Just moments ago, appearing on the Kojo Nnamdi show, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced that Washington City Paper had gotten something wrong. In an article about the fact that D.C. cops refuse to name potentially warring crews in Petworth, and that Lanier has asked media not to report the names of criminal crews, we mentioned that sources told us two of the Petworth groups cops have had trouble with are called CRT and Taylor Street. Lanier told Nnamdi that we had gotten those names wrong.
That might be. When we attempted to confirm that those were two crews MPD had their eye on, we couldn’t get a straight answer. The brass wouldn’t talk. 4-D commander Kimberly Chisley-Missouri, for instance, refused to say anything, as did MPD spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump. “We do not identify the names of gangs and crews in the media,” Crump emailed. If cops wouldn’t tell us, we figured a public official might, but we were mistaken. Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser also refused to say. “I stand by the chief’s request,” she said.
It seems Lanier has the media over a barrel. While she won’t confirm the names of the crews she believes are responsible for wreaking havoc in places like Petworth, when it’s advantageous, she’s suddenly willing to say who they’re not.That seems to fly in the face of the idea that the blackout on crew names has some kind of ethical utility as opposed to a political one.
UPDATE 4:38 P.M. — Unspecified City Paper Error Was Non-Erroneous, Source Says
Photo by Darrow Montgomery