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Dear PoPville – Quality of Life Problems and MPD Priorities After the Earthquake

by Prince Of Petworth August 24, 2011 at 11:00 am 209 Comments


Photo by PoPville flickr user yostinator

“Dear PoPville,

I had a disturbing incident yesterday that may be of interest to your readers in the Mt. Pleasant area. At about 4:30 p.m., while walking my dog down 17th across from Lamont Park, I heard two small children get extremely upset that there was a strange shirtless man passed out in their enclosed front yard. Tired of lowlife deadbeats ruling with impunity over our otherwise beautiful neighborhood, I offered to get him out, and their mother took them inside.

I went in, woke up the guy, pulled him up, and sent him staggering out of the front gate. My rusty high school Spanish was enough to know that he was drunkenly threatening to kill me as he staggered out, but then back in the gate, refusing to leave. The family was still watching and extremely upset, so I got him out a second time and called DC’s finest from down the sidewalk.

The most disturbing part of this incident begins when the 911 operator, having heard this story in detail, seemed amazed that I would want a police officer to respond, asking “what’s the problem besides him being in the yard?” When I enumerated: criminal trespassing, disorderly conduct, attempted assault, disturbing the peace, public intoxication, and possession of who-knows-what, the operator shrugged this off as a “low priority incident,” and said something about the “citywide emergency.”

My question for readers is: did you see police officers busy responding to a small, non-destructive earthquake yesterday over two and a half hours after it ended? Having just ridden my bike home 4 miles through the core of the city, I saw not a single MPD officer alleviating gridlock traffic or otherwise responding to anything earthquake-related. There wasn’t even bad traffic in the Third District at all, from what I saw. I’m fairly new in town, but this seems typical of a police force that prioritizes taxi-driver shakedowns for wearing short pants, giving bicyclists stop sign tickets, or other revenue intensive activities. After the failure of MPD to respond, the subject urinated all over the sidewalk in front of the townhome and its occupants, and proceeded to resume his post in Lamont Park, where I’m sure I will again see him passed out in broad daylight, reigning over Mt. Pleasant as before.”

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