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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Local Biz Owner Fights In-Home No Knock Warrant Execution [UPDATED]


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UPDATE
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Kathy Henderson's seized NW condo (the only mentioned in the complaint) is now up for auction. The listing actually went up February 4th, which happens to be the same day Mark Thorp's house was raided and his dog impounded.

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 The following document was posted online earlier today. It's a complaint from local resident and bar owner Mark Thorp (Jimmy Valentine's and Little Miss Whiskey's) alleging that MPD improperly knocked down three doors into Thorp's home in a no knock execution of a search warrant. The search warrant apparently arose from an allegation of animal cruelty against Thorp's dog. I'm acquainted with Mr. Thorp's dog, Vaughn, who has seemed to me to be extremely well treated. Members of MPD's Vice Unit (accompanied by animal control) seized Thorp's dog and further searched his house.
As you may recall, Mark Thorp (in the form of his business Jimmy Valentine's) successfully sued Kathy Henderson for libel. In a strikingly large recovery, Jimmy Valentine's was awarded around $140K in damages, attorney/expert fees, and other costs. Thorp has been trying to collect on this judgment, and part of that effort has entailed getting a lien against a condo in NW that Henderson has used as a rental property. The condo is supposed to be sold to satisfy the judgement. Unsurprisingly, she's been fighting this. Recently she filed a document saying she "has a right to use her property as a second residence for the enjoyment of heat, hot water and other amenities, without interference from any party." She's also claimed that she hasn't had a chance to obtain counsel in the matter (I think the original lawsuit was filed in 2011) and that health problems prevent her from being able to deal with the proceedings.

I mention this because, although Thorp does not name Henderson as a party to this matter, he alleges that she's part of a conspiracy to deprive him of his ordinary civil rights. Henderson has previously accused Thorp of various public health and criminal activities (part of the defamation suit). He alleges that since Henderson lost this suit she has been communicating with a 5th District MPD officer who works in Vice and that they have "conspire[d] to use assets of the Metropolitan Police Department to intimidate and retaliate against the Plaintiff for his exercise of ordinary civil processes to seek redress against Henderson for her tortious acts." This same officer was one of the members of the Vice Unit who executed the warrant resulting in the breaking down of Thorp's doors and the seizure of his dog.

The full complaint appears below, I just thought a little background might be useful because there is a lot going on in this document.
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59 comments:

Anonymous said...

This story is just as delicious as the PBR I enjoyed at Jimmy Valentines last weekend.

Anonymous said...

Did they find drugs? Isn't Jimmy valentines a notorious coke bar?

Anonymous said...

Even if they did find some sort of drug in the pill bottle, the cop could have drop it. This whole incident really smells, and I'm disturbed that MPD brass is allowing it. Of course, this is the same MPD that keeps telling us that crime is down, omitting the fact that violent crime with guns, and car theft is way up.

inked said...

6:26 & 6:58,
The complaint says the officer claimed to have found a pill that field tested positive for amphetamines. I don't know what was allegedly found, but a capsule containing amphetamines sounds a lot like Adderall (which one might have a prescription for).

6:26,
There was a point when I used to visit Jimmy's fairly frequently bk of a friend who lived right there. I never saw drugs at the bar. Maybe some patrons were on drugs or possessed them (that's something I assume about a lot of bars) but it wasn't visible to me.

What I find most concerning about this story is that we somehow go from one allegation of suspected cruelty to an animal to a same day no knock warrant execution that allows MPD to just rifle though everything in someone's house. That's a little terrifying, no?

inked said...

"Once a judge issues a warrant, the WHS officers call the owner and request that he turn himself in. If unsuccessful, an arrest is made. HLED handles the post-arrest procedure in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office."

That's from the DC Bar regarding animal cruelty warrants.

Anonymous said...

There is more to this story - keep in mind the complaint is telling just one side. I would really let this one get sorted out by the judicial system before jumping to conclusions about Kathy Henderson vendettas or anything else.

Anonymous said...

@6:26: "a notorious coke bar"? Have you ever *been* to Jimmy Valentines? It's a hole in the wall, but the art on the walls alone is worth the trip. Besides, coke is so 1980s.

Anonymous said...

I am baffled by this - on what planet is an army of vice cops required to serve a search warrant for a dog? And a no-knock warrant at that? What did they think the owner was going to do, flush the dog down the toilet? This is fucking insane. And what if the dog had charged at them - would they have shot it? This makes no fucking at all.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:51:00 AM i've heard stories from reliable sources about the coke use there. the stories alone made me never want to visit the bar.

Anonymous said...

This insane lady basically swatted this guy. She should be prosecuted. Go after a man's business... fine, but going after a man's dog is a bridge too far.

Anonymous said...

@9:37 - you are aware that your statement is exactly the kind of thing that got Kathy Henderson's property seized for libel, right? You can't just go around stating anonymously on blogs that so-and-so is a criminal or that such-and-such's business is a criminal enterprise. It's libel per se to do so. It's a very serious allegation.

Anonymous said...

I've been to JV's many, many times over the years and there is absolutely no rumor whatsoever of this bar or its owner being involved with drugs. I wouldn't be surprised if the Anon dropping such allegations on this board has some affiliation with KH or others involved in this case.

Anonymous said...

No, see libel would be saying something like, "Kathy Henderson hates dogs, and a vote for her is the equivalent of endorsing the wholesale murder of all dogs, and furthermore, Kathy Henderson won't stop until she has personally eradicated every dog amongst her constituency." What I said doesn't reach the level of libel because it wasn't intended to defame or damage her reputation, such as it is; it was merely commenting on allegations made against a public figure by other people. But shine on you crazy diamond, keep carrying her water.

Bunch of lies said...

I've been to LMW way more than JVLHC (mostly because the former is a Saints bar so I go there to watch games). Never seen any evidence of cocaine use whatsoever. Have been around Mark and his dog many, many times, and he loves and takes great care of him. This whole story is insane and I really hope that Kathy Henderson goes down. If her health issues keep her from dealing with a previous lawsuit, why the hell is she on the ANC?

Anonymous said...

You people are such losers

Anonymous said...

Is the Chief on Kojo anytime soon? She should be forced to comment on this.

Anonymous said...

You should be able to shoot a cop who breaks into your home like that. Like that no knock raid case in Texas.

Anonymous said...

if I hear my doors get busted down, i will blast the culprits right then and there

h st ll said...

Definitely believe Mark over crazy lady. Assuming what Mark wrote is true DC will likely have to settle with him for 200k plus. You can't just do searchless warrants etc

Hopefully some news stations pick up on this. Horrible. Ofc Kyle hopefully gets fired too.

h st ll said...

Also, I have met the dog in question many times and the dog is very well taken care of.

So you know this is all bs.

I'm ashamed the humane society would allow itself to be involved in this crap.

curmudgeon said...

Anon 9:37am wrote:
"This insane lady basically swatted this guy. She should be prosecuted."

Except swatting typically involves making an emergency call to 911; the cops aren't complicit. Here, alleged that the police officer in command of the raid is involved.

Obviously it's important to remember that the filing of a lawsuit tells only one side of the story, even if that side looks pretty compelling to any of us.

Unfortunately, I don't expect this to wind its way through the civil legal system in DC very speedily.

curmudgeon said...

@inked wrote:

What I find most concerning about this story is that we somehow go from one allegation of suspected cruelty to an animal to a same day no knock warrant execution that allows MPD to just rifle though everything in someone's house. That's a little terrifying, no?


Welcome to the United States post-drug war and 9/11.

Anonymous said...

How dumb are people in the ANC that they continue to vote for this obviously crazy person? I get the skin color bias of voters in this city but they don't have to replace her with a white person.

Anonymous said...

@ 3:07:00 PM lol

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know if this officer goes by the name Ray Kyle?

Anonymous said...

@3:07, it almost makes me want to live in her SMD so I could campaign against her. Almost. But then she would be daily reality and not a distant train wreck. Who needs that?

heyktb said...

would it be odd (or permitted?) to go to the meeting tonight even though we do not live in her ANC? Have seen her around and have been following her manic actions for the 4+ years i've lived here gratefully from two blocks south of her district but now kind of want to see the circus in action...

inked said...

HeyKTB,
Public meeting. Definitely go.

Chris said...

Elise -- I would naively think that if folks from outside the ANC showed up to the meetings (even if they're permitted to do so as it's a public meeting), she'd try to spin that as an example of outsiders trying to take control of the neighborhood or something along those lines, and maybe with some success. Do you think that concern is off-base?

John John said...

This is all BS. JV's isn't a notorious coke bar. And I am sure this had nothing to do with the dog:

JV's is a notorious ecstasy bar and it sounds like they found pills in his home during a raid for ecstasy in which the dog was seized.

As a bar owner why would you file a suit like this against the city? You file a public law suit like this in order to try and look like you're the victim. Drink it up folks. Your money helps buy them drugs. Yummy!

inked said...

Chris, if you will sit quietly I'm sure it would be fine.

curmudgeon said...

john john: For your sake, I hope you have some evidence to back up your accusation. Let's not forget that Kathy Henderson is right now having to give up her house after being found guilty in court of libeling the same man.

Anonymous said...

@johnjohn - you obviously didn't read the complaint - the search warrant was for evidence of animal cruelty, not drugs. I ask you - why on earth did the vice squad participate in executing an animal cruelty search warrant? And why did they conduct a no knock raid to execute the animal cruelty search warrant? No knocks are only permitted if circumstances exist where evidence could be destroyed. If the "evidence" in this case was the dog, did they reasonably fear that the owner would somehow dispose of the dog before they gained entry????

Anonymous said...

Someone should ask why some MPD officers appear to be working for Kathy Henderson? DC is like a little drug cartel run by ignorant thieves and the the ignorant people who vote for crack addicts. This is why black lives suck

Anonymous said...

Although, I am curious... can a bogus raid that produced evidence that cannot be used in a criminal case... can that evidence be used to appeal the Libel judgement against KH in a civil matter?

Anonymous said...

The WORST part of this is going to be the No Comments from officials for ongoing litigation.

Anonymous said...

I went on a tear about terrible ANCs yesterday, yet at this point we don't have a solid link between KH and any of this. Things may change as this moves forward.

I don't like this police aggression, and the events that lead up to this situation. I'm very serious here, we need to have faith in our police department. If there's even a hair of a chance of a broader conspiracy then I hope our Council will ask the Mayor for the Chief's resignation.

Robby

Anonymous said...

@5:37 probably not as that's just new evidence. even if it were allowed, could anything that was obtained from the no knock prove that Mark's business was responsible for whatever Kunthy said?

i doubt it. cash receipts were taken, but who writes cash receipts for drug transactions. one vile of illegal drugs is not going to establish that the business is in the business of drugs? wtf is the dog going to do at the humane society? call Scooby Do, and do a sting op on Mark?

Anonymous said...

So a corrupt D.C. councilperson and a corrupt D.C. pig conspired to tarnish a business owner's rep by breaking into his house and stealing his dog. That's some great police work right there.

Anonymous said...

As Inked noted above, no one even knows if the drugs were illegal. I have "vials" with controlled substances in my home...because they were prescribed to me! It doesn't sound like they arrested him for possession, so that makes it stink even more.

And, yeah, no-knocking for suspected animal abuse is a HUGE abuse of power. Even if they needed to inspect for the presence of food and water, any signs of abuse like blood or waste or a crate stuffed in a closet, etc., they don't need vice to bust down 3 doors and start testing vials for that!

Anonymous said...

Ah, they did arrest him. My bad. Didn't see that one-liner buried in the facts on a cursory glance. Still, a single pill? Dealers usually have some weight on them, yo!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and "boo," if the police no-knocked on me, they'd find oxy (Percocet), Vicodin, valium, tramadol, flexeril, and high-dose IB in my house...and not a *single* pill of any of those (I'm down to a couple of flexeril, but have far more of the others). All legally prescribed, and, no I'm not dying of something painful. I have a couple of chronic pain conditions/persistent injuries, and all of those have been prescribed in various combos over the last couple of years. Sure, some of them are expired, but I know expired only means "less potent," so I keep them in case a pain crops up that they'll be useful for. My doctor doesn't hesitate to refresh a prescription/prescribe me something else controlled because I usually show up in the office with the last prescription(s) barely used. He's not even upset that I had 1 controlled substance *a week,* when he prescribed me three *a day* to manage pain (I tend to lean on my PT and LMT, who have provided me much better relief than drugs, though drugs do the trick in the short-term when something flares). But, technically, I'm breaking the law by hanging on to those expired meds (a "valid prescription" only covers the useful life of the drugs as marked, and there is some case law where people have been prosecuted for possessing scheduled prescriptions beyond their expiration date).

So, what were we saying about him having a single pill that may or may not have been prescribed in a closed "vial" in a closed cabinet?

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the blog owner for making this persons drama and arrests public.

inked said...

6:07,
The complaint is a public document that someone got ahold of and posted online. That's why this is getting the press it's getting around town. I didn't post the initial document, but I am seeking to explain it. Generally I don't post stories that a purely about the personal lives of business owners, but in this case a nexus allegedly exists connecting the search, his business, and past litigation/allegations involving local affairs and an elected official (much of which has been previously covered in this blog). Plus, there are allegations here of police abuse of power that I think should concern us all.

Anonymous said...

what's happening to the dog? is it up for adoption?

inked said...

10:50,
Vaughn is being held a secure undisclosed location for now.

Anonymous said...

@6:07. This was covered in the Washingtonian and other outlets; not just on this blog. It was on Twitter, with links to the full case report, before being covered here, too.
As someone who doesn't frequent the bar or do drugs I have no knowledge of what may be going on there. But I have seen what appears to be a very coddled and well-cared for dog walking around the neighborhood with its owner. That makes me suspect and concerned about happenings at MPD. That is reason to be aware of the issue and hope additional information is forthcoming to clarify what did happen here.
If drug use was suspected MPD should have used proper channels and not the no-knock warrant for animal abuse.

Anonymous said...

I'm always glad for the delicious gossip here.

Anonymous said...

So what did Kathy Henderson do to Mark Thorp that started this whole mess in the first place?

inked said...

5:29,
It all started many years ago when Thorp sought to open a bar on the edge of India Henderson's SMD (this was prior to redistricting, so it's Kathy's old SMD). I was Thorp's SMD ANC at the time. That is how I originally came to know him. This was around 2007-2008. My feeling is that KH likes biz folks to bow down to her and Mark refused to do that. He did attend ANC meetings and her SMD meetings. Somewhere along the line Kathy began to make a series of false and defamatory statements about Thorp's biz Jimmy Valentine's.

inked said...

She made all manner of accusations. Including saying that they were running a brothel out of the upstair apartment (which I think was rented by a bartender at the time, but now is used only for storage). There may have also been a similar accusation about Thorp's house. I don't recall. I just remember hear objections from the women who lived in/visited the spaces and did not appreciate being accused of prostitution. The allegations were varied, and resulted in a great deal of inspections from MPD & other District agencies. I think they yielded one citation for operating after hours. But I'm not really up on the details.

inked said...

I do know that many of Kathy Henderson's allegations were pronounced totally false and judged defamatory in a court of law. That's how Jimmy Valentine's ended up with a massive civil judgment (around $175K with fees) against her that resulted in the seizure of her condo in NW.

alleycat said...

what is the current status of the dog? still being held captive by Washington Humane Society? They -along with the MPD officer - are also named in Mark's new complaint.

inked said...

alleycat,
Vaughn is still with WHS.

Anonymous said...

I heard that guy is a rogue who used to kick doors in iraq and steal the locals children and lollipops.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind the search warrant was issued by the Washington Humane Society and signed by a judge. Of course the Humane Society doesn't have the personnel to carry out a search on their own, and your average patrol officer is tied up with policing the lovely neighborhood of Trinidad. It would make sense for WHS to enlist the help of a Vice unit that specializes in searches. Keep in mind if you're looking for something such as "evidence of animal cruelty" you can search anywhere that evidence could be found or whatever was outlined in the warrant. If other illegal items e.g. guns, drugd, etc are uncovered, it's all admissible in court. Police collectively are not stupid, they know what kind of drugs are legal and illegal and despite how this skewed perception of incompetece, MPD is actually one of the better police departments in the country and I doubt they would be seizing these alleged capsules unless they had good reason to suspect they were illegal. Also, remember all of these claims that are outlined here are only those of the plaintiff and you won't hear MPD's side of the story until this is all settled and done. The city usually just settled petty lawsuits like this because an extended court time costs the city a fortune. /end rant

Anonymous said...

>Keep in mind the search warrant was issued by the Washington Humane Society and signed by a judge.

That doesn't make it right, and doesn't mean that the officers didn't exaggerate to get a judge to sign off on this nonsense.

>your average patrol officer is tied up with policing the lovely neighborhood of Trinidad.

If "your average patrol officer" is so busy, why do residents see them literally sleeping for hours up near the cemetery and parked in behind the Flats apartments?

>It would make sense for WHS to enlist the help of a Vice unit that specializes in searches.

Meh. Or, could get help from any number of law enforcement officers/units. Instead, they chose the 5d Vice squad, led by some halfwit who's gotten slapped by the courts previously for other illegal searches. Oh, and he happens to be the boyfriend of someone at WHS.

>Keep in mind if you're looking for something such as "evidence of animal cruelty" you can search anywhere that evidence could be found

Absolutely- but, it sounds like they already found the dog and other stuff (dog bowls, food, etc). So, why the need to start browsing around and go digging in the guy's freezer and start drug testing stuff?...unless it's a bad cop intent on doing whatever he wants, no matter how illegal his actions.


>Police collectively are not stupid

This is true. However, MPD's officers seem to have a pretty low intelligence with poor critical thinking skills (based on numerous interactions over the years) compared to other agencies.

>MPD is actually one of the better police departments in the country

Highly debatable. Locally, MPD has a very poor reputation among officers from MPD as well as other agencies (both local and federal). In addition, despite being once of the largest departments per capita, MPD can't seem to keep crime under control. Perhaps it's that there are a lot of slaps who (as stated previously) enjoy sleeping on the job rather than patrol work.


>I doubt they would be seizing these alleged capsules unless they had good reason to suspect they were illegal

Before this, I wouldn't think that a judge would sign off on a no-knock raid based on flimsy, exaggerated allegations of animal cruelty. It should be noted that amphetamines are a large class of drugs, and include common prescriptions such as Adderall


>The city usually just settled petty lawsuits like this because an extended court time costs the city a fortune.

They only cost a fortune if the city decides to fight false allegations. If there's a hint of truth- and there certainly appears to be much more than that in this case- then I wouldn't blame the city for settling quickly, especially since Lieutenant Kyle previously was caught performing illegal searches before.

Jeremy said...

Any new updates on this issue - I sincerely hope Vaughn is at least back with his owner!

inked said...

Jeremy,
Last I heard Vaughn had been released into the custody of Mark Thorp's attorney.