Cathy Lanier vs. Kris Baumann
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
The two most visible badges in the city, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier and Fraternal Order of Police boss Kris Baumann, have been duking it out for a while now. The feud started after Lanier assumed her post in 2006 and contract negotiations with the rank and file of D.C.’s 4,400-member police union went sour. The FOP has scrapped often with Lanier’s administration—particularly in court, where the two have scuffled over everything from alleged retaliation against whistle-blowing cops to denied Freedom of Information Act requests. Lanier has remained insulated from many of Baumann’s criticisms by an oft-referred-to 80 percent approval rating among residents. Much of that popularity has to do with the city’s falling crime rate—which Baumann contends is based on bogus numbers. Lanier has “been able to maintain her public popularity through the creation of second set of crime numbers that inaccurately portray the reality of crime in the District,” he says. Contacted about her rift with Baumann, Lanier claims there isn’t one. “It should be obvious to everyone that I do not have time to feud with anyone—other than the criminals in this city,” she told Washington City Paper
. But those sure sounds like fighting words to us.