Mount Rainier city officials appear to have publicly identified a former employee who filed sexual harassment complaints against the city. The identification of the former employee by city officials comes amid new media reports of allegations of sexual harassment and financial irregularities within the Mount Rainier City Police Department that first came to light in 2018. Such a revelation also runs counter to state personnel record disclosure laws, potentially exposing the city to legal liability. Maryland state laws, particularly its Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights, Public Information Act and Open Meetings Act, grant broad protections against the disclosure or public discussion of personnel records of government employees by government employees. Mount Rainier city officials have recently used these laws as the legal justification to withhold the identities of officers and police staff who may have been the subject – either as accused or accusers – of 2018’s investigations.
The Maryland State Highway Administration is currently in the process of re-designing the surface of Queens Chapel Road in Prince George’s County. The bad news: it doesn’t go far enough to enhance pedestrian or cyclist safety.
Mount Rainier City Council gathered in a special worksession last night to hash out a funding strategy for two major projects, one a renovation of a city-owned building long-dreamed to serve as a community center, the other a project to develop a public plaza on the 3300 block of Rhode Island Avenue.
Prince George’s County Police have arrested a suspect in the murder of 20-year-old Glenn Dale resident Hosheya Smith. 23-year old Mount Rainier resident Nathaniel Thompson, Jr., who lived in a detached single-family home in the 4000 block of 37th Street, was arrested and charged with Smith’s murder, county police said in a July 24, 2019 announcement. Mount Rainier police said on Facebook Thompson was arrested July 23, 2019. County police said the shooting occurred during an attempted sale of unspecified illicit substances. Smith was fatally shot on the evening of July 10, 2019 near the intersection of 37th and Shepherd streets in Mount Rainier.
Mount Rainier City Police Department is asking for anyone with information on two separate incidents — a shooting that left one dead and a hit-and-run that critically injured a woman and her child — that occurred over the past week.
Earlier this month, Thomas S. Stone Elementary School’s principal, Ashanti Foster, was placed on administrative leave after parents and community leaders objected to a planned White House field trip that would have required students to provide citizenship information. The Washington Post reported the principal was suspended over the wording of the permission slip. School district officials have since come under fire for taking such a significant step over such a seemingly minor mistake. But the reality is more complicated. The field trip and permission slip were simply the latest in a long series of management failures.
Incumbent Mount Rainier City Councilor Celina Benitez has decisively won a four-year term, holding on to her seat in the Gateway City’s Ward One she first won two years ago. Benitez defeated rival Charnette Robinson by a vote of 281 to 109, according to unofficial results. While the final numbers could change due to potentially-outstanding absentee ballots, there are too few such ballots outstanding to change the final result, according to Mount Rainier election officials. “I’m definitely happy the community came out. It was an election where there with only Council members, so sometimes you tendto feel people will not come out, especially when there’s not a Federal election,” said Benitez in an interview after the votes were counted.