George K. McKinney, who was the first African-American to be appointed U.S. marshal for the District of Maryland, and whose career in federal service spanned more than four decades, died June 17 of
"It is with deep sadness that I acknowledge the passing of my dear friend, retired U.S. marshal George K. McKinney," Rep.
The son of a
After graduating from Morgan State University with a bachelor's degree in
After being discharged with the rank of captain in 1965, Mr. McKinney worked for a year as a classification and corrections officer at the Maryland State Penitentiary.
From 1966 to 1968, he was a deputy U.S. marshal for the District of Maryland. When Vietnam anti-war protesters attempted to shut down
He then joined the
In 1973, he was appointed U.S. marshal for the District of Columbia — the third African-American marshal to serve the district — by
"As the U.S. marshal for the District of Columbia, he became the only marshal who personally served a subpoena on President Nixon ordering him to turn over the Watergate tapes," said a daughter, Monica McKinney-Lupton of Glen Arm.
On April 18, 1974, U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica ordered Mr. McKinney to serve President Nixon the subpoena.
President Nixon's chief defense counsel, James D. St. Clair, told Mr. McKinney that delivering the subpoena was unconstitutional. When Mr. McKinney threatened to deputize the
Mr. McKinney wasn't sure what the reaction would be from the man who had just appointed him U.S. marshal for the District of Columbia, and realized he could be fired.
"Any time you're dealing with the chief executive in an adversarial role — that's different," Mr. McKinney said in a 1995 interview with The Baltimore Sun. "But I was worried. When backed into a corner, there was no telling what Nixon might do."
The president accepted the subpoena from Mr. McKinney, who left his D.C. marshal post in 1977.
From 1977 to 1994, he held numerous high-level executive management positions with the
In 1995, President
"I think it says a lot about the district of Maryland and the country," Mr. McKinney said at the time. "Minority marshals are relatively new. But it's something I've aspired to ever since I was a deputy. I wanted to be in the top job."
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. Marshal Service for the District of Maryland was directed by the U.S. attorney general to "assume and manage all security operations" at
The airport remained under Mr. McKinney's purview for 60 days until it was taken over by the Maryland National Guard and then the Transportation Security Administration.
Mr. McKinney retired in 2002.
Since then, he had headed of George K. McKinney Consultations, which advised on security and administrative operations for government, private and nonprofit organizations, as well as executive protection and security background investigations.
Mr. McKinney was also CEO for Clamar Inc., a property management organization, advising on personal and physical security matters.
His professional memberships included the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the International Organization of Chiefs of Police.
Throughout his professional life, Mr. McKinney's work earned him many honors including the U.S. Marshals Service Director's Award in 2000. He was also inducted into the Morgan State University ROTC and Psychology halls of fame.
Mr. McKinney was a life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He was also a longtime active member of Union Baptist Church, where he was chairman of the deacon board and former president of the Men's League.
He was a genealogist and had traced his family's roots to the Ashanti people of Ghana.
His wife of 49 years, the former Mildred Sensabaugh, a Morgan State University professor, died in 2000.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. June 30 at his church, 1219
In addition to his daughter, Mr. McKinney is survived by two sons, Hiram K. McKinney of Lutherville and Richard T. McKinney of Liberty Township, Ohio; another daughter, Marla McKinney-Smiley of Baltimore; a sister, Phyllis Z. Bynum of