Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Meeting began at 7:04 p.m. with call to order by BNCA President Dan Schramm.
Dan: Welcome to familiar and new faces. New people are here for important reason–issue we’ve been focused on for several years. Seems to be not getting better but worse–gun violence and crime in our community and streets. Recent incident and recent ones before that seem different. Literal gun battle on street is grave concern. BNCA is all volunteer org that exists to serve community and to serve as conduit between city and Councilmember McDuffie.
Tomorrow evening there will be a walkthrough in neighborhood–in vicinity where incident took place. Opportunity to find out more about what city is doing to address the problem. You will have a chance to ask questions but first let’s let him talk.
CM McDuffie: Good evening. Thank you all for opportunity to be here to have this conversation about crime and public safety in Brookland and adjoining communities of late. Thanks to Commander Fitzgerald and his team for being here.
Unfortunately this latest incident is not the only one we’ve seen.I’ve been meeting with small groups in and around the affected areas lately.
Gun violence is unacceptable. Frustrating to see, hear, experience this violence–around Woodridge, Langdon Park, Edgewood, Brentwood. At night, and in broad daylight.
Video of essentially a shootout at 20th and Newton. As someone who grew up here in DC in 8s and 90s, when DC was homicide capital, with open air drug and gun violence and homicide, it frustrates me to experience this today in the least.
Shorter term, what we have done: perps should be arrested and prosecuted to fullest extent of law. MPD has done what they could to identify them and has increased its patrols in the area. We can’t arrest our way out of a culture of gun violence in the District. There aren’t enough cops to do that. If you post a vehicle at 20t and Newton, the criminals go somewhere else. If you post at the Rec Center, they go to Mills St. It’s a culture–young black men and women, primarily men, are resorting to guns to resolve disputes. We have to get to root cause to solve problem. There’s a long term solution. But you all need to feel safe in your neighborhoods. Wanton disregard for lives in that video, for their own lives and yours, requires more resources than law enforcement. Neighborhood beefs are not new. But we want to end it. I believe we can.
We’ve stepped up patrols, reached out to Office of Neighborhood Safety, which is part of NEAR Act, funded 1.5 years ago through the NEAR Act. It’s a public health-based approach to the epidemic of gun violence. It involves violence interrupters or credible messengers in neighborhoods with highest rates of gun violence. Trinidad and part of Langston Carver are seeing this approach now. I’ve been working with ONS to implement this program. The peer violence model–I looked around the country to find evidence-based practices, Dr. Gary Slutkin, came up with this model–it’s a data-driven practice. Same model as in Richmond CA where they reduced violence. Interrupters are people who had own brushes with the law. They can connect with these young people in a way that most people can’t. They come into ONS and get into Pathway program–get them out of community, get them into structured program.
ONS is one program. And also AG Karl Racine is working something called Cure the Streets model.This is the same model that I’m talking about, where you identify individuals who are at the highest risk of committing gun violence. Two cohorts have graduated from Pathways–one of them is working in my office. Introducing them to things, giving them sense of hope–show them alternatives. Current path leads to prison or death. I sent a letter to Mayor asking in general for support for Ward 5–asking for infrastructure, schools, libraries, and so on. I also asked for more resources to implement this model in more neighborhoods in Ward 5. We need more resources in our rec centers, and more resources to get to people who aren’t getting to rec centers.
I’ve been meeting with neighbors at 18th and Otis, meeting with neighbors throughout Ward 5, want criminals to know that these are our communities, playgrounds, fields, schools, that are their to support everyone. You all should not fear spending time with your families at these places.
Commander Fitzgerald: Thank you CM McDuffie. I agree wholeheartedly with the what the CM has been saying–the results from Cure the Streets are outstanding.
What we know about this incident is that it’s part of a longstanding beef. Kids at 18th and Otis is beefing with Saratoga and Langdon Park — this has been going on for over 30 years.In fact the kids involved today don’t even know why it occurred.
There were murders in Langdon Park some 10-15 years ago, and then you saw murder in response of young woman up the street. That was the same beef.
The reality is, the 20th/ Newton shooting is not more horrible than any other shooting. The difference is, this one was caught on video and I’m glad it’s on video because it shows it graphically.
The video has not led to arrests–we don’t have probable cause. We’ve executed warrants. Video raises alarm and that brings people to this meeting, which is good.
We have to hold gun owners accountable–prior felons with guns charges need to be charged in US District Court. That has mandatory minimums. We have a situation where people aren’t afraid to carry gun in waistband. If kids know there are severe penalties, that will deter them.
We don’t know for certain if this shooting is related to Langdon Park. You had that shooting in Langdon Park, week later, this happens, you do the math.
About Cure the Streets–take Trinidad for example. It’s not Shangri-La there, but the level of police intervention has definitely gone down. Unfortunately you can’t quantify the impact of the work that’s being done because you can’t count something that doesn’t happen.
Guys in Cure the Streets–some have done 10 years in jail and then go out into streets. They really are credible messengers who can speak authentically about guns. We used to have to put a lot of extra resources in Trinidad. Crime suppression team haven’t had to hit Trinidad.
We have to arrest the people with guns. There’s no other way. You don’t go to jail for selling dime bags on the street now.
We also have a community outreach program in 5D to try to reach kids when they’re young–5-7 years old. We work in schools,we have the side-by-side band to play music, we have bullying intervention, and other programs. And we’re increasing community policing.
The car is a visible deterrent. We have one at the park. When the weather gets warmer–we’re going to get cops on bikes. They should engage with anyone–not just kids. We
Re adding a 2-week foot beat training. We’re finding with these young cops coming out of the academy, they need that kind of training. Young police officers need to be trained in community policing and engage with residents.
We’re seeing better results, we’re seeing cases papered. But we can’t stop everyone–we have to respect citizens’ rights.
Q: Are the parents of these kids responsible if they are under 18? We told cops the kids went into the house with guns. Cops went in but found no guns? I can’t identify the kid in person but I know it was him. There are 4 of these little kids–I call the cops on them all of the time.
A: We have ballistic evidence that we’ve been collecting.
Q: Officer who came to collect shell casings had not seen the video. How is that possible?
A: I don’t know, I’ll follow up with him about that.
Q: Communication with citizens needs to be improved. And also communications within your side also needs to be improved.
A: I want to reiterate, selling drug is not a violent crime. But people shoot each other over it. We’re trying to go to Federal court to address this issue.
Q: Does the city have a program to help us get video cameras?
A: Yes, there is. Also court program that involves a victim impact statement. It’s important for the court to see that the whole neighborhood is the victim with a crime like this–this video is evidence that really moves court.
Q: My question is about the contradiction between CM McDuffie’s statement and Commander Fitzgerald’s statement. The Councilmember says we can’t arrest our way out of this problem. Gun violence has waxed and waned over the years. But the Commander says periods of quiet happened because people because people were jailed or died. I know of a program in North St. Louis that involves oral histories to get a deeper background on crime patterns–to get more explanations on what causes that waxing and waning. You get a better understanding of what happened when and why.
A: For 10 years we had no intervention programs. People forgot about them. Then violence goes up. We need programs to prevent violence, not just to respond to it.
A: (CM McDuffie): Cure the Streets and ONSE are not the first programs of their kind. In the early 2000s we had Peaceaholics and similar programs. I met with activists who had done this type of work and they helped me write the NEAR act. I don’t know why those programs ended, I wasn’t at the Council at the time. We should be augmenting MPD not replacing them. We need to prevent crime–whereas MPD acts afterwards. Mayor’s budget comes out tomorrow–we’ll be looking though it carefully to see how NEAR is funded. There were several provisions that weren’t funded originally–an Office of Public Health that was supposed to be created, and outreach to family and a victim’s circle after someone is shot.
Q: You mentioned that program in Trinidad. Why is it not here in Brookland?
A: The resource allocation depended on what neighborhoods experience the highest rates of violent crime especially gun violence. Trinidad was identified for implementation with stakeholders in law enforcement–they choose Trinidad and 18th and M, where Carver Terrace is.
The program works because credible messengers are rooted in their communities. CM Trayon White and I identified in $750k and mayor threw in $50k for implementation. That money got allocated to non-profits that would implement the program in Wards 7 and 8. The rest of the money went to a single non-profit for work in Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. It’s just not enough resources. Plus, now you’re taking people in Brentwood and sending them to Ward 4 as credible messengers. But they aren’t credible messengers outside their communities. If we’re going to do this program, we have to be faithful to the model.
Q: What about volunteers?
A: We’ve certainly had individuals who have volunteered as credible messengers.
Q: What exactly do we need to do that program going?
A: When the Mayor’s budget comes down, if the funding levels we need are not in it, we need you to come down to the budgetary hearings to advocate it for that funding.
Q: What about community advocacy?
A: I meet with people all the time, to get these advocates on the same page. We had less than $5m for ONS. We need to scale up.
Q: When is the hearing? We want that information and BNCA will provide testimony.
A: There are various budget oversight hearings taking place. Hearing dates on DC Council website.
Q: You mentioned a crime suppression team. How does it operate?
A (Commander Fitzgerald): That’s a team of 26 officers, 2 working on prostitution, 4 in what we call the powershift hour, 18 split 9-9, 7 days a week. We select neighborhoods to target with these teams–it’s basically a more aggressive approach. It means extra people, on top of your PSA officers. I have moved extra people who aren’t normally here to this area. They’ve been here in Saratoga and Edgewood. They secured the house and executed search warrants. We’ve had a lot of search warrants related to guns.
Q: Where are people getting these guns? Where do they come from?
A: Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania. You can buy them easily. You can have some from ATF here to explain how these guns get here from out of state. We have progressive gun laws in DC but largely the flow of guns is coming from surrounding jurisdictions. There are a lot of legal guns, but guns don’t shoot themselves. People shoot guns. This generation had parents who grew up here and lived in this environment and went to prison because of the drug trade. Just because you know who did it doesn’t mean they go away to do the time.
Beat book? Community policing.
Q: There is a lack of public disclosure of people who commit crimes using guns. Criminals convicted of a gun offense should be required to register just like sexual assault offenders. However, the public currently has no access/knowledge of which neighbors or prospective tenants or people who may want to mow your lawn may have been convicted of a gun offense. We are both disarmed by DC gun laws and blindfolded by the DC officials who won’t inform us who has committed a prior gun offense. This is not good public safety policy and I believe city officials are beginning to recognize this.
CM McDuffie and Commander Fitzgerald departed 7:50 p.m.
Dan: Lieutenant Kopp will be in hallway to address questions now and after meeting. Walkthrough tomorrow will be at 6 p.m at 18th/ Otis. Let’s now move to the remainder of our meeting. First up is Patrick Flynn–owner of Patrick’s Pets.
Patrick: I realize this is serious evening for you. With all this serious stuff it’s nice to talk about a thriving business in Brookland. We offer dog daycare, boarding, grooming, and dog walking. The community has been good to us. We had a rough start with contractor but since then things have been good. We’re a site for Deaf Reach and Project Empowerment. Deaf people can come to us and interact with animals to address their sensory issues. All workers are Brookland residents. We got a large grant from Great Streets to get the salon space next door–we’ll be blasting through wall to connect two spaces so we can expand and offer dog grooming. If you have a dog, please keep Patrick’s Pet Care in mind.
Q: Are you referring to Nails Etc?
A: No, it’s the beauty supply place. We went before our ANC last month, they gave us full support for minimally invasive construction process. We are just taking out one internal wall. J You shouldn’t notice anything from street except unified signs and storefront. There won’t be any dumpsters, cranes, jackhammers, or anything of that nature.
Q: I was an early customer of Patrick when I lived in Columbia Heights, it’s a great DC story.
Q: Is Patrick a member in good standing?
Dan: That’s a great reminder, we have sorted out all issues membership should be sorted out, some of you may have gotten notice you need to renew, I think we’ve sorted this out so the proper people got renewal notices. Please remember to join if you haven’t. You get a voting right when we take positions on issues. Clyde will take your money. Now we’ll hear from Ann Jaffe, from Seabury Resources for the Aging. I’m excited to have her here because I have wanted to have Seabury for a long time.
Ann: Seabury Resources for the Aging is in your community and offers two programs we want to talk about, Age-in-Place and Home First residences. We’re volunteers on the Advisory Council, we are not Seabury staff. The Age-in-Place program supports older adults through transformative volunteer services, mainly free yard work and house cleaning. We started in 1995 and have served over 500 homeowners. Our volunteers are often church youth groups and college students. The shifts are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. -12 pm. and 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Volunteers complete a 10-15 minute orientation, learn cleaning tips and learn how to respectfully connect with our clients. The program provides transportation to and from client home and from the Metro. We know from firsthand experience that volunteers get as much from program as clients do. And clients benefit from the connection with volunteers.
Our Home First program is a group residence for seniors, there are 3 in the neighborhood. We have a long history with Brookland because 2 churches in Brookland helped to start the program through Catholic Charities. There are many ways to volunteer to help the seniors who live in these residences. We’re doing a fundraiser at Masala Story next Weds 3/27 from 5-9 p.m. 15% of all proceeds from the restaurant’s sales during that window will be donated to our program.We’re thrilled about Greater Brookland Intergenerational Village and look forward to collaborating in any way that’s possible.
Dan: So the relationship is to partner and collaborate?
Ra: If I may just add–for the Greater Brookland Intergenerational Village we want at least 100 surveys to find out what people in the community actually want. We have about 64 done. If you haven’t done a survey, please go online or see me in person, if you want to do one in paper.
Patrick: I know you focus on people. I have clients for whom their pet is everything. Is there a way to incorporate keeping pets?
A: That’s not what this program is but that could be something the Greater Brookland Intergenerational Village looks into.
Kathy: Someone from the Humane Alliance came to our SMD meeting last night and talked about cats and programs for low income people. Human Alliance want to come here too.
A: Our program is very well-organized–you can come as an individual, or come as a group. You can come once, or come many times.
Q: Are background checks required?
A: No. Kids are supervised in the home.
Q: What are methods you use to protect residents?
A: A Seabury staff member is on hand as a supervisor in the home.
Q: I know this program well and have never heard if anyone having issues with security. If you know a neighbor struggling, refer them to Seabury.
A: Yes, please do, they could get fined for a messy yard–please refer them.
Dan: And remember to get out to Masala Story, 5-9 p.m. next Wednesday March 27th. Next up is Chicaro Martin to talk about the annual Met Branch Trail 5k.
Chicaro Martin: April 27th, we’re hosting annual MBT 5k. The Met Branch Trail runs from Union Station through Silver Spring. Visit Gometbranchtrail.org to sign up, we have a sign-up sheet here for volunteers. It’s $20 now to register and will be $35 on race day. Our goal to raise $10k to host the run and ongoing programming throughout the summer. For example workout classes. Crystal has organized lots of classes, including yoga, and we’re trying to organize Brookland and Eckington. We’re also looking for business sponsorships. If there are local businesses in BNCA, please talk with us!
Q: Are you associated with WABA?
A: WABA is a sponsor and advocate for us along with Rails to Trails.
Q: Will the race be a problem for users of the trail?
A: Historically this has not been an issue. The race is Saturday morning when the trail is not in heavy use. DC Road Runners is handling logistics for the event. There will be a walk and a run.
Q: Where is the starting point?
A: We’re working that out. It may be moving south, depending on number of people registered.. Race begins at 9 a.m., registration starts at 8 a.m.
Dan: Thank you. No we’ll open the floor for other announcements.
Landon Jones: I’m Commissioner for ANC 5B05. On March 27th, ANC 5B is meeting at Stokes Elementary School. We’ll have an update from MPD, and someone from guns and take the out and put jobs. Find me if you want to get on the ANC 5B list. Also Brookland Middle School is having a meeting on Tuesday about gentrification. I for one am tired of seeing young people villainized in our community. Department of Employment Services for jobs.
Sheila Weaver: I’m working with Capitol One Bank on an event in honor of Intellectual Property Day for 7th and 8th graders. The event is Friday, April 26th from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to help, students to understand how to protect ideas. There will be a workshop and then lunch, and I’ll have a program on athletic scholarships so the kids are advocating for themselves effectively. Contact me email@example.com to learn more.
Malik Miller: I’m a community liaison from Mayor Bowser’s office–I’m working with Deputy Mayor–Tuesday Blitz– violations. Thank you Dan and Fred for keeping me informed on what’s happening. There will be a host of spring and summer events. There will be a multi-Agency call on March 28th– I’d love to spread the word. Mayor Bowser’s program offers a $500 rebate on camera installation. It’s free for residents 65 and older. You can read about it at dcoa.dc.gov. Also tomorrow Mayor’s budget will be released–there will be a website launched tomorrow between noon and 5 p.m. And I’ll take back to my director your comments about a gun offender registry to see what can be done.
Q: Did you say 65 is age requirement for the free camera?
Q: Is the $500 per camera?
A: $500 per resident.
Q: Is it income-based?
Dan: We would like to see what Mayor Bowser is doing with regard to the issues we discussed here today. We want to see what’s she’s doing to fund ONS. Please take that back to Mayor.
A: Yes, definitely. And I will post the dates for the oversight hearings on the listserv. And send them to Dan.
Dan: Thank you. Clyde, let’s have our Treasurers’ Report.
Clyde: Thank you Dan. This is my report for March, which reflects activity for February. February was a good month. We signed up 38 members for the month, either as renewals or as new members. That brought us $405 and change. We had a significant expense–we catered Woodridge library event for the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum. There were 50+ people there, everyone had a good time and learned something. We spent $880 and the food was good. Masala Story did a fantastic job. So we had $1040 expenses and change. We ended the month with $3,538.77, which jives with the records at the bank. We have 147 members at the end of February. I’d like to ask for report to be accepted.
Motion to accept report, seconded, none opposed. Unanimously approved. Treasurer’s report for February accepted.
Dan: Thank you Clyde. One further note: The Anacostia Museum History series continues this Saturday, with a presentation from an ANC Commissioner in Langdon, Saturday March 23rd, regarding the freeway fight at 2 pm. Jeremiah Montague Jr. will present at at Woodridge Library.
Also, tomorrow night, Wednesday March 20th, ANC Commissioner Ra Amin will hold his first SMD meeting at 6:30 p.m. at Right Proper Brewery. DDOT will be there to talk about traffic calming measures on Franklin St., specifically, a bike lane.
I’ve been in touch with BNCA Member Ian MacFarlane (firstname.lastname@example.org) who is working with the Park Service on our next Ft. Bunker Hill clean-up, which will be April 6th, from 10 am – noon. Meet at the corner of 14th and Otis.
Finally, the yard sale is scheduled for Saturday May 4th, more information about that will be forthcoming soon.