The always controversial and always much too vocal former D.C. mayor and now City Councilman Marion Barry (pictured) advised officers to “get in the gym, go on a diet,” according to the Huffington Post.
Barry made his inflammatory statement after he claims to have witnessed two D.C. police officers experiencing bouts of shortness of breath as they gave chase to a suspect they were trying to apprehend. After viewing the pitiful scene, Barry contacted the capitol’s Chief of Police Chief Cathy Lanier and urged her to take action.
“Lanier needs to start a rigorous training program for these police officers to get in shape, because these guys will outrun you every time,” said Barry.
Lanier, did not reportedly take too kindly to Barry’s criticism and fired back at him with a few choice words of her own. “To disparage that officer who puts his life on the line daily to protect our communities is offensive,” she said.
But are there physical fitness requirements that must be revisited throughout a D.C. law enforcement officer’s career? Apparently not, according to Kris Baumann, the police union boss. Baumann told the Washington City Paper that the only physical fitness minimums a D.C. officer has to meet are when they are first hired and that is it. Physical fitness is not monitored and members of the force are not obliged to maintain any fitness goals along the way.
Barry’s latest comments about the city’s police force are not the only incendiary remarks he’s made during his spotted political career. He made an astonishingly offensive remark at a press conference back in April about some Asian-owned shops in his southeast city council district: “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go. I’ll just say that right now, you know. But we need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.”
Asians nationwide were outraged over his racist commentary; he later apologized via Twitter but then defended the “facts” of his statement.
Earlier this month, Barry fired off a letter to all of his council member colleagues accusing the D.C. Chamber of Commerce’s president and CEO, Barbara Lang, of being a traitor to her African-American race for opposing his ex-offender legislation.
Barry also sent off a missive on Monday to Phil Mendelson who opposed his crusade of winning broad legal protections for formally incarcerated criminals who have completed their sentences. In the letter, Barry called Mendelson a “white southerner who opposed the public accommodation bill and the Civil Rights Act.”