Tuesday, October 9

DC TUESDAY

AFRO-AMERICAN COVERS NEW GROUND IN RAWLINGS KILLING

VALENICIA MOHAMMED, AFRO AMERICAN - According to the official autopsy report, Deonte had some blunt force injuries including abrasions, contusions and lacerations to his head, nose, left cheek, left side of mouth, left shoulder, back and a single perforating gunshot wound through the back of the head which exited to the right of the anterior midline of the forehead.

Gregory Lattimer, attorney for the Rawlings family said the results of the autopsy are disturbing. "This entire murder is suspect. What needs to be furthered explained is the blunt force trauma and the fact that you have another police officer running away from the scene of the crime rather than securing the crime scene, who leaves with evidence and drops it at another locale," said Lattimer. "You really have to wonder how sinister this real thing is."

Lattimer also said there was no evidence of gun residue on the victim to indicate that he fired a weapon.

Friends said two dozen law firms contacted the family in the days that followed the murder, seeking to represent them in any legal proceedings.

According to police records, shortly before 6:50 p.m. on Sept. 17, a 22-year veteran officer assigned to the Special Operations Division was advised that a mini-bike was taken from the garage of his home during a burglary. The officer, James Haskel, canvassed an area in Southeast in a private vehicle (with dark tinted glass) along with another officer looking for the mini-bike.

Rawlings was allegedly observed on the stolen mini-bike. When the officer confronted the teen, Rawlings allegedly fired at the officers while they were in their vehicle before running down the street. One of the officers pursued the assailant on foot and returned fire, striking Rawlings in the head.

The second officer, Anthony Clay, left the scene immediately and did not fire his service weapon. However, Clay returned 15 minutes later in another vehicle. Both officers were placed on routine administrative leave with pay pending the completion of a preliminary investigation by the Department's Office of Professional Responsibility's Force Investigation Team.

Almost two dozen youth say they witnessed the incident. . .

A group of elderly women, who said they were less than 15 feet from the shooting, claim to have heard only one shot fired and saw no identification by the police officer. "We didn't look around the corner to see what happened because shots are being fired in this area all the time. That's why they [police] have that thing on top of that building over there," said 80-year-old, Mary Whitaker

The device the women were referring to is known as a "shot spotter." The FBI installed shot spotter or gunshot location system technology is a device used for rapid response tactical deployment of police to a crime scene involving firearms.

DeOnte's family and friends are demanding the FBI determine from the technology how many shots were fired; the direction from which the shots were fired; whether DeOnte shot at the officer and if the officer shot DeOnte at close range.

The other account was that a car with dark tinted windows kept circling the alley and that there was no identification by police. Because there have been ongoing feuds in the neighborhood, someone began to shoot (not Deonte) at the vehicle fearing it was a driveby. The police officer shot at DeOnte. The victim fell between a fence and Whitaker's home.

Neighbors said although police found several casings in the area, they could be linked to other shootings in the area, not this incident.


LANIER DEFENDS OFFICERS INVOLVED IN KILLING

EARLIER, WE CRITICIZED Fenty and others for jumping too quickly to conclusions about the Rawlings death, but that was just poor political judgment. Police chief Kathy Lanier has jumped to the defense of the two officers involved in the killing and that's professional misconduct. Reports the Post:

"The two officers involved in the fatal shooting of 14-year-old DeOnte Rawlings have had 'nothing but a stellar history' during their two decades on the force, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said. James Haskel and Anthony Clay had years of patrol experience before taking on their most recent duties: Haskel as a member of the helicopter unit and Clay as a creator of instructional videos for the department's training academy. . . 'Haskel has always been a great worker, a great guy, with no discipline problems, no issues,' Lanier said in an interview. 'The same thing with Clay. He is a nice guy and a hardworking police officer.'

A police chief has no business talking like that in a case of this sort - another sign that she wasn't all that Fenty thought she was.


MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME

MARC FISHER, WASH POST - Year after year, more than 80 percent of UDC's freshman class -- almost all UDC students arrive directly from the city's public schools -- must take remedial classes in math, reading and English composition. That's more than three times the proportion of students placed in remedial courses nationwide.

Two summers ago, distraught over the college's failure to recruit and retain science majors, [Daryao] Khatri and a retired UDC statistics professor, Anne Hughes, went to their bosses with a proposal: Give us money to set up an intensive summer course on math to see whether we can make up for the damage done by the D.C. schools. . .

With $38,000 in grants from the federal government and The Washington Post Co., Khatri and Hughes sent invitations to a random group of 260 D.C. school graduates who were about to enroll at UDC. This was the deal: Give us four hours a day for eight weeks, and we will try to get you up to college level -- and pay you $1,200 to ease the pressure to earn money over the summer to pay for college. . .

Nine of the 16 students who completed the summer course this year placed out of all remedial courses and are enrolled in the college math course -- advanced algebra . . .


DC: WHERE LIVING IS A MOVING VIOLATION

DC EXAMINER - Mayor Adrian Fenty is proposing to mount cameras on the District's fleet of street sweepers in an intensified effort to nab vehicles illegally parked during a block's designated weekly cleaning period. D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray has introduced legislation at Fenty's request to add parking enforcement to the city's arsenal of automated-ticketing technologies. Like photo red-light and radar technology, the cameras would photograph the license plate of an offender's illegally parked vehicle, noting the date and time. A computer program would then automatically issue the ticket. . . John Townsend, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said using cameras for parking violations is "strictly about revenue enhancement" and serves no public-safety purpose.


NEWS FROM OTHER PLACES: CITIES TURNING BIKE FRIENDLY

CHARISE JONES, USA TODAY - "There's never been so much attention from cities collectively for cycling as a mode of transportation," says Loren Mooney, executive editor of Bicycling magazine. . . New York for the first time is creating a special lane, modeled on those used in European cities such as Copenhagen, Denmark, that will separate bicyclists from motorists. The Ninth Avenue bike lane in Manhattan is being built between a sidewalk and a lane for parked cars. . .

Chicago is striving by 2015 to have 5% of all trips shorter than 5 miles to be taken by bicycle. Mayor Richard Daley also is considering launching a bike program he saw in Paris. That effort, begun in July, allows residents and visitors to check out a bike at one location, ride free during the first half-hour and park the bike at another location near their destination.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, whose city is considered one of the friendliest to cyclists by the League of American Bicyclists, says he wants at least 10% of all trips in the city within three years to be made by bicycle.


DC SHORTS


DC EXAMINER - An upcoming audit of D.C.'s public school enrollment is expected to highlight a long-running problem in which charter schools continue to reap funding for students even after they've left the charter network, officials told The Examiner. . . Previous audits show that there have been hundreds of instances a year when students left or were kicked out of a charter school and then sent to a traditional public school. However, they're either counted twice or counted only for the charter system. . . Prior to the start of school, it was predicted that charter school enrollment this year would be 22,258, up about 2,500 pupils from last year's final tally. The most current estimate of D.C. Public School enrollment puts the total at just over 49,000, or 3,000 below projections.

A POSTING ON A LOCAL SCHOOL message board raises the possibility that there is a serious charter schoool con going on: "A friend of mine used to be a board member of a charter school and that was the plan. In fact this person was put of the board of this charter school because of objections to the unwritten policy of putting unruly kids out immediately after the count. If there were parents that did not participate in the program, their children were put out as well."

AFTER A BIG fight with neighbors, St Martins church in Eckington is going ahead with plans for a 178 unit low and moderate income apartment building. It will hold 50 one bedroom units reserved as public housing for residents earning 30% of the area median income with the remaining 128 units being comprised mostly of two bedroom apartments, available to residents who earn 60% of the area median income. Upon completion, the project will serve as "the largest affordable housing project in DC," said Reverend Michael Kelley, the pastor and leader of the project. "The bad news is that no one else is doing this type of thing," he added.

DC MUD
- The reason for a lack of affordable housing developments in the District might be due to the clamor that these types of undertakings tend to cause within the community. St. Martins serves as the perfect example: when some of the neighboring residents discovered what was being constructed on the corner of Summit and T streets, a massive amount of lawyering commenced; they found a way to get an old convent, which would have been destroyed to build the apartment complex, classified a historic building. . . effectively halting the development process. According to Reverend Kelley, some of the neighbors had a problem with "greed, race and class." Most of those community problems have been assuaged thanks to some tricky engineering and cunning design strategies by project architect Grimm & Parker and development manager North Star Consultants, who found a way to include the now historic convent into the project by moving the massive structure 80 feet eastward. The move will be so astounding that U.K. based documentary program Mega Movers contacted Reverend Kelley to film the convent's relocation.

THE POST finally gave a nod to the fact that ending the zone fare is going to have a negative impact on local cab drivers, but as reader JR points out: "It made me realize how the Post deals with issues it wants to appear sympathetic on but not really take seriously -- it trivializes them as about the 'culture' of an 'anxious' group that is concerned about losing a 'way of life.' It becomes a story about nostalgic attachment to the past and lack of mettle in confronting progress. That's a recurring theme in stories of this kind. The writer seems genuinely sympathetic. But the subtext is that this is an emotional issue not a serious economic one."

ORGANIZERS OF DC DRAFT GORE have will gather the necessary signatures to place former Vice-President Al Gore on the District's primary ballot next year. In addition to the 1,000 signatures that must be collected from registered Democratic Party voters, Al Gore must submit a candidate affidavit. "We already have many volunteers ready and rearing to go start the petition process once the proper forms become available on October 12," said James Skoufis, one of the drive's organizers. Michigan, California, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, among other states already have petition drives underway. Gore has continually refused to rule out the possibility of running in 2008 and the group hopes that their efforts will help make his decision easier.

IT MAY BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE school in the area, but it's also the most iron deficient. 35% of GWU students are being rejected as blood donors for poor iron as opposed to 25% at other nearby colleges.

DCRTV - Red Shipley, legendary area radio personality and longtime host of "Stained Glass Bluegrass" on WAMU, has died of cancer. Shipley, who retired from hosting his show after his 25th anniversary on 9/16, passed away Saturday night in Charlottesville. . . Shipley's career spanned more than 50 years, with the constant being the songs that serve as the foundation for his bluegrass gospel programs.

INTERESTING FACTS IN THE Rawlings killing case found deep in a Wash Post story: "The gun DeOnte allegedly fired has not been found. The [allegedly stolen] mini-bike turned up days later in Prince George's County -- police have not given details where -- and [officer] Clay initially left the scene in [officer] Haskel's sport-utility vehicle. Some policing experts have questioned the officers' judgment in venturing out to investigate on their own, as well as Clay's actions immediately after the shooting; he returned 10 to 15 minutes later but without the SUV. Sources have said Haskel urged Clay to leave out of concern that his vehicle would be recognized by residents of the neighborhood and his family might be endangered."

ALEJANDRO LAZO, WASHINGTON POST - Sales of office buildings in the District tumbled in the third quarter to the lowest level in five years, as credit-market turmoil has started to affect the commercial property sector, according to a new report by one of the region's largest real estate services firms. A total of $398.7 million in office properties were sold in the third quarter, down from $740.8 million in the comparable period a year ago, according to data provided by Cushman & Wakefield, which published the report.

WASH POST - A D.C. Superior Court judge threatened to hold Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) in contempt of court for refusing to adhere to a law requiring the city to set a limit on the number of inmates who can be held in the D.C. jail. Judge Melvin R. Wright ordered the city in August to set a cap to comply with a 2004 law meant to improve conditions and operations at the District's main jail after two stabbing deaths and other inmate violence. Instead of adopting a recommended cap on jail inmates, Mayor Fenty has proposed increasing it. . . D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) said that he believes the city should be held in contempt. "The idea that they would come in with a number 1,000 above the range suggests a disregard for the safety of everyone at the jail, " he said.


BULLETIN BOARD

OCTOBER 11

SUPPORT DEMOCRACY RISING'S WORK to End the Iraq Occupation and Prevent an Attack on Iran. Busboys and Poet s October 11, 2007 8 to 10 PM. Featuring Ralph Nader, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., President, Hip Hop Caucus Marine Mom Tina Richards, CEO Grass Roots America, Kevin Zeese, Director, Democracy Rising. Fine Food and Beverages Provided Along with an engrossing book free to all attendees. Admission $35 in advance, $50 at the door. Contact Marcia Jansen at 301-891-7770 or MJansen@DemocracyRising. Busboys and Poets 2021 14th Street NW.

BOOK LAUNCH for Jewish Washington Scrapbook Thursday, October 11th. Noon, Washington DC Jewish Community Center, 16th and Q Streets NW. This 100-page hardcover book features brief essays and a historic overview of the Jewish families, businesses, congregations, neighborhoods, and communal organizations in the city and its suburbs. In print for the very first time are more than 100 images of historic documents, artifacts, and photographs.

OCTOBER 19

THE STAND UP FOR DEMOCRACY in DC Coalition will observe its 10th anniversary as an advocate for full democratic rights for DC residents at a gala celebration, fundraiser and historic overview of the DC full democracy movement on Friday, Oct. 19, 6-9 p.m. The event, to be held at the historic Carnegie Library, 801 K Street NW (Mount Vernon Square Metro) will commemorate the past decade in the struggle for full democratic rights and statehood for the District since the coalition's founding on July 31, 1997. Speaking at the event will be founders of Stand Up and other leaders of the DC democracy movement. The event will include the presenting of awards to heroes of the movement, as well as food, drink and entertainment.


DC ALMANAC

PLACE WHERE LOUIE DWELLS

Jazz club in Washington at 4th & I SW, run for a time by singer Shirley Horn.


DC TIMELINE

1848

The number of elected posts is expanded to include a board of assessors, surveyor, tax collector and registrar

77 slaves surreptitiously board the sailing vessel "Pearl" for a planned escape that will be aborted when the ship was captured 140 miles from Washington. In an interesting example of the conflicts involved in class and race, a free black hack driver reputedly blew the whistle on the Pearl - angry that one of the slave women aboard had refused his hand in marriage. He was allegedly also angry at others who had tipped him insufficiently when he drove them to the pier.


DC BOOKS

MARCHING ON WASHINGTON: THE FORGING OF AN AMERICAN POLITICAL TRADITION. Barber, Lucy G


SEEING DC

DOWNTOWN DC HISTORY TOUR

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