Not Just Softball Players, Volleyball players getting busted for Drinking on the Mall too


A reader reports:

“More open container arrests near National Mall.

Around 6:45pm Tuesday July 21st at the sand volleyball courts behind the Lincoln memorial. One Park police squad car took away the guy who took ownership of the cooler, the other squad car took the cooler.”

158 Comment

  • justinbc

    Well, people did call for equal enforcement of the laws.

  • are you serious!!!! im going to assume these people were NOT annoying or bothering anyone and this is what the cops do to adult people, who pay their taxes (again, im assuming) playing volleyball!!!! Do you know how many stories I read on this site abt the cops doing absolutely nothing when someone is being harassed by someone else!! I wonder how many SERIOUS crimes were being committed while these cops arrested this guy who wanted to unwind, play some vball and have a drink!?!?!?!

    • They broke the law. They can unwind and have a drink at a bar like everyone else.

      • Scrillin

        It’s not “everyone else”, because there’s people drinking in public all over the city – except it’s pints of Stalingrad and they’re on park benches.

      • Yes, a stupid law.

        • “they broke the law” …. as one who plays volleyball at these courts, I can tell you everyone who does bring drinks to the courts typically has them contained in cups or bottles, not drinking from beer cans or bottles, they are not drinking to excess, they are having a couple beers while playing volleyball. “unwinding at a bar” as you say is a ridiculous term. sure, let me go spend $8 for a beer at a DC bar…. open container laws make no sense. more problems are caused by drunks coming out of a bar wasted or drinking at a house party than by a group of people playing after work volleyball. I have played here at least once a week, for the past two years, and never saw anything happen that was any type of problem whatsoever….this was just cops deciding to come by and make an easy bust to collect some fines and put a mark on the records of decent people.

        • It may be stupid to you but I bet a dollar to a donut They wont do it again .

        • It may be Stupid to you but I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut they won’t do it again………

      • Really?

      • a ticket would have sufficed. it’s petty.

      • “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

    • The people drinking pints of Stalingrad on park benches have likely been arrested before.

    • Personally, I don’t like the argument, “cops should be doing something else”. We all know that drinking in public is illegal, which should be the starting point of the conversation. I’m sure that someone in DC is actively investigating ‘serious crime’. What I’m more interested in discussing is the need to do anything more than issue a citation (and confiscate the beer) in these situations. Why is anyone going to jail here? Jails are over crowded and over utilized in our criminal justice system. This is a non-violent, victimless crime and I don’t want to pay the processing and jail costs associated with it. Issue a citation and be done with it.

      • Yeah, why is jail necessary for mere possession of an open container of alcohol. A citation and confiscation seems appropriate, but I guess this is the nature of the police state in which we live.

        • Cause some of yall don’t know what it means when the Signs around the area clearly state
          “No Alcoholic beverages Allowed” so if you can’t read then johhny law will show you. My father has a handicap parking space in front of his house. The signs clearly state No parking
          but some idiots don’t read the signs and come back to retrieve their car and its gone , The price you pay for not reading…………..

    • justinbc

      “im going to assume these people were NOT annoying or bothering anyone”
      Why on Earth would you make such an assumption about people you do not know and a situation you did not witness?

      • umm, probably because most people are rarely annoyed or bothered by people playing volleyball in a public space.
        seems like a pretty safe assumption.

        • and yet, most people who get arrested ARE annoying or bothering people…

          your logic is… not sound.

          • sounds like one person got arrested for owning the cooler of beer, not for annoying or bothering people. your logic is … not sound either.

          • I was there when this happened and I can say they were not causing a problem. And they were drinking from party cups. the cops asked to look in the cooler, the people complied without question, and the police then arrested the owner of the cooler. they were simply playing volleyball and drinking from red cups. not bothering anyone.

            get real with the “most people who get arrested are bothering people” because “most” is not “all”. and your logic is “not sound” by assuming that since they were arrested they must have been bothering someone.

          • Most people who break the law are annoying someone? HAHAHAHA. Now THAT is some sound logic. I see all the college grads showed up today.

        • exactly, thank you!

      • They “look white,” and whites automatically get the benefit of the doubt in this society.

    • Ok, here’s something that you may not understand. Different parts of DC are patrolled by different police departments. The police you’d call in response to getting mugged in Columbia Heights are the DC police, while the ones arresting people for drinking on the mall are the US Park Police. They don’t answer to each other, nor do they take resources away from one another.


  • Bake him away, toys!

  • My only question is how quickly and enthusiastically these brave public servants disposed of this dangerous contraband they seized.

  • Emmaleigh504

    brown paper bag, people! or party cups!

    • Or an opaque water bottle. This is such a dumb thing to get arrested for when it could be so easily avoided.

      • Nope. This happened to my softball team. We always use cups and keep all bottles and cans out of sight. They rolled up and searched our stuff. Confiscated the beer and gave our team captain a ticket. Thankfully, they weren’t arresting people yet.

    • Still illegal fyi. I’m assuming these people aren’t tossing cans over the net and shotgunning them on the courts, but taking them from a cooler and pouring them into cups.

    • Isn’t that still technically an open container? I had a friend get stopped and detained on Capitol Hill walking around with a red solo cup.

    • Brown paper bags are a myth. They might be a tad more discreet, but there’s nothing sacrosanct about them. If the officer can state under oath that in his or her experience people hiding beverages in brown paper bags are more likely consuming alcohol than not, you’ve pretty much got your probable cause right there — let alone reasonable suspicion to stop and frisk.

      • Anonomnom

        Agreed. Which is why everyone should make better use of non-disposable coffee travel cups. Keeps the drink colder too. ^^

      • Emmaleigh504

        I don’t really know the details of hiding drinking in public since I come from the land of open containers. Hell, when I was in high school you could go to the drive through daiquiri shop and as long as the driver’s daiquiri had a piece of tape over the lid where they straw went in you were good. Seriously, a piece of scotch tape over the straw hole made it a closed container.

        • Haha, me too – gotta love New Orleans/Southern Louisiana!

          • Emmaleigh504

            When I moved away it took soooo long to learn the bars would not give me a go cup when I left. The first time it happened I argued (nicely, I was mostly confused) with the bouncer guy b/c I knew I couldn’t take the glas beer bottle outside, but could not understand why he wouldn’t give me a plastic cup for my beer, or really, why there wasn’t a stack of cups by the door. Poor bouncer thought I was nuts.

  • Either be smarter about it or wait until the games are over and head to the nearest bar. I don’t see the outrage/big deal of it. You can’t drink in public, this isn’t new.

    • Nobody is arguing the fact that you can not drink open containers in public. People are only saying it is ridiculous that someone drinking in public and not causing a problem to anyone else would be ARRESTED. this is a minor offense. one that warrants a citation at best….not thrown in the back of a squad car.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      Illegal, yes. Ignored for years, yes. The reason this is happening is because for no apparent reason, the Park Service started enforcing the laws after not doing so for years. Giving one week notice to whoever may have been there that week, does not tell everyone in DC to stop drinking while playing sports on the mall. If the Park Service had always enforced the law, people wouldn’t be doing it. You don’t see people walking around the city with solo cups everywhere. Do you think all the “fools” who don’t know you can’t drink in public just so happen to hang out at the Mall or maybe it is happening at the Mall because no one cared for years?

      • You are making way too much sense for this board. The crew here actually thinks people should be arrested for drinking while the police ignore pot smoking at parks all over CoHi. Personally, I couldn’t care less, but the double standard is ludicrous.

      • Park Police have told me and my softball team FOR YEARS that they won’t do anything unless they see a can. They’ve said to just keep it in Solo cups. So these people must have been blatantly flaunting cans or bottles. BUT ARRESTING them? Ridiculous waste of time and money.

  • 1. It’s illegal to drink on the Mall. No matter what sport you are enjoying. That is not hard to understand.
    2. So if you insist on drinking on the Mall, at least be smart enough to hide it well enough that the cops leave you alone.

    That’s DC Public Drinking 101 – so if you’re dumb enough to get caught, you deserve to get caught.

    • Agree, but why not just issue a citation? Why are they making a big show about arresting people? Seems really disproportionate to the crime…

    • +1

      I am sick of these people’s arrogance. No, they wanna drink and at the same time they wanna drink openly so they show they are above the law. I fully support the cops here.

      • Accountering

        You fully support arresting otherwise law abiding citizens for minor quality of life crimes? This is minor and you know it.

        • It is minor and the enforcement of it is very petty. I say this as a non-drinker.

        • agreed. I hardly drink either, and I have zero issues with 20 or 30 somethings having a good time at the mall.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Unless you were there, you and I know roughly the same amount of information about this event, i.e., the amount contained in the original post, i.e., very little. I don’t have any idea whether these guys were otherwise law-abiding and I don’t have any idea how the arrest went down. Do you? If so, please share. If not, I don’t care for your speculation any more than you care for mine. (I’m just taking this tone because of your “and you know it,” which is overwhelmingly likely to be false.)

      • have you never jay walked or gone over the speed limit?? if so, then you should have been arrested because you are being showing the same arrogance as these vball players…that is according to your logic.

    • Ok…First of all, people have been drinking discreetly on the mall and in other DC area parks while playing social sports for DECADES. It’s been a sort of unwritten rule that as long as you’re not leaving any trash behind and not obviously drinking alcohol, the cops won’t bother you. Now, on pretty much ZERO notice, they have decided to break a decades old tradition and start not only issuing citations, BUT THROWING PEOPLE IN JAIL. This is the dick move to end all dick moves. And it’s not like they are only going after the people who aren’t hiding it, they are SEARCHING PEOPLE.

  • I will make sure to never go 1 mph over the speed limit and I will make sure to never jaywalk in a deserted part of town ever again! This is getting ridiculous. There is a difference between breaking the law and bending the rules. Breaking the law requires immediate police intervention because people’s lives and wellness are at risk. These volleyball players are bending the rules…a slap on the wrist should suffice.

    • Sounds like you’ll start living life like a law-abiding African-America/Latino/Illegal Alien. Living with the fear that even the most trivial of infractions might get you deported or killed.

      • I might have to considering how the police are handling social leagues on the Mall

      • what is your point?

      • The terms “law-abiding” and “illegal alien” are inherently contradictory, FYI.

        • ok…let me add “otherwise” in front. There laws and we live under the rule of law. Some laws are outdated, prejudiced, and even silly. However, law enforcement can lawfully enforce them.

          The point I’m trying to make is that some are all in arms about the new impetus in enforcing the ban on drinking on the Mall and feel that this effort is highly oppressive and the manner of enforcement as heavy handed.

          However, for a vast sector of the population, this is business as usual. Should a person be killed for selling loose cigarettes? be arrested for not using their blinker while turning? Have their entire family be sent back to Colombia b/c they hired a con-man who never filed papers? Or be pushed to commit suicide for sharing research papers that are part of the public domain? It boggles my mind how some want to be “though on crime” but when it comes to their peccadilloes, they believe that a free pass is their birthright.

          I applaud the effort and I enjoy a bit a schadenfreude when privilege people get to cut down on size.

      • To be fair, I don’t much care if people come here illegally as long as they play by the rules once they get here… Which obviously means I think they should be deported if they drink on the mall. All kidding aside, it blows my mind that people give a shit if someone comes here from another country if they are contributing to the common good in some way. Obviously our safety net can’t support a huge, new surplus of net takers…but we have been doing a good job supporting the south for over a century…

  • A citation and fine seem in order here – cuffing and arresting seems way overboard Seems like the cops are trying demonstrate how race-blind they are by arresting whites.

    • justinbc

      You do see that it’s two black police officers, right? Is that still “race blind” (whatever that means)?

    • randomduck

      The thing is that many of these teams and leagues have been issued warnings to this point. I saw multiple warnings and confiscations of coolers at East and West Potomac Parks a few weeks back – no arrests, but warnings and/or tickets issued. As most of these games are part of local leagues (Zog or USS, for the most part), I’m guessing the leagues were supposed to spread the word about enforcement of the law. If a team was busted after this initial warning period, I have little sympathy (and this coming from somebody who appreciates the social aspect of sport and the fun of drinking with your teammates and leaguemates). Sure, the law hasn’t been consistently enforced for years – that doesn’t make it any less valid.

      • Nope. I’ve played on several of them. Never heard of this happening until last week. No warnings whatsoever.

  • As someone who may or may not drink, in public, with other mom friends on the odd occasion, may I suggest travel mugs? The thing that I thought ever adult knew about drinking in public is that one must be discreet. That means not drinking out of a beer can or a brown paper bag. That also means don’t draw attention to yourself by having a cooler full of beer. If you flout the law, openly, then your chances of having some soccer mom from Utah offended by your drinking in front of her precious white snowflakes in the middle of a National Park might flag down some douche bag park police officer with nothing better to do than arrest you. Get smarter folks!

  • I wish someone would arrest the vagrants on Barracks Row who are constantly exchanging drugs and who knows what else by the Sprint store.

    • Not glamorous enough. Too hard, and the arrested smell bad and make noise all the way to the lockup.

    • I know, serisouly. I walked out of Metro Mutts with a HUGE bag of catnip and two guys roll up on me within seconds harassing me and trying to buy it from me telling me they can sell me something 1000% better and stonger… It escalated immediatley when I just gave them a wierd look and told them to leave me alone. Two cops leaning against the a cruser 20 feet away shooed them off and informed me that the pet store is underneath a medicinal “dispensary”…

  • Were the cops also enforcing this law at Screen on the Green? I’ve seen people pouring wine into stemmed glasses at a couple of those, which is not the best way to hide what you’re doing.

  • What’s so difficult to grasp? These games take place on FEDERAL land that’s visited by hundreds of thousands of national and international visitors. DON’T DRINK.

    • i get your ‘it’s the law, the law is the law point of view. i don’t share it, but i get it. but does the number of visitors matter? or that there are any at all? frankly, the international visitors are probably boggled by our ridiculous and arbitrary drinking laws.

      • AGREED!!! I’ve never understood why drinking is such a big deal in the United States. I feel like, in Europe, everyone drinks…but there does not appear to be the rowdiness that we see in places like AdMo’. Even when I go to party places in Europe (e.g. – Ibiza) everything stays ‘chill’. Except for the Germans. Ze crazy Germanzzzz….

    • Tsar of Truxton

      I actually challenge you to find FEDERAL lands where people are not drinking. I can guarantee you there are people drinking at every, single national park at this very moment. If all of you people truly think that people deserve to be arrested for this, then you are exactly what is wrong with our country and our prison system.

      • I understand that and, after weighing pros and cons, I might not be against lifting restrictions on some spaces but the National Mall is essentially an open air museum, there are far better places to kick back a few. Being arrested is extreme but this is the preemptive policing I see brought up everyday on this blog. Another poster said it but these recent incidents will likely catalyze self-policing for months. The drinking is controlled now but for how long? Add to that the fact that drinking, heat and sports rarely coexist peacefully. It just seems like a bad idea and probably best not to wait until something “happens.”

        • But it’s not an open-air museum. It’s a park. You don’t play softball or volleyball in a museum. And I don’t understand why “drinking, sports, and heat rarely coexist peacefully”: when has there ever been a riot caused by buzzed volleyball players? These people weren’t hurting anyone, and they weren’t going to, either. This has been going on for years without escalation. As people said, it’s like jaywalking or speeding slightly: de facto legal if de jure illegal.
          Personally, I don’t understand why open container laws exist in the first place. Drunk driving, public intoxication, etc. should be illegal because they affect others. It’s no one’s business what’s in my cup.

    • What’s difficult to grasp is that this law has not been applied to social sports teams for DECADES. And now, out of the blue they are ARRESTING PEOPLE and actually searching cups and coolers for alcohol. It’s a huge dick move.

      • I was jogging Saturday and a dodgeball league was organizing on the walkway to the Washington Monument, there was a group in the back having happy hour. They occupied the entire width of the walkway. I took notice and I’m single and not alcohol adverse (I actually love the stuff). Imagine a few calls from some midwest mothers visiting the city with their children; better yet imagine someone with city or federal clout calling in a complaint. Stuff like this doesn’t happen out of the blue and the alcohol consumption is not as covert as people seem to believe. We don’t know how the series of events really played out but I’d be willing to bet that those arrested were just as or more outraged at the enforcing of the law than the posters here and made that fact clear to the officers.

  • Mall police shouldn’t be doing its job because white ppl can enjoy thir beer and play sports in the mall. LOLZ

    • Black people play social sports too RACIST.

      • of course its “white people” …..and white people cant play sports on the mall now? oh yeah? ….lets all get over this race thing come on. this story should have nothing to do with race. and it didn’t until people starting making it so in the comments. this story is about arresting PEOPLE not “white people….just “PEOPLE”…for minor offenses that only warrant a citation……PLUS the guy that was arrested was Hispanic so youre whole complaint here is invalid…

        • I’ll bet you $100 if these photos were of an otherwise harmless black dude getting arrested for drinking in public on the street corner in Shaw, 95% of PoP’ville posters would write:
          “I’m so glad they’re cleaning up the area!”
          “This guy broke the law – I have zero sympathy”
          “This is wonderful for my property values!”
          Etc etc etc.
          So yes, race has something to do with this post and the level of outrage being expressed by PoPville posters. Why are people outraged? Because they can empathize with white people drinking and playing sports on the Mall. They can’t put themselves in the shoes of a black man getting arrested, hence the “zero tolerance” viewpoints.

          • My experience has been those drunk dudes on the street corner are not “harmless.” They often harass women passing by and sell drugs etc. Some professional playing volleyball and having a drink is not likely to make someone feel unsafe in their own neighborhood. If the volleyball player was black it wouldn’t change my reaction that arresting him is overkill. If drunk dude on the corner was white it also wouldn’t change my reaction- I’d be glad he was taken off the street.

          • Also someone was stabbed by where all of those “Harmless” black guys.

            It was harmless they had a community meeting. That how harmless those guys are they held a community meeting to address how harmless they are. can’t find the link

            But wait there are a bunch of guys always hanging out in front of the liquor store on Georgia Ave. NW and Park.

            They are so harmless they stabbed the owner. Yes lets focus on the Yuppies drinking in the park playing kickball or softball or whatever social sport. Those are the ones committing violent crimes.

          • +1000


            and again this is why you can’t have an honest talk about race and class. Some people are not willing to acknowledge just how privileged their existence is. This episode is probably the closest they’ll ever experience the constant harassment other live under. So that’s why I’m outraged at the outrage and you correctly predict out the hypocrisy of the situation should this be taking place in a park where minorities are hanging out. It amazes how (for example “oh please”) doesn’t realize the racism of their post.

          • De-Railed

          • It actually is about race, or at the very least white privilege. At least the responses here are about white privilege. There is sooo much entitlement in the idea that you shouldn’t be arrested for being caught by the police while breaking the law and it would be a better use of resources to arrest poor and/or minority individuals doing the same. I agree that the police’s actions were probably overkill, but these guys broke the law , period. No one should be above the law, even white people who are just trying to have a good time and are not hurting anybody. As someone said yesterday, minorities in DC and everywhere in this country get arrested (and sometimes killed) all the time for A LOT less.

          • Give me a fucking break. If anyone, over the age of 18, is drinking in public, private, on the moon, or at the tidal basin and isn’t bring disruptive, harassing, littering (you know…breaking laws that actually are infringing on other people) I, and a lot of people like me, wouldn’t give two shits. There are people drinking on their stoops all over the city. Sometimes they *gasp* leave their stoop to go to a differerent stoop or get a refill from the corner store. It’s not my cup of tea, but they’re not hurting anyone… Leave them alone.

            This whole race thing goes both ways… It’s a bit intellectually dishonest that you yell abuse of power and harassment when the police scoop up a bunch of poor black people but tell the whiteys they deserve it because of their privilege or revel in it because they’re finally seeing things from the other side. The police frequently abuse their power and this bullshit on the mall is just another example. Much like when they pull over a black guy for being black. Same disease, different symptoms.

        • @ Anon X, I don’t think anyone should be screaming abuse of power when people black, white or otherwise are arrested for legitimate crimes. Is it overkill sometimes, of course (as is the case with these mall arrests). However, I think it is incredibly “intellectually dishonest” to not understand or realize the privilege in your last sentence. A group of white men being arrested for committing a crime on federal land is NOT the same thing as a black man being pulled over for being black. Unless, of course, being black is a crime? And no, it is not the same disease, one is racism the other is just being a power hungry asshole.

  • We had a softball game on the mall last night and definitely noticed an uptick of police surveillance. They twice stopped near an adjacent field and sat there hoping to catch someone. I’d definitely say to listen to the advice and wait till the bar unless you want to wind up behind the bad kind of bars.

    • Maybe something happened. I was jogging Saturday and saw dodgeballers blatantly pouring drinks into solo cups while standing on the walkway to the National Monument. It’s tacky to drink on the National Mall.

      • Since you mention the mall, I was out running Saturday morning, too, before the heat hit. Running past the reflecting pool around 6AM, I watched a guy kick off his shoes and wade right into the water at the east end. Looked for a ranger or police to tell around the WWII Memorial, all the way up the Washington Monument base, and then all the way to 7th St without finding a single one of either. Lots of people already out and about already, really couldn’t believe it.

        • You were seriously going to tattle-tale on a guy wading into the reflecting pool? It was blazing hot, even at 6am.

      • it’s tacky to label other people.

  • I like the sad, lonely volleyball that appears to be bouncing into the foreground.

  • Aglets

    Why is it so hard for people to not drink on National Park Property. This always bothered me about Fort Reno too. If you can’t cool it for 2.5 hours til you get somewhere else you have a problem.

    • Accountering

      I have a problem because I would like to enjoy a beer or two while watching an outdoor movie? Perhaps the problem is on your end, and your need to judge other people?

      • Perhaps we need to petition to change the law?
        Are you also going to advocate for the police to not arrest the guys drinking on the street in Shaw?

        • Accountering

          Not in the least. Those guys are being jerks. If they go sit quietly in a park and enjoy a beverage, then no, I don’t have a problem with it. To compare me having a beer in a park to the guys who drink themselves to the point of passing out and pissing themselves at 10:30am on a Tuesday is ridiculous, and you know it.

          • Fortunately the law doesn’t care how or why you’re drinking in public.

          • west_egg

            Right, Runner, because who needs discretion when you can have blind enforcement?

          • This is possible one of the most a$$-holish threads I’ve seen here in a long time. To paraphrase, if I’m just whooping it up on the mall with my buds playing soccer/volleyball/softball and want to enjoy a brewskie, then the cops should realize I’m inherently a good dude with a job who isn’t bothering anyone. If you’re a ‘hood sitting on your stoop looking at people funny between swigs from a paper bag, the cops should clean up the neighborhood ’cause it makes everyone ‘uncomfortable.’ Seriously, check yourself.

      • Aglets

        But why can’t you just wait two hours? Is it really that much of an inconvenience? It just seems like an asshole thing to do.

        • It’s fun to drink with your teammates in a social setting. Drinking at home alone represents a problem. Way to think it through, genius.

        • west_egg

          Why is it an asshole thing to do? It’s a social activity. You only think it’s “asshole” behavior because our country’s puritanical culture would like you to think so.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I don’t have a problem with your doing that, and I know you’re a smart guy with good quantitative skills, so I assume that you have weighed the risk of arrest against the benefit of imbibing in public and decided for yourself that it is worth it, and that you accept the consequences if you do get arrested. If that is the case, I have no problem with that. If, on the other hand, you think you should be exempt from the law, because, well, obviously, the law is dumb and you are an upstanding citizen and all, then that’s different.

  • i’ll bet you guys are REAL fun at parties.

  • Maybe cops can arrest the vagrants who have taken up residence in the park across from 555 Mass who drink, smoke and exchange drugs… god forbid they be disturbed.

  • Park Police chose a great time to start enforcing the law considering that most leagues started their seasons back in April or May and are finishing up in the next few weeks.

    That said, would we be talking about it as much if they were just handing out citations? A week’s worth of “aggressive enforcement” can provide a year’s worth of self policing. (No need to draw lines to other recent incidents of police overkill). Park Police goes on these enforcement sprees every few years, and then you barely see them for the next few years until people start flaunting the law again. If you can’t make the effort to at least act like you care about the law (and try to conceal), then you deserve to get popped.

    I say this as someone who has regularly played out on these softball fields and volleyball courts for the past decade and takes extreme (yet easy) efforts to conceal my beverages (much to the ridicule of my teammates), but has seen other teams wheel coolers full of beer out to the fields and drink openly.

    • Acutally, a lot of leagues just restarted for the Summer season just last week. However, I have to say in the Spring season there was ZERO enforcement. We were (basically) openly drinking with Park Police a mere feet away and they said nothing about it.

      • randomduck

        Shoulder season versus peak tourist season could be the reason for heightened enforcement.

        • Anything’s possible, but the spring league took place during the cherry blossom festival so there were many tourists around. It just seems like someone made the call to shut the obvious drinking down.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      Because the interns of tomorrow will know about the plights of yesteryears interns?

  • Obviously someone on high has told officers to enforce the no drinking law. For the most part they didn’t bother much before because there really are things that are much bigger to worry about as long as people weren’t causing trouble. Maybe it is just a temporary push to remind people that it really is illegal to drink on the Mall. Sort of like DC police targeting jaywalkers at Farragut Square not all that long ago. Sometimes these things are done to remind people and sometimes they are don’t because someone felt it may have been getting out of hand. I don’t have a problem with this I really don’t.

    Many years ago my sister got arrested in Mississippi as a freshman drinking in public. We are from NOLA where it isn’t illegal (except in glass bottles) but she didn’t think the laws were different in Mississippi. She learned and didn’t do that again…..


  • I’ve never see the Park Police pull over speeding cars on the Mall or on Hains Point. If these players get into cars after drinking, the Police should go after them. If not, the police should go after the crimes that can kill innocent bystanders.

    • I go to Hains Point for tennis or golf every other week and see someone pulled over on that road just about every other time I’m there.

    • This just happened, up the street, involving two separate police forces. Park Police definitely have better things to do:

      “At approximately 3:30 a.m., the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) notified the George Washington University Police Department (GWPD) of an attempted carjacking in progress off-campus and that officers were chasing a suspect in the direction of GW’s campus. While still off-campus, MPD officers in pursuit fired in the direction of the fleeing suspects. While this incident was unfolding, a resident student called to alert GWPD of a suspicious person hiding near Munson Hall, located at 2212 I Street. GWPD relayed this information to MPD and in turn captured the suspect.

  • I was there for a game the other night and witnessed this. You really have to try hard to get busted for an open container in situations like this. This guy was standing around drinking straight out of the can, which is a huge mistake. If you pour it into a Solo cup or other cup out of police view and then hide/dispose of the can so it’s not in plain sight, there is really nothing the cops can do. It’s not illegal to have empty cans, nor is it illegal to have unopened cans or a cooler full of beer. They can’t make you open your bag or open your cooler so offer to do it.

    If a cop sees you drinking out of a can, you’re busted. However, if they only see you HOLDING the open can and then approach you, just immediately walk over to a trash can and toss it out. It’s not illegal to pick up empty or half full cans “other people” have left behind and dispose of them. Just tell the cop you were being a good samaritan and picking up after others. Another good idea is leave no trace – if you bring a cooler full of beer, take the cans with you when you go. Obviously cops will suspect people are drinking at the volleyball courts if every weekend the trash cans there are full of empty beer cans. Don’t draw attention to it.

    A cop is very unlikely to bust you for drinking something out of an unmarked cup. In Meridian Hill park they’re hyper vigilant about going up to anyone with a beer or bottle of wine sitting out, but they don’t hassle the dozens (hundreds?) of people walking around drinking out of Solo cups. If a cop DOES try and get you for drinking beer out of a Solo cup, just say it’s non-alcoholic beer. They can’t prove it’s not unless there are VISIBLE empty cans next to you that correspond with the beer in your cup. Basically in making an arrest or writing a citation, a cop has to be able to prove that the beer you were drinking is above the .05% alcohol limit to be illegal under the law. Writing “beer” on a citation is not enough because there is beer (O’Douls) that does not meet that threshold. The officer has to be able to say “Bud Light” or “Dog Fish Head” or something on the ticket

    • HaileUnlikely

      Thanks for the firsthand account. Just out of curiosity, how did the arrest go down? Did the guys resist or argue or mouth off, or did the police just see them drinking out of cans and come over and cuff them?

  • I love all the high and mighty preachers who get on here and tell everyone how “it’s illegal and you should t be doing it!!!”

    This was casually enforced, at best, for decades and now people are being thrown in jail for it. If the cops suddenly want to start enforcing the law, make some public announcement and start writing tickets. Why are the park police suddenly flexing their full authority on otherwise law abiding people just having fun? Write a ticket and move on, don’t ruin their record for something this pety. Literally every single time these people are ever asked they’ll have to check the box that they have been arrested. An already burdened system now has to bear the weight of jailing, arraigning, and processing these people. Sure they’re breaking the law. There are tons of things that are illegal that don’t deserve an arrest. This whole thing is dumb and screams of officious police being unreasonable. Anyone who won’t admit that it’s dumb just isn’t willing to have an honest conversation. It’s objectively stupid.

  • I’d rather have police on Metro stopping people from getting stabbed 50 times instead of playing party poopers on the National Mall. Seriously. I’m usually never one to complain about this type of thing, but it’s ridiculous. there really ARE more important things for the police to worry about

  • Sorta obviously, these open container laws are obsolete, the remnant of an old prohibition mentality that figures if someone is having fun, they must be doing something illegal. There’s no reason not to allow people to buy a ticket to have open containers like they buy parking space. The same machine, in fact, could be used. Instead, devise laws to be intrusive and provide plenty of fine money for cops. This small town bs has no place in the contemporary world.

  • Yay let’s randomly decide to force laws that harm no one

  • I know it is the law, but it seems to me that there are many other things that are a bit more important that the police could be working on. Throughout most of Europe, there are not open container laws and they don’t seem to have the kinds of problems that people are worried about that seem to cause us to continue to have open container laws here in the USA. Isn’t it about time to get rid of this law that seems like a leftover of prohibition?

  • I am fine with this. I ride my bike on that path through those sand courts all the time and there is constantly sand all over the path. They don’t clean up after themselves, and there are often groups of people lingering on the path itself, making it difficult to get through.

    • wtf does sand being on the area you decide to ride your bike have to do with alcohol?

      • Schadenfreude.

        They don’t respect other peoples use of the space, so I take satisfaction in their misfortune.

  • Correct me if I am wrong, but they sell canned beer at those little concession stands on the national mall…

    • Don’t know if it’s canned or not, but there definitely is beer to be had legally on the mall. You just have to consume it within their little corral. A part of me wonders if the rule is meant to protect the value of their concession contract…

  • Also saw a separate incident on Tuesday where it looked like a different team was getting a citation. Softball player just sitting with legs crossed on end of mall near WWII memorial, with two troopers standing above him calling in something. Just don’t be stupid folks. This is what coffee mugs are for.

  • Why do so many people want to drink and play sports anyway? I don’t really get it. Drink and watch sports? Sure. Drink and play sports, though?

    • Tsar of Truxton

      I would hardly call kickball a sport. It is a social activity that is used to initiate drinking. Most of the softball leagues are pretty low skill level as well. Having a beer or two (or ten as would be the case with kickball) does not really inhibit one’s ability to effectively play these “sports.” Also, as a general matter, we as a society just like to drink because it is fun.

  • If they had played dumb, or lied and not claimed ownership of the cooler like so many thugs do when the cops arrive, nobody would have been arrested.

    When i was assaulted a few months ago the cops did nothing because the guy who assaulted me told a completely different story. “He said otherwise, so we re letting him go…”

  • Isnt there other crime out in DC? Glad the police are cracking down on the volleyball players.

  • I bet it was park police. They need to feel like they have a real job.

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