City Paper is not for tourists
Every two weeks, a secret document gets passed around the D.C. MPD hierarchy: the “go-go report.” Prepared by the MPD’s hush-hush Intelligence Branch, the report details which bands are playing at which clubs, and when. Police officials have been compiling the reports for a while now, and they’ve claimed the work helps them tamp down violence by tipping off the cops about events that might attract feuding D.C. gangs. But MPD has never really discussed exactly what’s in the report, or released one publicly.
So City Desk figured we’d do that for them.
Below is the current go-go report, obtained by City Paper from a police source who didn’t want to be identified. Though it’s put together by the Intelligence Branch—which is rumored to have 60 officers and a generous budget—there’s not much in the document that MPD couldn’t have found by perusing City Paper’s music listings. The current report covers July 8 to July 22, and it’s broken down neatly into one-off shows and regular weekly gigs, including what times the clubs will open and—more importantly for police purposes—what time they’ll close, with crowds spilling out of the show. The bands it notes include ReAction, UEB, Renegade, Allstarz, TCB and Backyard Band (though they’re misidentified at one point as “Backyad Band”).
MPD frequently sends officers to venues listed in the report so they can monitor what’s happening there; police officials have claimed for years that go-go shows often draw violence, though bands and managers grumble that’s been used as an excuse to harass people involved in the scene. What’s odd about the document, though, is that most of the events listed are scheduled for Maryland clubs, like Tradewinds, the Skyboxxx, Legend and the Capitol Heights Ballroom. Prince George’s County Police officials couldn’t immediately be reached to discuss the report, or whether MPD shares it with them.
The document did raise some eyebrows. “We targeted for sure,” says Ben Adda, who manages TCB. Adda hadn’t heard of the report before City Desk contacted him, and he noticed that MPD had mixed up TCB with another band he manages in some of the listings. The band is used to attention; P.G. Police Chief Roberto L. Hylton called TCB shows “violence masqueraded [sic] as entertainment,” after a December shooting in Capitol Heights that police say began during an argument as a TCB concert let out. (P.G. cops said then that they didn’t know when bands were playing where, which may mean MPD doesn’t circulate the report over the state line.) Adda says the band has become a scapegoat for go-go-phobes like Hylton. And as a result, it’s beefed up its own security.
“We have 12 officers when we play in D.C.,” he says. The city requires the band and the venues it plays to hire police details to protect crowds. But none of that necessarily bothers Adda: “I don’t have any problem with them saying where we are. I don’t mind the extra attention or the police presence.” The safer TCB’s fans are, the better, he says.