52 Comment

  • There doesn’t seem to be a print version of the story. Can someone who watched the video summarize it?

    • So before the most recent attack, he was charged with felony drug possession then released even though he had a tampered with ankle bracelet in his possession at the time of arrest. Before that he was on supervised probation for 2-3 years fit armed robbery but some sort of youth plea deal even though he was 19 at that time. He’s currently being held in pg cty on an unrelated charge.

  • 21 year old assailant was arrested two weeks prior at MLK Library with synthetic marijuana, while already on probation for an armed robbery committed in 2013.

    I know this wonderful family. Their world has been shattered, and I’m amazed that they are beginning to pick up the pieces. Horrific.

    • As a side issue- can anyone explain why so much criminal activity seems to occur at the MLK library? I go there about once a month and every time I do I see a very obvious drug transaction occurring (small items being handed over in exchange for cash). Generally, I feel fairly unsafe going there after dark, which is a major shame.

      • Because mpd/bowser don’t care or are unwilling to do anything about it.
        It’s all very open and shouldn’t be hard to stop.

      • Because it’s a haven for homeless people who go there during opening hours to sleep, use the bathrooms and charge their phones. Then they leave and loiter around there at night.

      • As someone who works in the new building directly across G street and often has to stay at work late, it’s horrible. I think the large overhang is part of the issue – many people congregate there both day and night and there’s never any police presence despite the obvious criminal dealings.

  • Suspect was charged and sentenced in 2013 (as a youth offender, which is another issue altogether) to 2 years in prison. After release he was subject to court monitoring. Two weeks before the attack, he was arrested for a drug offence and a tampered-with monitoring device was found in his bad. He was charged with a felony, and released.

  • Does anyone know, can the victim sue the District for having released a known violent criminal? I’m all for criminal justice reform, but this guy seems uncontroversially BAD. He demonstrated it, repeatedly. And a citizen paid the price for the system’s cost-saving measure. It’s not right.

    • No – unfortunately DC is immune from those types of lawsuits. It is a shame.

      • What about instances where there’s some form of contributory negligence on the part of the city? I.e. an individual is meant to wear an ankle bracelet per the terms of his probation but the city never fit one? I’m not talking about this case, but in general.

        • The answer is still probably no. DC has very broad immunity when it comes to administering emergency services like policing, ambulance dispatch, firefighting, etc… There are many many horrifying cases where someone was released from prison and then promptly kills or injures someone; where an ambulance took an unreasonably long period of time to get to someone in distress and the person died; or where the EMTs actually committed acts of negligence once they get to a scene. The gist of all of these cases is that DC is immune because they don’t technically owe a “duty” to the individual person who was affected.

      • But not lawsuits against them for properly dealing with a criminal. Because they apparently have more rights than we do.

    • There’s a trend against pretrial incarceration, on the theory that it is unjust/discriminatory/mean/whatever. Because of COURSE people who are accused of felonies should be among us with no bail, especially repeat offenders. It’s not just cost savings, though I’m sure that’s a part of it. I’m sure there are plenty of people on PoPville who can articulate that line of thinking. Frankly, I think a decent argument can be made that releasing a person without bail or any other recourse prior to trial for a felony makes the suspect less likely to adhere to society’s rules (not that this suspect was doing so in the first place).

    • He’s obviously a bad guy, but do you really believe that people should be held without bond before trial for drug charges?

      • SusanRH

        Drug charges no, but violating his supervised release for an armed robbery yes

      • In this case, the person had a prior for armed robbery and was on probation before his drug arrest. When he was arrested, they found a tampered ankle bracelet. Drug possession on its own might not be enough to hold someone without bond before his trial, but everything else taken into consideration should be.

      • Without bond? No. But that’s not what happened here. As I understand it, the suspect was apparently released without having to post ANY bail, which is the trend because it’s somehow unfair to require a bond posting because many criminals are poor. I’ll lent someone else explain the reasoning behind that particular brand of idiocy. I have no idea whether this could have been avoided if there had been a bond required, but I’m also not getting sucked into that argument (an analog of which is a favorite of the NRA – “Oh, this particular crime wouldn’t have been committed if the gun law you’re proposing had been enacted, so there’s obviously no reason for it at all.”). The fact is that lately there is more and more focus on addressing the reasons that someone is a criminal rather than the fact that he is a criminal. I’m all for that – we should take significant measures to address generational poverty, racism, classism, etc., – but after someone commits a crime, he needs to be treated as a criminal. We’ll work on societal issues on the front end, but criminals need to be punished, and get taken off the streets. Here, you have an armed robber at the age of 19 (who was sentenced as a youth – WTF is THAT all about?!?!), who was arrested again for synthetic drugs and was (apparently) taking measures to avoid, or at least tamper with, the monitoring that was a part of his sentence. There’s no effin’ way he should have been released, and certainly not without some sort of significant bail. And if he can’t pay it, he sits in jail.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          This is a concept of modern society that people will probably have to get used to. DC is at the forefront of bail reform, but if you look up places like NYC and Chicago, they are beginning to follow suit. A bail system provides different opportunities to two otherwise equal people based on socio-economic status (i.e., two people are alleged of committing the same crime; one is released because he is upper-middle class and the other is incarcerated because he is poor). In the meantime, the poor person loses his job, gets evicted (no income to pay rent), sits in jail with violent criminals, etc. why the wealthier person is free to go about his life. Like it or not, it’s not a fair system, and we are a society built on the premise of innocent until proven guilty. Obviously, this situation is the worst case scenario (so we here about it), but for all anyone knows, he could have posted bail and still committed the same crime. Some things can’t be predicted or prevented. The alternative is people sitting in jail awaiting trial for most of the sentence they could possibly receive, if convicted. I am sure you wouldn’t want to be that person either.

          • Why not make bail proportional to income or assets?

            No doubt there have been recent movements in favor of more leniency for low level criminals. But, much of that support rests on on the notion that we have been “over-criminalizing” low level criminals to the point of negative social return. Under this view, we can reduce incarnation without increasing crime. If that theory turns out to be wrong, I could see the balance switching back the other way.

          • The suspect here violated the terms of his release for ARMED ROBBERY. We’re not talking about some previously untroubled teen who got caught with [insert drug here]. You can lament the fact that he would have to “sit in jail with violent criminals” all you want, but you’re just wrong – he IS the violent criminal.

          • Tsar of Truxton

            I wasn’t lamenting anything. I was explaining the basis behind bail reform using a generic example. As far as violating terms of release, you clearly have no experience with the criminal justice system. People aren’t just tossed back in jail for minor violations of release. The system is just not that rigid. People violate minor terms constantly (sometimes not even intentionally). The arrest has nothing to do with the prior offense. If the arrest was for assault, i.e., another violent crime, he probably would have been held.

          • More funding for actual speedy trials would alleviate some of this. It is the wait time that turned public perception against holding people pretrial.
            I could also see the bailbond system totally disappearing. Danger to society and flight risk are the issues that need to be assessed. Either they can be trusted or they can’t. Too many jurisdictions just use bail to generate revenue.

  • I feel like we’ve heard this story before–where the police release someone from a felony charge or drop a charge down to a misdemeanor and then soon after their release, they move on and do something terrible. Im referring to the stabbing on the red line train at the NoMa stop. We need to figure out a way to stop the continuance of crime, because it seems to go from 0-100 very quickly.

  • Blithe

    This is awful! Shouldn’t / Doesn’t tampering with a monitoring device prompt an immediate incarceration?

  • This type of crime, one committed by a released felon awaiting trial or on parole, will only continue to get worse. Current Mayor, and majority of DC Council, are simply inept and, to certain degree, unwilling to do anything about this situation. The Mayor was proud to be supported by a group of “returning citizens” ( PC name for ex-convicts) during her campaign. As much as I support marijuana legalization, I voted against it at the referendum, because I simply knew that DC is the worst possible place to legalize it. Police had warned that searches for marijuana often produced seizures of other contraband including weapons. Even PG county police officials stated that the increase in murder rate currently plaguing PG is to significant degree related to their inability to “follow their nose” and search people reeking of weed, hence their gun seizure rates have decreased as well. There are minors loitering daily two blocks from where this rape happend, smoking weed in broad daylight undisturbed by law officials, even though that behavior is technically illegal. Sure enough, once it gets dark people are being mugged and robbed left and right on Capitol Hill, some probably by those same kids getting high with impunity. The only reform of our correction system that will give results is one that decrases penalties for simple possession, but becomes much more severe for all other types of felonies, especially while armed, and includes harsh penalties for juveniles. The whole purpose of penal system is making example, so until some of these “teens” are Iocked up for minimum of 10+ years by default, they will continue stealing your cellphones and wallets, cracking your skulls and, perhaps, raping you in your living room.

    • Or we could make sure Pretrial Services has the resources to and is properly weighing public safety in making its recommendations. I can’t watch the video, but from people’s descriptions, that seems to be the issue here.

    • Don’t argue that police need the marijuana pretext to search people, just come out and say that you want to get rid of the 4th amend.

  • Dan- is it possible to not put words like sex(ual,ually) etc in the titles of stories(or the actual url link? This causes flags on my networks and assuming it does on others as well?.

    • While I appreciate that some work at orgs with stringent filters, I would caution against this. I don’t think the URL has to be explicit but the title or content does. If the post said “attacked,” there would be questions (how? what actually happened?… not in this case because we know from prior reporting, but in general). Look at the site on your smartphone if you’re getting blocked. And yes I know not everyone has a smartphone or can have theirs at work, in which case, check it out later.

  • SusanRH

    They identified a suspect very quickly, I am wondering if he was wearing his ankle bracelet at the time of the crime?

  • Hey- it’s always the Cop’s fault, right? Keep believing DC gov has your best interests in mind. Great work DC Courts!

  • How does this happen? I’m tired of excuses from our politicians, the prosecutors and MPD. Enough is enough!

  • From the anecdotal reports, it seems like DC has a problem with criminal offenders being charged, released, and then committing more crimes. I’m unclear where the responsibility for this lies – DOJ? The courts? Pretrial Services? If Pretrial Services makes a recommendation, do the prosecutors and courts typically follow it?
    As citizens, who to we complain to, and what can we do? Our councilmember? The Mayor’s office? Jo said that Pretrial Services is underfunded. If that contributes to the problem, who is responsible? The Council? Could Norton’s office play a role, because some of the system is controlled at the federal level?
    I’m guessing that “all of the above” is the correct answer for who to complain to… Does anyone else have any ideas?

  • Ugh..I though ending the over-criminalization of “non violent drug offenders” was supposed to be the low hanging fruit in ending or at least reducing “mass incarceration.”

    • If only this guy was a non violent drug offender….
      Yes, let the guy caught with a dime bag out, so you have room to keep armed robbers locked up. Makes sense to me.

      • But he *was* a non violent drug offender. He had a previous conviction for armed robbery, but this time it was drugs. So they let him out, and he went on to commit a horrible crime. When we talk about sentencing reform, and mass incarceration, it’s guys like this that we’re talking about. Most everyone agrees about the dime bag guy, and the knucklehead dope fiend who caught a third strike shoplifting CDs, but there really aren’t that many of them. I highly recommend reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration”, which discusses this in detail. Here’s a relevant excerpt:
        “In 1972, the U.S. incarceration rate was 161 per 100,000—slightly higher than the English and Welsh incarceration rate today (148 per 100,000). To return to that 1972 level, America would have to cut its prison and jail population by some 80 percent. The popular notion that this can largely be accomplished by releasing nonviolent drug offenders is false—as of 2012, 54 percent of all inmates in state prisons had been sentenced for violent offenses. The myth is that “we have a lot of people in prison and a bunch of good guys, and we can easily see the difference between the good guys and the bad guys,” says Marie Gottschalk, a political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of the recent book Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics. Her point is that it’s often hard to tell a nonviolent offender from a violent offender. Is a marijuana dealer who brandishes a switchblade a violent criminal? How about the getaway driver in an armed robbery? And what if someone now serving time for a minor drug offense has a prior conviction for aggravated assault? One 2004 study found that the proportion of “unambiguously low-level drug offenders” could be less than 6 percent in state prisons and less than 2 percent in federal ones.”

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