“Street Brawl” in Trinidad, No Arrests Made

From the Washington Post:

“Eva Nash said she and her husband heard loud shouts outside of their house on the 1200 block of Neal Street NE shortly after 11 p.m. They looked out to see a crowd of 20 to 30 people of various ages on the street and sidewalks, with at least three separate fights occurring. Nash watched as one fighter body-slammed another onto her Mini Cooper, denting the hood.”

The report says the Nash family was unimpressed with the MPD officer’s response as none of the combatants were detained. The family that filed the complaint were also told “that officers are told not to engage with large crowds if it might put them in danger” according to the Post report.

Perhaps MPD needs to send more than one officer to a report of a brawl involving 20 to 30 people?

102 Comment

  • Hmmm. So this Army veteran couple comes out of their house to break up this violent fighting, is called racial epithets, and then is threatened with death by a guy wearing a ski mask and the MPD’s response is….? Total nonchalance. Check. The police are afraid (or at least tired), and the bad guys know it. As for me, I’ll keep that in mind should I ever find myself in a similar situation. Do not rely on the police to protect you or do the right thing in the name of justice. I get that the police are jaded and worn out, and I also get that our laws hamstring them in many ways. However, there has got to be a better way. It shouldn’t be people like the Nashes who get the short end of the stick while the crminals run off scott free.

  • One of those little bitches would be paying for the repairs to my car, with their money or otherwise, that’s for sure.

  • Don’t mean to make light of this situation but this has to be one of the funniest statements I have read in a long time, particularly when you consider the history of Trinidad juxtaposed against the influx of gentrifiers – “Nash watched as one fighter body-slammed another onto her Mini Cooper, denting the hood.”

    • Sigh. I used to live in Carver-Langston and experienced something very similar on a few occasions. 20-30 people in the middle of the street screaming and fighting. Neighbors would call the police, they’d do a drive-by, but usually wouldn’t even get out of their car. Nothing ever changed and I guess it still hasn’t in the almost two years since I’ve left.

    • Yep, I kinda winced at the words “Mini Cooper” — the situation isn’t funny, of course, but I’m not sure there’s a model of car that more epitomizes gentrifier demographics. (Unless it would be a Prius?)

    • I understand the humor, but how easily people in this city resort to violence is immensely tragic.

      • Aw heck, let’s get back to the humor. Dang, the image of the Mini getting the crap beat out of it is just freaking hilarious.

  • It’s very possible that MPD couldn’t send more officers because they were on higher priority assignments, especially at that time of night.

    • So true, especially when you consider how quiet Trinidad typically is. This just sounds like an isolated event.

  • Broken windows theory in full effect.

  • What should the police do? Come out in riot gear? Start shooting at folks randomly.

    • I’d say for starters they could send more than one car. Four to five would be more appropriate. And I doubt anyone thinks the go-to police response should be just shooting everyone. There must be better ways of handling it other than “nothing” or “shooting”. Honestly, if this were in a different neighbor, it would not be tolerated. Trinidad just isn’t “there” enough for the police to care.

      • But it fact seems the police presence did do “sometihng”– it de-escalated the situation.

        • I love how quickly “de-escalation” has entered our lexicon following the invasion of Crimea

          • In fact police engaged in atrocities against local population. Am sending Spetnaz immediately for protection of oppressed locals from neo-fascist thugs sent by illegal DC regime.

    • If I say “yes” will you go away? I love the smell of false choices in the morning…

    • Well, off the top of my head, when the homeowner pointed out the individual who told her to, quote, “shut up . . . or we’ll [epithet] kill you” – in other words, threatened her life – the cop did nothing. Did not approach the person (who was wearing a ski mask – cause that’s not at all menacing). So, there’s that. If you try really, really hard, I bet you can come up with a half dozen other things the cops should have done that fall short of “shooting at folks randomly.” FFS.

    • Arrest the criminals.

  • I vaguely remember a thread on popville that had a hilarious conversation where someone contended that Trinidad was no different than Mt. Pleasant, and there was no justification for Mt. Pleasant’s higher home prices. Must have been at least a year ago, but it stuck out for its absurdity even without reading about this (terrifying) street brawl.

    • Oh- because this doesn’t happen in other parts of the city? Escpecially in parts where property values are 2-3 times more than they are in Trinidad.

      • uh, you’re exactly correct, stuff like this doesn’t happen nearly as often in Mt. Pleasant as it does in Trinidad.

        • Exactly. I truly feel sorry for the people who move into a neighborhood on speculation that crime is going to go down in the near future, but then it doesn’t.

          • So NO crime happens around 14/U street from Logan circle up to Columbia Heights area? yet how many new residences have been added there? See the issue is that “most” people didn’t/don’t care about crimes in neihgborhoods until it benefits them personally. I live in Trinidad and I am not championing for it– But I see it as NO different than many other DC neighborhoods based on my own experience. I’ve lived in NW dc- had my car broken into so many times- that I started to leave it unlocked. I read on this same blog of people being mugged etc. NOT once have I ever had an issue since living here.

          • That’s complete BS. dc real just input trinidad in PoP and see how many shootings there are that stuff doesn’t nearly come close to the amount of violence in MTP or CoHi.

          • @dereal: “So NO crime happens around 14/U street from Logan circle up to Columbia Heights area?”
            What in the world does that have to do with the statement that street brawls appear to occur less frequently in Mt. Pleasant than in Trinidad?

          • @dcd because the person I was responding to above me said “move into a neighborhood on speculation”. For me that meant ANY neighborhood in general. So crime happens in columbia heights, 14th/U etc and people are still moving there. So does the person above feel sorry for those people as well? Copy????

      • In my 5 years of Mt. P I don’t think we have had a street brawl. Look at a crime map and compare the number of homicides between the two areas in the last 3, even 5 years. When I served on Grand Jury duty I had 1-2 cases in the Columbia Heights area dealing with simple assault, and about 7 in Trinidad dealing with violent crimes/homicide/sex abuse. People testified that some streets (Montella Ave) are just filled with “boat head”s (PCP) and you cannot even walk through areas. Crime is not exclusive to an area, but your comment trying to be sarcastic, is in fact completely true

      • In my 5 years of Mt. P I don’t think we have had a street brawl. Look at a crime map and compare the number of homicides between the two areas in the last 3, even 5 years. When I served on Grand Jury duty I had 1-2 cases in the Columbia Heights area dealing with simple assault, and about 7 in Trinidad dealing with violent crimes/homicide/sex abuse. People testified that some streets (Montello Ave) are just filled with “boat head”s (PCP) and you cannot even walk through areas. Crime is not exclusive to an area, but your comment trying to be sarcastic, is in fact completely true

      • Ultimately, the people that pay most dearly for the delusional PC perspectives like this are the kids committing the crimes themselves – dooming them to a life of violence and ruin. Your denying their culpability makes it impossible for them to accept it..

        • Give me a break. These people have been paying the price for decades- because these neighborhoods have long been neglected. For a long time certain neighborhoods lived in a bubble- not caring about what goes in other parts of the city. Even to this day I have coworkers who ask me how can I live in DC?

  • It really is time for Cathy Lanier to move along. The saying is that a rising tide lifts all boats; she rode the wave of nationally declining crime rates for many years without doing too much to ruffle MPD feathers (except for the all hands on deck initiative). But she never got the cops out of their patrol cars, never implemented a zero tolerance policy toward quality of life crimes, and seemingly has few initiatives to infiltrate street gangs and break them up.

    Now crime rates are rising, and her lack of effectiveness is becoming more apparent. She certainly hasn’t been a bad Chief, but we need someone more aggressive and engaged at this point.

    • You want a “zero tolerance policy”? Those Giuliani policies are frightening. As someone familiar with the problems of juvenile justice, this means zero tolerance of minority youths. GW or Georgetown students doing drugs, getting drunk, committing vandalism? No problem. Black kids doing the same thing? Incarceration. That incarceration does not help kids at all, as many studies have shows (see the Annie E. Casey foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative http://www.aecf.org/MajorInitiatives/JuvenileDetentionAlternativesInitiative.aspx). Let’s please stop the tough rhetoric that serves to oppress disadvantaged youth.

      • houseintherear

        Yes, exactly. We do not want something similar to NYC. There’s some scary, terribly racist stuff going on up there.

      • First, there’s no reason such a policy shodul exclude college students, drunk or otherwise, committing quality of life crimes, including vandalism. Second, “it doesn’t help the kids?” Maybe not, but it does help the community.

      • In Bloomingdale there used to be weekly Howard U student brawls and mob style parties that had up to 100 revelers. Despite numerous calls to the police for years, officers always mentioned they were not going to ticket or arrest any of the students because they didn’t want to screw up their future. That is good and all, and I understand. I just want to highlight that it isn’t just GW and Gtown students getting a break, as you make us all aware of.

        • Mob style parties? Sort of offensive. I’ve live next to several homes in Bloomingdale that host Howard parties from time to time. Yes, they can be loud, but they are kids partying. Don’t tell me you didn’t do the same. Heck, I’ve been to louder parties in Columbia heights with a bunch of hipster kids. Probably more fights at those parties too.

          • Yeah, this reminds me of that other popular word that only gets busted out to describe adolescents of a certain color: “Youths”

      • gotryit

        So what do you propose instead? Looking the other way as they commit crimes doesn’t seem to work out so well for them, or us.

        I think there needs to be a stick and carrot approach. It’s easy to come up with the stick part (jail, etc.), but the really interesting part is how to create opportunities for those who would like to choose a different lifestyle.

      • I hate to say it you are missing the point. People who are confronted with theft or vandalism or violence committed by juveniles generally don’t care if “incarceration does not help kids” (and I’m including myself in this group). They just want to feel safe and they want the little sh*ts off the street. But of course this is DC, so if you’re a juvenile you can pretty much get away with anything and not have to worry about doing hard time.

        • I agree. I could give a crap about helping the people going around at best destroying property and at worst killing people. They need to be off the streets period. I don’t really think it’s our obligation to help them. It’s the city’s obligation to protect law-abiding citizens, NOT the criminals.

    • “never implemented a zero tolerance policy toward quality of life crimes”

      What is this nonsense? How would that even be remotely enforceable?

      • Well let’s see… you could arrive in force when there’s a group of 20-30 people screaming and fighting in the streets, and arrest a couple of them. You could write citations when there’s a bunch a people partying in the alley with open containers and weed. Get the idea?

    • For crying out loud. How long have you lived in DC?

  • MPD officers can’t confront large crowds? So all criminals have to do is team up and they can act with impunity? Pull your service weapon out and tell those bozos that the first person not on the ground is the first person with a bullet in their head.

  • My dad and uncles got in street brawls in the thirties, my sister and I even got in a few (Catholic school kids vs. public school kids.) My teen-twenties nephews are not unfamiliar with the brawl. And then there’s West Side Story, The Outsiders etc.

    I wouldn’t say it is a desirable social interaction, but it is one that has been present in all cultures for all time. People can and do get seriously hurt, but mostly not, as long as weapons don’t come out.

    Still, I would expect a good police response to be a swarm of cars with lights and sirens to disperse people.

    • You don’t need weapons to seriously hurt someone in a brawl.

    • My father and uncles grew up in the thirties and didn’t trawl the streets in a group of 20-30 nor got involved in street brawls. Instead, all five of them enlisted and fought in WWII. Their kids and my kids don’t street fight either.

      Yes, young teens get hot and bothered and will fight. But the group of 20-30 on a side street (e.g., not H Street proper) including multiple fights is a different thing.

      And then there is the little nugget “she said one person in a ski mask used a racial slur and told her to “shut up . . . or we’ll [epithet] kill you.” Also the claim that she pointed out the masked man to the police officer.

      20-30 individuals, side street, multiple fights, masks + threats/assault = a different animal. Call for support/more cruisers. Pull some of the dozens you have dedicated to Takoma (TAKOMA!) to Trinidad, please.

      • Well, I’ll see your 5 WWII uncles and raise you 2. It was one of those typical poor but hard-working families in a rough and tumble neighborhood (the Bronx.) All 7 of them went on to upstanding careers. The nephews the same – all 3 in or just out of the military with 8 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan between them.

        I mentioned the (yes fictional – I knew that!) examples because they capture the timeless and ubiquitous energy of young men which often manifests in hanging out with your own friends (gangs!) feeling wild and looking for action – which often does manifest in fights.

        • Things are different now these kids wear skinny jeans, never heard of squat or deadlift. So they make up for lack of strength and fighting ability and pick up a weapon. Take your ass whoopin or learn not to run your mouth.

      • Google Zoot Suit Riots.

    • tonyr

      “West Side Story” – finally a reasonable solution – we could make them settle their differences with a dance-off.

      • Let’s recall the stabbing that happens in the midst of the West Side Story brawl. Ah yes, the “good old days”…
        But more importantly: you do realize it’s a work of fiction, right?

        • tonyr

          A work of fiction you say – well goodness gracious me.

          More importantly, you do realize that it’s based on Romeo and Juliet (which come to think of it didn’t end well either), which really are the good very old days.

      • I would love to see the finger-snapping and choreographed dancing.

  • So, the issue it’s if they’re juveniles, then they’re untouchable mostly. Yes, you can lock them up, take them to Juvenile Processing and then their parents come get them and this might go to family court. Might. Trust me. I work across the river and we use the patrol cars to bed them like cattle to get them to separate. Sure, I can get out and deal with 2 of them, but then I’m not able to deal with the others when they act up. It’s like Whack A Mole.

    • Lanier should do a sweep and enforce the curfew laws.

      • With what army, exactly? She has enough on her hands enforcing various other laws around the city. If we want more policing, we’ll have to pay for it.

        • Every (i.e. EVERY) day of the week there is an army of DC officers, cruisers, and vans in Takoma. Maybe a ‘slight’ shift of assets is in order. Besides, it’s TRINIDAD where folks get killed vs. Takoma where more frequently old hippies get high on some homegrown.

          Please quit with the “we don’t have enough funding, manpower” bullshit.

      • I saw a police van for the first time yesterday that had a “Curfew and Truancy Task Force” label on the side. Lived here 16 years and never saw that before.

        • Not sure about 5th MPD District (Trinidad). The 1st MPD District Truancy van is usually parked in Chinatown next to either the Chipotle or the east side steps of the Portrait Gallery. Lots of kids hang out there, so seems like a reasonable spot. Also 1st district stops at Florida Ave, so wouldn’t head into Trinidad.

          The 3rd MPD District Truancy van is usually parked at 3rd district HQ; maybe 5th District can borrow it for a while?

          Also, all the talk of flooding the area with cars is reactionary symptom treatment. Sounds like the Trinidad checkpoints of 2008. That only helped for a while. A real solution isn’t a police surge, but something more comprehensive. Probably more expensive. And definitely harder. But just having “more police” probably isn’t the answer.

          • Apologist,

            How about another 3-5 cops simply responding, not necessarily posted – just RESPONDING to a call about 20-30 individuals involved in fighting, destruction of property, and menacing/threatening behaviour?

            ISN’T THAT THE ANSWER!!!

        • I saw a cop asleep in the back of one of those on 14th street.

    • Anon MPD, that makes sense. What’s the excuse for not getting out of the car on non-street-brawl days?

  • andy

    This made me think of the “soft-posted” fire engine in Trinidad. I looked up where articles from December said it was on the 1500 block of Levis Street NE.

    • I can ALMOST guaruntee that none of the individuals involved lived on that block where the brawl happened. People speak on neighborhoods “blindly” and expect there words to be taken as gospel.

  • Typical MPD. Yet our elected officials refuse to make combating crime a priority in our city. We are dealing with the same apathetic, lackadaisical police responses in the Columbia Heigths and Petworth area. Police refuse to investigate and do anything proactive. Cities across our country are using new policing techniques with positive results. Why does DC lag behind? We need proactive task forces in high crime areas in our city. Whats the holdup?

    • Do you go to your monthly PSA meetings? I found that to be an extremely helpful resource to talk with MPD and they will let you know exactly where and what they are doing in problem areas. There are also other agencies patrolling the streets of DC daily monitoring offenders. Getting involved really helps to understand what the MPD are doing.

    • MPD is by no means perfect. It suffers from bad technology and lazy officers like many other departments. I think people have a very simplistic view of our job and how it works. What would you propose we do? There are All Hands on Deck operations which flood certain areas with cops, but we this is a temporary solution. You may think that there’s too many cops in Takoma or Pallisades, but rest assured those residents would howl if they lost coverage.

      • justinbc

        On any given night I can find roughly a dozen cop cars up and down H Street, sometimes more. Doesn’t seem like it would have been difficult to send half of them over the few blocks to Trinidad in this example.

        • Doesn’t seem like it should be hard, but bureaucratic politics make it frustrating.

          H St is 1st MPD District, and Trinidad is 5th MPD District. Doesn’t seem like it would have been difficult, but the 1st district LT isn’t going to send his/her units to do someone else’s work.

          That’s why if you’re getting mugged in Mt Pleasant (4th District), which is just a few blocks from 3rd District HQ on U St, you might have to wait 20-30 minutes for a response from 4th District HQ way up in Brightwood. It’s worse for the parts of 2nd District that are almost across the street from 3rd or 1st District HQs, but have to wait for responses from Tenleytown.

          MPD is not very, um, agile.

      • I hear a lot of talk out of both sides of MPD’s collective mouth — one one hand it’s “report suspicious behavior,” “be vigilant”, “be aware of your surroundings,” don’t take action– call 911″. But there’s a jaundiced view towards reacting to citizens reports and they do not always receive an appropriate response and rarely any follow up. In this case, you have a clear instance of property damage (dented hood of car probably >$1000) and a criminal threat to a citizen not inolved in the brawl. . . not to mention the mayhem left unabated or the potential for harm to those actively or peripherally involved (what if someone walks by unsuspecting?)

        • I’m only referring to the Columbia Heights/Petworth area. From a community standpoint, we see plenty of cops in cars. I also can’t complain on response time. But riding around in a car is not doing police work. There need to be special task forces or special ops units in high crime areas, increased foot patrol, video and audio surveillance of known criminals houses/intersections and increased outreach to residents. Other cities are doing it, why not DC? Above all, what is the plan from our elected officials? They are great at passing along info we can read in the newspaper, but I never see solutions or proactive enforcement. It’s all reactionary. Cathy Lanier needs to be replaced. Either her or the people that hired her.

  • it should have been dispersed as a public safety issue if nothing else. But there was obviously more MPD could have done. When this nonsense occurs ON H St., or 18th St. in Adams Morgan, or wherever , MPD never throws up its hands and says there’s nothing they can do.

  • If anything, the post proves that moving into a place like Trinidad is difficult and stressful. But its getting better, hang in there. In 5 or 10 years, the thugs that got into the street brawl will eventually get murdered, or get arrested. Or they will simply be pushed out of the neighborhood because no way will they be able to afford to live there.

    • But that’s the price you pay when you buy on speculation. People had it tough in Shaw and H Street 10 years ago and now get to reap the rewards. The “stress” is the non-quantifiable price you pay to be a gentrifier.

  • Speaking of lovely, civilized Trinidad — does anybody know whether Kendal Row — those hideous, prefab million dollar townhouses are selling?

Comments are closed.