Dear PoP – Crime Scenes Friday Night

Photo by PoPville flickr user Bogotron

“Dear PoP,

When I got out of the movies at Gallery Place last night around 10pm
they had crime scene tape running from the theater all the way out to
the chipotle. There were lots of cops and other emergency personnel
and a firetruck on the street outside. My friend said she saw blood in
the cordoned off area. And of course none of the cops would say what

Then when I got off the metro at U St. 15 min. later there was a
similar scene. The area that is right in front of the entrance was
cordoned off and metro police cars were crammed in every which way
blocking U St. from 13th to 12th. Didn’t see any blood, but there were
a lot of angry teenagers yelling about harassment.

I didn’t get a crime alert and the only thing I could think of was
that there must have been some retaliations from the earlier fight at
Union Station. Please let me know what you can find out?”

At Chinatown MPD writes:

“We had a fight in the back alley by Clydes- subjects arrested”

Anyone know what happened at U St?

45 Comment

  • I have no idea what went down at either place, but with your reports and the nonsense that happened at Union Station I am just beyond fed up with the violent behavior of these teens!

  • Maybe we need some sort of curfew for the summer for all those under 18. Of course, 20 year old’s also commit crime, but perhaps it would help?

  • They need to stop the kids from hanging out on the metro. Any Fri or Sat night go to the following stations- Gallery Place, L’efant Plaze and union station tell me what you see. Also they need to stop all the kids asking for money on the green line.

    • Kids really hang out outside L’Enfant on the weekend? I can understand Gallery Place but what’s the attraction of L’Enfant to them?

    • Are you seriously trying to say that L’Enfant Plaza is unsafe?

      • Hmm..nobody responded…sounds like someone is just scared of black teens period. I live in Cleveland…and this sounds like the griping of outer-suburbanites regarding Tower City station in Downtown Cleveland. Yawn.

  • How about a $1,000 fine on the parents of minors that commit a violent crime. I watch the future of the juvenile justice system mess around in my neighborhood every day at all hours. There’s no supervision on these kids. I would have turned out the same way if my parents were criminally absent.

  • @KStreetQB you’d be fighting a losing battle. What can you do if you’re 14 and pregnant by your mother’s boyfriend and your mother is probably 27 and letting the boyfriend stud you because she got knocked up early with you and is now trying to live her teenaged years and compete with you and your grandmother is 42 and is probably the only one with some kind of a job and they’re all living with the 65 great grandmother because she’s the one that has a house. It goes on and on and on. Who knows what the answer is. Sorry to be cynical but I see it every day.

    • i know its not a solution, but that is one reason why we must continue to fight to keep abortions legal and safe. to help teens have a chance to escape this insanity.

  • If Mendolson and Wells hadn’t handcuffed the judicial system, the cops could do something. But every time the cops arrest someone they’re released to “DYRS” (by law, the judges can’t hold them in custody) and out on the street within the day. Then the arresting cops are accused of being racist. It’s a no win until people wise up and replace Mendolson and Wells.

    The rub is that the kids that don’t cause trouble have to find a way to protect themselves against these out of control kids. And the kids getting in trouble don’t learn to be accountable for their actions.

  • There’s a lot of cynical fatalism in every PoP crime thread, and a lot of support for heavy-handed punitive measures to stem the tide of ill-parented juvenile offenders.

    But we know what works. It’s documented. You can go see it. Strong mentoring and support, starting with pre-natal education for the parent(s), and continuing through the critical early childhood years and continuously throughout K-12. It freaking works. We just have to politically CARE enough to implement it.

    Google “Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone” or check out . The program has an amazing track record, in exactly the kind of “hopeless” impoverished communities so many here have written off.

    Prevention isn’t as retributively satisfying as our current culture of reactive punitive measures (e.g. giving 1 out of 3 American black males a prison record), but it’s the only sustainable way out.

    It’s a crying shame that macho “kick some criminal ass” campaign messages are so much more crowd-pleasing than the more rational approach of “let’s work to prevent kids from growing up to be criminals in the first place.”

    • I grew up in the 50s in a lower middle class neighborhood in a medium size American city. We never saw police let alone had any crime. We had no mentors other than our parents and relatives and older kids; we had no pre-natal education other than church and common sense; we had no state support during “the critical early childhood years;” and we had no community centers other than our own pick-ups games at the local schoolyard. Almost all of us graduated from high school and many from college and learned how to be self-reliant in the process.

      And it cost the taxpayer: $0.

      • “Lower Middle Class” is different that poor.

        • I agree. Lower middle class in the US isn’t poor. But poor in the US isn’t poor either. I’ve lived in China and India (and know a lot about Africa) where the poorest American would be quite rich. And in these places the difference between the “rich” and poor is so obvious that there are walls – of several kinds – and guards letting you know about this every day.

          Also, there’s the time factor. In the 50s in the US nobody had half the things even poor Americans take for granted now. My point was that big government is not the answer. It just creates pushers and addicts. It weakens the family support system and its very, very expensive. As a famous conservative said, the trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money. DC is so addicted and has so many pushers that when the inevitable withdrawal sets in its going to be painful. Very painful.

      • Ah, to go back to the 50s when everything was perfect! Except if you were female and trying to make money or not get pregnant. Or if you were black and trying to, I dunno, eat at a diner or vote. Hell, even if you were just afraid of atom bombs, ddt, or being named a commie…

        But seriously, bring ’em back! Best time ever.

      • and the nickelodeon cost a nickel!

      • The past is a different country, and they rejected my visa request.

    • some of us believe in both prevention and “kick some criminal ass”.

    • Sorry, this isn’t Kansas, and you are just wrong. The number of violent crimes being committed has plummeted in recent years. Why? Because violent offenders are being locked up for longer periods of time. The touchy-feely “mentoring” and “intervention” programs that have been in place since the 1970s and have been a complete failure.

      The juvenile criminal justice system in DC is broken. Our so-called leaders need to abandon the failed treatment” model for juveniles, close down DYRS and the failed group homes, and stop contracting with questionable “mentoring” groups such as Peaceoholics. The solution is to treat anybody over 14 as an adult, prosecute vigorously when they commit violent crimes, and incarcerate them in out-of-state prisons. That will keep our city safer.

      You need to go back to Kansas.

    • Unfortunately, there’s no cost effective way to hire a parent for every kid that doesn’t have effective parents in the city. You already have Social Services but they are hand tied legally, financially and case load wise from doing anything. Even if you dropped their case loads in half and doubled their budget, they would still be ineffective legally. What magical power do you think having a mentor is going to have? Without the power to detain or punish a kid who’s acting out, even a mentor is helpless.

      Your arguments on this topic try to paint people who are asking for reasonable enforcement of standards as big ghoulies. I’m not sure the people arguing for better enforcement (on this blog) are asking to have kids sent to work camp, just some penalty for acting in a way that any parent would deem unacceptable behavior. It’s an attitude that is dooming another generation of DC kids to uncontrolled neighborhood violence caused by other kids!

    • Thank you West Kansas. You are right, and it’s uplifting to hear about this.

  • West Kansas, you obviously have to do both. Programs like the HCZ should be funded and sustained. However, criminal, out-of-control, anti-societal behavior shouldn’t be rewarded. Let’s face it, there have been various social programs in place, and billions of dollars spent in rehabilitation and mentoring, and they don’t have a very good track record, so I think it’s understandable that most commenters on PoP, including myself, consistently call for stronger law enforcement, longer juvenile sentences, and in general a lower tolerance for thuggery and disorder on our streets and in the Metro system.

    • Please document the “billions” in rehab and mentoring — especially quality, proven methods — that have happened in DC. Because frankly, I haven’t seen it. In fact in general, I don’t think DC has done any kind of documented best practice in terms of youth development. You’ve built a city that has given youth programs and quality education and family development second place while continuing to create more laws and regulations with little to no effect on crime other than to put far too many young people’s fathers into the prison system.

      • Are you out of your mind? To quote DC councilman Jack Evansnewsletter of March 2007:

        “Many of my constituents ask where our money comes from and how we spend the revenues. As I stated above, the total budget of the city is $9 billion. Of the total budget, $5 billion is locally raised and spent. Approximately, $2 billion is raised and spent by semi-independent agencies like the Water and Sewer Authority and the DC Lottery. Another $2 billion is from federal grants that are given to every jurisdiction ($1 billion is Medicaid). This works out to approximately $17,000 being spent on each resident of the District, the highest amount of any jurisdiction in America.”

        “As for how the budget is allocated, 35% is spent on human services, 22% on schools and 15% on public safety for a total of 72% of our budget. The balance funds all other city services! The issue confronting our new City government is not whether we have enough money to spend, but how do we get better results for the money spent. It is incumbent on Mayor Fenty, Council Chair Gray and my colleagues to once and for all get the maximum return on our dollars spent. I will keep you informed as we progress.”

        Do you have any idea of the amount DC spends on human services compared to other cities. Show me your documentation, please.

      • I meant billions nationwide, though surely millions of private and public dollars have been spent on rehabilitation of wayward youths in DC since the 1960s, with decidedly mediocre results. It would be nice if we could spend unlimited funds and time on each individual troubled kid, but quite frankly, that’s impossible. Also, it’s only fair that juveniles who commit violent crimes (as opposed to small-scale property crimes) face appropriate penalties in the criminal justice system, and that system clearly needs to be reformed.

    • You kids, get off my lawn!

  • I was outside of the Gallery Place theater RIGHT after this happened- before the crime scene tape was up and when 2 cops had just arrived on the scene. I saw the blood splattered all over the ground right under my feet and I saw the victim and it looked like much more than a “fight.” I will admit that the sight frightened me and that I quickly looked away, but from what I did see, I couldn’t tell if he had been stabbed or shot. He was absolutely soaked in blood. And I can also tell you that he wasn’t a young teen, it was an adult who was assaulted.

  • I saw at least 14 cop cars on U Street between 13th and 14th last night. There was a fight outside of the night club near Cafe Nema and Momo’s which was over by the time I got there, but still lots of cop cars all over the place. A few minutes later people started fighting closer to 13th, near the rite aid.

    Traffic basically came to a complete stop since the cop cars were parked all over the street. I really hope they locked up a bunch of people over that incident. This all happened at around 9:30 or so (I think?)

  • There hasn’t been anywhere near the amount of funded spent in DC for youth violence prevention work!

    Here is a great program in Columbia Heights that is starved for money:

    A recent evaluation of citywide youth/gang crime:

    and some commentary:
    and –

    So don’t give me that “there’s noting to do, we’ve already spent billions” crap.

    The Columbia Heights/Shaw Family Support Collaborative ( is working on these issues with little funding. If you want help, advocate for tough police approaches for murders, but also advocate for funding to keep kids from becoming murders in the first place!

    • That’s “a program” starved for money. That doesn’t come anywhere near being an argument that DC hasn’t spent enough.

      And don’t be a sucker. This is DC, every agency/group/NGO/etc. *by default* say’s it’s underfunded. They complain to the media for more money when they get rejected directly by the city. There have been countless organizations over countless years that all seem to have “the secret” to stopping youth violence if they only had more money. The fact is many of these organizations are well intentioned and may have 1-2 all stars that can really connect with kids, but there is Zero, Zero scalability.

      If it was so easy that one group found a playbook for stopping city wide violence, it would have been solved years ago. If there is no punishment when one kid beats up another kid, then the kid who gets beat up lives in fear of violence until he can find a way to protect himself. Why can’t the police protect innocent kids? Why is that such a tough concept?

  • John, i’d be surprized if anyone was even arrested, much less held and charged. i often see “arrests” (for the camera/neighbors) that end in release around the corner, or release back at the station with a $25 ticket for “disorderly affray” that if paid results in no prosecution and no record.

    i can’t even imagine what the kids that DO get locked up must have done, given what i’ve seen what ones who don’t get locked up do (drug dealing, brawling with police, etc.)

  • In ‘club zones’ like 18th St in Adams Morgan, and to a slightly lesser extent on U st, there will usually be a handful of brawls every Friday and Saturday night. I’ve seen uniformed MPD officers punched in the face trying to break up these fights and the bottom line is no one usually gets arrested. They can’t risk having officers off the street for the time it takes to process an arrest. It’s just not worth it to MPD for a charge that the US Attorney will almost always plead down to simple assault or misdemeanor APO [Assaulting a Police Officer] if it’s not dropped entirely. How the f*ck fighting a cop is a misdemeanor under any situation is beyond me. Anyway, bottom line is the officer needs to be on the street for the next fight in 20 minutes, so no arrests – thugs just get sent on their way.

  • ACK! A WTOP poster! Get thee back to the hills, klansmen!

  • Previously ugly post which was deleted… (I swear it was there!)

  • Jay’O—you have identified the fundamental problem, which is that the enormous amount of money spent on social services in DC does not get routed to those non-profits who can most use the money effectively to produce real change. Instead, the money is distributed on a political/patronage graft system to bogus non-profits created by the friends and families of those bureaucrats in charge of handing out the money. Those “non-profits”—then spend the money on salaries and “overhead”, i.e., into the pockets of its creators. This system has existed since the inception of the Marion Barry political machine and is being perpetuated by our current mayor and his current crop of favorites. The solution is not “more money for social services” as that is just throwing good money after bad—the solution is less thievery by those in charge of handing it out.

  • All I can say is that if you want to cut off funding…fine…than DC can resemble cities here in Ohio like Cleveland, Lorain, Dayton, Toledo, Cincinnati….I feel much safer in DC than in most large Ohio cities.

    • Really? That’s interesting.
      I lived in Cleveland for years before moving here to DC.
      I’m a female and would rather take my chances walking down St. Clair in East Cleveland at 3am than two blocks from where I live here in DC at 5pm.

      I don’t really want to get into a pissing contest, though I had the urge to say that at least.

      captcha: “villon men”

      • @concerned, its funny you drop Lorain as an “unsafe” town. I went to St. Peters for gradeschool, my parents attend mass there on good ol’ Oberlin ave every sunday for the past 27 years. They have never had a problem, ever. Lorain is a rusted out neighborhood that the auto & steel industries have long since left, but unsafe? Ohio “hood” has nothing on D.C. “hood.” Lorain is full of old people, puerto ricans, and po’whites. which are you? Tell me you went to Admiral king high school, and so that makes you “hood” savvy, right? hmmm…..

        Did you grow up in Bay Village, Seven Hills, or Pepper Pike? That could be why you feel that Cleveland hood is like D.C. hood, and is understandable.

        Why am I even responding? ugh internet commenting. Let me just say that I grew up in Amherst, I know the towns you are claiming to be more “hood” that D.C., and as a child, I was always told to believe the same as you. Perhaps you just haven’t had the pleasure of looking out your window and watching people smoke rock in your backyard, or seen the drunk latino man with blood all over his face because he got too drunk and fell down, or had people yell vulgar things at you, just because you are female and walking home from the Col Heights metro at 6pm just trying to get home. All that changed my world view. Maybe that did happen to you in Cleveland, who knows.

        isn’t there an old adage? comments are like elbows, everyone has two. I like to think that Cleveland is still my little plum.

  • I saw a little bit of the fight on U Street. One guy was out on the sidewalk with a crowd around him as he was jumping up in the air and then landing by slamming his foot onto the face of another guy, very violently. I called 911 but by the time I got an operator the police were already there. About 7 squad cars and a dozen cops and they had a hard time clearing the area as many of the crowd were yelling at them and attempting to shove the cops, most of the shovers being females. Eventually it started pouring rain which dispersed the crowd. This was right outside the club at 13th and U.

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