City Desk

Another D.C. Police Snowball Incident?

Early this morning, according to one woman's report, police arrested a person for throwing snowballs in Columbia Heights. The incident reportedly happened not far the Wonderland Ballroom, at 11th and Kenyon Streets, shortly after the bar closed at 2 a.m. According to the witness, one young woman was taken into custody.

This report, of course, comes in the wake of December's gun incident at a U Street snowball fight. No confirmation yet from police.

[UPDATE: WCP's Jason Cherkis confirmed the arrest with 3rd District police, and has complete accounts from the police and the arrested woman's roomate.]

Here is the woman's e-mail, sent to D.C. councilmembers:

I am writing you in a state of utter annoyance with the DC Police tonight in regards to an altercation that took place tonight with the DC Police tonight just after 2am outside of Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights. I have met you before and have sincere respect for you as a councilman, and hope that you can make your presence known in this matter.

This is an account of my experience tonight:

Even though the bar was absolutely packed tonight at Wonderland, they had last call at 1:30 am and quickly began shoving the attendees of the evenings party out around 2am. After having 2 beers for the evening and walking out with my companion, we walking into a very happy and well mannered snowball fight. After the amount of snow and peril of non-stop cabin fever, it was nice to have a light-hearted and childish display of livelihood after a fun evening. My companion and I quickly decided to join the other side of the street, the side with only about 10 people, in battling the crowd that was congregating outside of Wonderland. After about 5-10 minutes of play with snowballs, we decided it was time to head home an let our side of the "battleground". But as we were heading North, and just starting to get out of the midst of snow, we saw red and blue lights flashing and quickly turned back around to the nonsense that was now going on.

We soon saw Police grab random people out of the crowds on each side of the street, and they quickly had a man and a woman in grasp. While watching from the curb after being screamed at by the Officers to get up on the non-existent curb, we watched as the officers had one person from each side of the street laying over the truck of the Police car. While asking what they were arrested for, we were told to go away. We only initially saw the gentleman that was bent over the truck, but upon closer inspection, we found that we knew the woman that was being detained. People in the crowd that we were forced into mentioned that the police had been rough with her, and considering that each officer was easily 6'0" and the woman was my size and frame, 5'2" and petite, it was completely unnecessary. I eventually was able to get an officer to listen to me with my requests to find out where the detainees were being take, and was told that the 3rd district was the destination. After a few minutes of waiting in the crowd, they eventually let the gentleman that was in custody go, and shoved the young woman into the squad car and left. I quickly ran up to the gentleman that was just released and asked him if he knew why they only arrested just one of them when they had both been grabbed randomly, and he had no idea and was just happy to have escaped actual arrest. So, all in all, a single woman was arrested for the snowball fight, and absolutely no one that I spoke to in the crowd actually saw her throwing anything after the police arrived.

I am absolutely in awe over what happened tonight. Given the amount of crime and safety issues that are going on currently, it is seriously appalling that a total of 9 police cars took the time to arrest a single woman during a snowball fight at 2am when NO CARS were on the road. My companion was harassed and threatened with arrest because he had the 'nerve' to curse because a friend of his was being arrested. It was a show of complete machismo by what can only be a show of power by the local police. As of right now, 3:01 AM, the police have still not charged her, probably because they have no idea what to charge her with, and her friends are still scrambling to figure out what the heck happened.

Is this what we're paying Police for? I have had at least 3 shootings (1 that I was witness to), sexual assaults, street harassment, countless burglarises, plenty of drug related issues and plenty of other criminal happenings in my area, but the police are only worried about snowballs and my neighbors only seem worried about benches that may attract crime. I know that I'm rambling at this point, but I am getting to the point where I'm ready to move back to Baltimore because of this nonsense. At least there, I expect horrible relations between the citizens the force that is supposed to be there to serve and protect. And I do want to make sure to note that this is not coming from an anti-cop person, my sister that I love dearly is a Federal Officer, and I have nothing but respect for those that do their job. But really, an arrest over snowballs being thrown? There wasn't even a struck car for it to be blamed on this time? And does the Police force really need more bad PR over officers that can't take a scene for what it is? Why weren't people simply asked to leave the area?

As you can tell from my horribly long email, I am absolutely heart broken and angry over this. Please do what you can to find out what brought this type of force upon a woman that was simply part of a crowd participating in a fun game. I'd hate to think that I chose to walk into a police state and didn't fight to bring it down.

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  • Ward One Resident

    Perhaps it's the witnesses writing style, but there is just something about this email that doesn't seem right.

  • Downtown rez

    She hadn't sobered up yet when she wrote it?

  • i dunno

    maybe it has something to do with over 20 people that have been drinking and the fact that it was after 2 AM in a residential neighborhood.
    then cursing at cops.
    yeah. no sympathy here.

  • K(DC)

    This is the most one sided garbage I have heard other than the current Republican Party of No. The writer need to get another drink and sober up and then maybe then the actual facts may come out.

  • PearlsBeforeSwine

    Is being drunk and disorderly still an offense? Sounds like that would fit this situation.

    The letter writer is seeking something to be outraged about and seems to have found it. The first clue - they were walking away from the scene but saw the flashing lights and turned around and went back. Wise people walk away from trouble. Some people are drawn to it.

    This "Don't the police have something better to do?" argument doesn't fly. Of course this is largely intergenerational conflict. The writer, who feels entitled to disturb the peace of Columbia Heights, will be the one yelling loudest "You kids get off my lawn!" in 15 years.

  • Ben

    This isn't reporting. Did you interview anyone else who was at this incident? If you couldn't get any confirmation yet from police, why post this now? It couldn't wait until you get more information? This kind of journalism wouldn't fly in print, and it shouldn't fly online, either. But I guess it does.

  • sedcdude

    @ ben

    THAT'S THE POINT, you won't get confirmation without provocation, even if this emailer was not in her right mind at time of fruition it still warrants INVESTIGATION and sheds light on these simian cops who you can't expect to OPERATE IN A PROFESSIONAL MANNER OUTSIDE OF WILD KINGDOM LOGIC!!

  • Jamie

    I can't believe that every single commenter here immediately dismisses the writer's story.

    Because the cops' version of events is always right, I suppose? What are you, fucking stupid?

    Last time around the OFFICIAL POLICE RESPONSE said "no weapons were drawn." That is despite numerous eyewitness accounts to the contrary. It wasn't until actual photos emerged that the police admitted what happened.

    Hey, guess what? Cops lie. All the fucking time. Where have you been?

  • sedcdude

    @ Jamie

    "I can't believe that every single commenter here immediately dismisses the writer's story"

    Not true, I'm with you!!!

  • fIL

    Come on City Paper. You guys are so over the top with your non-news "investigative journalism" sourced from a bunch of drunks who are looking to fight the power. Seriously, the groping stories and now this?

    Let me weren't there, didn't interview the cops, didn't interview the third source? COME ON!!!!

  • Jamie

    @fIL: First: THIS IS A BLOG.

    Didn't interview the cops?? Are you joking? If you didn't write anything until you got an actual interview with the actual cops involved (in a blizzard, no less) then there would be a lot of crickets around here.

    It says above: "No confirmation yet from the police" -- do you understand what that means? It means, they have not commented. So we should just sit tight, waiting patiently for the official response before we say anything?

    What an awesome propoganda world you want to live in.

  • Downtown rez

    Oh, please. A neighborhood bar on mostly-quiet residential 11th St let out after last call at 2 AM, and 20 (no doubt mostly white) people started throwing snowballs in the street.
    Hell, if no one had been arrested a 1/10th of the neighborhood would have been claiming race bias, and 9/10ths of the fool commenters on this cite would have been talking about "The Plan".

  • Downtown rez

    The title of this "blog" is City Desk. It's subtitled "News, Politics, and More". It's published by a newspaper, and said newspaper's regular reporting staff are the ones who write for it.
    Just in case you didn't know.

  • Pingback: Woman Charged With Assaulting Police Officer During Snowball Fight - City Desk - Washington City Paper

  • sedcdude

    Well Drez if it was about Marion Barry AND no one had been arrested or NOT REPORTED BY CP a 10/10th of the neighborhood would have been claiming race bias and political favor, and 9/10ths of the fool commenters on this cite would NOT be talking about "The Plan".


  • sedcdude

    Drez your logic is crap.
    Just in case you didn't know!

  • e

    video of the arrest

  • Downtown rez

    Uh oh. I joked about "The Plan".
    Now I'm in trouble!

    Anyway, Wonderland used to be the black gay bar Nob Hill. If Barry was out front a 2AM, I'd have just thought he was looking to relive a bit of history.

  • sedcdude

    Drez, bullshit! You are the joke!!

  • 11th St Resident

    I live across the street from Wonderland and saw most of this go down. Frankly, the 4-5 police units that showed up seemed adequate given the size of the crowd and how drunk/belligerent some of them were. I just graduated from college and I was in a fraternity, so I'm not exactly an uptight 70-year-old granny. I think getting hammered and having snowball fights is a pretty sweet idea and all, but this is the second night this week that there's been one between rowdy drunken folks at 2am. Frankly, I don't know how you expect not to get arrested when you pull shit like that. The morons who were screaming "[effing] pigs" at the cops probably had as much to do with the arrest as whatever the woman did herself. I think I might e-mail the city councilmembers too and commend the cops. Frankly, I think the author of the e-mail above should move back to Baltimore. From my experience (see arrests in Charles Village, Election Night 2008) you'll probably get tasered if you try to have any sort of late-night snowball fight in a residential neighborhood.

  • Author –

    Eh, had I known that this would go beyond Council Members, I would have ran through it again to see how bad I had mutilated the English language. Didn't plan or even want it to be reprinted by the City Paper. But to be fair, it was 3am, I was seriously annoyed and I was exhausted. Angry letters tend to be a bit awkward.

    1.) I went back to the scene because I had friends that were still participating in the snowball fight. Some people watch out for their friends.

    2.) Video was taken of the whole thing (pre-arrest to after the crowd left), hopefully the guy that took it can post it up somewhere. Video lacks bias, so people can see and judge for themselves.

    3.) Officers originally detained TWO people. One was let go. The other arrested. Pretty skillful of the officer to be able to pluck out the guilty party out of a crowd of people while taking a snowball to the face. And why was the other guy detained and then let go?

  • taxpayer26

    Quite frankly, I think that incidents like this would be avoided if after the first highly publicized incident Chief Lanier had behaved like a responsible courageous leader and informed the residents and visitors to the District of Columbia that snowball fights on public space are ILLEGAL regardless of how much fun it may be. Sadly, she took the cowards way out and opted to be liked instead of right.

  • Outraged

    This woman is absolutely out of her friggin' mind. She believes that it is okay to be drunk and disorderly in a neighborhood and that she can cry "police brutality" or something like it. White people? You all assume that the rules do not apply to you but to everyone else. You can't throw snowballs, rocks, bottles, or anything else at police, pedestrians, moving vehicles and think that you won't get arrested. They are very lucky somebody didn't taser them. What I hear from this (most likely white female) is a called to allow her to have her privilege to do what they want whenever they want and go arrest those "N's" in the Ghetto somewhere. Cathy Lanier needs to get her act together before someone gets seriously hurt. And, how bout this...what someone needs to do when they have a snowball fight and throw balls at moving vehicles is to "OOOPS" and run over those troublemakers with a vehicle and claim that they couldn't see them because of the mass disruption, confusion, disorderliness, and rioting they did in the street. Maybe, if some of these snowballers are over like the animals they are...people will get the message...Don' do 'dat again!

  • Outraged?

    You clearly didn't see the crowd. It was quite mixed. Mostly 20-somethings, but not JUST white.

  • Truth Hurts

    People, how about leaving race out of this discussion? Almost every CP blog thread ultimately morphs into race baiting and idiotic name calling. Without prejudging this incident, understand that MPD officers arrest and/or shoot both whites and blacks in DC.

  • Downtown rez

    Well, that didn't take long.

  • dave

    What a whiny little bitch. Wahhhh....I get to be loud and drunk in public, wake people up at 2:00am, and throw snowballs at the police, but they can't respond...wahhh. Hey jackass....if I throw a snowball in your face and I see you throw it, I would expect you to respond. The officer responded and the dumb bitch got locked up. Quit your bitching!

    And here's some great logic...."all the other stuff that goes on in the city and bust up a snowball fight?" Umm...yeah...someone calls for obnoxious assholes waking them up at 2:00am and the MPD responds....just like they're supposed to!

    Good job Officer Fitts!

  • Downtown rez

    Damn, TH. You beat me to it. But let the record show I did predict this back in comment 12. If all goes as PLANNED, talk of THE PLAN will surface before, say, 8 PM.

  • Outraged

    Thank you. TH and DR...You are right, if not one of those whiney white folks that were on 11th street rioting had been arrested it would have been race bias. This is because some of YOU people fail to understand how you are perceived by others. The problem is not the rest of's with YOU people. You, white people, assume that you can ignore the discussing race and unearned privilege as it relates to your fitting into society. This isn't race's reality. The reality is that you white people believe that you can ignore rules that apply to everyone and not pay penalties like everyone else BECAUSE of your race. Perhaps, you 20-something white folks need to learn what it means to live with some manners. Think it about that for a minute.

  • Truth Hurts

    @ Outraged: For the record, I wasn't siding with you or anyone else. I was attempting to steer this thread away from race, both white and black. Understand that all whites don't think or act alike. The same applies to blacks. If you want to be taken seriously by decent folks (regardless of their race), I suggest you refrain from making unfounded assertions about things you wrongly assume "you white people believe".

  • stella bloom

    whine, whine, i'm a hipster and the rules don't apply, whine, whine.

  • Phil

    The city has a major blizzard and there are tons of pressing issues to be handled by the police (including probably the author of the email's experiences with crime in DC).

    So said author of email decides to waste her council member's time by writing a long and whiny email? And then spends the rest of the day coming on this blog to hark about Police abuse?

    I get it...police abuse exists. Indiscriminate shootings, lack of police reporting and follow-up, etc. But this author and the City Paper take the cake when it comes to over sensationalizing a public drunkenness/disorderly conduct/assault with a snow ball.

    There are grown people who leave a bar in an orderly conduct and don't piss of neighbors. Then there are whiny brats who don't follow the law, get pissed about police showing up (who were probably called by a neighbor who had the same problem the night before) and then try to act like Geraldo, looking for justice?

    Now I have no idea if the arrested lady is guilty or not, but the truth will come out. As for the author/emailer...stop whining and realize that if you are disorderly and citizens call the cops, expect to pay the price. Now why don't you email your council member about real crime and real issues in DC?

  • Phil

    I know this girl is privileged as hell...take a look at her email:

    "After the amount of snow and peril of non-stop cabin fever, it was nice to have a light-hearted and childish display of livelihood after a fun evening."

    "..peril of non-stop cabin fever" (I guess only privileged children believe that being *indoors* has its perils!!! WAAAAAH! Let me out!! WAAAAAH!!).

    "childish display of livelihood after a fun evening."
    Last time I checked, there were people who had a real livelihood, not a "childish display of livelihood", who were trying to get some fucking sleep with all that din outside. Livelihood means WORK, what you were doing, as childish as it was, was PLAY. Do you see the difference, or do you want me to create an iPOD app for that?

    Next time, think of other's livelihood and tell the arrested girl to STFU cause people are trying to get some sleep. There really is peril when you mess with other's sleep. You and the arrested girl really should be getting pearls (puntastic pun) of wisdom from this experience.

  • JMH

    Like any situation like this, I am sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle of both versions. Don't assume....

  • Downtown rez

    There are enough stupid"kids" around for everyone to share in the credit. I'm just glad whenever laws are applied equally.

  • Rick Mangus