Residents Turn Out for Monthly Crime Meeting But Learn No New Information on Shootings – PSA Meeting Becomes Venue for MPD Public Relations
by Larry Janezich
Thursday night, about 20 Capitol Hill residents showed up at the monthly PSA 107 meeting in Southeast Library, hoping to learn from Lt. Eddie Fowler of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) more regarding the 2:00 am shooting of Jason Emma on Christmas Eve and the afternoon shooting two days later at 14th and K. Instead, Fowler focused on the more common crimes of robbery, theft, and car break-ins and cautioned residents to avoid using electronic devices in public.
Fowler deflected all questions regarding the shootings, saying that the shootings and any possible link between them and other recent shootings were still under investigation and that he expected there to be “closure” at the end of those investigations.
It was unclear what he meant by closure, since he also used the term to refer to assurances from department officials that they expected closure on cases of robbery in the next four to five days.
In response to one resident who lived close to where Jason Emma was shot multiple times who asked what he should tell his wife and neighbors to help protect them from becoming victims, Fowler distributed a MPD brochure on tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of robbery and assault and issued an appeal to join the police in becoming the eyes and ears of the community to help them detect suspicious activity and to call 911 when they did. For some who have attended many such community meetings with police, it was a familiar refrain.
Fowler also cited the deployment of additional police resources in the community since the shooting and the commitment of additional resources in connection with the holiday season including the new Crime Suppression Team comprising 15-17 plainclothes offices aimed at robberies in PSA 106 and 107, as well as a new bike unit.
ANC6 B Commissioner Brian Pate asked in what case more officers would be permanently assigned to PSA 107. Fowler responded that the PSA is currently the most heavily staffed among the PSAs. PSA 107 roughly includes the area bounded by 2nd Street on the west, 13th Street on the east, G Street on the south, and Lincoln Park and North Carolina Avenue on the north. Smaller than either PSA 106 to the south and 108 to the east, it is home to many members of congress, their staff, and other government officials.
Mayor Gray recently was denied authority to hire an additional 48 police officers for the District by vote of the City Council. Given the staffing of PSA 107, it’s not clear that additional officers are the solution to the problem.
Here is a link to the relevant PSAs: http://mpdc.dc.gov/node/158292
Pate and Fowler both remarked on the heavy attendance at last night’s PSA meeting which was held for the first time in the new location at Southeast Library. Neither Fowler nor the ANC6B commissioners in attendance – Oldenburg, Pate, and Garrison – mentioned the scheduled appearance of Council Chair Mendelsohn at ANC6A next Thursday to discuss the shootings, or the community crime meeting – which, according to David Holmes, chair of ANC6A – is being arranged by Councilmember Wells and will likely involve Chief Lanier and Commander Hickson.
Capitol Hill residents have many unanswered questions regarding the recent shootings, not only concerning the nature of the crimes themselves, but – at least in one case – the nature of police response. In the view of some, the repetition of common sense advice regarding appropriate measures to take while in public – though not without merit – is a poor substitute for the more serious discussion that these serious crimes merit, including an assessment of the actions of those who have the professional responsibility for control, pursuit, and apprehension of criminals in the community.
In other crime news, Metro transit released video-generated photographs of four young men who boarded a bus in Adams Morgan in the early morning hours of New Year’s Eve and attacked two women on the bus near 8th and G Streets, SE. No word has come from either Metro Police or the MPD as to whether any of these four men match the descriptions or video of the four young men involved in the 12/26 shooting. Please see the photographs at: http://wmata.com/about_metro/news/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=5397