Cop Who Wore Pro-Police Brutality T-Shirt at J20 Trial Was Previously Accused of Police Brutality

WHEN OFFICER WILLIAM CHATMAN, of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department, walked into the atrium of the D.C. Superior Court on May 21, heads turned. A few minutes earlier, he had testified in the trial of four people accused of rioting in downtown Washington during Donald Trump’s inauguration; it was the second trial group to face a jury. In accordance with Metro Police rules, Chatman had pulled another “cover shirt” over his uniform after concluding his testimony.

Chatman is a big man, thickly built and broad-shouldered, with a slight paunch and shaved head. What caught the attention of those assembled in the courthouse, however, was not his imposing size, but the text on the back of his off-white T-shirt. Under an image of a nightstick enlaced with a pair of handcuffs, it read, in capital letters, “Police brutality … or doing what their parents should have?”

“I was absolutely horrified,” said Andy Switzer, a former defendant from Philadelphia whose charges were dismissed in January, “that a police witness would have the gall to wear that shirt in a courthouse, immediately after offering testimony about brutal police behavior. It’s startling.”

The shirt, which was photographed by a defense attorney, may violate D.C. police rules that prohibit officers from wearing clothing that contains language “of a social, economic or political nature that might be considered as an advocacy statement, or which might create controversy.” A D.C. officer was disciplined in October 2017 for visiting the same courthouse wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of his police unit, the Grim Reaper, and a pre-Christian cross favored by white supremacists.

Ready more