D.C.: Dodge City

A useful summary is the Washington Post's
Timeline of violence on the Washington Metro.
You may notice the Washington Post discretely avoids mentioning the race of the suspects in these incidents of violence.
Evidently, when blacks are the attackers, that's not news.
On the other hand, when white police officers shoot blacks,
man, that gets the front page, number one story treatment.
So much for fair play.


D.C. police on manhunt after off-duty detective shot in Southeast Washington
By Peter Hermann and Mike DeBonis
Washington Post, 2014-08-14 (Thursday)

An off-duty D.C. police detective was shot
and another off-duty officer came under attack early Wednesday
amid a recent burst of violence in the District.

Police said the same group, riding in a car,
fired on the officers in separate incidents only minutes apart in Southeast Washington.
The detective told authorities that he was attacked while being carjacked
in his personal sport-utility vehicle.


The wounded detective, a 24-year veteran,
was shot four times and underwent surgery,
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said.


Since Friday night, at least 18 people have been shot, one of them fatally,
according to police reports.
That includes one incident in which police said
six people were wounded in Southwest.

Three people were carjacked —
one victim was shot, another stabbed and a third briefly abducted.
Police said they did not know whether any of the carjackings —
which occurred Sunday and Monday east of the Anacostia River —
are related to one another or to the incidents Wednesday.


The attacks on Wednesday began about 2:45 a.m. when an off-duty female officer was confronted near Alabama Avenue and Suitland Parkway, just a few blocks from the 7th Police District station, police said. Authorities said gunshots were fired from a burgundy Nissan Altima, but no one was hit.

Paul A. Quander Jr., the deputy mayor for public safety, said the officer, in her personal vehicle, followed the Altima through the Hillcrest neighborhood in Southeast, trying to get a license plate number.

The Altima got to Pennsylvania and Southern avenues, where the detective was stopped at a traffic light in a dark SUV. Lanier said the Altima tried to cut off the detective, who realized that he was being carjacked. The detective tried to back up, but the Altima rammed his vehicle and someone inside opened fire, the chief said.

Both cars sped along Southern Avenue — on the Maryland border — with the Altima ramming the officer’s SUV as a gunman continued to shoot, Lanier said. It was unclear whether one was chasing the other or the vehicles were side by side. The SUV stopped a few blocks away, at Bowen Road SE, where the officer was found wounded, police said. The Altima sped away.


On Sunday, a man told police that he complied with a gunman’s demands and got out of his white Chevrolet Impala on Hartford Street SE. The victim said he was knocked to the ground and shot in the arm, a D.C. police report said.

In a carjacking Monday night, police said, a 31-year-old woman was cut off by a black SUV as she paused at a stop sign on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, near the Naval Research Laboratory. The woman told police that two men entered her gold Mercedes-Benz and forced her at gunpoint to drive eight miles. She was freed after handing over her $3,500 wedding band and a cellphone.

Court filing details violent struggle on Metro train in July 4 slaying
Washington Post, 2015-07-07

AU graduate gunned down outside Metro station in broad daylight
By Michael Smith and Faiz Siddiqui
Washington Post, 2015-08-16

Matthew Castro Shlonsky was an international relations guru with a promising future, a Cleveland native who had grown to love the District.
He spoke fluent Spanish, played hockey and had an affinity for concerts at Echostage.

On Saturday, the affable and popular Shlonsky
was on his way to meet friends at a going-away party when things turned deadly.

It was about 5 p.m. and Shlonsky, 23,
had just stepped out of a cab near Seventh and S streets NW,
not far from the Shaw-Howard University Metro station,
when he was struck by a bullet that police think
was probably intended for someone else.

The 2014 American University graduate became the latest victim of an uptick in deadly gun violence in the city—and the fourth in a week in Shaw. On Tuesday, three people were shot at Seventh and O streets NW, not far from where Shlonsky was killed. And on Memorial Day, near the same intersection, a 31-year-old mother was felled by a stray bullet during a cookout.


Witnesses say fatal H Street stabbing was over a bump on a crowded city bus
By Peter Hermann
Washington Post, 2015-08-17

A fatal stabbing at a bus stop along the crowded H Street corridor in Northeast Washington last week occurred during an argument over a bag striking a small girl on the bus, according to a police arrest affidavit.

The court document describes a violent altercation witnessed by at least 10 people and involving two separate fights that spilled from a sidewalk in the 800 block of H Street into the roadway shortly before 4 p.m. on Aug 10.


Child on bike allegedly robs victim at gunpoint in Northwest D.C.
By Martin Weil
Washington Post, 2015-08-19

There are hundreds of robberies in the District, and victims give many descriptions of the robbers. But a description given to police Friday seemed to stand out: It was of a child less than 5 feet tall and no more than 10 years old.

The description was given in connection with an armed robbery on Madison Street NW, between Third and Fifth streets in the Brightwood-Manor Park area, D.C. police said. The holdup was carried out in mid-afternoon by two youngsters on bicycles.

One of the two robbers was described to police as 4 feet 6 to 4 feet 8 inches tall, police said. He was also described as black, slim, with a light complexion and twists in his hair. He was wearing a red T-shirt, and police were told that he appeared to be 10 years old.

The other robber was described as black, 13 to 14 years old, about 5 feet 3 to 5 feet 5 inches tall and slender. He had a medium complexion and wore a black tank top and black shorts. He had a high-top haircut, police were told.

According to police, the two youngsters, on bicycles, approached the victim about 2:30 p.m. One had what was described to police as a handgun. The robbers demanded the victim’s property, police said, but it was not clear whether anything was taken.

Police said the victim was also a juvenile boy.


Man fatally shot, car stolen after pumping gas at a station in Capitol Heights
By Lynh Bui July 21 at 12:26 PM
Washington Post, 2016-07-21

A man was fatally shot and his car stolen at a Capitol Heights gas station Wednesday morning, Prince George’s County police said.

Authorities are still searching for the person who killed Alonzo Jackson, 68, and they released surveillance video, hoping the community will call in with information that will lead to an arrest.

Jackson had just filled up his black Dodge Charger with gas at a station in Capitol Heights about 7 a.m. Wednesday, when a man approached and shot him, police said.

The gunman then sped away in Jackson’s car.


“This is a tragic murder,” said Christina Cotterman, a spokeswoman for the county police. “This man was going about his day doing what we all do.”


Outgoing police chief decries District’s ‘broken’ criminal justice system
By Peter Hermann and Clarence Williams
Washington Post, 2016-09-06
[This article appeared above the fold in Section B, the "Metro" Section,
of the Washington Post for Tuesday, September 16, 2016.
I am surprised, and disappointed,
that such an indictment of the criminal justice system
by such a key participant in that system
did not make the front page of the WP.
On the other hand, much of the front page for that date
was given over to a large story reporting the problems that the long-running civil war in Columbia has caused for that country.
My observation: That is an important story, but is hardly news.
Lanier's accusation is.
Looks to me like the Post did not show the "outrage"
that Chief Lanier is asking for.]

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier leaves her post in two weeks with high popularity and crime down over her tenure but frustrated by a system that she said allows repeat violent offenders back on the street time after time.

In a far-ranging interview, the chief of nearly 10 years unleashed a blunt rebuke of the myriad local and federal agencies responsible for keeping offenders in check, saying there are too many failures and too little accountability.

“The criminal justice system in this city is broken,”
Lanier said, citing what she sees as
the lack of outrage over repeat offenders
as a key reason for her decision to take a job as head of security for the National Football League.
“It is beyond broken.”

The chief talked about the arrest of a man last week who she said was on home detention when his GPS tracking device became inoperable. Police allege the man then went on a crime rampage that started in Maryland and ended in the District. They say it included a robbery, a shooting and a car theft that resulted in a crash that left a bystander critically injured.

“That person’s GPS went offline Aug. 12,” Lanier said.
“We didn’t know it.
The agency that supervises that person didn’t tell anybody
or do anything with it. . . .
That shouldn’t happen.
And it’s happening over and over and over again.
Where the hell is the outrage? . . .
People are being victimized who shouldn’t be.
You can’t police the city if the rest of the justice system is not accountable.”

People “want more police. They want more arrests,” she said.
“But if we’re arresting the same people over and over again, there’s got to be some questions being asked.”


D.C. Council member Kenyan R. McDuffie, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of police, said that while he understands Lanier’s “frustration with [D.C. police] bearing the brunt of the public’s outrage over crime in the District, I wholeheartedly disagree with her characterization that our criminal justice system is broken beyond repair.”


[H]e said residents
“aren’t interested in hearing that one agency within the system of criminal justice didn’t do its part.
They ultimately want the system to function.”

[An old saying, in the white community at any rate:
"A chain is only as strong as its weakest link."
It seems to me that McDuffie's statement quoted above really makes no sense.
If one or several parts of the system are especially failing,
what argument can there be for not fixing those weak links?

We hear this over and over again from the black community:
"The system is broken."
(Another recent example was the argument by the union for workers on the Metro rail system
that a fan inspector should not be fired for falsifying his reports because,
get this, his supervisor(s) bore the responsibility to correct those reports.
(See this report.)
Evidently, to some, no one is responsible for their work.
It's all the system's fault!)
Is that supposed generality an excuse for not improving the parts of the system that are causing specific problems?]


She [Chief Lanier] cited the case of Eric Garner in New York.
He died after officers subdued him with a neck hold when he was confronted for selling individual cigarettes outside some stores. Lanier noted that shopkeepers called police to complain.

“The pressure — police, police, police,” Lanier said. “Go do something about it. So they go do something about it and end up in this fight with this guy.”

“What if that was a [regulatory agency’s] job, and not the police department’s job?” she asked. Stepping in to situations like that “is destroying our relationship with the community.”

[That is the end of the article.
There were, as you may imagine, many comments to that article.
Here is one of them:]

Tin Ear
9/6/2016 6:03 PM EST
I have a friend who is a prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C.
He says the problem is the extremely liberal judges in D.C.
who treat violent criminals as misbehaving children.
He said some of their rap sheets are astonishing,
but the judges always let them out or enroll them in some "diversion" program that is utterly worthless.
Lanier asks, "where is the outrage?"
I guess I'm not outraged because I would never live in D.C.
Until they get some credible judges in D.C.,
all criminals know that the consequences are few,
including criminals from VA and MD who go into D.C. to commit crimes
because they don't have to worry about going to prison if caught.

Washington Post “Second-Chance City” series

How an accused rapist kept getting second chances from the D.C. justice system
Second-Chance City, Part I
By Amy Brittain
Washington Post, 2016-05-14

[This article and the next one are largely about events concerning
a single convicted criminal, Antwon Durrell Pitt.]

How an inmate who repeatedly threatened to rape his guards ended up on a bus back to D.C.
Second-Chance City, Part II
By Amy Brittain
Washington Post, 2016-07-29

Second-chance law for young criminals puts violent offenders back on D.C. streets
Second-Chance City, Part III
By Amy Brittain, Aaron C. Davis and Steven Rich
Washington Post, 2016-12-03

The crimes against them were terrifying, but the judicial system made it worse
Second-Chance City, Part IV
By Amy Brittain
Washington Post, 2016-12-04

He says he robbed 100 people in D.C. Could he have been stopped before he killed?
Second-Chance City, Part V
By Amy Brittain
Washington Post, 2016-12-21


Before [Will] Smallwood killed, there were warning signs that his violent behavior was rapidly escalating on the streets of Columbia Heights in Northwest Washington. He told The Washington Post that he robbed at least 100 people.

D.C. judges twice sentenced him — for simple assault and robbery — under the District’s Youth Rehabilitation Act, a unique law passed in the 1980s that allows shorter sentences for some crimes and offers offenders under age 22 the chance to clear their records. All the while, he says, he returned to the streets to commit more robberies and sell crack cocaine.

“It’s just a slap on the wrist. And then you think you can get away with bigger crimes,” Smallwood says during a recent interview in prison. “I look back now and I say, ‘Damn, I f---ed up.’ ”


In D.C., the federal government gives released criminals many chances to fail
Second-Chance City, Part VI
By Aaron C. Davis
Washington Post, 2016-12-28

Over two years, 23-year-old Steven Pugh
violated almost every condition of his court-ordered probation for carrying a gun in the nation’s capital:
He tested positive for PCP,
was charged with assault for allegedly dragging his girlfriend across a floor
and pleaded guilty to committing a robbery in Maryland.
For months, he had disappeared entirely from his probation officer’s radar screen.

Still, his probation was not revoked, sparing him from a year in jail.
In August 2015, Pugh was still failing to show up for drug tests and other appointments,
but his probation officer did not press for him to be locked up.
The next month, a father of three in Southeast was shot and killed.
Pugh was arrested fleeing the scene and later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

A version of Pugh’s case plays out frequently in the District.
About 150 times a year,
the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency loses track of
offenders it classifies as high risk, the agency acknowledges.
Several hundred additional offenders classified as lower risks also go missing,
and scores of them turn up as suspects in new crimes, according to court records.

But the problem does not stop there.



Suspect arrested in killing of visiting artist on Capitol Hill
By Peter Hermann and Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post, 2017-03-28

[Well, what do you know. Yet another white woman killed by a black male.
Somehow the reverse situation seems quite rare.
Or is it racist to point that out, if in fact it is true?]

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