City Paper is not for tourists
Elvia Christina Southerland, a D.C. high school senior, claims she received a personal dose of Bad Boy Entertainment from producer and rapper Sean “Puffy” Combs. Southerland is suing Up Against the Wall for failure to protect her from Puff Daddy and his bodyguards when she visited the clothing store at 2301 Georgia Ave. NW back on Oct. 27, 1995, while the entertainer was also shopping there. In her court filing, Southerland claims that “a very large man” from Combs’ entourage was conducting unlawful and improper body searches at the store’s entrance. The bodyguard “proceeded to grab her breasts, sides, and stomach and felt her thighs, buttocks and vaginal area,” leaving her “stunned, humiliated, and embarrassed,” according to Southerland’s complaint. Combs then approached Southerland himself, the complaint alleges, and “began to lick his lips with his tongue hanging out of his mouth,” saying, “I want to lick you all over.” Southerland is seeking $500,000 in damages. Up Against the Wall store manager Al Hebron confirmed that Combs was in the store that day but referred all other questions to the store’s attorney, who failed to return calls. Efforts to reach Combs were unsuccessful.
Mortal Hangover Former Mount Pleasant liquor store owner Francis Dilone died of cancer March 21, but her request for a D.C. liquor license remained alive until last week. More than a month after her passing, the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) board advertised Dilone’s intention to renew her license at 3161 Mount Pleasant St., even though the package store had long since been replaced by a beauty supply shop. Dilone intended to renew the license and transfer it to a property owner on the 4400 block of 14th Street NW before she died, says Dilone’s daughter, Maria Palucho. When advisory neighborhood commissioner Bonnie Cain raised a fuss about the renewal, ABC chief investigator Paul Waters suggested she negotiate with Dilone. “I pointed out to him that we would have a lot of trouble negotiating,” Cain recalls. Finally, just minutes before a May 7 neighborhood meeting, the ABC board removed the notice from the store’s window.
Guns, Hooray! “Students Respond Positively to Tragic Violence”headline in the April 1998 Update from Parents United, a public school advocacy group.
Last Friday’s congressional hearing on the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) offered members of the House Government Oversight Committee on the District their first opportunity to grill newly appointed MPD chief Charles Ramsey. And by all accounts, they represented their constituents well: Car-reliant suburbanites like subcommittee chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) bugged the chief with complaints about how D.C.’s seat-belt enforcement delayed his commute. Fellow Virginian Jim Moran jumped in to grumble about a very rude officer who gave his driver a ticket during a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Only D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton touched on an issue of any serious consequence, letting Ramsey know about a D.C. store owner who, after being robbed, dialed 911 and was put on hold.
Barred Two weeks ago, the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) blocked Ohio inspectors from performing a surprise review of its Youngstown prison, where two of D.C.’s 1,700 inmates were stabbed to death earlier this year (“Two Dead in Ohio,” 4/17). Those stabbings and reports of 21 other violent attacks had prompted an outcry in Youngstown, and the Ohio General Assembly responded in March by expanding the regulatory powers of its Correctional Institution Inspection Committee. The committee’s inaugural visit would have given legislators an opportunity to assess whether Ohio laws adequately protect D.C. inmates. But because the inspection committee included two members of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Associationwhich opposes prison privatizationCCA refused them entry. The stalemate boils down to a pissing match between union and prison officials, but the resulting lack of prison oversight could have important implications for the District’s inmates. “CCA [committed] a blatant violation of the law,” argues Peter Davis, the committee’s staff director. But the law has no teeth: It fails to penalize prisons for noncompliance with the new inspection regimen.
Reporting by Paula Park, Amanda Ripley, Elissa Silverman, and Jake Tapper.
Please send your City Desk tips to Elissa Silverman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 332-2100 and ask for my voice mail.