Update on “Attempted attack on my wife and I on Friday at about 5:30 PM on 14th and Park”

Photo by PoPville flickr user rosiedawn

Yesterday we learned about the troubling incident:

“Attempted attack on my wife and I on Friday at about 5:30 PM on 14th and Park” MPD reached out and here is an update from the reader:

” So I’ve spoken with several different officers including supervisors tonight.

They’ve all been very responsive to the issues at hand and know who this individual is. They did canvas the area looking for him and showed me his photo which I confirmed that it was him.

They are going to also deal with my concerns regarding the officers I dealt with on Friday and Saturday.

I can wholeheartedly say that everyone I’ve spoken with tonight has been fantastic. And it’s definitely been genuine concern. All the way down to the thoroughness of making sure I identified the right “suspect” via a photograph they had.

While I don’t feel it should take a blog post with 100+ comments and several tweets to influential officials to get some action taken, I do commend MPD for responding extremely quickly and going beyond what they probably had to do with me tonight. I think that speaks volumes about their concern, and I only hope that it makes an impact on how they handle certain things going forward. If not, then this was all for nothing.

All supervisors who I spoke with tonight seemed adamant about correcting the issues with these officers and felt genuinely bad about the experience I had.

As far as this “suspect”: if you do see him and feel he is a threat to you or others, please call 911, state he may be mentally ill and a risk to you or himself and ask for a supervisor to be sent to his location to speak to him in order to assess the situation and the individual. It is clear that he’s on the radar of many of the officers in the 3rd district (especially now) so I feel confident that they will be responsive to any calls about him.”

54 Comment

  • Well sounds like just the best possible outcome after yesterday’s post. Well done OP!

    • +1. Nice going! I get the feeling that most higher-ups in MPD are genuinely concerned about “customer relations” (or, at the very least, concerned about bad press), and are frustrated when the cops on the ground make the whole force look bad, lazy, etc.

      • I agree. They’re probably also frustrated when people conclude that the entire police force is corrupt, lazy and incompetent based on one experience and maybe a handful of anecdotes.

  • Um, yeah. If they take him to a psych hospital he will likely only be there under a 72 hour hold, and then released. Unless his condition is extremely threatening (after receiving meds, food etc) he will be released quickly. At best, unless it is an extreme case, he will be held for an additional two weeks on top of the 72 hours. Then he will be back right where he started.

    They don’t seriously hospitalize or incarcerate people for these super minor type of crimes.

  • I hope those two officers got chewed out and are desk jockeys for the next month. Cops hate nothing more than being put on paper-pushing detail.

    • justinbc

      I think they probably hate getting shot or stabbed while protecting citizens even more.

      • Scrillin

        Guess they chose the wrong line of work, then.

        • +1

          No excuses. No one is begging them to be cops. And there’s a line of returning vets who would love their job and have great experience. If you can’t handle the humane aspects of being a cop, you don’t deserve to be one.

          • justinbc

            I’m not saying they don’t accept the consequences. Just don’t make ridiculous remarks that demean the challenging aspects of a job you’ve probably never performed.

  • This is NOT the best outcome until the police officer at the Giant, who failed to respond to the OP’s initial report of an assault, and who completely misrepresented the law to avoid doing his job and protecting the population, is severely punished or removed from service altogether. This is more than a problem about coward cops–this is a form of corruption. The police officer is taking public resources in the form of a salary and hundreds of hours of training, and, when confronted with a situation of a citizen in danger, with the threat of further danger, the officer does not call for backup, or confront the assailant. Instead, he claims that an assault is not criminal because there was no touching? The officer isn’t there to provide private security services to the privately-owned, commercial supermarket; he is there to protect the population, which he failed to do.

    Anyone want to post a picture of this officer to name/shame him until MPD retires him from the force?

    • justinbc

      Read the other post. Apparently he is paid by Giant to be there specifically, according to the OP. This is what happens when you make angry assumptions.

      • Scrillin

        Yes but a uniformed officer should be obligated to respond to crimes happening literally next door.

        Otherwise he/she can take off the MPD uniform and put on a Security uniform.

        • +1. With his uniform on, he’s an MPD police officer, not a private security guard, regardless of whether Giant pays MPD to station him in front of its store.

          • My understanding is that MPD allows officers to wear their uniforms while working as private security guards, alot of jurisdictions allow this, so Giant is paying him, not MPD. But yeah, the uniform means he’s a cop. If he doesn’t want to do his duty, then he can take off his gun belt and buy a little plastic ‘Security” badge. But I’m sure Giant wouldn’t pay him as much for that.

      • There’s nothing in the original post that says the police officer is paid by Giant, or that he has any lower duty to the public. Even the OP’s comments in the comment section says he wasn’t clear on the officer’s status, only that he seemed to have been paid by Giant.

        But even if he was, that’s even more troubling that MPD is renting its uniformed officers for private service, and suggesting that they have a lower duty to the public, even though they are wearing their uniforms. How are we going to trust our police officers in times of need if we have to second guess their loyalties based upon where they are stationed?

        If they are wearing their uniforms, they should be on duty. And if any law allows otherwise, it should be changed.

        • This reminded me, and I don’t know the full story, but I believe this was a concern during Occupy. Police hired by banks as security, protestors not knowing whom the police are protecting. I’m going to have to look more into it. But, yes, I also believe it’s a common practice.

        • It’s allowed under the DC code, and in fact is encouraged as a way to boost police presence without having the city go bankrupt by paying for massive amounts of overtime. That being said, it seems to me that encouraging officers to take on second and third jobs only makes for a more exhausted and therefore less prepared on-duty staff. I don’t know what the answer is, but if you want to change this situation, you’re going to need to start lobbying the DC Council. And be prepared for massive police union blowback.

        • justinbc

          Directly from the comments section:
          “As best I understood based on my conversations yesterday, the office in Giant seemed to be paid by Giant to be stationed inside. Meaning, he wasn’t a normal on-duty officer patrolling inside the Giant but actually being paid for by Giant to patrol specifically Giant.”

    • Anyone know what the officer looks like? Is he a very skinny white guy with blonde hair? About 5’10” ?

  • But nothing happened initially? Some crazy guy ran at you? He didn’t touch you, talk to you, steal from you?

    You ran into a crazy guy, welcome to the big city. You may prefer Arlington.

  • Did you consider defending yourself and dropping the guy?

  • In Nigerian cities, they take guys like this and drop them off in a village about 50 miles away. They either have to behave themselves or the villagers will “take care of them”.

  • The problem is not only this “Melvin” character. There are numerous individuals that loiter in the park at 16th and Park. Melvin is just ONE of the many. Take a walk by it at anytime during the day and just take a look at what goes on there. Peddling, drugs, fighting, harassment. Trash is strewn all over, empty baggies of ???, stinks of urine, an absolute cesspool. This corner is a ticking time-bomb. An innocent person is going to get hurt sooner than later.
    One of the questions one might ask is, “Why are they in this specific area?” The answer is simple, the Hermano Pedro Day Shelter. I applaud the effort this agency makes for the bettering of society, but it is not working at this location. I’m sure that this place has changed some lives for the better, has provided food and shelter for a person in dire need, maybe even saved a life or two. But, in the past couple of years that I’ve observed this location, it has drastically gone downhill and the cons are far outweighing the pros in this case.

      • Try again again…
        Walk past there any day through the week, they are receiving handouts from the church basement,

    • Melvin sighting!!! He is currently walking east on Park Rd. NW towards 14th st. He is wearing a dirty white wife beater and a black T-shirt over his head!!! 1:32 p.m.

      • “As far as this “suspect”: if you do see him and feel he is a threat to you or others, please call 911, state he may be mentally ill and a risk to you or himself and ask for a supervisor to be sent to his location to speak to him in order to assess the situation and the individual. It is clear that he’s on the radar of many of the officers in the 3rd district (especially now) so I feel confident that they will be responsive to any calls about him.””

  • I am glad that the MPD has finally been responsive and the issue is moving towards resolution…


    This situation typifies the problem in CoHi and Petworth. They officers are ambivalent. They do come across as too good to bother. The only time anything gets done is if there is significant press coverage (serial stabber) or as mentioned above, a Blog post with 100+ comments. The police CAN apprehend these folks, it’s just a matter of if they are motivated or care to do so. There have been assaults all over the neighborhood. Every case should be given this level of attention – irregardless of media coverage.

    Our elected officials need to have a Come to Jesus talk with the officers in the area. Their ambivalence reflects directly upon our elected officials. Our taxes pay the MPD salaries. Napping under bridges, delayed or lack of response, or an attitude of laziness or “it’s not my problem”, cannot be tolerated.

    • justinbc

      Like many jobs, you pretty much only hear discussion of their performance when someone is upset about it. For one I’m really glad that PoP does a Props to the Cops section to point out those who excel amidst the mire of complaints, *regardless* of what other media outlets do.

  • I bet if this guy stole a kitten the MPD would have him arrested and brought in front of the press within 24 hours.

  • I’m glad that this story has a positive outcome, but it still depresses me that it requires the weight of the angry public to get the cops to perform their most basic protective functions. Yes, there are scary people everywhere, but the idea that this one has been allowed to persist for so long is what gives me pause about living in the city sometimes.

  • It’s not the cops’ fault that this guy has been able to be on the streets for this long, it’s the fault of the law. This guy is obviously mentally ill. The law seriously limits what you can do with respect to detaining someone with mental illness. Even when someone meets the criteria for being taken into custody – such as this guy did when he became a threat to someone else – what you get is a trip to a psych hospital for an evaluation, maybe a short stay, and then back on the streets.
    Why does MPD know who this guy is and have his photo? Because this isn’t his first rodeo. Guarantee he’s been talked to, threatened with arrest, and/or arrested or sent to a psych hospital. But he’s too mentally ill to learn any lesson or be deterred.
    Sad to say, but it will probably take him physically injuring someone to get him off the streets for any extended period of time.

    • And when he does, they will arrest him, put him in a hospital, give him the drugs he needs to treat his schizophrenia/paranoia or whatever, and then declare him “fit to stand trial!” Viola!

  • Anyone who wants to meet the infamous Melvin, he’s passed out on the steps at the church on 16th and Park NW.

  • More foot patrol, less parked cars…easy solution that will likely achieve better results. Heck, let them still ride around on Segways but get some of the neighborhood cops out of the cars!!!

  • Thanks OP for following up and continuing to push for results.

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