warrant alleging animal cruelty. Thorp says when police found no evidence of animal abuse in his home they began to field test capsules for the presence of illegal drugs, and also seized his pet Doberman, Vaughn. Thorp's lawsuit names the D.C. government, one of the cops who participated in the raid, and the Washington Humane Society as defendants and Thorp says he just wants his dog returned to him.
In his lawsuit, Thorp also suggests the raid was conducted at the behest of a local advisory neighborhood commissioner, Kathy Henderson, against whom Thorp won a $141,000 libel judgment after she testified falsely about his faux dive bar, Jimmy Valentine's, and made malicious comments about it on the Internet. While the lawsuit alleges Henderson conspired with the D.C. officer named as a defendant, Ramey Kyle, to get Thorp's home raided. As The Washingtonian reports:
Although Henderson is not named as a co-defendant in the new lawsuit, Thorp's complaint does make note of a rental property she owns in Columbia Heights that has been documented as an asset that could potentially be seized by US Marshals in order to make restitution. But according to [Thorp's lawyer Matthew] LaFande, one of the other big reasons Henderson is not back as a defendant this time is to spare any potential courtroom theatrics.
"I have a $141,000 judgment against her," he says. "I refuse to provide her with another soap box to stand on. There's no remedy I can obtain from her I didn't obtain in a previous lawsuit. At the moment, we just want the dog back."
While Washington's violent crime rate has gone down over the last seven years, to a rate of 1177.9 incidents per 100,000, it's still higher than many cities of a similar size, like Boston and Denver, although it's lower than the rate of 1405.2 per 100,000 for Baltimore, a city close to Washington geographically and in size.
h/t Derek D.