News and Analysis



A student was the victim of an armed robbery near campus Thursday night, a University spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

The victim was approached by a suspect armed with a gun on Hughes Mews near 25th Street at 8:40 p.m., according to a narrative of the event provided by the Metropolitan Police Department. The suspect drew a gun and forced the victim into a home, where the suspect demanded money.

After the victim handed over the money, the suspect assaulted the victim before fleeing down an alley into the 2500 block of I Street, according to the narrative. The case is still under investigation.

The incident took place two blocks from campus but students did not receive a University alert. Alerts are typically sent out when officials deem there is an ongoing threat to the campus community, whether it’s when the University Police Department responds to or is made aware of a potentially dangerous situation, or when MPD shares information about an incident they’re responding to on campus.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said she was unaware of the incident until about 12 p.m. Friday. MPD did not inform the University of the incident until “many hours later” so officials did not see the need to send out an alert, she said.

“An alert is sent out when there’s an ongoing immediate threat to the campus community,” Csellar said. “This is information we learned hours after this happened.”

This policy on alerts has been called into question before: Officials said they didn’t send out an alert to the campus community after a man attempted to sexually abuse two female students near the Foggy Bottom Metro station two years ago because the man was arrested.

MPD spokeswoman Aquita Brown said in an email that MPD prioritizes student safety and that officers work with school officials to report on-campus incidents in a timely manner. In this case, the reporting process was different because the incident took place off campus, she said.

“In situations like this it is up to the victim to determine whether they want to inform campus officials about the offense, as MPD doesn’t want to violate the victims’ privacy rights,” she said.

Brown did not respond to a question clarifying MPD’s policy on how their officials communicate with GW about off-campus events compared to on-campus incidents.

Communication between MPD and the University Police Department has been questioned before. In 2013, GW’s security chief said miscommunication between the two departments led to confusion over two gun threats on campus, including a slow response from D.C. police who responded to an armed robbery on campus.

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Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 11:06 p.m.

Woman struck by car near 23rd and I streets

Updated: Nov. 3, 2016 at 11:25 p.m.

This post was written by senior staff writer Ryan Lasker.

A woman was struck by a vehicle near 23rd and I streets Thursday night.

Police responded to a call at about 10:18 p.m. of a female being hit by a vehicle, Metropolitan Police Department Officer Sean Hickman said. Hickman said the female was found conscious and breathing, but her condition remains unclear.

Police blocked traffic from Washington Circle to continue down 23rd Street, diverting cars down I Street while officers responded to the incident.

The woman was transported to GW Hospital, and traffic resumed at about 10:35 p.m.

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Police responded to a car accident at the corners of 21st and F streets Thursday morning. Sam Hardgrove|Assistant Photo Editor.

Police responded to a car accident at the corners of 21st and F streets Thursday morning. Sam Hardgrove|Assistant Photo Editor.

Updated: Nov. 3, 2016 at 11:27 p.m.

This post was written by senior staff writer Ryan Lasker.

Police responded to a two-car traffic accident near the corner of 21st and F streets Thursday morning that resulted in minor injuries, a Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman said.

A Jeep collided with a Cadillac sedan, crumpling the Cadillac’s back bumper and trunk. Police responded to the call at 10:52 a.m., MPD spokeswoman Aquita Brown said.

At least two fire trucks, three ambulances and two MPD police cars reported to the scene. Brown declined to give details about what exactly caused the accident.

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A juvenile male was arrested for a reported robbery in front of the Melrose Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue late Monday night, according to a Metropolitan Police Department report.

Fourteen MPD officers responded when two individuals who live in Arlington, Va. reported that they were approached by two other individuals who took their iPhones at around 11:30 p.m. Monday, according to the report.

MPD officers stopped a suspect “positively identified as the individual that took the phone,” the report stated.

MPD Officer Hugh Carew did not give the arrested male juvenile’s name.

The case is open, according to the report.

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Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016 3:09 p.m.

Shadow Room faces fine, calls for closure

Commissioners of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission passed a resolution to shut down Shadow Room Thursday. Charlie Lee | Senior Staff Photographer

Commissioners of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission passed a resolution to shut down Shadow Room last Thursday. Charlie Lee | Senior Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporters Brielle Powers and Robin Eberhardt.

D.C.’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration placed a $5,000 fine on the owners of Shadow Room last week for sale of alcohol to minors, according to a document from the administration. The agency also suspended the club’s liquor license for 10 days, including four days between Dec. 21 and 24, the document shows.

A bartender at the club sold vodka cranberries, gin and tonics and tequila to at least six underage patrons on Sept. 13, 2015, Borderstan reported Tuesday. The people at the bar last year told police the Shadow Room employees did not check their IDs when they entered the establishment, according to Borderstan.

“MPD detectives observed six minors drinking alcoholic beverages inside the establishment,” the report obtained by Borderstan shows. “The establishment failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain the ages of the individuals.”

The owners of Shadow Room did not immediately return a request for comment.

The nightclub has been under intense scrutiny this month: Last week, neighbors called for Shadow Room to be shut down after a shooting near the location this month.

At the monthly meeting at Funger Hall, Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission commissioners and community members discussed the recent and past violations of the Shadow Room club at 2131 K St.

The ANC unanimously voted to enact a resolution that calls for the immediate closure of the nightclub.

In review of the shooting incident, Chair Patrick Kennedy said a gunfight erupted as a couple walked to their cars on 22nd Street after exiting the nightclub at 3:00 a.m.

“A gunfight proceeded from some type of altercation and sprayed the surrounding streetscape with bullets,” Kennedy said. “I think there was an account of 30 shell casings, so this was a major discharge of weapons.”

Police arrested two men, Michael Ansara Ferebee and Julius Bowens, in connection with the Oct. 10 shooting. The Secret Service responded to the call and found a gun in the glove compartment of the car the men were in.

Confirming Kennedy’s report, Metropolitan Police Department Second District Lieutenant Zenobia McBride said police have still not identified at least two suspects.

McBride thanked those that sent in video footage of the incident, as they were helpful providing an assessment of the situation, she said. However, with two suspects yet to be identified, McBride requested assistance from the public to provide video footage of the actual incident, noting that the only evidence they currently possess is a vague description of a white sedan.

“We have aftermath video, but we are looking to get more video that actually captures these events and the vehicles involved,” she said.

When the Shadow Room last requested a renewed license, Kennedy and the ANC protested, adding the requirement that a police detail be present whenever the establishment is in operation has not been followed.

“We know that there was not a police detail in operation on the night in question,” Kennedy said.

In addition to this violation, Kennedy and fellow commissioners said they are frustrated with the investigatory report not being accessible to the public.

“This seems to have fallen into a situation where there was clearly an incident that resulted in the imminent threat to public safety and this provision was not enforced,” Kennedy said.

Peter Sacco, the executive director of the commission, said Shadow Room had failed to comply with the requirement of hiring a police detail. Sacco said that immediately after the Oct. 10 incident, Shadow Room resumed its hiring of the police detail.

“I think it was about a week ago they simply stopped paying,” he said. “MPD’s policy is that when they don’t pay, they don’t send someone.”

Commissioners Rebecca Coder and William Kennedy Smith also cited past experiences dealing with violations by and complaints concerning Shadow Room.

“One of the fellas who is a suspect, I think admitted to the officer that he had been from the club,” Coder said. “As next steps, we need to hold the agency accountable as far as liability.”

In addition to Shadow Room, the ANC also voted on resolutions regarding the renewal of nightclub licenses at three other area clubs: The 51st State Tavern, Avenue Suites’ A Bar, and Marshall’s Bar. All of the resolutions passed without objection.

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A report of a potential shooting Tuesday night turned out to be unfounded, GW’s top safety official said.

Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security Darrell Darnell said in an email Wednesday that a student reported to the University Police Department shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday that he saw a man whom he thought was holding a gun near 20th and F Streets. The student told UPD that the man was walking toward F Street in front of Francis Scott Key Hall and seemed wounded, Darnell said.

GW then issued an alert at 11:25 p.m. telling students and community members on the Foggy Bottom campus stay indoors and avoid the area.

UPD and Metropolitan Police Department officers responded to the scene, interviewed the witness and asked for a description of the man, searched the area and inspected security camera footage from the area, Darnell said.

“Finding no evidence of a shooting or a suspect in the area matching the witness description, GWPD issued an all clear notice to allow the GW community to return to normal activity,” he said. “We appreciate that our community member saw something and said something, which enabled us to properly investigate a potential harmful situation.”

Darnell said that GW sends out the alerts after the University receives a report of an incident that could be an “ongoing threat that may affect the safety of the GW community.”

“During these situations, information changes quickly and the university provides updates with the most accurate information it has until the incident is resolved,” Darnell said.

MPD spokesman Hugh Carew said MPD responded to the call of an armed person and investigated the incident.

“Nothing was found,” he said.

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Updated: Oct. 5, 2016 at 12:16 a.m.

Officers from the University and Metropolitan police departments responded to a possible shooting at 20th and F streets Tuesday night, according to a GW alert.

Students were advised to stay indoors and lock their doors while police responded to the incident, according to the alert sent around 11:30 p.m.

GW sent another alert at 12:15 a.m. Wednesday that the incident was “all clear” and that students could return to their normal activities.

The alert did not include information about suspects or how police got the tip.

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Metro suspended service after a man assaulted a Metro Transit Police Department officer and then jumped onto the tracks Friday evening. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

Metro suspended service Friday evening after a man assaulted a Metro Transit Police Department officer and then jumped onto the tracks. Sam Hardgrove | Assistant Photo Editor

A man assaulted a Metro Transit Police Department officer at the Foggy Bottom Metro station Friday evening, a Metro spokesman said.

After assaulting the officer at around 6:30 p.m., the man jumped onto the Metro tracks, causing officials to suspend service in the area, Metro spokesman Richard Jordan said.

Metropolitan Police Department officers “went after” the man on the tracks and took him into custody, Jordan said.

Metro officials resumed train service in the area at 7 p.m. after inspecting the tracks, Jordan said.

Ellie Smith contributed reporting.

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The total number of burglaries on the Foggy Bottom campus nearly doubled between 2014 and last year, according to new crime data released Friday.

Twenty burglaries occurred on the campus in 2015, compared to 11 burglaries the year before, according to crime data in GW’s annual security report. Only 12 of last year’s burglaries were reported to the Metropolitan Police Department, compared to the year before when all 11 burglaries were reported directly to the University Police Department.

The data, which the University Police Department releases every year, covers crime statistics from 2013 to 2015 on all of GW’s campuses.

The number of burglaries on the Foggy Bottom Campus dropped by 70 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to data released last year. Officials said the number dropped last year after UPD arrested an individual responsible for a string of burglaries in 2013.

UPD Chief RaShall Brackney said in a release Friday that UPD leans toward using the more serious term “burglary” when deciding whether to classify a crime as a burglary or a theft.

UPD added the Corcoran Flagg Building as a separate location on the report because it is far enough from the Foggy Bottom campus’s other buildings. There were no crimes reported in the building, according to the report. The Alexandria Graduate Education Center, Graduate Education Center Arlington, the Hampton Roads Center and the Hall of the States building were also added to the report.

On-campus drug arrests decreased by almost half last year, and MPD made all six of the drug-related arrests, according to the report. There were 11 drug arrests per year on campus in both 2013 and 2014: UPD made all of those arrests.

Disciplinary referrals for drugs on campus decreased by a quarter last year, according to the report. There were 152 referrals for drug violations last year, compared to 203 the year before.

The number of arrests for alcohol violations on the Foggy Bottom Campus rose from one to six last year, and the disciplinary referrals for the alcohol violations increased by about 7 percent. Eight additional referrals for alcohol violations occurred on the Mount Vernon Campus last year, according to the report.

The number of alcohol violation referrals increased last year because students are more aware of the dangers of alcohol, Brackney said.

“We’re becoming a more responsible campus in a lot of ways, and students have an increased understanding of the impacts of alcohol, both short-term and long-term,” she said.

Twenty-two rapes were reported on the Foggy Bottom campus last year, which is one fewer than the number reported in 2014. Eighteen of last year’s incidents were reported to non-police staff members, like the Sexual Assault Response Consultative Team, which is a group of administrators who respond to sexual assault survivors’ reports. A greater share of rape reports were directly reported to MPD instead of UPD, according to the crime data.

Three of the rape reports were made to MPD last year, and only one was reported to UPD. Two additional rapes on the Mount Vernon campus were reported to non-police officials, according to the report.

Students are increasingly aware of on-and-off-campus sexual violence resources, which is why more students are reporting sexual assaults to police and other staff, Brackney said.

“The more reports we can capture, the better we are able to educate and train to deter incidences of sexual violence and disrupt trajectories of crime on campus,” Brackney said.

There has also been an increase in the number of reported instances of dating violence on campus last year, with 10 reports from 2015 compared to none the year before and one report in 2013.

The crime report also includes statistics about on-campus fires and the total costs for each fire. The report shows that the fire on Fulbright Hall’s roof last September had total damages adding up to $21,000. All three of the fires in the building that academic year were caused by cigarettes, officials said last year.

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Second District Commander Melvin Gresham and Lieutenant Zenobia McBride answered questions about security at a Foggy Bottom Association meeting Tuesday night. Ethan Stoler | Hatchet Photographer

Second District Commander Melvin Gresham and Lieutenant Zenobia McBride answered questions about security at a Foggy Bottom Association meeting Tuesday night. Ethan Stoler | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Aaron Galloway.

Metropolitan Police Department Commander Melvin Gresham and Lieutenant Zenobia McBride spoke to Foggy Bottom community members Tuesday night about neighbors’ safety and well-being concerns.

During the meeting, which was held in the School Without Walls, the officers covered topics including party noise levels and MPD officer trainings.

Here are some of the main concerns from neighbors who attended the meeting:

1. Student noise complaints

Some attendees said they were concerned about noise in buildings on the Foggy Bottom Campus. Gresham assured the audience that MPD officers are enforcing noise ordinances in the area.

Foggy Bottom Association President Marina Streznewski asked about policies to break up loud parties during the day, noting that the laws only addressed noise levels at night.

Gresham said there are no laws against loud noises from daytime parties, and requests by police to shut off music during the day can’t be legally enforced.

“We can ask the host of the parties as a courtesy to turn it down, but in terms of enforcement, no,” Gresham said. “It is unfortunate, but there’s nothing we can do.”

2. Countering a shortage

A number of officers have recently retired from MPD, but that has not posed significant problems for the force, Gresham said. There are currently about 3,800 officers in the department, he said.

The department has dealt with the retirements through an existing senior officers program and allows officers to remain in the force part-time while receiving retirement benefits, Gresham said.

“We don’t really have any staffing shortages because the people who are retiring are actually coming back,” he said. “They may be retired, but they are coming back and enjoying two salaries: a salary from retirement and a salary as a senior police officer. “

MPD is also hiring up to 30 new officers per month, Gresham added.

“These are very young officers,” Gresham said. “But everyday we’re in the process of hiring new officers.”

3. Implicit bias training

Streznewski later asked what MPD is doing about implicit bias within the police force. She did not mention a particular event in D.C. or nationally, but police shootings of unarmed black men have come to the forefront of national conversations about policing standards.

Gresham said MPD implemented a federal guideline in 2006 to focus on officers’ behavior on duty.

“Well, it’s something that we take very seriously. I would say that our department is probably more trained than other departments,” Gresham said. “I think it made us a better agency.”

The department has systems in place to monitor officers and ensure that unethical behavior is not the standard, he added.

“Police officers are just like any other profession, and you’re certainly going to have people that shouldn’t be wearing a badge and uniform. It’s going to happen,” he said. “We do have systems in place where this activity is closely monitored, and if there is a pattern, we will address it.”

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