I Disagree

DSCN0314, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

How does the accusation of whether or not MPD is corrupt relate to gentrification?

28 Comment

  • More worrisome is the “fight back, degentrify” exhortation. Are there militant anti-gentrifiers in the neighborhood?

  • DC MPD is indeed corrupt. Just last year, one cop was found to have stolen a lady’s credit card from her home while there on a call to assist her in another matter. Another officer in 4D had her home raided and drugs were found. I had an officer (Officer Pinto) steal an Ipod from my home.

    Now how that applies to gentrification is another matter.

  • This evening I got a taste (not my 1st) of ‘hood conflict. As a glaringly obvious gentrifier (yet couldn’t afford this’hood if I didn’t rent out most of my house to my sister) I was unlocking my bike in front of YogaHouse (georgia Ave) next to a car with three fellows hanging out. They looked at me and started loudly chanting words from the song on their car stereo whose lyrics featured the refrain “fuck the cracker fuckin cracker”. They were trying to rile me, make me feel out of place – but their tags were Maryland! A lot of resentment is related to taking the low-life atmosphere away from those who thrive on it -exactly who again is making these complaints? Now that that fancy new HUGE charter school nestled between the liquor store and strip club will be opening, along with neighborhood feelings about not indulging/allowing low-life street behavior, in 2-3 years a civil Georgia Ave will be ours-of all colors and creeds who are not criminals.

  • I agree that whoever made that sign was sort of reaching. There are corrupt DC officers, but there are also good ones who take their job seriously. The f*ckups have kind of ruined public perception, though.

    I’m not 100% for gentrification, but I’m not 100% against what’s going on, either. Some changes probably needed to be made. However, I hate to see the history and soul of certain areas lost forever. I think the main problem with gentrification is that a lot of the new residents don’t respect the fact that they’re NEW, and kind of have that smug aire of entitlement.

    …then again, if I just dropped upwards of $300k on a place, I’d probably be somewhat of a smug bastard myself…lol

  • Nathan, seriously? You’re going to make a sweeping comment like that without knowing every of the over 3400 officers in MPD?
    You might as well say the human race is corrupt then. You’re talking about people right? A few corrupt people clearly means that all people are corrupt.

    And if the officer actually “stole” the ipod from your house, did you file a report with the department? I will tell you that the internal affairs division of MPD is dead serious when it comes to things like that. If you want to help root out corrupt officers, there’s a start.

    And did you stop to think for a second that the officer with drugs in her house was actually arrested by officers and a department that don’t put up with that kind of crap?
    Were the officers on the raid all corrupt too? Think about it for a second before you post something that ridiculous.

  • “I hate to see the history and soul of certain areas lost forever”.

    New history will be created. And if I am not mistaken, before African American majority (I assume you are referring to that as the history and soul) in the area Petworth was predominently white so one could argue we are just going a little bit toward the original history and sould of the area… And as for smug and sense of entitlement.. there seems to be a lot of that on the other side as well. Why would one ethnicity have any particular entitlement to any neighborhood?

    As for corrupt police: I think a bigger problem is that they have AC in their cruisers (oh so comfy) and that they can always park in front of the Dunkin Donuts without getting a ticket.

  • Yeah I will make a sweeping comment like that. And here is why. The officer did not just steal my ipod, he also violated my constitutional rights.

    Now I wouldn’t make a sweeping generalization if it hadn’t been for the behavior of the cops that were with Officer Pinto. They stood by and did nothing while he violated the law. That is the issue that concerns me most. Not one of the other officers there would stand up and say ‘Hey man you are going too far’.

    That shocked me more than anything because I never thought I would be treated that way by an officer. I am a law abiding citizen. I don’t sell drugs. I have never put as much as a finger on anyone. Yet, this officer entered my home without a warrant. Searched my home without a warrant or probable cause. Staged evidence and lied in his affidavit (said he heard people in my home when noone was there, said I told him I had been smoking marijuana when I tested negative the next morning for any drugs, said he smelled marijuana coming from my home) to gain a warrant. During all this, not one of the other officers stepped up and said a word.

    Before my incident, I was talking to an officer in Matchbox. We were talking about the killing of Deonte’ Rawlings in SE. The cop told me that there are a lot of corrupt cops that lie and fabricate evidence. At the time, I found that to be incredulous. Now I see for myself.

    Also, just recently, a friend of mine had his apartment on Kennedy St. raided by MPD. My friend is a resident in medical school. Not some drug dealer or thug. Police turned his apartment upside down and only found marijuana residue from personal consumption. To justify their actions, MPD alleged that they had previously bought drugs from him. No apologies for maybe having the wrong apartment. Nothing. If I had read this in the paper, I would have taken their side as the truth. But I know this guy too well. He doesn’t sell drugs.

  • dc cop corruption was p.g. (pre-gentrification) and will most definitely exist post-gentrification… as far as the “clash of civilizations” alluded to in an earlier post-
    well, it can get funky. im a black man married to a white woman (i live in the north country) -and i am not hustling-so i am really a stand out when it comes to
    being verbally accosted. which, yes, happens from time to time…

  • City’s aren’t static. People move in and out of neighborhoods. There is always an ebb and flow. That is what makes them wonderful (and frustrating too). Gentrification can be good or bad. No group of people has a right to live in a certain area of a city.

  • Eric, you are right on. Thanks.

  • Mt Pleasant was strictly Whites-Only until 1948. Know your history.

  • eric has a point. but the ideal and the reality (of anything, really) are two different things..

  • Yes, so sometimes better to ignore the “soul and history” of a place since the makeup of neighborhoods in the past was often a product of racism, whether the neighborhood was all white or all black. I am easily identified as a “gentrifier” because I’m white, but both my neighbors on either side of me are black and are gentrifiers as well (new residents renovating their homes). We should be happy with the fact that people are buying houses with much less regard to race than in the past, and welcome the fact that Petworth is becoming more diverse.

  • When I first moved to Petworth, residents viewed me differently. And I am black. So I tend to think it isn’t solely about race. It has a lot to do with change as well. People tend to blame the newcomers for some of the things that we do cause (scarcity of parking) and things we don’t.

  • I believe that the image reflects the sentiment that the resentment towards the new residents is being conflated with resentment towards the police, who have long exhibited a culture of corruption. Part of the resentment stems from the police officers that treat newer, white residents like citizens to be protected and served and older, black residents as people to be targeted for harassment and removal. Not all officers are corrupt, there are some professionals on the force, although I haven’t encountered many of them. There are too many incompetent bullies with badges that are not only ignorant of, but decidedly indifferent to the law when it conflicts with their sense of authority.

  • The problem is that the newcomers are resented because they (we) come in, buy up houses at prices MUCH higher than what the old-timers bought them for, renovate them, attract new commercial development, and as a result, drive up property values.

    Once the property values go up, the property taxes go up, and the rents go up.

    The folks who have lived here a long time aren’t always making the salaries that can handle the price increases, and they have to sell or move out.

    Now, think about it, if you lived in a neighborhood for 20 plus years and a bunch of new folks moved in and jacked up the prices to the point that you had to move out, you’d have some resentment.

    Lots and lots of people on both sides of the equation understand that neighborhoods change and economics change and so forth and deal with it accordingly. But others, a vocal minority, might look at the rich moving in and forcing the long timers out and get a little angry and some act on that anger. And others, another vocal minority, may look at the fact that the new-comers are predominantly white and the old timers are predominantly black, and wonder about the racism of it all.

    Couple that with rising unemployment numbers and new and old immigrants moving in and you’ve got yourself an equation for trouble.

    It’s all very understandable to me.

  • Wow, Nate, your stories are pretty sensational. Why haven’t you taken them to a local media outlet? That sounds exactly like something they would pursue.

    Or is there another side of the story you’re not telling us? In any case, making sweeping generalizations like that aren’t good ways to get people to believe you.

  • DCDireWolf, not exactly sure if your assumption about the taxes is correct. I bought a house from a lady recently who was paying very little in taxes. In fact, she hadn’t worked in years. A lit bit of hustling part time paid her taxes. It was the maintenance on the house that killed her. Plumbing, roofing, electrical gets expensive on a 60 year old house.

  • Bob,
    I though of informing the media. I did send a complaint to Groomes, Waddy, and Gilmore at MPD. I have a job where media spotlight on this issue and others like mine would do more to harm my career than help. I honestly thought the sheer incredulous claims by the officer would be thrown out by a judge. My lawyer even thought so as it was almost unbelievable on the face of it.

    I am on probation now due to my incident. I have never been on any type of supervision in my life. In telling my account to my probation officer, she shook her head when I told her the officer involved. She commented that so many cases come through with Officer Pinto involved and people complaining that they have been wronged.

    Anyone that has seen my posts on these boards would say that I am as law and order as they come based on my comments. Imagine something like this happening to you and how it would radically change your perspective. Heck, when I bought my first house in Petworth 5 or so years ago, I used to call the police on dealers everyday.

    I’m all for improving the neighborhood. I am not for cops breaking the law, even if the byproduct is a better community. I see the thugs hanging out at the metro. I hear the stories of mostly whites being assaulted. As a black man and as a real estate investor, I am conflicted. I have financial interests where I want the neighborhood gentrified ASAP. Yet, I can see the conflict where cops run roughshod over people when people of more affluence (myself included) move into the neighborhood.

    When I first moved into Petworth, I bought a house on 4th & Emerson. There was a guy that sold drugs out of his car daily. I called the police constantly. Nothing was ever done. 5 years later, they bust in my home without a warrant looking for a “drug dealer”. I can see how people draw a conclusion that MPD only cared when certain people moved in.

  • Bob,

    No offense, but your post reminded me of an exchange in an old N.W.A. song: a black speaker makes the statement that the cops really degrade you and is answered by a white speaker who says: C’mon, those guys are just resisting arrest.”

    What may sound sensational to you may be a common occurence to others.

  • The “Corrupt Cops” charge and Gentrification — I believe this derives from the concern that the powers of the local government and the police are directed against long time residents in order to support corporate development aims. While this charge sounds too conspiratorial (and ignores that many new residents don’t work for directly for The Man), it is well documented that the influx of new, higher-income residents is associated with increased levels of police presence, sometimes experienced as harassment or brutality.

  • i guess the graffitist would prefer the non-gentrified atmosphere of, say…Trinidad and Southeast DC. Gang violence and drug markets are obviously preferable to a few white folks moving in and fixing up dilapidated houses.

  • You know, I respect the fact that cops have a hard job. I also respect that there are some cops that hit the streets for good and idealistic reasons.

    But when I see a fat cop, it’s impossible to think that he/she isn’t just out there to do the minimum and collect a paycheck. Their lack of physical fitness loudly proclaims “hey y’all, I’m not serious about being able to chase criminals.”

    And unfortunately, lots of DC cops I see are fat. And not just the kinda-chunky look you get when you put a bulletproof vest on, but full-on fat-butt double-chin obesity.

    This speaks to a organizational culture that doesn’t value professionalism and does not police itself. A perfect breeding ground for corruption.

  • The folks who have lived here a long time aren’t always making the salaries that can handle the price increases, and they have to sell or move out.

    This is really true. One of the most interesting people I know is a lifelong DC resident who grew up in Adams Morgan in the 50s and 60s. She got a job, but then around 1980 realized she had to get a REALLY GOOD JOB to stay in DC, so she did, and now she’s making “ok” money. Her brother, who she talks about all the time, rented a house in Trinidad for $400 per month and had no job at all, he just did occasional painting construction here and there to pay for rent and reportedly the landlord even let him make repairs in lieu of rent.

    Then his landlord’s son sold the house, offering it to him for $250k which the brother apparently rejected, it sold on the market for $375k. Now he’s complaining to his sister that he can’t afford DC rent, primarily because he has no job, and lives with grandpa out in Charles county. But at some point he only needed to work 4-5 days a month to make rent for his family! But the brother always had one solution to his problems- get a job or ask his wife to get a job, go to college, start a real company rather than paint someone’s house for $1000 and then loaf for 3 weeks.

    The solution to everyone’s rent problems is graduate school.

  • Nate

    Though I don’t always agree with your opinions, you’re kind of growing on me. I appreciate the honesty of your last post (12:50). You didn’t have to go there, but you did.

  • yeah, i think the connection is pretty obvious: corruption and gentrification are driven by $ and thus both support moneyed/affluent/(white) concerns while squelching minority voices and degrading their well-being.

  • Really Nathan?
    Now you’re that you are on probation an “attorney” who you do not name, says that “Officer Pinto”, who you have no qualms naming, brings in a lot of cases where people complain about their rights being violated. un huh right…sounds like he brings in a lot of cases…either that or someone and I am naming you has been watching episodes of The Shield…because I swear I’ve seen your “episode” before…because after your ranting it sounds more like you got in trouble, got caugt and are now looking for someone to blame, i.e an exit, so you picked the name of one of the officers there.
    FYI genius….
    “Officer Pinto” didn’t put you on probation, the Judge handling your case did.
    You sound even less credible with this slandering of an MPD Officer’s name. If I was him, and I am not, and I saw this, after you’re baseless complaint gets dropped, and it should I would sue your ass for slandering his name in general on a public forum.

    In other words EWW grow up…take it up with the judge and your defense attorney, they are the one’s who got you on probation.

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