Dear PoP – I’ve Been Wrestling With This For a While – Do I Testify?

IMG_3468, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

“Dear PoP,

I happened to see a guy with a gun on my block and called the police. I identified the guy for the police from a safe distance after the police arrived. He dumped the gun, but I was able to tell the police where to find it.

My problem: I’m concerned that he or his friends my seek retribution (they know where my apartment is), even though he’s from another side of town. The case now hinges on my testifying that I saw him with the gun, and I have been subpoenaed to testify in front of a Grand Jury. The guy has a criminal record that includes some felony drug dealing, gun charges, etc.

While I know there are two schools of thought:

1. Save your own skin and get amnesia,
2. Testifying will prevent future crime and the chances are low anything will happen you.

What does the PoP community think? Have any of you had to testify? Anyone have any experience with kind of stuff pro or con? What should I do and why?

Thanks PoP and the PoP community!”

This is a truly challenging question. I’m sure many folks will have an initial reaction saying Testify!!! I mean that was my initial reaction when I received this email. The thing is, it is very easy to be cavalier when one is giving advice from the sidelines. I had the unfortunate experience of seeing someone shot before my eyes a few years ago. At that time, an “enforcer” was sent to keep tabs on those talking to the police. A neighbor, who I admire and consider a friend, warned me not to be seen talking to the cops. For me it was easy because I didn’t get a good look at the shooter. So I really had nothing to add. What if I had a clear look at him and he and his crew had a clear look at me? What would I have done? I don’t know. I’d like to think I’d have testified. But I feel it’s a little like war, you have no idea how you’d react unless you actually are in the situation.

I’ve received tons of emails related to crime around DC. Many of them I am not able to publish due to requests from readers or because there is an ongoing investigation. But many of these emails rip my heart out. And I’d like to think that given the opportunity I’d contribute in a positive way to put a criminal away. I say I’d like to think that because I have no idea how I’d react. It’s a bit easier for me as I don’t have a wife or kids. After reading so many personal emails about crime I’ve become a bit of a fatalist. What will be, will be, right? Of course I try to be smart but I know there are certain situations in which shit simply happens and there is nothing you can do about it.

But I guess this is an opportunity to prevent something from happening in the future. I think most would agree that one doesn’t have a gun unless they are willing to use it. As such I’d like to think you will testify. But obviously this is a decision that you have to make on your own. I do hope you testify but I certainly won’t put an exclamation point at the end. Best of luck to you in this truly difficult decision.

92 Comment

  • “I do hope you testify but I certainly won

  • Reminds me of the introduction to “Life, Inc.” by Douglas Rushkoff, where his Park Slope neighbors got mad at him for listing the street where he was mugged in his email to the listserv, because it would decrease their property values.


  • I think I’d find out what the suspect will get if you testify against him. If he’ll be in jail for a long time it may be worth it but if he’s going to get slapped on the wrists then I’m not so sure.
    Also, you should consider what it would mean to your family if you have one. If you’re single then maybe just a change of address would be enough. If you have a family/kids then it makes things more complicated.

  • A gun charge? Don’t do it. Why risk your health/life for less than a drop in the bucket. If they were pistol whipping old women or killing people maybe, but a gun charge?

  • Move and testify

  • 1) A GJ subpoena to testify has already been served….hmmm…do witnesses compelled to appear before the GJ even have a right to refuse to answer questions (unless a truthful answer to the question would tend to incriminate them)?

    2) I wonder if the Court has the ability to to hold in contempt or fine or imprison witnesses who refuse to answer questions properly put to them by the grand jury until they comply with the directions of the grand jury….?

    3) Finally, I wish I knew whether Grand Jurors hold a special place in their hearts for “amnesia,” or whether “amnesia” is covered by questions 1 or 2 above….lol.

  • “Now testify
    Now testify
    It’s right outside your door
    Now testify
    Yes testify
    Its right outside your door”

  • I hope you’re not testifying against anyone with the name Barksdale. Dangerous stuff right there..

  • shawn – way to make a joke in response to a serious query… not cool.

  • Well, the first thing to remember is that GJ proceedings are totally secret. So you have nothing to lose by testifying at this point. Your identity and the substance of your testimony will ONLY be disclosed if you end up testifying at trial, and even then, just a few days prior to trial. (Confirm this with the prosecutor of course, but this should most definitely be the case). The vast majority of cases that are indicted end up as pleas.

    Now, if the case does go to trial (highly unlikely), you then have a decision to make. I would still encourage you to testify as it is truly very rare that anything ever happens to a witness — especially involving a relatively minor charge like this, we aren’t talking about pinning a murder on someone here, and especially AFTER the fact when the damage is already done. But, the important thing to remember here is that you have nothing to lose, and the city has everything to gain, by testifying before the GJ.

  • Get advice from a source that knows.
    But who and where I wish I could tell him.
    If you knew who the gunman is and his reputation, criminal record, and associates it would be easier to predict the outcome of testifying.
    This, obviously, is a pragmatic answer rather than an idealistic one.
    Yes, of course, the right thing to do is to testify.
    If that puts you in danger then it is a tough choice.

  • I personally wouldn’t testify. The last thing this city needs is another young man behind bars so he can learn how to be a better criminal before he gets out, maybe leaving a kid behind to now not have a father around so the kid can learn how to be a criminal, and of course when the young man gets out of jail he’ll be celebrated by his friends as a hero. Not really a win even if the prosecution is successful.

  • I would generally say testify, as I doubt he has much to gain from retribution for a small gun possession charge unless we were in California and there was a three strikes law. He doesn’t know who you are beforehand unless the police were extra-corrupt and passed over your information.

    Now if this were 80s DC with the police force full of ex-cons thanks to Barry’s easing of enlistment requirements, it might be different.

  • Doing the right thing is rarely easy or convenient. Nevertheless, its what makes us people of character or not.

  • It’s a sad commentary on modern life when one’s moral compass is exchanged for commentary on a blog (even one as sophisticated as PoP).

  • Don’t testify!

  • the answer to 3rd School’s first two questions are “yes.” more importantly, the answer to your original question is also “yes.” While it may take a certain amount of courage, taking the moral stance often is. If you choose to pretend you have amnesia, you just add to the problem of crime in this city.

    Anonymous at 7:52: Your reasoning is ridiculous. We shouldn’t arrest and jail criminals because prisons are “schools for crime”? A gun-toting thug is a great role model to the children you assume he has fathered?

  • 2b3s, 8:43 am: It doesn’t like this person is planning on putting a decision up to a vote? Sounds more like he/she is being very thoughtful and wants to hear a lot of opinions and insights about this that he/she may not have thought of on their own. this is especially true where they ask if anyone else has been in this situation.

    Personally, I don’t know what I’d do. Seems like if this person was a direct victim of a crime, (was robbed/assulted) then a ciminal would probably expect and even accept their testimony. On the otherhand, since the criminal probably doesn’t think they victimized the witness and the witness was not minding their own business, then the criminal might (in a twisted way) think they are actually the victim of an overzealous, doesn’t know how to mind their own business resident.

    Since the case seems to be the later, retaliation is probably more likely…

  • If you’ve been subpoena’d by the GJ you don’t have a choice and if you lie to the GJ you can be charged with obstruction. The GJ is there to say it probably happened, you saw a guy with a gun, called police, saw him ditch it, and then told the police where it was… and it was there. You are there to help the DA convince the GJ that a crime occurred that’s it… Obviously you can talk to the DA prior to/after testimony and express your concern… they hear it everyday. You can ask them whether or not you think you will have to testify in court… my guess is not. With the way DC is… that court date may take a long time… maybe you’ll have moved. I would guess the lead charge is not gun possession, but I do believe if you’ve been charged with a felon and are awaiting trial, gun possession becomes more appealing for the DA because its another count to tack on to the felony drug count.

    The DA’s will be able to explain the process and the more informed you are the better decision you’ll make as to whether or not to testify in his trial. Grand jury is only discovery of facts, it is secret, and if you received a subpoena, you must go.

    I served on the GJ last year… 30 days on the homicide joint.

  • @7:52: I take your point that prisons aren’t really institutions of reform. But usually you are already on your way to being a pretty good criminal when you get there. And I don’t think that committing crimes and getting away with it is a good example for a kid, either.

    A couple of people have already made the really good point that not testifying isn’t really an option here. Aren’t there some social service agencies located within courts, like victim/witness service agencies, that might be able to tell you what to expect? Some of the concern may be fear of the unknown.

  • You can’t live your life in fear. That’s what the criminals want. How are we supposed to reduce crime if we don’t attempt to make consequences? Testify.

  • Testify. Where is your sense of duty as a citizen. It is not all about you. You are a member of a larger collective society bound by moral duties. It is incumbant on you to recognize your responsibility as a citizen. That means, in addition to living within the law, working to uphold the law and the constitution. If you don’t testify, a dangerous person continues to roam the street and could result in another person being killed. Party of being a citizen sometimes means doing things that are uncomfortable and requiring courage. Don’t be a summer soldier and sunshine patriot!

  • Don’t testify. Why take the risk? The police will make up enough lies to get it to trial if they don’t already have sufficient evidence.

  • The simple and right answer is:
    You have a GJ subpoena to testify, so you really don’t have a choice, unless you want to get a contempt charge of your own. As we lawyers like to say, the grand jury is entitled to every man’s evidence, and just guessing from your willingness to put this to public discussion, you don’t seem like the type who has or wants a criminal record.

    My answer with commentary is:
    It’s sad that the “stop snitchin'” ethos and the DIY enforcement regime behind it has now reverberated sufficiently that someone able to write an email as well-stated and thoughtful as yours is questioning doing the right thing. The right thing is to testify. The thugs already don’t testify against each other, which has led to a great many murderers, dealers, and hoodlums continuining to live in civil society with a heightened sense of invincibility. It changes the whole decision calculus of the criminal mind knowing that a certain % of witnesses to crime won’t testify — odds of detection already are low, and the odds of evidence coming out of any detection are lowered still when people don’t testify. It sucks that you have to question your own safety in this, but I really hope you testify. Otherwise, we cede justice to the thugs.

  • Stop Snitchin’

  • Testify. We are either a nation (and city) of laws or we aren’t. This shouldn’t need to be explained.

  • I think we should all go break into Petworth Resident’s and Nate’s homes, pistol-whip them, and take all their stuff. Why not? They not only think it’s ok, but they don’t believe anyone should testify against us.

  • Definitely testify, especially since it’s only at the grand jury stage at this point. First, grand jury proceedings are secret so he will not know that you testified. Once he is indicted, he may plead guilty and you won’t ever have to face him in court. Second, you don’t really have a choice whether you’re going to testify. If you fail to comply with your subpoena, a warrant can be issued for your arrest.

  • “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”

  • I would guess the majority of people encouraging you not to testify voted for Obama. You all believe in democracy when convenient, i.e. support protesting of the war but not protesting of health care reform.

    It is your duty as a citizen, find your moral compass.

  • Fear is the basis for everything terrible. Fear is what causes all the horror in the world. No man achieves anything through fear. Fear isn

  • PoPo, professionally speaking, you are an idiot.

  • Petworth Resident, please explain your 10:16 comment. Thanks.

  • Petworth Resident, have you considered that withou “”snitchin” you may be the next one shot by this same person?

  • That’s right Po Po…

    If I protest my tax dollars being used to kill people, I should also by default protest my tax dollars used to save people.

    Are you idiotically suggesting that protesting is for the sake of protesting regardless of issue?

  • Jim – thanks for acknowledging me professionally.

    This is a matter of individual responsibility, more government equals less individual responsibility. Promotion of “don’t testify” displays those individual’s lack the notion of individual responsibility, thus making them much more likely to have voted for Obama. Why is that idiotic? Obama wants more government (undeniably) equally less individual responsibility. As far as democracy when convenient, the Democrat leaders chastise (undeniably) those exercising their right to free speech as distractions to the cause, while previously promoting Code Pink rallies after authorizing (yes, Congress does that) the President to go to war. Did I miss something, professionally speaking?

  • Anon 10:59 – wrap your logic around the abortion issue and get back to me with another democracy when convenient example. It’s free speech!!! Who cares what the issue is?

  • You should absolutely testify, and it is certainly illegal for you to suddenly get “amnesia.” However, it is scary and I definitely think you should speak to both an attorney and with the court’s office or the DA’s office about finding what kind of services are available to witnesses. You shouldn’t have to move or live in fear.

    Onto a completely different topic that has popped up here:

    Po Po- No one is chastising people’s right to exercise free speech, but what those folks are often doing is preventing others from also being able to exercise their right to free speech and hear an open, honest, reasonable dialog on this very VERY important and complicated issue.

    Also, if you think that free speech at town hall forums was protected or even remotely respected during the Bush administration, I have a very interesting personal experience to share. When they were doing their Social Security Privitization tour, which was framed as a series of “Town Hall Style Meetings,” Bush came to my very small college in the deep south. I was SGA Pres at the time and thought it would be a great oppurtunity, regardless of party affiliation, for as many students as possible to volunteer for the event as a sitting president was visiting our small school. The President’s staff then ended up assigning folks to jobs like screening out protestors (i.e. people with signs like the ones being held up at the health care talks) and were told that if someone got up and started shouting, there was an assigned group who would run over to them and shout “USA! USA!” until security escorted them out. All of the questions were pre planned and there was absolutely NOTHING FREE about the speech and talk that occurred. I wanted to quit the event, but I had already roped 35+ people into volunteering.

    Luckily I did a pretty poor job at screening out protesters. 🙂

    Po Po- This is to say that perhaps what you really don’t like is that all of the sudden, tables have turned on who is in charge? I do have faith that the Democrats are protecting your right to free speech much more than the Republicans protected mine.

  • i say testify, then go buy a gun. if the creeps come knocking at your door, blow them away. i agree with whoever said that the thugs want us to live in fear…theyre TERRORISTS. we need to give them a taste of their own medicine.

  • a lot of cowards in Petworth. just yesterday there was a whole thread of people outraged that MPD didn’t properly help a robbery victim. but when a citizen has the chance to help out by testifying suddenly its cool for him/her to look the other way? no wonder the police don’t care

  • Po Po, come on. We’re all in DC. 99 percent of DC voters, voted for Obama. I guarantee you most everyone in this thread, regardless of the advice we’re all slinging around, voted for Obama. That’s just playing the odds. And the VAST majority of us, other than some anonymous folks, are saying TESTIFY, while acknowledging that it’s kind of scary.

    This discussion is going off in a weird tangent. I’m sure the original letter writer is sorry right about now that he wrote it.

  • You certainly missed a lot. Your comments are idiotic because the premises on which they are based is nonsense. How “stop snitching” is a promotion of “big government” is a more than leap; it has no rational connection whatsoever.

    Moreover, one could exchange the word “Republican” for “Democrat” in your attempt at rationalization and make the same argument for the attempts to quell free speech (for example, arresting people wearing anti-Bush t-shirts who were saying nothing verbally at Republican rallies) by Republicans. Finally, if you don’t understand that chastising someone for screaming over a speaker to disrupt an attempt at discussion of different points of view (or carrying guns outside a political event to intimidate others) and trying to prevent the right of free speech or carrying arms, I guess it’s pointless to even engage you.

  • Totally agree with Ro (11.39am) here – you can’t have it both ways.

  • Take him to ICJ and testify autonomously.

  • A GJ subpoena does not require that you testify to anything, only that you show up for your appearance before the grand jury. You can say or not say anything you want once you are in the witness chair. While perjury is a crime, it would be incredibly difficult to prosecute a sudden case of “amnesia” as perjury. But if you gave a statement to the police and you testify to something other than what is in your statement, you should expect to be cross-examined on it. The AUSA will certainly point out to the GJ that whatever equivocation or hesitation you may exhibit in the witness was not there the day the incident was reported.
    I have no recommendation for what you should do once you are in the witness chair. I am sorry that you are in this position and I wish you the best whatever you decide to do.
    My only advice would be to talk to the police and the DA to get a sense of who you are dealing with – whether this is some well-connected gang banger or an isolated thug. You should also ask what the likelihood is that this person will end up in jail so you know what you are taking a risk for.

    In regards to the “stop snitching” posts – there is a big difference between not cooperating with the police because you are under the deluded belief that they are the enemy (the basis for the idiotic and self-defeating “stop snitching” movement – which, incidentally, is being promoted by wealthy rappers and celebrities who don’t live anywhere near the neighborhoods that are being decimated by the violence these morons say should not be reported to the police) and not cooperating with police because you are afraid of the personal consequences. This dilemma falls firmly in the latter category.

  • Can I just say something on behalf of the original poster, also? The only reason he is in this situation in the first place is because he DID come forward, he DID call the police when he saw something, and he identified a potential criminal. Here is a person who has already done the right thing. He is not a coward. Just a regular person who probably has had little to no interaction with the justice system and is looking for a little reassurance. And we’re getting all “coward!” and “evil liberal!” on him. Have a heart, people. This is one of our neighbors, trying to do something good that will help ALL of us.

  • Please testify.

  • “# Anonymous Says:
    August 25th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I think we should all go break into Petworth Resident

  • The reason why this is a conundrum is that the witness doesn’t just have some blind, irrational faith in the justice system. Realistically, what would happen to the perp if convicted, even with priors? A year inside? Not long enough to keep the heat off the witness, and likely not sufficient punishment to justify the considerable risk. And really, it’s not like the perp attacked the guy’s woman or something, then he’d likely be a lot more willing to testify and ensure some negative consequences occur for the crime.

  • I’m an “evil liberal” who voted for Obama… And I definitely think you should testify. I agree with a lot of the above commenters who say that by not testifying we’re letting them win. I would like to think that if I were in the same position, I would testify.

    Is there any way you could ask about police protection during the trial (if it goes to trial)? If this is a person involved in a gang or something similar, I would hope the police would feel compelled to protect a citizen who is standing up for their community. It might be a false sense of security, but at least it’s something. Or we could form a PoP citizen’s watch!

    @Nate – seeing many of your posts on PoP comment boards, I get the impression that you don’t trust the cops. I would rather put my trust in the police, even if misguided, than to let the criminals run rampant throughout our neighborhoods. Maybe I’m delusional, but no one wins (except the criminals) when you don’t have faith in your police force.

  • “@Nate – seeing many of your posts on PoP comment boards, I get the impression that you don

  • Po Po, please stop trolling threads to score partisan political points- no one is keeping score here. Aren’t there enough other blogs out there that you can get into fights about “liberal failings” and trumpet the benefits of a blindly conservative ethos?

    Between Po Po and the naked “Stop Snitchin'” posts on this tread, a lot of people seem to be itching for a fight today. . .

  • Testify, because it is the right thing to do to protect a safe and peaceful neighborhood. Not testifying (not snitching) entitles the guy to more power to commit crimes. Yes, it’s scary, but any sacrifice you would make in testifying is on behalf of the entire neighborhood, if not city.

  • Right on Christina 11:53 am! We should be acknowledging that this guy already did what 90% of most people living in the hood would not do: Call 911, ID a criminal and Follow up about the Gun. I’ve spoken to cops and most people don’t even leave their names/tele. numbers when they call 911.

    If a bystander is going to put a thug away for some jail time, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think a thug and/or his friends want to get some pay back. for all of you calling him a coward – how would you like some local thugs wanting payback with you and your loved ones?

    Hopefully every single one of you who scream “Testify” – will keep their eyes open, call 911, leave your name & call back number so you too can do your duty putting all Columbia Hieghts & Petworth criminals behind bars! But since noe of you are cowards you won’t mind any retribution!

  • Po Po, your logic is terribly flawed. There is not necessarily any correlation between individual responsibility and the size of government. You sound like you’ve been brainwashed by Ayn Rand. I can’t tell you how many examples I know of people who make their own way to success as people who don’t rely on anyone for help, yet they are staunch democrats. I don’t want any welfare – if I don’t make my own way to success, it’s my own damn fault. At the same time, our healthcare system is f**cked and needs fixing. If not government, who’s gonna do it? The health insurance industry? Haha. Hahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  • What kind of a spineless non-contributor to society would refuse to testify? A citizen has an obligation to testify; only a real piece of shit wouldn’t do so. Anyone who says otherwise is just as bad as the criminals.

  • Please testify.

    (As an aside, legally, you don’t have a choice. Practically you might have a choice because the prosecutor might be unlikely to prosecute you for lying to the grand jury. Of course, if said prosecutor had solid proof that you were lying because you posted it to a prominent local blog . . . . Think, man.)

  • Nate: The anonymous poster was not suggesting that you be pistol-whipped for your opinion. I think s/he was (accurately) pointing out one of the ridiculous results of a society functioning in the manner you suggest.

  • Nate: Promoting jury nullification isn’t an “opinion” it’s simply rejecting the law. Next time you want to have a judge throw out one of your non-paying tenants I hope everyone involved shrugs at you and says “sorry”. Only obeying the law when it suits your own selfish needs cuts both ways.

  • Jeez, people. I vote we all stop taking the bait and rising to Nate’s insane comments. I think it encourages him.

    Those poor kids he claims to be mentoring are in a really tough spot if this is the advice he is giving them: “Don’t trust. Don’t care. Don’t do anything at all.” Please don’t take his advice. Ever.

    And please testify. Its your responsibility and duty to the rest of us.

  • @Nate… I realize I didn’t word my first post to you very well, but you answered what I meant anyway. I think our life experiences may differ, but I agree with / understand your second paragraph for the most part. I see a person with a joint, fine. Sure, it’s illegal, but that person does not possess an imminent threat to me. Although if I were to see a guy running down the street with a gun, I would perceive that as a threat! In that instance, I would have done the very same thing and called the cops.

    Also, to put this out there – guns absolutely terrify me. I realize it’s our constitutional right to bear arms, and I’m fine if you want to have a *legally* obtained firearm, but I don’t think I could ever have a gun in my home. I think the simple fact that I get mad easily is enough of a reason not to possess a gun!

  • Posted earlier with my thoughts on testifying — hope you do it. Now posting to encourage you to ignore Marcus Aurelius’ invitation to selective amnesia if called (hint: if and when you’re in the chair, answer the question truthfully, fully, and in a way that doesn’t attempt to mislead the grand jurors by selective omission) and Nate’s invitation to undermine our society of laws (hint 2: Nate doesn’t like gun and drug laws, and not surprisingly he’s admitted to having been busted for both; luckily, he isn’t a policy-maker). Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.

  • Mal,
    Pit bulls absolutely terrify me. I don’t think I could ever have one in my home. On the flip side, my grandmother kept 10 shotguns/rifles in her bedroom. No matter how mad anyone in our family got, we never took one of her guns with the intent to shoot anyone. See, people are the difference. If you have anger issues, fine, don’t get a gun. But more importantly, get help for your anger as I am sure you have knives, hammers, and other objects in your home that could be used to kill someone.

    As I stated earlier, if I see someone injuring someone or potentially injuring someone, I call the police. If needed to testify in a TRIAL, I likely would. But in a grand jury, forget that. He is likely getting charged anyway. I play a risk reward game.

    True story: I used to call police on this drug dealer that sold drugs from his car in front of my home. Cops came and arrested the guy. One day I was off work and attending a notorious murder trial, I bump into the guy in the courtroom. He lamented that someone from the hood had snitched on him.

  • “hint 2: Nate doesn

  • And hint 2 stands, despite Nate’s attempt to ignore the nature of a possession offense! (hints 3 & 4: if you give cops permission to search, they don’t need a warrant. if they unlawfully search and find evidence they want to use against you, go for that motion to suppress.)

  • Most people don’t want to get involved. Understandable.

    But everybody’s got a camera phone. People must be getting pics of these jerks in action. How about a thug of the day pic upload? At least then we’d know who the bad guys are.

  • For anyone who’s telling this guy to go testify, part of the responsibility that we have in society is to protect this guy who’s standing up and putting his neck on the line. The power of the group is what protects people who stand up to power/violence. Realistically the police cannot protect him. All of you saying “go testify”, are you willing to be the next person to stand up to protect this guy? If you are, good job. If you’re not, why would you ask someone else to take the heat to protect you?

    And I’m speaking from a place where I have stood up against my neighbors in the past week and I know NO ONE on this blog is going to come stand guard at my house for a few hours a week to protect me. You either have a set of cajones or you don’t. At the end of the day it’s in your maker’s hands when you go, not your own.

  • Nate – true about knives/hammers, I guess it’s just an excuse not to have a gun. I’ll just say I wouldn’t want one in my home, then. Agree with most of your postings. We definitely just have very different experiences, but I can see your point of view.

    On that note, I still would hope the submitter testifies, as I see guns (esp guns being dumped) as a threat.

  • Jim, here is what anony posted….
    Anonymous Says:
    August 25th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I think we should all go break into Petworth Resident

  • Ragged Dog: Your probably right. We don’t know who you are, where you live or what you are talking about. Do your neighbors?

  • # Anonymous Says:
    August 25th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    And hint 2 stands, despite Nate

  • The answer is easy – do what you feel is right.

    “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” – Thomas Paine

  • mind ur business that person did not assault u nor bring harm to u or ur loved one’s
    its his right to bear arms!!!!!

  • “Now posting to encourage you to ignore Marcus Aurelius

  • this is a great time to contact an attorney. i hope you have already done so.

  • @Marcus Aurelius – I, too, contact the police whenever I see illegal activity taking place on my block and the alley bordering my apartment. The cops showed up within 10 minutes last Friday.

  • You must put this guy away! Don’t be afraid.

  • Absolutely testify. I really don’t think that there is any reason to worry. I have been mugged twice, and both times went before a court and got these people in jail. These people deserve to be in jail, and they know it. For someone to come after you because they picked up a gun charge is really ridiculous. It is an extremely rare occurrence for criminals to come after witnesses, because they know that the police are going to come directly to them if anything happens.

  • “Interestingly enough, I have not seen any responses in which posters recount their own heroic behavior in standing up to criminals and reporting criminal behavior.”

    I have called the police plenty of times and freely given them my name and phone number, but 1. this post isn’t about us and 2. I don’t think anything I’ve done is “heroic,” or even that noteworthy. I take your point that I haven’t gone before a grand jury before, and I’m sure I would be feeling some trepidation if I had to. But it’s not like the rest of us are cowering under our beds.

    Anon 2:54 p.m.: I hope that you never have to rely on a stranger to testify on your behalf if you are ever harmed by a criminal. By your logic, no one should care about anything other than themselves or their loved ones. That’s not the way a civil society works.

    Maybe that Colbert I. King article that Nate posted earlier is right. There really does seem to be a “new normal’ in D.C.

  • Nate, your selective cut-and-paste doesn’t change what the anonymous poster said (which is still here for all to see). Your subsequent post makes you look either silly or incredibly dense.

  • from a legal standpoint:

    if you’ve been subpoenaed you have to show up, otherwise that’s a whole ‘nother mess of trouble for you.

    if you have given statements to police on this matter, and it sounds like you did (at the very least you talked to police…your name is now associated with this guy now), they will bring those out and impeach you with them, i.e. use them against you when you are before the grand jury and say something along the lines of “didn’t you tell the police this…”

    just got and bite the bullet and talk to the AUSA about a stay away order

  • You already know the right thing to do. Why are you asking us? Go do it.

  • 1. you will do the right thing
    2. just move and be done with it
    3. Tell your children this story 20 years from now

  • i hope that you testify truthfully to what happened. and you don’t have a choice with the grand jury subpoena. go to the US Atty’s Office willingly or end up with the marshal’s service taking you to the US Atty’s Office. being involved in law enforcement, i see people unwilling to testify all the time and serious cases and criminals just get away with it. and i really believe that the criminals just will keep on doing it until something is done.

    we need to take control of our community and testifying and calling the police is part of that. don’t let the criminals control the streets. do what is right….and it sounds like you know what that is. just tell the truth.

  • mind ur business

    What the hell is the ur-business?

    Farming? prostitution (the oldest profession after all). This cracks me up in a weird way. What is so ancient that makes it the ur-business?

  • After reading the thread, I don’t think there was one person who describes how they had to testify in any criminal case. Does it mean most people are “minding their own business? Does it mean most people are choosing not to testify? Or… does it mean there isn’t that much crime out there?

    Is all this just false bravado of armchair McGrufff Crime Dogs that talk about taking a bit out of crime, but don’t go all the way?

  • Neener, you and I must both have the same sense of humor with this. I think the “ur-business” would probably be prostitution.

    (ur-, Ur- prefix
    “original, primitive, ancient” [

  • I testified in front of a GJ once and I have served on one. The crime I testified was not as serious as yours but this person was bad news and he had a prior record. He could probably find me if he wanted to bad enough but I don’t care. He can come get me. I’m tired of punks running this town and I’m damn glad I helped send his butt to jail. Oh yeah, I have a family too. I’m just tired of the criminals running the show. It never went to trial btw and yours probably won’t either.

  • Thanks everyone for your insights and opinions (even wacky Po Po – what a nut!)

  • I’ve testified once in an assault case, against a neighbor actually, and I would recommend testifying. My decision was probably easier than yours; although the plaintiff lived (and still is) across the street from me, he is an older man and mentally unstable but not really physically threatening. I was worried that there would be some tension and/or threats made to me afterward, but there hasn’t been. Again, I’d be more worried if the plaintiff younger, as I assume yours is.

    In your position, I think I’d ask the police for guidance. Of course they’re going to encourage you to testify, but they can also reassure you that what you do is right and that you will be kept safe. All the police I’ve dealt with in Columbia Heights have been helpful and respectful, and always grateful for cooperation.

    I hope that was helpful, and best of luck.

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