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Saturday night, I was drinking beer and eating steak with my neighbors. The host kept saying he wanted to fatten me up; he acted hurt when I didn’t finish my potato. In an hour, I went to my room to do some work. My windows were open, though, and soon I heard so much commotion from outside that I had to investigate. According to my neighbors, this is what happened:

Five minutes after I left, some kids from the Potomac Gardens project lined up on the other side of G Street SE. They threw eggs, rocks, and bottles at my neighbors. Then they retreated, went down an alley, and did it again. Between these two volleys, blue jeans got splattered, one $300 pair of shoes was ruined, but no one was hurt. One man lost enough of his cool that he chunked a bottle at the kids and chased them down the street. The woman with the ruined shoes called 911.

Forty-five minutes later, an officer showed up in a foul mood. Though it was dark, and he’d come too late to chase the eggers, he berated the woman for not providing a better description: All she had been able to say was that they were a group of black youths.