Last night, my reporting duties took me to the James Creek housing project. I had parked my car and walked along the edges of the big ballfield when I saw a motorcade of flashing sirens and police lights. The caravan was impressive, a good 10 cruisers and vans. Once the procession finally stopped, police cadets poured forth.
The small neighborhood, located in the shadow of the new baseball stadium, was about to be besieged by these newbies and regular officer chaperones hitting up every door, every stray dude who happened to pass by, and every suspicious corner. I felt bad for the cadets, having to work this foot beat in their khaki uniforms. They looked like overgrown Boy Scouts. The regular cops just looked bored.
It didn’t take long for the cops to find some interest in me.
As I walked up the unit block of P Street SW, a cruiser kept pace for a bit before finally stopping in the middle of the street. A cop asked why I was here. I told him I was a reporter, trying not to appear too jittery or too nervous. Jittery can sometimes equal “high on something” and lead to further interrogation (I know from experience). Except for the shakes, I don’t look suspicious unless you think Paul from The Wonder Years could pass for a crip. I have been told that I walk like a thug, but my pimp strut has never intimidated anyone. (Maybe it’s my severe pigeon toe.)
None of this mattered to the cop. My answers weren’t good enough.
After some study, the cop decided to get out of his car and take a look at my driver’s license. Now I’m thinking: Shit, the cop got out of his cruiser, this can’t be good. The cop studied my ID and then told me that
their there had been a homicide the night before. He told me I had to leave the neighborhood.
The cop was nice enough. So I decided to refuse his order. I told him I couldn’t; I was on assignment. I didn’t go into details about our new ownership and that now would really be a good time to look busy. I just told him I had to find these sources. The cop relented. He gave me till 8:30 p.m.
For the rest of the evening, none of the other officers gave me any hassle. Not even when I lingered past my curfew! So thank you, MPD.