City Paper is not for tourists
Early this morning, according to one woman’s report, police arrested a person for throwing snowballs in Columbia Heights. The incident reportedly happened not far the Wonderland Ballroom, at 11th and Kenyon Streets, shortly after the bar closed at 2 a.m. According to the witness, one young woman was taken into custody.
This report, of course, comes in the wake of December’s gun incident at a U Street snowball fight.
No confirmation yet from police.
[UPDATE: WCP’s Jason Cherkis confirmed the arrest with 3rd District police, and has complete accounts from the police and the arrested woman’s roomate.]
Here is the woman’s e-mail, sent to D.C. councilmembers:
I am writing you in a state of utter annoyance with the DC Police tonight in regards to an altercation that took place tonight with the DC Police tonight just after 2am outside of Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights. I have met you before and have sincere respect for you as a councilman, and hope that you can make your presence known in this matter.
This is an account of my experience tonight:
Even though the bar was absolutely packed tonight at Wonderland, they had last call at 1:30 am and quickly began shoving the attendees of the evenings party out around 2am. After having 2 beers for the evening and walking out with my companion, we walking into a very happy and well mannered snowball fight. After the amount of snow and peril of non-stop cabin fever, it was nice to have a light-hearted and childish display of livelihood after a fun evening. My companion and I quickly decided to join the other side of the street, the side with only about 10 people, in battling the crowd that was congregating outside of Wonderland. After about 5-10 minutes of play with snowballs, we decided it was time to head home an let our side of the “battleground”. But as we were heading North, and just starting to get out of the midst of snow, we saw red and blue lights flashing and quickly turned back around to the nonsense that was now going on.
We soon saw Police grab random people out of the crowds on each side of the street, and they quickly had a man and a woman in grasp. While watching from the curb after being screamed at by the Officers to get up on the non-existent curb, we watched as the officers had one person from each side of the street laying over the truck of the Police car. While asking what they were arrested for, we were told to go away. We only initially saw the gentleman that was bent over the truck, but upon closer inspection, we found that we knew the woman that was being detained. People in the crowd that we were forced into mentioned that the police had been rough with her, and considering that each officer was easily 6’0″ and the woman was my size and frame, 5’2″ and petite, it was completely unnecessary. I eventually was able to get an officer to listen to me with my requests to find out where the detainees were being take, and was told that the 3rd district was the destination. After a few minutes of waiting in the crowd, they eventually let the gentleman that was in custody go, and shoved the young woman into the squad car and left. I quickly ran up to the gentleman that was just released and asked him if he knew why they only arrested just one of them when they had both been grabbed randomly, and he had no idea and was just happy to have escaped actual arrest. So, all in all, a single woman was arrested for the snowball fight, and absolutely no one that I spoke to in the crowd actually saw her throwing anything after the police arrived.
I am absolutely in awe over what happened tonight. Given the amount of crime and safety issues that are going on currently, it is seriously appalling that a total of 9 police cars took the time to arrest a single woman during a snowball fight at 2am when NO CARS were on the road. My companion was harassed and threatened with arrest because he had the ‘nerve’ to curse because a friend of his was being arrested. It was a show of complete machismo by what can only be a show of power by the local police. As of right now, 3:01 AM, the police have still not charged her, probably because they have no idea what to charge her with, and her friends are still scrambling to figure out what the heck happened.
Is this what we’re paying Police for? I have had at least 3 shootings (1 that I was witness to), sexual assaults, street harassment, countless burglarises, plenty of drug related issues and plenty of other criminal happenings in my area, but the police are only worried about snowballs and my neighbors only seem worried about benches that may attract crime. I know that I’m rambling at this point, but I am getting to the point where I’m ready to move back to Baltimore because of this nonsense. At least there, I expect horrible relations between the citizens the force that is supposed to be there to serve and protect. And I do want to make sure to note that this is not coming from an anti-cop person, my sister that I love dearly is a Federal Officer, and I have nothing but respect for those that do their job. But really, an arrest over snowballs being thrown? There wasn’t even a struck car for it to be blamed on this time? And does the Police force really need more bad PR over officers that can’t take a scene for what it is? Why weren’t people simply asked to leave the area?
As you can tell from my horribly long email, I am absolutely heart broken and angry over this. Please do what you can to find out what brought this type of force upon a woman that was simply part of a crowd participating in a fun game. I’d hate to think that I chose to walk into a police state and didn’t fight to bring it down.