“He will surely be right back out there tomorrow.”

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“Dear PoPville,

The guys who blatantly deal drugs on a daily basis at 14th and Meridian NW were just involved in some sort of altercation. Here’s the scene [Saturday] with EMS responding. One of them is yelling threats at the police while in handcuffs, which is a somewhat regular occurrence here. He will surely be right back out there tomorrow. Neighbors are encouraged to contact [email protected] if they would like MPD to finally clean up this corner.”

47 Comment

  • I walk past that house a couple of times most days. The guys and I smile and nod at each other. Yes, they’re smoking weed. Yes, I expect they’re selling/ buying it, and possibly real drugs, too. But… has anyone there ever been discourteous to you? Has the music ever been too loud? Has any real crime been connected to the house? (I’m asking, I don’t know.)
    What do you mean when you talk about “cleaning up” this corner? For my quality of life dollars, I’d like to see someone put a stop to the pooping in my alley. Complete with TP! Some low-level dealers and layabouts bother me much less than other shit (NPI) that goes down (can’t stop) around here.

    • Yes. One of the individuals there seriously assaulted an MPD officer on October 7 while reaching for a loaded handgun. The tweaked-out customers who linger here and make transactions ain’t buying pot candy.

      Noise, food garbage, sexual harassment, property damage to neighbors, etc, are are regular issues here They piss all over the street and cars, but I guess we should be thankful for the lack of poop so far.

      • If there was a serious APO, that is certainly all the motivation MPD needs to do what it lawfully can. But remember that loitering is not a crime, and the two marijuana initiatives (decriminalization in July 2014 and then Initiative 71 in 2015) changed the law to ensure that neither:

        * the smell of marijuana; nor
        * having up to 2 oz of marijuana divided into dime bags (approx 56 1-gram dime bags)

        Is sufficient to establish probable cause for any police action (unless someone is operating a vehicle).

        So all of the investigation into illegal marijuana sales got much harder under the new laws. And in order to actually clean up the corner for more than a few hours or a night, it takes police extensive investigation that you may not see.

    • I sort of agree. Look, I would rather there not be dealing, because there definitely are too many users doing dangerous drugs who can be dangerous to themselves or others in CH (see specifically in the area around the metro). But we all know that MPD has to prioritize, and I’d rather they spend their time locking up violent criminals and thieves.

      • There’s a correlation between drug use/dealing and violent crime. I have a similar situation in my neck of the woods in Petworth, and the guys hanging out on the corner, meeting people from out of state in the alleys, signaling to each other and watching out for MPD (that I constantly witness) are like magnets for the type of shitbags who come into these neighborhoods and start committing crimes.

        • HaileUnlikely

          In one of the strangest police reports I have ever seen an excerpt from, there was a murder of a guy in a car on Jefferson St NW a couple years ago in which a guy who was on his way to buy drugs at a know neighborhood drug house saw his dealer shoot the driver in the head, called 911 to report the murder, and then proceeded on to his original destination (the drug house) to buy drugs from his dealer (who he had just called 911 to report).

    • Not sure there’s any such thing as a predictably “low-level” drug corner. The nature of the activity and its actors almost guarantees volatility, including potential violence.

    • Use to live by this corner, have lived by others in the past, and now live by a different one. All the dudes are nice. They are not morons, they know they have to be nice to keep the shop open. Generally the problem is not directly from the guys themselves, but competitors and buyers.
      .
      There are relatively frequent turf war related crimes near this corner. Many of the other drug corners have similar problems. Just because the guys are nice doesn’t mean you can’t catch a stray bullet meant for them.
      .
      Buyers cause a multitude of problems. Doing drugs nearby, then acting crazy. Stealing money from people nearby to buy drugs. Arguing with the dealers over price. Arguing with each other over bags they split.
      .
      I don’t personally know the guys on this corner at the moment, but there are many reasons to stop drug dealing in the neighborhood beyond the immediate interaction between the dealers and neighbors.

  • Ashy Oldlady

    Does he have edibles?

  • This house has been an issue for at least 8 years. I wouldn’t wager on things changing anytime soon.

    • In 2005 they took the benches out of that park and replaced them with the weird stools. So, at least 10 years?

  • I don’t entirely understand how MPD is aware of various drug houses, drug corners, etc., and yet nothing happens. I know they have to gather evidence and build strong cases, etc., etc…. but I suspect if this were a house like this west of the Park, MPD would be much quicker to take action.

    • And with our lovely city councilmember trying to change the warrant requirement from probable cause to preponderance of evidence, it will get even more difficult to get rid of these drug houses/dealers.

      • Which councilmember is this?

      • HaileUnlikely

        “probable cause” is often granted based on loosey goosey evidence and has resulted in massive drug raids of altogether wrong properties on numerous occasions detailed in the Washington Post and elsewhere. Given some of the characters who have shown up on my doorstep over the years looking for the previous owner of my house, I honestly fear that the sort of sloppy police work that has led to some of those errant raids could lead them to what is now my house. I fully support raising the bar from “probable cause” to “preponderance of evidence.”
        .
        The police could almost certainly meet “preponderance of evidence” for lots of properties that they have not taken action against, including almost all of the ones that are widely known by neighbors to be “drug houses.” In cases like this one, I do not know what is stopping them, but it almost certainly isn’t lack of probable cause.

        • “Police could almost certainly meet the standard” After working in DC Superior courts and at the US Attorney’s Office, I strongly disagree with this statement.

          As far as “loosey goosey evidence” goes, it seems ridiculous to me that we are jumping to changing the requisite legal standard before we explore administrative checks to improve the warrant application review process. Personally I don’t support this proposal and believe it will have consequences that our lackluster councilmembers have failed to consider.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’m not a legal scholar. I’m just a normal guy that doesn’t want my wife to be on the wrong end of a raid aimed at the previous owner of my house. If you have a better fix, make it happen.

          • “If you have a better fix, make it happen.”
            +1.

          • I’m with HaileUnlikely on this. I don’t want the police ramming down my door and throwing flash bangs into my house because I spend a lot of money at the garden store. This has happened to real, innocent people who are traumatized and suffer significant financial losses and real harms including job loss and loss of stature in their community as a result.

          • Same. There were some shady people living in my house before I bought it. I’ve gotten some rather alarming mail over the years. (It’s been more than a decade now, though… think I’m in the clear?)

          • HaileUnlikely

            WDC – Any address search should by now indicate that you are the owner and occupant of your house. The problem is when they start with a search for a person rather than an address, and the some [outdated] results come back linking that person with your address. Another problem is when a person gets picked up by the police and has either odd ID that shows your address or no ID and gives your address verbally. Those will both lead the police to what is now your house in search of people who don’t live there.

        • saf

          WDC – we bought the problem house on the block. Took longer than 10 years for people to stop coming here looking for the previous owners’ children and grandchildren.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if the police weren’t taking a Hamsterdam approach. If you know where the drugs and dealers are, let them stay in one place and just try to keep the violence from escalating. If you shut the house down then the dealers just disperse into other neighborhoods.

      • Except we’re not talking about SE here.

        • For as long as I can remember 20+ years, the 3500 block of 14th st has been a place to by drugs. Not much different than some areas in SE except SE is not experiencing the same revitalization and development efforts.

          • “3500” is referenced in dc go go music, on t-shirts, hats and tag in graffiti as well. When you see that tag, that is what is being referenced.

  • Oh, Brianne Nadeau… Please come down from your gated doorman condo and see what your Occupy Movement policies mean to the quality of life in your district.

    Neighbors: Be sure to call Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and share with her your concerns. Many feel she is only responsive to the organizations that mobilize voters (in DC that means groups that rely on the social safety net). Those that do not require these services (Read: Those that fund them) are not on her radar.

    The growth of H Street and other areas has turned off the spigot that was improving our neighborhood. I am hopeful that Brianne Nadeau has a plan (or is working on a plan) to improve business, safety, and other quality of life issues so that we don’t get left behind. I’m afraid she might be a one trick pony – affordable housing – and while that might get one elected, it doesn’t move the ball forward.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I think she is more of a 0 trick pony. Jim Graham was strong on affordable housing, too. I think the main thing that got her elected was being the other candidate at a time when Jim Graham was getting a lot of bad press about a couple of questionable deals that he was allegedly involved in.

      • Agreed. I wanted someone other than Jim Graham (who should have just bowed out gracefully rather than running for re-election), but I’ve been thoroughly disappointed with Nadeau.

    • Captain of the Gross Generalizations Squad here

    • All of them? Even heroin? Isn’t our country’s problem with opiate addiction big enough as it is?

      • ever think that legalizing it might make some people feel more inclined to out themselves as addicts and seek treatment?

        further, if a person is an alcoholic, do we put them in jail? addiction is addiction, whether it be alcohol/nicotine/opiates/etc

        • Oxycontin, etc. are legal (albeit controlled), and there’s a massive problem with addiction.
          .
          We don’t put alcoholics in jail… but we do penalize bartenders who serve to someone who is already inebriated.

          • hahaha, no, generally we dont. have you been to H street or U or basically any area of the city where people go out at night?

            I know I have purchased loads of shots when i was blacked out and nothing ever happened to any of the bartenders.

          • also will add that heroin is illegal and we have a much more massive heroin addiction problem. so i dont think your point proves anything.

          • I should have added that IN THEORY we penalize bartenders who serve to someone who’s already drunk. Maybe not much in practice.
            .
            As for the relative sizes of the heroin/prescription opiate problems, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says: there were “an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin.

          • so 4 years ago. thanks for the info.

            what has happened since then is it has become incredibly hard to get usable oxys on the streets. those people have since moved on to cheaper and more pure heroin.

      • Not as big as the problem of mass incarceration. If people want to be junkies, let them do it, but at least legalization shuts out the black market and the violent gangs.

      • Yes, all of them. Penalize people when they drive under the influence, or steal your TV to buy drugs. The war on drugs is a ridiculous failure, and a stupid, stupid waste of money. It has fueled unimaginable violence among producers who want in on the artificially inflated market that our dumb laws created. It has hollowed out entire communities. Much more harm than good comes from trying to control people’s bodily autonomy.

  • Don’t know if its these same guys opening a satellite or its a different crew, but has anyone else noticed that the NE corner of 14th and Park Rd (in front of Z Burger) has basically become another open-air drug market? In the afternoons and early evening there’s always a couple young dudes — and sometimes as many as 8-10 and a couple of cracked out folks passed out on the ground — hanging out with others coming and going after not so subtle hand-offs. On a windy afternoon last week, a trio was huddled in one of the alcoves between the phone store and Wells Fargo so they could light up and smoke their newly purchased weed right there on the sidewalk. Two weekends ago, I stopped into Z Burger to grab lunch. After having to run the gauntlet of shady characters outside, I placed my order. While waiting, I was surprised to see a couple of the guys come inside Z Burger and just sit down for a bit, checking their phones, watching outside. Seems they have captured not just the sidewalk outside, but the restaurant too. There must be something that the police can do to disrupt this and prevent it from taking root permanently in this spot, too.

    • The Potbelly outside the Columbia Heights Metro serves as a similar lookout.
      The police are helpless as long as there is a “stand down” order (direct or perceived) from Councilmember Brianne Nadeau. If you were an officer would you want to rock that boat?
      Hopefully we can vote Nadeau out of office before an innocent bystander gets injured (or worse).

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