Final Thoughts on the Caribbean Day Festival

Photo by PoPville Flickr user yostinator

The Caribbean day festival is normally one of my favorite days in DC. I am devastated by what happened late Sat. afternoon. I am also saddened by many of the generalizations made on all sides in the subsequent discussions about the violence. Having said that, the violence itself, particularly the fight on Georgia Ave near Banneker Pool has upset me more than I can properly articulate:

I need the Mayor to comment on this. Say something. Anything. Tell me you saw the clip above. Had I not been sent the clip I wouldn’t have even known it happened. This in the streets of Washington DC. Not just any street but one of our main avenues. Chaos of this magnitude can not be ignored. The Mayor’s silence terrifies me.

I believe the festival is a beautiful event. I’ve gone for many years and during the parade I have never felt an ounce of discomfort or fear of violence. During the parade. It is my deepest hope that this year’s troubles were an aberration. If we abandon the Caribbean Festival I personally believe we will be abandoning a piece of our soul, a piece of who we are. A piece of what makes us such a unique, amazing, and fun place to live. I appreciate that the Festival is not for everyone. That is fine. I’m told many residents in New Orleans actually hate Mardi Gras. But can you imagine New Orleans without Mardi Gras? For me, I can’t imagine Georgia Avenue in the summer without a Caribbean day Festival.

Mr. Mayor, just let me know that you recognize mistakes were made this year and you’ll do everything in your power to make sure they will not be repeated next year. Please.

Photo by PoPville flickr user rjs1322

202 Comment

  • Sad indeed. Hopefully people will gather some sense and vote in someone who cares.

    • Right. This isn’t so much about the Festival itself, as much as it is about a tragic failure of government. The Festival has, with this year’s events, become emblematic of many of the problems in DC. It shows us how badly our system is working with the current crop of lil’ rascals we have on the council.

      • Sadly, we keep electing the same people, and they represent the citizens. A majority of the citizens of DC are not concerned about crime and violence, and that’s a shame. Maybe they’ve gotten used to it and don’t know any other way of life. But as long as we keep electing people like Phil Mendelson to head up the Public Safety committee, we will never see any real justice reform, and the youth violence will continue.

      • How can you blame the government. It’s our culture that promotes self destruction. It’s our music that tells us to act like unsociable animals. Do you really need the government to come hold your hand so that you don’t participate in a riot? Wow, and who’s fault is that? Is that the government’s fault as well? That’s just sad. To me it seems like our culture needs to change. How many of those kids have a father in the house? How many times have they heard from our leaders (Jay-Z, Dr. Dre etc) that they should destroy themselves and those around them with violence? Don’t blame the government, don’t blame white people, I didn’t see any of them participating in our riot.

        • I was referring to the fact that Graham cut a deal to reduce cop numbers for the event, while increasing the density of people. The overarching problems related to crime can share blame with the enabling measures by our politicians, as well as some cultural issues.

        • That “Thank You !!” was to jdid.

    • You know, people often use incidents like this to villain-ize minorities when they forget the recent Hockey Game riots in Canada, riots over tuition hikes in England, how many dead bodies the mob in New York has created, and how many innocent bystanders die in the Middle East on a DAILY BASIS. Its not a race or culture issue fools, its an “idiot” issue…

      If you’re a killer seeking to target your neighborhood enemies, or even someone who’s irritable, and just looking for a fight, you’re easily going to take advantage of a crowd situation to use it as cover for your cowardly attack. The logic is simple. Anyone trying to use that to draw parallels to the Carnival Gathering or Attendees is just about as dumb as the people who committed those crimes.

      • True that. I mean, just look at the laughing that the camera man was doing. People, stupid and wise, get their adrenaline pumped when something dramatic takes off, and it does only take one big jerky idiot to start something, and a few scared defensive people to keep it going.

  • That video is terrifying. The fact that something like that could happen on a major street in a city without any comment from the mayor is appalling.

    • Rape and mugging happens all the time and he doesn’t comment on each one.

      But they do report burglary at businesses.

      Like that story this week where the poor theif took a shower and shaved while he was there.

      Poverty and a lack of social help leads to crime.

  • These idiots (or at least the moms, aunts, grammys, etc of these idiots) arethe mayor’s base. Why is he going to act out against the people who put him into office? Gray’s campaign was about unifying the city. He’s taken that to mean letting the base elements of this city thrive. For all those maniacs attacking each other in broad day light, there’s a voter vouching that said thug “is a good kid”; or in the alternate they don’t give a shit. Chaos rules. What’s the solution? Move.
    Or gather enough of a plurality to vote in a mayor who gives a shit and who can out-vote the idiots happy with the status quo, of which sadly there are many.

    • It’s gonna be hard to vote out our culture. It openly promotes this kind of behavior. Funny how we’ve been trained to ignore the obvious. If a white racist like David Duke promoted the ideas contained in today’s hip-hop songs he would be considered worthy of lynching, but when OUR rapper/cultural-leaders promote black on black violence and the destruction of our communities with crack cocaine, they are lauded as our hero’s…. without reproach.

      There is open psychological warfare being waged on our communities, and we can’t look to the nanny government to take care of it.

  • I don’t think the shooters and their intended target are from the Caribbean. Most likely the innocent bystanders who were shot, were there to attend a parade of costumes and music and have fun.

    Trouble makers, and trouble makers with guns show up. Meaningless fights. Spray bullets. Hit innocent people. Limited crowd control at an outdoor party that’s accessible to all.

    Pardon me while I call hospitals looking for non-trouble making innocent victims.

    Feel free to insert your limited worldview below.

    Throw in some anonymous bigotry and maybe we’ll all feel better about what happened.

    • Line Judge: The point isn’t whether people were DC residents or not – this event is attracting people from across the region and yes, from a block away to get drunk, wild and violent. Of course the majority of people aren’t like this, but the event organizers have a responsiblity to put on a safe, orderly event or else I think it should be cancelled!

      P.S. Sure MPD is responsible, but there seem to be some structural reasons for the chaos that are in the control of the “organizers”.

  • Words are cheap. If we hear anything from this mayor it’ll be political in nature. What we deserve is a heartfelt apology, but taking accountability seems to be a concept lost on our politicians. I haven’t been around that long – area for 10 years and DC proper for 5 – but my opinion is the overwhelming majority of DC politicians are in it for all the wrong reasons. I hope the press stays on these corruption stories and the courts send one of them (or all of them) to jail. Sending corrupt politicians to jail seems to be the only way to keep them from getting re-elected around here. But what the hell do I know – I’m just a white kid from suburbia who worked two jobs to put himself through college.

  • It was cool to see the parade (at first), went early in the day. I knew that something violent would happen at some point in the day. Thats was so sad, when you live in this town long enough that you know 8 hours in advance that a shooting/beatdown/stabbing etc will happen. Aside from the violence, I just couldn’t believe how vulgar the parade was. People were simulating sex, grinding on each other as participants in the parade in costume. Am I missing something about caribbean culture? I can’t believe that people want to expose their children this behavior. There was very little “caribbean culture” to the parade at all. It excuse to dress like skanks, smoke weed in public and get felt up in a parade while wearing a flag. very strange.

    • +1 – I’m never going within a mile of that parade again.

    • From what rock did you crawl from under? Have you been to a dance club in the last, oh, say 30 years? Did you ever been to Pimlico during the Preakness? Have you been to a show at Nissan Pavilion? Did you go to a big state school and witness football Saturdays or go to a frat party? Hell, have you read your kids Facebook pages?

      • Jay, I’m not the poster you are responding to, but I’ve done all those things (except a show at Nissan Pavillion) and that is not what Craibbbean fest is. Have you ever been to those things you describe?

      • Jay, they’re white, just excuse them they don’t know any better.

        • Right, because they’re civilized enough to know that beating the sh*t out of each other accomplishes nothing.

          • That’s not what I was referring to nor was that the topic of this string.

          • I was referring to the Original poster’s prudishness about the vulgarity she (he?) witnessed during the parade, not specifcally the violence. Yes, I’ve been to all of the kind of events I mentioned and I’ve seen people (white girls mostly) grinding, half-naked and drunk off their asses at all of them. And I’ve seen white kids on college campuses get billgerent with police officers and fight.

    • @get real: “Aside from the violence, I just couldn’t believe how vulgar the parade was. People were simulating sex, grinding on each other as participants in the parade in costume.”

      Much of that same “vulgarity” was present at the Pride parade a few weekends ago. Tons of nudity, grinding, etc by the participants. I didn’t see anyone complaining about Pride being vulgar. Why have a problem with one and not the other?

      • Personally, having been present at a number of pride celebrations and parades across the country, I find DC’s to be the most tame and boring (read: lack of nudity, grinding, etc) I’ve ever been to. I heard someone saying how much nudity there was in their parade and thought to myself “maybe next year they should take some lessons from the Carribean festival..” and then I heard what else happened. So probably not the best idea.

      • i bet “get real” didn’t go to pride, so is commenting on the thing he went to.

      • @erin

        Your comment is total BS. There was ONE nude male at DC Pride Parade 2011. ONE. Do not hyper exaggerate the facts to boost your agenda.

  • As much as I want to hear from Mayor Gray, the most important answers are to be expected and demanded of Chief Lanier. I passed within blocks of the scene minutes after the shooting and it was complete and utter chaos. The police were nowhere to be found and the few milling about were doing nothing to clear people from the area. I watched ambulances and firetrucks with EMTs struggle to pass cars and pedestrians who were confused and given no direction from the cops. They treated it like they were still doing parade detail instead of dealing with a near riot.

    • meanwhile, down further on georgia were about 8 officers on motorcycles, not really patrolling anything and watching fellow officers try to control the crowd.

      • As last weeks posting has shown, irrational fear of police presence means that everyone looses their mind if there’s any police presence at all… right up to the point when something bad happens and everyone’s wondering why they weren’t out and about.

  • I think I am really disturbed that something like this could go on for 5, 10, 15+ minutes (assuming this 5 minutes showed just a piece of it), and there is zero sign of cops anywhere. How is that possible?

    And, the mayor has nothing to say about this at all??

    This sounds like piss poor planning on the part of the city and PD; the city had to know that if you take street party + booze + no visible police presence + no leadership from the city, you get violence.

    New York has dealt with this for years with the Puerto Rican Day parade and St. Patty’s parade before realizing they had to blitz it with police to keep them orderly. DC needs to do the same clearly. Of course, this take leadership to implement, and it is clear that Vince Gray and the council are just dead in the water – waiting for recalls. Can’t come too soon!

    • I’m pretty confident the recalls you’re waiting on aren’t coming any time soon. This is DC.

      I stated in the other post, and I’ll state it again. In order to have a police presence significant enough to control the crowds, and not merely react to it (which wasn’t even done appropriately), seems to demand a signficantly larger show of force than existed this year.

      I’ve been to big events in New York – they do this a few times a year…Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade, New Years Eve, St Pats. It requires a lot more police than I saw yesterday, included mounted police and riot gear, as well as barriers, and a semblance of order that separates the parade from the bystanders. One could argue that this totally defeats the purpose and spirit of the Caribbean Day Parade – and I would probably agree. But I’d also agree that this means that this should be the last year for this parade in its current instantiation.

      I’ll end with a favorite PoP cliche – file this in the “this is why we can’t have nice things” category.

      • I saw a lot of police presence, but only around the perimeter of the festival/parade route.. one let four cars drive by with all 4 doors opens, dude drinking through a sun roof, bass blaring..all 4 with babies in the backseat.. the cop didnt even look up from his pc, just laziness. Why aren’t the police in the mix? I have a picture from 8th street (by the mcdonalds)the entire block had police cars, not too far from the shootings and not to far from banneker. how did none of them get involved?

  • “Mr. Mayor, just let me know that you recognize mistakes were made this year and you’ll do everything in your power to make sure they will not be repeated next year.”

    I’m not sure the city is to blame for the irresponsible, violent behavior of a number of individuals who were clearly looking for trouble.

    What mistakes did the city management make? What improvements need to be made?

    If we’re talking about greater police presence, have the organizers pay off their previous MPD deficit and then put down a refundable deposit in case additional presence is needed if any fights/stabbings/shootings occur. But really, you’d have to have a presence similar to what was out along Pennsylvania Ave during Bush’s second inauguration to suppress any and all major violence.

    That said, I agree that Gray’s silence is deafening. I’m sure the guy could get at least a few sentences out within 24 hours of the terrible event.

    • I don’t want a mealy-mouthed set of PR-approved talking points from the mayor. I don’t care if he says anything at all to the press, much less another political “I care” statement. In fact, “I recognize mistakes were made this year and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure they will not be repeated next year” would probably just piss me off. It has to be action, or nothing. In one of those videos, the cops on their segways just rolled up and watched the brawlers walk away. I want zip ties and paddy wagons. I want substantive change to laws regarding juvenile offenders.

      You say “I’m not sure the city is to blame for the irresponsible, violent behavior of a number of individuals who were clearly looking for trouble.” I need to hear that none of those individuals had a record; that none of them had been run in on previous violent offenses and released the same day. Because if one of the people throwing punches, or wielding a knife or a gun DID have a revolving-door DYRS experience, then the city is most definitely to blame.

      • Me, too. This shit makes me want to move. And I have never really, seriously thought that before. I’m pissed.

      • Well said, WDC. I couldn’t agree more.

      • Well said.

        There should have been a show of force, and they could have just started cuffing basically everyone they could. Drag them to the police dept., fingerprint them, detain them, check their records, and then release them within 24 hours. That’s what a well-organized city and well-funded PD would do.

        MPD is understaffed, underfunded, and undersupported by the mayor and city council.

        • look, if those had been a bunch of protesters demonstrating in front of the world bank i PROMISE you they would still be locked up. but homies punching it out on a major city avenue barely get a reaction from the cops.

          • But, it would have been a combo of local & federal police, FBI, and possibly NG. So, you know it would have been well-policed.

      • “I need to hear that none of those individuals had a record; that none of them had been run in on previous violent offenses and released the same day.”

        I see what you’re saying, but how do you practically enforce this? People with criminal history that live in the public space have the right to attend a public event. There are also people coming from MD and VA. How does the city screen the attendees? It’s not possible.

        The only thing to do would be to increase the police presence so much that nobody dares to start trouble. That’d be a half dozen police per block. Let’s let the organizers cover that cost, because my tax dollars should not be going to this festival.

        • I think you misunderstood. I’m not suggesting that the parade attendees be screened. I’m suggesting that the city needs to make and enforce laws regarding violent behavior, such that violent offenders aren’t attending the parade because they’re in jail.

          • Eh, at some point, they will be released and are then free to go to public events. Unless we lock all first time offenders for life…

  • andy

    what do you do so that next year’s festival isn’t like this year’s?

  • I posted a few days ago asking if it was a good event to take my small child to. I slept in on Saturday, decided we would probably miss most of the parade by the time we got there, and spent the afternoon in a nice park in the ‘burbs, instead. I am speechless with gratitude that it happened that way.

    As if Gray hadn’t already done enough to get my signature on the recall petition, this will probably inspire me to knock on doors come January instead of just signing and forgetting about it.

    The one-year mark can’t come soon enough.

    • Let me know if you need help.

    • I remember screaming “HELL NO!” at the screen when you posted that question, but decided not to post in the hopes that maybe, just maybe this year would be different.

      I can’t see this year as an aberration. Worse than previous years? Yes. But the momentum has been building in such a way that this horrendous result was inevitable.

    • I don’t understand why you are blaming Gray for this.

  • DC need to look at how Miami treats Memorial Day weekend in south beach. They bring out all the cops to keeps things under control.

    • Memorial Day in Miami is a horrible example. Wasn’t there a drive by and didn’t someone get killed this past Memorial Day? I wouldn’t even call it Memorial Day, it’s caledl Black Beach Week by it’s promoters and the residents of SoBe are horrified at that event. Nothing but thugs hanging out on the streets. It is NOT a celebration of Memorial Day or our veterans by any means. The residents of Miami Beach are working hard to get that event kicked outta their town, and I hope the residents of Petworth will work hard to make sure this “festival” doesn’t come back next year. Spare me the whole cultural diversity BS, it is not a celebration of culture, it’s a block party for thugs and hoodlums.

  • The festival has been going on for what 20 years now. It has been deemed to have “gotten out of hand” many times and it seems some measures are taken each year to improve the crowd control. So what “mistakes” were made this year? Anybody with any real perspective have any meaningful insights?

    • What needs to happen is this Carribbean festival needs to relocate downtown and out of basically a residential neighborhood!

      • I live downtown, and I sure don’t want the festival moved to my neighborhood (unless they have a much, much, much bigger police presence in the future).

      • The festival on Georgia Ave is where it needs to stay! They had it downtown about 5 years ago and it wasn’t the same. The government just needs to provide enough police to make sure the festival happens without any problems. The Carribean Festival is DC and belongs on Georgia Ave. You wouldn’t move the Drag Queen race out of Dupont Circle!

  • I walked most of the length of the parade and thought there was a very large police presence. I see comments as if there weren’t police around and I have to assume you weren’t there. What I don’t understand is how, given the police presence, all of this violence could occur without a very swift reaction.

    Also, I have to believe at least 50% of those who attend this parade are not DC residents. My street off of Georgia is full of MD plates during this parade every year. This is worth pointing out because this is not the typical violence of a summer night in DC — there are lots of outsiders at this parade with little respect for the neighborhood. They park illegally, block driveways, drive aggressively, and litter with abandon.

    As a resident of this neighborhood who loves where I live, loves my neighbors, and loves the spirit of this parade, I hate to see people over-generalize about the general vibe of the area and the fact that 299,990 people at this parade peacefully enjoyed themselves.

    • Re: your first paragraph:
      If there was indeed a police presence (I wasn’t there, so can’t vouch) then it seems they weren’t doing their job.

      Or, if this happened away from and after the parade, then it’s a failure of city leadership to not require them to remain in the area and maintain order. You can’t just let a few thousand drunk and riled-up people loose in the city and expect them to calmly go home.

    • I saw a police presence. It was just enough to perhaps see that violence had erupted somewhere on the route and call to relocate other police if they weren’t dealing with an issue elsewhere. It was not nearly enough to contain any type of a situation within a short enough period of time to actually help anyone in the type of scenario seen in the video.

      I’d have preferred to see a youtube video of that police chopper that was flying over dropping tear gas canisters into this fight, rather than watching someone getting hit over the head with a chair.

    • this parade was a joke.. the rotten few can spoil everything. I live in the area and I hope they cancel it, and start to build more high-end condos.

  • It may be a sad commentary on the current state of affairs in the inner city, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised to see groups of kids fistfighting as opposed to shooting at each other. That’s kicking it old school.

    I spent 4 hours at the parade and did not see any violence or any situation that appeared headed for violence. It appears as if most of the violence happened after the parade was over. The police should have just dispersed the crowd when the parade was over instead of just allowing people to mill around aimlessly. Ir, if you are going to allow people to mill around aimlessly, have a strong police presence.
    As the moronic commentator on the video pointed out, it’s ridiculous that a gangfight could be going on for 5 freaking minutes without one police officer showing up.

    • It is sad, but that was my thought, too, watching part of that video. I just couldn’t stand to watch the whole thing, in part because I was afraid that at any second one of those kids was going to pull a gun.

  • I am one of thoise New Orleanians who “hates” Mardi Gras. Well, I don’t really hate it; it’s just not my bag.
    At any rate, the NOPD has this stuff down to a science. They are world leaders in crowd control via police presence and absolutely ZERO tolerance for BS.

    You will find yourself in jail for this kind of sh-t in a flat second. Locals know this. And it goes off without a hitch (almost two solid weeks of nearly nightly, city-wide parades) every single year. Sure, there are isolated incidents here and there, but this is ridiculous. And not a cop in sight. Unreal.

    The Krewes (parade organizations) in New Orleans have to pay for the police detail. If they don’t pay, they don’t roll, tradition or not. That’s it. Period. Why should it be any different here?

    • CRAZY that DC cops don’t seem to have the “crowd control thing” down yet – we’re only the nations capitol with 30+ mass events a year!

      What needs to happen is this Carribbean festival needs to relocate downtown and out of basically a residential neighborhood!

      • It’s because Mendolson and 30+ years of aggrieved racial politics has gutted the police’s ability to do anything in DC resembling proactive policing or even reasonable response to dangerous situations.

        The simple fact is that the DC Democratic party, due to it’s racial issues would rather see 5 dead people than give up an ounce of personal freedom.

    • “The Krewes (parade organizations) in New Orleans have to pay for the police detail. If they don’t pay, they don’t roll, tradition or not. That’s it. Period. Why should it be any different here?”

      THANK YOU.

    • +1. “You don’t pay, you don’t roll”. Simple as that. If people want this celebration to continue, someone is going to have to be the frontrunner on a MAJOR fundraising campaign so the organizers can afford the police detail they need.

      • Agreed. I would never set foot at that festival because I know there would be some sort of violence occurring. It is shocking how long that fight lasted without any police presence to break it up. I feel as though the point of showing Carribean culture has been overshadowed by the impending violence at the festival every year, so unless there is some way to make the event safe, they should scrap it.

    • Absolutely.

  • Oh no!!! Please don’t abandon the Caribbean Festival!! I really enjoy celebrating violence, intimidation, and the objectification of women!

    What a great cultural festival!!!!! Let’s keep this thing going!!!

  • I dunno, I read the comments before I watched the video and I expected to see … I guess more than that video showed me based on the OH MY GAWD! MURDER AND MAYHEM ON GEORGIA AVE that I saw in the comments.

    These boys were fighting each other, not attacking random people on the street (one dude even moved a young lady out of the way for safety it seems and I saw other folks strolling by leisurely so it couldn’t have been THAT dangerous) and while it was out of control and should not have happened, this is not the world going to hell in a handbasket here.

    Also, it seems to me the man with the chair was breaking up the fight not joining it. He got tired of those rugrats cutting up and the lack of police presence and took matters into his own hands.

    Mind you, this comes from someone who HATES this festival, never attends it and who grew up in a quiet suburban environment where people didn’t act like that. Ever.

    • Well, 4 people got shot later, so while the degree of violence is different, the ability to control it is zilch.

      Caribbean festival, Zoo party,…

      DC has Zero control over it’s festival crowds because of racial politics.

  • this event should move downtown for better crowd control and containment . the parade is fine the after party is a nightmare, property owners and neighborhoods are unfairly impacted. it is wrong and unfair. mayor gray , jim graham , muriel bowser, organizers, etc ought to be ashamed of themselves.

  • I live on the other side of Hechinger Mall – and we see street brawls on a weekly basis. It seems to be the new “cool thing” for the “community.” Friday it was two moms with kids in strollers who got into it – but as soon as the police show everybody runs. I agree with the previous poster who said theyd take fists over guns. But it’s still an ugly sight when you see it.

  • gotryit

    yeah, I’m still going with the shooting into the crowd as way worse. Want to show a video of that with some outrage?

  • Please people, while the crowd of onlookers on this one is bigger than normal those sorts of street brawls are pretty much daily occurences in DC, especially during the summer (just be grateful no one pulled a gun in this particular incident). You may not see them but they are out there most every day. That is a portion of the culture you choose to live amongst and support with your tax dollars.

    I myself moved out of DC last year after 15+ years of demanding something, anything, be done about the incredibly pervasive violence. I was told perhaps I should live somewhere else by Muriel Bowsers staff, so I left. Best decision I ever made.

    And my condolences to the civil rights generation, the Howard founders, and the many fine Howard students for the comments of the cameraman: something like “if you’re not at Howard today you ain’t nowhere.” Just shameful.

    • And yet you still troll the DC blogs for information on DC. If you left DC, just leave it all together!

      I have lived in VA, MD, PA, and DC. I have lived in DC now for over 20+ yrs. I love this city even w/ all the negatives, b/c it has so many positives (for me) and won’t quit it simply b/c my whining isn’t heard

      • Yeah, your “festival” made the local news in my area so it was amusing to read about and remember why I left. And it pains me to read comments from people wasting their time here rehashing the same frustrated statements / arguments as people have done before them for decades. Most deserve better, but if you like it then by all means stay.

        Trolling the internet, heaven forbid…. I shall restrict myself to reporting from my immediate area!

        • yeah “briefly” please stay away from our blog you don’t live here anymore.

          hah what a joke! “mca” you aren’t from New York so don’t read the New York Times… or go to their website! Only fair.

        • I can understand that frustration, but change does happen. It doesn’t happen on your timeline necessarily, but it does happen at some point — when the conditions are right.

  • This is why I do not attend these outdoor events. A day of wjat was supposed to be a cultural and educational celebration was destroyed. I am glad I entertained my guests at home with plain old southern hospitality from the porch.

  • Seriously!? What do you expect the mayor to say? I voted for fenty and I wish he was still mayor, but I have to say one of the things I like about gray is that he doesn’t use every excuse he can find to get in front of a camera. Fenty was a publicity whore… Sometimes that worked for him, but gray may be doing things wrong, but I think less time in the media is a good thing.

  • I am pretty sick of all this. Truly, I blame that enormous NRA building for all of this. If we didn’t have a bunch of lobbyists shutting down any kind of gun control we will continue to have these kinds of problems. I also think anyone who defends legal guns, or guns of any kind is an idiot. What are you gonna do about it, shoot me?

  • Yeesh.. my decision to attend BBQ contest instead seems right on. On a happier note the BBQ contest was mix of all kinds of people with one thing in common.. Damn good BBQ and free stuff galore. I walked out of there tipsy with a full tummy of BBQ samples for 10 bucks. Good vibes all around.

  • I think the DC gay pride pride route should go up Georgia Ave next year. The gays will shower the neighborhood with glitter, rainbows and hugs!

  • This is why I stay inside all the time. I am not sure why I read this blog because I never go outside for any of the events posted. I have my groceries delivered to me because the local groceries just seem unsafe. This festival seems particularly scary. I mean the women aren’t covered head to toe. There is loud music and dancing. I will put “culture” in quotations to send a message to what I am really thinking wink wink.

    Why can’t DC be more like the suburbs. No one leaves their homes there, it is always quiet. Once in a while you have the thrill of going to the Home Depot. I am getting flustered thinking about my last trip to Michael’s.

    I love the anonymity of this forum by the way. People get to say all types of great things. Don’t change to one of those Facebook commenting systems.

    • I see what you did there

    • I’d like to think there was a middle ground between living with the monthly highlight of a trip to Michael’s and an afternoon street brawl. No? Clearly you have no problem with this video. Enjoy.

  • Those of you simpyl trying to put this at the feet of the police and claiming “there weren’t any there” is pure hogwash.

    I walked the route for an hour, and I don’t see that many MPD around except for Presidential Inaugurations.

    They had a police chopper hovering over the parade all day for god sakes, so lets try not passing the blame for this on someone else, getting past all this PC crap and assigning the blame right where it belongs.

    This is the second of two African American events in DC in the past 3 months where someone was stabbed/killed.

    You try to deflect blame by waxing poetic about “sociatial injustices”, but never in my life have I seen a “family day” parade where having simulated sex in the middle of the street, where girls in thongs were dancing on resturant tables while completely wasted guys stuff money in their thong.

    I don’t know how many times in an hour I saw people throwing their glass empties in the street, at peoples homes or cars. I saw no less than half a dozen people, men/women walk into someones front yard, drop trou and proceed to do their business on their steps/front door.

    I watched a group of early 20’s kids walk up to someones house, and dump the persons trash and rycyling cans all over their yard and run away. I mean, what the heck is up with that?

    I don’t know where the OP gets all of this “it was a beautiful event” clap trap, but it was a pretty disgusting “non-family” event that does nothing to help the black community as every sterotype people have against them was confirmed in one afternoon.

    Thankfully, by all the pre-parade press this event seems fiscally insolvent so hopefully this one will be the last.

    • wait you saw 6 people take dumps on someone’s front steps?

      • Yes, I saw 6 different people piss (on different) peoples property, including their front door and steps.

        • someone actually pissed on someone else’s front door?

          • not cool. when you’ve reached the point in your life where you’re peeing on someones front door, i think it’s safe to say you took the wrong path.

            as a homeowner, what would you do in that situation? open the door and you probably get peed on.

          • When we lived at 15th and Chapin it was a regular thing. Granted we lived in a basement apartment, but it was street level, and obviously an apartment entrance. Happened all the time. All ages too–10 year olds and middle aged guys were who we saw. And once someone took a dump directly in front of our door. It definitely wasn’t dog shit.

  • This was a fine matinee performance, but to see this show in prime time (3:30 a.m.) every Saturday night, you need only visit nearby Adams Morgan.

  • Can we have the cameraman arrested too. I think I was more appalled by his cavalier commentary than the thugettes fighting in the street

  • Just curious. Have any of the posters contacted the mayor’s office to complain or are you just kvetching here?

  • There’s one question I would love someone to answer – why was the carnival granted permits and the use of tax-payer funded services such as MPD when it still owed the city over 100k (over 300k if the city hadn’t “negotiated” away the 250k still owed to MPD) from last year?

    2 years ago our DC politicians allowed a $2.5 million warranty on the brand new Banneker track and field to be voided because Sargeant and his team wouldn’t agree to place the stage in the concrete instead of on the track. They also refused to put down a bond to guarantee that any damage done to the facilities would be covered. Every architect and engineer on the site visit begged the DC leaders to put the stage anywhere else – but in the end we lost the warranty for a 1 day event.

    Oh and as far as the $$ that the event brings in – the head of the festival have repeatedly refused to share accounting records on how much money the carnival makes, so when it comes time to pay the city agencies the agreed upon percentage of the profit from that year, the city has to take their word for how much the carnival netted without any proof. The only people making real money off of this event are the organizers, while DC taxpayers foot the bill.

    • “The only people making real money off of this event are the organizers, while DC taxpayers foot the bill.”

      …and possibly the liquor stores on Georgia Ave(with VA and MD owners) .

    • If any or all of this is true (and I have no idea, but it all seems perfectly plausible to me), this is where Gray can lead. This is something the city CAN do. In the course of saying he’s going to take every step necessary to get every cent owed to the District from the organizers, including demanding full transparency/access to their books, he can and should condemn the conduct that marred the event.

      But then again, that would take some inclination on the part of the District’s leaders to actually lead.

      • The money owed to the city was reported by several papers, here’s one link that summarizes it:

        As far as the Banneker field information, I was present at site visits as the government liaison for one of the agencies involved and watched the council members pressure the Director at the time into accommodating the demands of Sargeant and his team while my colleagues from the Planning & Design Office repeatedly warned them about the consequences for the facility and warranty.

        I also staffed the carnival and watched the contractors that built the field show-up to take pictures of the warranty violations in case the District ever tries to claim the terms of the warranty were not violated. Don’t expect Gray to lead on this – he was part of this poor decision-making as Chairman.

        • OK, you’ve convinced me, and left me even madder and sadder then when I first commented. (Actually, your first post convinced me, too … nothing you wrote ever struck me as “Geez, that doesn’t sound like the District I know.”)

          Given that you have a good sense of how things happened, I hope you will consider reporting this to the DC OIG or, minimally, the civil side of the AG’s office.

  • Can’t we move the parade to the National Mall? I doubt if people could get away with as much shit down there.

  • If DC police can’t control the streets, then why have the festival?

  • 1) The thongs and grind dancing are typical of Cribbean dancing. Sure it’s graphic to the uninitiated (hell, even to the initiated sometimes) but it’s nothing I’d put on non-Caribbean types looking for an excuse to go crazy.

    2) Leaving trash everywhere and public urination are not typical of the Caribbean. Stabbings and gunfights are more typical of Jamaica (if you want to generalize), so the more “unsavory” elements I pin on local DC culture.

    3) I used to go the Caribbean parades/fesitvals in Montreal all the time…Most Caribbean parades are about going crazy in every (legal) way imaginable. I had a front-row view of the parade from my Georgia Avenue apartment, and I don’t my Caribbean friends would have recognized what they were looking at if it wasn’t for the costumes.

    4) What the eff is the mayor supposed to do? Neuter the parade with an extreme police presence? There were police there this year- how much more do you need? Make a useless talking point?

    5) Ultimately this falls on the residents of the Georgia Avenue neighborhood and DC at large. Real cities don’t put up with this kind of violence, and sure as hell not at a parade. Enough with the meek hand-ringing and pointless finger-pointing…Where the eff is your pride DC?

    • 4) If by “neuter the parade” you mean “make it safe for attendees,” then yes.

    • Anon,

      It sounds like you’re stating the goings-on at the festival are typical for such events, and that the residents and attendees can’t handle it. Sounds like the parade should be cancelled until everyone can learn to play nice.

    • By “neuter the parade” I meant to sterilize it to the point where it’s not just safe for the attendees, but also with no edge to it that makes the Carbbean festivals so much fun.

      Denizen- Well, yeah. Except that “goings on” shouldn’t include stabbings, shootings, and beatings. Those aren’t typical of any worthwhile festival. A good portion of the festival attendees showed they just weren’t adult enough to handle it, so they should all go sit in a corner until they play nice.

  • “Anon 9:43 AM” – are you out of your mind????? 300,000 people come to the festival and you say it is on the neighbors along the Georgia Ave. corridor to make this a good event?

    Okay, then we’ll take your advice – let’s move it somewhere else. The national mall, Maryland, VA – anywhere but here.

    • Hey, don’t move this crap to MD – downtown Silver Spring had it’s Ethiopian Festival and AFI Silverdocs going on at the same time and they were awesome. No thanks to messing with success.

    • RobertJ: Wow did you miss the point

  • What do you want the Mayor to say? This stuff happens every year at the parade. Either the parade happens somewhere else, or it will happen again next year, regardless of who is the Mayor.

    • Anything to make me think he actually gives two shits about this city would be nice. He doesn’t though, so I won’t hold my breath.

      • While Georgia Ave was falling into Chaos, the Mayor was protesting for DC Congressional voing right.

        Actually, that’s 100% fine by me…but… I think AFTER he got done with the protest, it would be nice if he addressed this problem.

        Maybe he feels it would be bad to draw attention to violence in DC – risking that visitors would be turned off, but there are other ways to 1) communicate with the community quietly, more importantly, 2) make changes so this doesn’t happen next year.

        • If you just pay attention to the things Gray talks about, and the events he attends, it feels like he’s living in a totally different city than the rest of us.

  • The Mayor’s “Be Safe this Summer” event kicks off tomorrow, so everything will be ok.

  • All those clamoring for change under Gray’s watch should save your breath. Its all downhill from here.

  • How did everyone know who to fight!? Seems like it was Team White T’s versus Team White T’s.

  • I think there is clearly a cultural component to this. You watch the videos and you clearly see this all starts with trash talk and neither group wants to lose their “rep”.

    The vast majority of rap videos are people saying how tough they are, or how much better they are than others and that violence is a means to prove it.

    The athletes that are often looked up by these youths also behave in a a similar fashion on and off the field.

    The video I saw didn’t look like “families” fighting one another. I looked like unsupervised teens and young adults who were amped up and ready to go.

    Its easy to blame the government and as a Conservative I often do, but nothing will really change until as a society we recognize the underlying issues at fault here. If we can turn the tables on these weak values then maybe we have a chance.

  • Perhaps they should shorten the route. As far as I can tell the route ran from GA/Florida to GA/Missiouri. Perhpas Howard to New Hamphsire would be more reasonable. Concentrate the police along the shorter route instead of the street clousres a block off. Advertise route and street closing better. The post contained zero information on the closures, where as the week before there was great information on the triathalong closures.

    Start earlier and finish early. Perhaps starting at 8 or 9 with a goal of finishing by noon would resulted in a more orderly croward. The parade seem to be a huge happy hour running into the prime thug drinking hours.

    All in all the operation of this parade is a sad comentary on the capability of both the city government and its inhabatants to operate as a civilized human community. This city’s underclass is deterorating by the generation. Its almost reverse evolution. The chest thumping and strutinig serously reminds me of the behavior of primates. Its truely depressing

  • Somebody should find out who posted that video and perform some serious public shaming. It’s bad enough to film it without trying to do anything; it’s unforgivable that he was actively egging people on and adding to the rabid, lawless frenzy with his asinine, howling comments.


  • Has anyone from the Caribbean Festival commented? I love this festival, I had a GREAT TIME! I’m white and a yuppie and would be so sad if it left our neighborhood. The police do need to do a better job at crowd control, New Orleans Police do that get right when it comes to Mardi Gras. That said, there are plenty of shootings during Carnival and no one has threatened to get rid of it. What I don’t understand is why poor black people are so angry? Their lives seem so great.

  • Obviously the main point I am trying to make is that we need to get back to the days where rival gangs danced at each other and settled arguments with Jazz/Tap.

  • I’m well past hoping for something useful from Gray. He’s got plenty of opportunity to surprise the city with leadership becuase expectations are on the ground right now.

    What’s really baffling and pissing me off is a fight for status quo from supporters of the parade. Anyone who wants to see this continue as an annual expression of cultural pride should be directing their ire at the thug element that ruins it every year. I can understand the (totally futile) argument that the behavior has nothing to do with the parade; I can’t understand the argument that complaining residents should just accept it or leave.

    Please. We need to throw out all the weak, bullshit racist assumptions about each other and join together to demand zero tolerance of the type of mayhem seen in those videos. If the people who want to see the titties and brawling and boozing and smoking can’t find it, THEY WON’T COME and the rest of us can enjoy the event or at least not dread it every year. And if the organizers can’t raise the will and the funds to keep the event and the aftermath under control then they don’t deserve a permit.

    The pictures above are beautiful and I can see the potential for something my family can enjoy in our own neighborhood. But as it stands right now, I’d celebrate an end to the festival with not one iota of regret that it’s gone.

  • I think this is great, and I hope Gray doesn’t do anything. That may sound a bit crazy, but I’m not crazy, nor am I being sarcastic, nor am I trolling.

    I’ve lived here for about 30 years, and DC was a better place to live back when Barry was running things. Yes, there was crime and lousy city services. But a normal person could afford to live in a real house in a real neighborhood. Rent was reasonable. Now it’s ridiculous.

    If we get more crime, worse schools, and less in the way of city services, maybe that will stop the gentrification, get some of the newcomers to move out, and get rents back down. That comes at a real cost, but it’s a trade I’m willing to take. That’s why I voted for Gray. So I hope he does nothing.

    • we’re doomed.

    • if you want more crime, worse schools, less city services, and cheaper rents, maybe you should move to Detroit and take that giant brain of yours with you.

      • Why should I move? I was here first.

        If you want less crime, better schools, and better city services, maybe you should live in Bethesda. Instead, you and people like you have moved into my city and you’re trying to turn it into Bethesda.

        • this city doesn’t belong to you alone you complete and utter moron.

          if you’re out there rooting for crime and violence because it keeps your rent down, you don’t deserve a say in this city’s future.

          • It doesn’t belong to you, either. Everyone gets a vote. I’m sure you’d like it if we went back to the days when people like me didn’t get to vote. But that’s not how it works anymore. And based on the last election, there are a lot more voters that agree with me than there are voters who agree with you.

          • i would love it if people like you (i.e. morons) didn’t get to vote.

        • The qualities of your logic serve to expose you as a product of D.C. public schools. Bravo.

        • You should consider moving to downtown Mogadishu. It has all the things you love, and the rents are amazingly cheap.

    • i’m seeking a balance between these extremes, myself.

    • A vote for Gray is a vote for the least common denominator!

      I like that slogan.

    • You are an idiot, plain and simple.

      I lived here during those times and it was only affordable, because 400+ people per year were getting killed.

      Clearly you have no problem with other people dying so that you can sit on your ass and not work.

    • Quite possibly the dumbest thing I have ever read. Well done, sir/ma’am.

    • This must be a troll. Has to be.

    • Your about to be out-voted…

  • Although this does not excuse the failure of the police to keep order on the streets during the festival or to prevent the death of the bystander, according to police statistics, as of now, the murder rate as a whole is down 10 percent from this time last year. I find it difficult to believe, given all the shit that has happened in the last few months, but it appears to be true. Let’s keep in perspective that, over all, there is some good news out there with regard to crime.

    I agree that the mayor should be focused on crime and bringing business to the District rather than statehood or voting rights, which simply isn’t going to happen.

  • I want a mayor who waives a big magic fairy wand and makes violence disappear, and then calls a press conference that is broadcast to all the little children of the world. I demand that we hold the elected officials accountable for not funding a big magic fairy wand.

    • All you’d have to do is lock up all the dad’s beating their wives and kids and the violence would be over in 5 years.

      That’s not going to happen in DC though.

      • Really? the fathers are usually nowhere to be found. What about the mothers beating the kids?

        It’s funny: feminists are always calling for a matriarchal society, but large swaths of the country are already matriarchal, and we can observe the results…

        • that feminist comment is dumb, seriously.

          yes ghetto america = matriarchal society model

          stupid! go away republican

  • I think its great POP provides this forum for everyone to vent BUT if you really want to make a difference please EMAIL CM Graham and also the ANC reps for GA avenue. Surely a permit had to be issued and the ANC would have had a chance to weigh so maybe next year they can enforce more restrictions. Another key question to Graham is this:
    How much did the District spend on helicoptors (they seem to be circling nonstop starting at 11am), additional police presence, clean up etc. Of that price, how much did the Caribbean fest folks contribute? Don’t they still owe DC about 50k from last years festival. These are basic questions that every single elected official is obligated to answer. If you don’t take the time to demand answers from our elected officials they will continue to think that we accept the status quo (and graham is amazing at maintaining the status quo of low expectations in ward 1, ). The first person to get some real answers, please post them on this site!!

    • I contacted my ANC rep and was told that the ANC had no official position on the event but would surely be discussing it in the future.

  • For the 1000th time, it’s not about race — it’s about class (the one thing no one wants to talk about.)

    • BS. In DC, it’s about both. If it was only about class, then we’d have solved the issue 30 years ago. Everytime someone wants to enforce normal standards of decency in DC, “race” is the excuse for not doing anything as in “well 500 years of slavery caused this so we can’t lock people up”.

    • It’s about neither race nor class. It’s about CULTURE! And all cultures are not equal, no matter how much POP would like to believe so!

  • I agree that it’s totally unacceptable that there was no police presence or response. But that said, there seems to be a bit of melodrama going on here. “Terrifying”? Demanding a statement from the mayor? Threatening to move? It was a street fight, and not even a very serious one. Chill people. I will be going there to swim at Banneker today.

    • There were at least two fights, and was the stabbing related or not. Tons of drunk people openly carrying bottles of booze everywhere, as well as an open air drug market – I saw pot being exchanged. It was scary. I walked through there with my 2year old (very stupidly) and it was scary. Sorry. As someone who lives in the neighborhood, I should NOT have to put up with violence during an event like this. I have lived in Shaw for years, have attended this event in the past and enjoyed it. But a line has been crossed.

  • if it’s not about race, why then do i get called ‘whitey’ in a derogatory way by young wannabe thugs; rather than, say, hey ‘educated guy’ or ‘hey guy that works hard’? i wish it weren’t about race but for too many people, race is a big part of it_

    • You’ve answered your own question. It’s wannabe thugs calling you whitey, not Barak Obama or Condoleeza Rice wannabes. Gun-shooting, trash-talking, fighting innercity blacks don’t represent their race anymore than gun-shooting, trash-talking, fighting rural whites represent theirs. Class (or lack thereof) is what they have in common.

  • I knew I had seen that video clip before…..

  • anyone know about the car that sideswiped like 15-20 cars on fairmount and then the drive got severally beaten?

    • This is why the festival needs to be driven out of a highly residential area. Sad, because I see the photos posted and you see the beauty and fun of the parade but post-parade events needs to end. I suspect that those who live below the metro in Park View and Pleasant Plains have a different perspective on the day and have more than an ounce of discomfort or fear. Maybe we can reverse the parade and end it in Petworth instead?

  • For those of you who are getting worked up over this topic, how about going out and doing something instead of just sitting around commenting on a blog. Call your council members and your ANC and tell them to do more about crime. Help recall Gray. Vote out the council members who are keeping DC from getting tougher on crime (particularly Mendelson).

  • I just heard Muriel Bowser on Kojo and he asked her about this incident at the tail end of an interview about economic development along Georgia Avenue.

    I know she has to think about constituents who support the parade but, seriously, city leaders have to step up and say this type of behavior will not be tolerated.

    Innocent bystanders were shot, a man was killed. If this had happened in front of Georgetown or GW, it would be national headline news. But because it’s Georgia Avenue, we’re supposed to throw our hands up and say, “oh well, we’ll try harder next year!”


  • This is awesome damn the BBQ festival I am getting some lawn chair next year and watching some fights.

  • I am sadden to see this video, but I’m not surprised by the violence that took place. Mayor Gray, the black DC Councilmembers, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton should be addressing black on black violence in our city. Due to being political correct, black politicians are afraid to address this issue and white politicians don’t want to be called racist for addressing the issue.


    cops show up at the end of this video… looks like the same brawl

    • great. it’s on breitbart. next stop: fox news lead story – “why we should never give DC a vote in congress”

  • I took my kids to the parade early in the day, but didn’t stick around because I saw too many guys getting drunk way too early (noonish) and was worried about what they would be like at five*.

    Having now seen the videos of the brawl, I am amazed and thankful that no one pulled a gun. We lost an innocent bystander on Saturday, but no one in that video would qualify for such status.

    *non an anti-alcohol rant. i like a cold one myself. But just like I would never take my kids to the infield at Preakness, I didn’t want them on GA AVE this Saturday. We’ll be back next weekend though.

  • As a resident who is effected by the events during Caribbean Day Festival I can live with the traffic tie-ups, the lack of street parking, and even the large crowds trying to make it to the festival. I understand people want to have fun and enjoy the day.
    But enough is enough, I hate it that the residential street around Georgia Ave. become public urinals, trash dumps and now open fighting arenas.
    I think it is time to move this event downtown and not through a very residential area of the city. Sorry I hate to see it move, but I think it is time for this Parade to march down Pennsylvania Ave.

    • No, don’t move it downtown. Get rid of it. I know you don’t want it in your neighborhood, but the solution isn’t to move it to someone else’s neighborhood. People live downtown, too. If it doesn’t belong in your neighborhood, then it doesn’t belong in the city at all.

  • I think the point is in other areas of the city certain behavior would not be tolerated as much as it is in a residential area. The crowd at the BBQ event on Pennsylvania was a total cross-section of DC and at no point was it violent or rowdy. People were drinking but I didn’t see people pissing on the side of the road.

    Put it somewhere else and the behavior will improve dramatically and it won’t be used as an excuse to get drunk in the middle of the street and start fights.

  • There’s another big difference between the BBQ, and the Caribbean fest…the BBQ charges an admission now precisely to keep the crowd more manageable. Also, the zoo event is free too. Perhaps a solution would be to charge for the Caribbean fest. Instead of a parade, they could have a series of performances. The event could pay it’s debts and the crowd could be better contained. I know it would piss a lot of people off and people would complain about lack of access to the community, but isn’t such easy access in and out the biggest part of the problem?

  • This reminds me of the Notting Hill Carnival in London.

    Muggings, stabbings, etc are ‘de rigueur’ at that celebration.

  • If there is one person that deserves to get their ass kicked in this video, it’s the videographer who encouraged and glorified this pathetic scene.

    And yes, the Mayor should act forcefully on this.

  • I am a Jamaican and emotionally and culturally connected to our Carnival Parade and Weekend. This violent mob of young idiots did not appear from the Caribbean, nor was the shooter a few blocks away. This is something that I would not have wanted my children exposed to and fortumately, they were not there.

    DC government officials purposefully decreased the number of police officers so that incidents would take place. Gentrification is the culprit and with governmental support, it will extinguish events of this kind.

    The video is an example of what is happening to our youth and if we don’t do something to really impact the families within our community, then we and/or our family members will be victims of violent acts. This is a problem that belongs to all of us: black,white, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, Caribbean and American.

    If all of these people are posting on here, the vast majority with thoughts about its organization or governmental breakdown, my question to everyone is:


    • to answer your question:
      i wish i knew. i try to be kind to people, treat everyone i see with respect, try to correct children i know when they are doing something wrong, occasionally correct kids i don’t know. beyond that i have my life to live and lots of friends and family i’d like to not ignore. what do you suggest?

    • when you ask the question “what are we going to do about it” to whom are you referring? Who is the “we”? At its most elementary of levels this conduct is wrong. Even more disturbing are the bystanders and the man making the video. Sadly the only one with any common sense is the man with the chair who beats off the attackers.

  • It’s pretty simple. If they want the Festival, do like everyone else and pay their bills, on time and have a budget. If they don’t pay the bills like other events around the city, then don’t issue the permit. Maybe if they were a bit more responsible with their money, they might be more responsible with how they run things. If things get out of control, then issue fines. The more $$ they get fined, the more apt they will be to keep their crowds in line. If you can’t control your crowd, you don’t deserve to get a free party on the taxpayers dime.

  • SuzyQ– Gentrification is a good thing— you say it like it is a bad thing. Seems to me the ‘gentrified’ areas of the city are turning out pretty nice. Now, why would that be?

  • Don’t worry Hook in Georgetown caught fire and its all over the news. We can’t be bothered with stuff like this.

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