WHO: Former Metropolitan Police Department Deputy Chief William O. Ritchie, Jr.; and Washington Post reporters Sara Horwitz and Amy Brittain
WHAT: Will discuss Ritchie’s criticism of Texas investigative procedures following the death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, and also The Post reporters’ revelations regarding the elite [all-male secret] hunting society whose reunion the justice attended at a Texas ranch
WHEN: Wednesday, March 9, 7:00 p.m.; Dinner with the speakers at 6:15 p.m.
WHERE: National Press Club, 13th Floor, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC. Free parking after 5 p.m. with National Press Club dinner validation of your parking receipt at the PMI Garage on G Street (between 13th & 14th)
In the nation’s capital, the city’s former deputy police chief made front page news in The Washington Post by criticizing the Texas investigation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. William O. Ritchie, Jr., retired from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) after a distinguished career that included commanding the Criminal Investigations Division, will amplify his criticism of Texas authorities for not undertaking an autopsy and similar routine procedures following Scalia’s death on Feb. 10. Scalia had been a guest at the luxury Cibolo Creek Ranch, located in rural West Texas near the state’s border with Mexico. The Washington Post headlined its story reporting Ritchie’s criticisms as “Conspiracy theories swirl around the death of Antonin Scalia.” Ritchie says authorities should foster public confidence by following standard procedures. Details: http://ow.ly/Z740a.
Complementing his presentation will be award-winning Post reporters Sari Horwitz and Amy Brittain. They revealed Feb. 24 that ranch owner John Poindexter, a billionaire Houston businessman, hosted Scalia on a complimentary basis along with more than thirty other participants in a gathering of hunters affiliated with an elite, secretive society. The International Order of St. Hubertus is an exclusive, all-male group dating back to the 1600s. In a scoop of national import, Horwitz and Brittain reported also that leaders of the order include Poindexter and C. Allen Foster, a prominent Washington lawyer who traveled to the ranch with Scalia by private airplane. Details: http://ow.ly/Z74c4
Poindexter has so far withheld from the public the identities of most guests and many other details. Poindexter raised and then undercut suspicions of foul play by his initial statement that he found a “pillow” on the justice’s head in a guest bedroom. Later and less suspiciously, an official report said a pillowcase was found partially covering the late justice. Poindexter and Foster are among the few ranch attendees who have been identified. Foster, a litigator and friend of Scalia’s, avoided comment via travel to South America after the justice’s death.
Ritchie and the two reporters provide rare, independent expertise regarding the circumstances of a death that quickly prompted widespread veneration for the late justice’s legacy as well as speculation in tabloid outlets reaching millions about whether authorities were withholding important facts, in part to accommodate Scalia family desires. The result includes a poorly sourced National Enquirer cover story March 7 headlined, “Scalia was murdered.” Beyond forensic issues, questions are percolating because of the Supreme Court’s largely self-enforcing and relatively opaque rules regarding free trips by justices. Poindexter’s main company benefited from the Supreme Court’s refusal last year to hear an age bias suit against it.
Used to challenges, Ritchie is a former high school and college track star who became Howard University’s first known NCAA College Division All-American in Track and Field for three consecutive years. Also, he was the 1969 National Champion in the 220 yard dash. During his MPD career, his command-level assignments included the Organized Crime, Public Integrity and Homicide Branches along with the Medical Services Division. In 1981, he authored one of the main on-site incident reports chronicling the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley. Also, he helped lead the 1982 probe of the Air Florida crash. Following his MPD retirement, the Washington Hospital Center’s Medlantic Research Institute hired him as its first director for an Office of Decedent Affairs. His staff included numerous retired homicide detectives and assisted families of deceased patients. The highly innovative program fostered such sensitive and important projects as organ donation. Also, he held during his later years high-level consulting posts to provide security for the District of Columbia Public School System and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for the Performing Arts.
Sari Horwitz covers the Justice Department for The Washington Post, where she has been a reporter for 30 years. Sari has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times, as well as many other prestigious prizes. Among them, she shared the Pulitzer in 2002 for investigative reporting for a series exposing the District of Columbia’s role in the neglect and deaths of 229 children placed in protective care. The series prompted an overhaul of the child welfare system and a new wing of D.C. Superior Court for children and families. Co-author of two books, she holds a master’s degree from Oxford University. She has reported on crime, police, legal issues, education and social services for the local and national staffs and the Post’s Investigative unit.
Amy Brittain joined the investigative team of The Washington Post in 2013. Previously, she was an investigative reporter for The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., and winner of the George Polk Award for the series “Strong At Any Cost,” which detailed the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone by hundreds of New Jersey law enforcement officers and firefighters. Last year, Amy was part of a team of Post reporters who chronicled fatal shootings by police officers across the country. Amy graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La., and earned her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
For all such reasons, this is one session that you definitely must not miss. So we will see you this Wednesday…and please remember to bring a friend!
John Edward Hurley
McClendon News Service, Inc. (Since 1946)
Founded by Senior White House Correspondent Sarah McClendon (1911-2003)
Post Office Box 6010, Washington, D.C. 20005 – Telephone (703) 855-1266