District of Columbia Police Inspector Adrian D. Barnes has resigned amid findings that he was convicted in the early 1990s of abusing his wife. D.C. Police Chief Larry Soulsby said the recently-promoted high-ranking official did not report serving a year’s probation for domestic violence. Officers in the department said that Barnes’ domestic abuse charge was well-known, even “common knowledge” according to one retired high-ranking official. Yet Soulsby says he did not know about the incident or conviction until one of his command officers informed him a few days after Barnes’ recent promotion.
According to a federal law passed in September, persons convicted of domestic violence are prohibited from carrying a weapon. The U.S. attorney’s office is going to determine if Barnes violated the law by carrying a weapon. Law enforcement officers are not exempted from the domestic violence offender gun ban, though there are moves in Congress to gut the ban or to do away with its retroactivity.
Background checks of D.C. police officers are currently done only upon hiring or promotion. Soulsby, whose department has been criticized for hiring officers without doing background checks, says he plans to implement checks every five years.