Federal child porn charges filed against former DC officer - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Federal child porn charges filed against former DC officer

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Linwood Barnhill Linwood Barnhill
WASHINGTON -

A D.C. police officer accused of pimping young girls out of his Southeast D.C. apartment is facing a new charge -- felony possession of child pornography.

Linwood Barnhill has been locked up since his arrest last December and will answer to the charge Friday in U.S. District Court where he is expected to plead guilty.

Until last week, Barnhill had only been facing two counts of pandering of a minor until federal prosecutors decided to add the much more serious charge of possession of child pornography.

A recently filed court document shows the now former officer is facing all three charges in federal court.

Barnhill was arrested last December after officers located a missing girl and evidence of a brothel inside his apartment.

But it wasn't any run of the mill brothel -- it was one in which Barnhill was allegedly using the internet to advertise the services of underage girls and set up so-called "dates" for them at his apartment on Stanton Road.

His arrest came just days after another Seventh District officer, Marc Washington, was charged with producing child pornography. Washington killed himself after making just one appearance in federal court.

The arrests caused uproar in the community and elicited an angry response from Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who said, "And it only takes one cop to do one thing like this to shake everybody in our community.”

Barnhill's case has been moved from D.C. Superior Court to federal court where sentences can be much harsher. We asked defense attorney Bernie Grimm, who is not involved in the case, why that might be.

"The U.S. Attorney’s office has gotten aggressive with police officers in the past four or five years, and since they are supposed to be an example or emblematic of the law and when they violate the law, especially laws having contact with children, they are going to punish them to the fullest extent of the law and this guy is looking at some serious time in prison.”

The document filed in court is an information, which usually signals a plea deal has been reached.

The question here is what took so long? Why did prosecutors wait six months to file the child pornography charge?

"That's what interests me,” said Grimm, “because if I have a case in Superior Court and it’s a drug case and the U.S. Attorney’s office evaluates it and discovers my guy is a big-time player, it then goes over. But that’s within a week, not months, so I'm not sure why the delay here. Maybe they wanted some cooperation out of the police officer and they weren't getting it.”

D.C. police say Barnhill is no longer on the force. He has been locked up since his arrest.

Barnhill had spent 24 years on the force, and at the time of his arrest, he was on leave after accidentally shooting himself in the foot.

No other D.C. officers have been connected to the case.


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