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Can I Get a Witness?

Evenings this past week, Chris Otten has stood outside the U Street/Cardozo Metro station, holding a sign that asks, “Were you witness to an arrest here on Thursday, July 25 at 6 p.m.?” Otten says he was Rollerblading with a bandanna on his face to block smog when a cop stopped him and demanded ID. After he refused, citing his Fourth Amendment rights, he says a shouting match followed, ending with him being tackled by four officers and charged with disturbing the peace. The police report says Otten replied, “Fuck you,” when an officer tried to stop him. His trial is set for Sept. 5, unless he chooses to pay a $50 fine. So far no one has signed on to testify, but lots have bent his ear. “We ought to get them at their pressure points,” one passer-by named Olivia says of the police. “Disable them. Then tear their asses out. That’s right. That’s what the Mafia do.” —David Morton