U.S. Attorneys, Police Address Neighborhood Meeting

One day after Halloween when D.C. endured six shootings – including the shooting along the 2800 block of M Street, N.W., of a 17-year-old boy, who remains in George Washington University Hospital near death – law enforcement officials attended the Nov. 1 meeting of the Georgetown-Burleith Advisory Neighborhood Commission.

An officer from the Metropolitan Police Department is a regular visitor. However, attorneys from the Office of United States Attorney for the District of Columbia were special speakers, scheduled before Georgetown’s violent and near-wilding Halloween – it only added to underline the frustration of random muggings, urban crimes and other violence.

MPD’s Capt. Jeffrey Herold said officers were positioned along the town’s commercial corridor and its street corners. There were three robbery arrests along with three persons whose firearms were taken away, he said. The homicide unit is still investigating the shooting on M Street. As others muttered about the amped up groups of black teenagers, Herold – a veteran of many Georgetown Halloweens – said that this year’s Halloween had been “more dramatic.”

Ronald C. Machen Jr. , the U.S. Attorney for the District, already scheduled to speak at the meeting, asked for the community’s willingness to come forward and cooperate, especially as witnesses to a crime. He acknowledged everyone’s frustration with young persons who grow up in a fatherless or broken home and then display “a brazen lack of respect” toward those in their life and in public. He also shared with the audience the huge socioeconomic – if not moral – problems of youths who do not respect the law: “Somehow you have to get through to these kids.”

While he said his office would ask for long sentences for violent crimes, Machen added that law enforcement officials “can’t arrest our way out of the problem.” He also said his office would prosecute 16-year-olds as adults if the crime warrants it: “If you commit an adult crime, you’re going to do adult time.”

Machen, who lives in the same police district as Georgetown and sends his children to D.C. public schools, said gang activity is not suspected in the Georgetown shooting. As the Second District Community Prosecutor, Trena Carrington, assistant attorney in the office, acts as the prosecutor for Georgetown; her phone number is 202-715-7374.

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