The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia on March 7 filed several new charges against Kenneth Furr.
Furr, the Metropolitan Police Department officer who, while off duty, allegedly shot at a car containing three transgender women and two others in August, initially faced one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, with no bias enhancements. He is now charged with five additional counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, one count of assault with intent to kill and two counts of sexual solicitation for prostitution.
Appearing before Judge Ann O’Regan Keary for a felony arraignment this morning, Furr pleaded not guilty to all charges. Furr’s next status conference has been scheduled for April 13.
The shooting followed an altercation between the two groups in the early morning hours of Aug. 26, 2011, in Northwest D.C.’s Sursum Corda neighborhood, leaving a male victim with serious injuries and two of the transgender women with non-life-threatening injuries.
When a possibility of a plea deal for the single count of assault with a dangerous weapon was raised, it led to an outcry among members of the LGBT community. Several community members, pairing with local activist groups, held a protest in November in front of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to call attention to what they felt were inadequate responses by lawyers from the office to several cases, including Furr’s, involving LGBT victims.
Since that time, Ronald Machen, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, has reached out to several groups within the LGBT community, including the DC Trans Coalition (DCTC) and Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), to discuss providing cultural sensitivity training or changing internal procedures or policies viewed has having anti-gay or anti-transgender bias regarding the prosecution of crimes committed against members of the LGBT community.
After Furr’s Aug. 26 arrest, Keary found probable cause that Furr committed two different assaults with a weapon and, based on evidence from the preliminary hearing, ruled he might pose a danger to the community, ordering him held in custody without bail.
According to charging documents, the incident began when Furr approached one of the transgender women at a CVS store and allegedly propositioned her, prompting a fight between Furr, the woman, a female companion and a male companion outside the store. Furr allegedly pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the three, who ran inside to inform a security officer what transpired. Those three were shortly after joined two others, and decided to trail Furr’s vehicle. Furr, apparently noticing he was being followed, exited his car near the corner of First and Pierce Streets NW. He then allegedly pointed the handgun at the other vehicle and began firing, as the two cars collided. Nearby MPD officers immediately responded to the scene and arrested Furr, who, five hours later, submitted to a breathalyzer test showing his blood-alcohol content was .15, almost twice the legal limit.
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