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D.C. Police Captain’s Lawsuit an ‘Insult to Taxpayers’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT: Darren McKinney (202) 682-0084


 Plaintiff’s Reportedly Bad Judgment Justifies His Demotion and Reassignment 

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 9, 2012 – Citing the Washington Post’s coverage of a local police captain’s multimillion dollar lawsuit against the District of Columbia and several city officials, an American Tort Reform Association spokesman and D.C. resident today called the litigation a “disgraceful insult to every Washington taxpayer.”

ATRA director of communications Darren McKinney weighed in on D.C. Police Capt. Hilton B. Burton’s “ridiculous” $6 million lawsuit filed yesterday against the city, Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and two assistant chiefs for their alleged “infliction of emotional distress” in connection with his 2011 demotion and reassignment.

“Capt. Burton’s lawsuit is sadly typical of far too many disgruntled and unsuccessful public- and private-sector employees who seem to think they have a right to exercise poor judgment and repeatedly cross their bosses but still keep their jobs and even be promoted,” McKinney began.

“According to media coverage last year and back in 2008, Capt. Burton exercised very poor judgment more than once, both as the former commander of the police department’s special operations division when he defended a high-speed escort provided to notorious reprobate Charlie Sheen, and earlier when he reportedly used a department e-mail account and cellphone to send sexually-oriented messages.

“Capt. Burton also showed poor professional judgment when, apparently motivated by a variety of simmering policy and personnel differences with Chief Lanier, he chose to undermine her publicly with testimony, supposedly as a ‘private citizen,’ before the city council as it investigated the Sheen motorcade.

“Further making the case against Capt. Burton’s judgment is his audacity and that of his lawyers in asking for a jury trial in their suit against the city.  Do they really think a jury of D.C. taxpayers is going to hand over millions of their hard-earned dollars to a sexting, Charlie Sheen-fan man-child who seems to have gone out of his way to embarrass his boss and their city?

“One needn’t believe Chief Lanier is infallible to believe that Capt. Burton is lucky he’s still got a job at all, much less one at his current rank and pay,” McKinney observed.  “In the real word, those who don’t know how to get along with and support their bosses more often than not rightly end up unemployed.”         


The American Tort Reform Association, based in Washington, D.C., is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to tort and liability reform through public education and the enactment of legislation.  Its members include nonprofit organizations and small and large companies, as well as trade, business and professional associations from the state and national level.

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