A lawyer for Kenneth Furr, the Metropolitan Police Department officer found guilty of an off-duty assault with a dangerous weapon and solicitation of prostitution, filed a notice with D.C. Superior Court Feb. 11 stating that Furr’s defense team will be appealing his conviction.
Furr, who was found guilty of the two charges in October 2012, a year after the Aug. 26, 2011, incident, was sentenced to three years and 30 days in prison, 100 hours of community service and a $150 fine, which he has already paid, according to court records. But Judge Russell Canan also took into account the 14 months Furr spent in prison as he awaited trial, as well other circumstances, and suspended the prison sentences, allowing Furr to be placed on three years’ probation.
Both convictions related to a series of events that included Furr brandishing a gun, and shooting at a car in which five people sat, including two transgender women. Furr was acquitted on charges dealing specifically with the shooting.
As part of his sentence, Furr was ordered to register as a gun offender, undergo substance-abuse treatment for alcohol and anger-management therapy, and stay away from the five victims of the car shooting and the area the incident occurred, bounded by New York Avenue NW, 7th Street NW, Massachusetts Avenue NW and North Capitol Street NW.
According to evidence presented at trial, Furr was off-duty and attempting to solicit prostitutes in the city’s Chinatown neighborhood. He approached a transgender woman, who declined his offer, after which he followed her into a nearby CVS and continued to proposition her in front of two male friends. Following an altercation with the two men, Furr left the store, but confronted them outside, flashing his gun at them. A security officer intervened, but allowed Furr to leave once Furr identified himself as a police officer.
A short while later, the woman, her male friends and two more companions encountered Furr in his car. One of the men in the car assaulted Furr, who sped away, though the group of five pursued him by car. Furr parked his car near the intersection of First and Pierce Streets NW and shot at the other car, causing the driver to lose control and crash his car into Furr’s. Furr then jumped on the roof of the victim’s car and continued firing his weapon until police responding to the scene arrested him. Three of the car’s occupants were injured as a result of the shooting.
A spokesman from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia was not immediately available to offer comment or answer questions about the appeal.
In an email exchange with Metro Weekly, Jason Terry of the DC Trans Coalition, who previously criticized the suspension of Furr’s sentence, said he hadn’t realized Furr had decided to appeal.
”I think this reaffirms the suspicion that Kenneth Furr remains a threat to our communities, and lacks both the remorse and self-awareness necessary for people in our communities to be able to feel they can safely go about their lives,” Terry wrote. ”Somehow Furr and his legal team keep making him out to be the victim here, and that’s just not a narrative that we can allow to stand.”
Terry said he hopes that if Furr’s sentence somehow ends up being revisited, the appellate court will mandate ”some sort of transformational justice process, so that Officer Furr, his victims and the impacted communities can find a path forward, free from continued fear.”
[UPDATE, FRIDAY, FEB. 21, 4:37 P.M.: A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia declined to comment on the Furr case, though did confirm that the USAO-DC is expected to respond to Furr's appeal.]