Monday, July 6, 2009

DC Councilman Arrested, Charged with Stalking

Former D.C. mayor, now Washington councilman, Marion Barry has been arrested again.

On July 4, the U.S. Park Police arrested Barry and charged him with misdemeanor stalking.

About 8:45 p.m. in Anacostia Park, a Washington woman flagged down a Park Police officer on patrol and pointed to Barry, who was in another car. The woman, named Donna Watts-Brighthaupt and an ex-girlfriend of Barry, said the councilman was stalking her.

Barry was released hours later and ordered to appear in court Thursday. Through a spokeswoman, Barry called the charges unfounded and asked prosecutors to drop them.

Watts-Brighthaupt said she didn't seek to have Barry arrested and did not report the encounter to police. Police pulled him over for a traffic violation, she said.

If convicted of the stalking charge, Barry could face a year in prison and a fine up to $500, according to police sources.

At a press conference today, his attorney said Barry and Watts-Brighthaupt were on their way to Rehoboth Beach, Del., on Saturday when she changed her mind. Barry's attorney says the two returned to Washington, and Barry was arrested on his way home from her house.

Barry's other run-ins with the law have included a federal sting operation in 1990, when he was mayor. Surveillance cameras caught him smoking crack cocaine in a hotel room.

Despite his fall from grace, he was re-elected in 1994 to a four-year term as mayor. In his latest political comeback in 2004, Barry won a seat on the D.C. Council, on which he continues to serve.

Barry was arrested in 2002 when traces of marijuana and cocaine were found in his car after he was stopped in the Buzzard Point area of Southwest D.C. No charges were filed, and Barry claimed that the drugs were planted.

And in 2006, Park Police officers stopped him for driving too slowly, prompting him to accuse authorities of targeting him. Barry had been on probation since 2005 for not filing or paying income taxes for several years.

Last year he again failed to file a tax return, and his probation was extended to May 2011, according to the Washington City Paper.

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