City Desk

Jim Graham’s Change of Heart on Loitering


So some posters on the MPD listservs are still all like...get these kids off my lawn. "I live on 16th Street NE, near Mt. Olivet Rd and the loitering is worsening as the weather warms," one exasperated resident says.

The complaining is mostly about youngsters hanging out in neighborhoods in large groups, intimidating wine and cheese party attendees. City Desk asked Police Chief Cathy Lanier about the problem last week, and she pointed out that lounging about isn't illegal. There are no loitering laws in D.C., as those laws are widely thought to infringe on constitutional rights.

For those who, when it comes to loitering, fall on the side of "law and order" rather than "freedom and liberty," Jim Graham can perhaps change your mind.

Last year, the Ward 1 councilmember pushed an anti-loitering bill for what seemed a very good reason: Drunk revelers in Adams Morgan were being targeted by a group of muggers, recalls Graham communications officer Brian DeBose. Graham wanted the police to arrest or disperse members of the group before they pounced, and so drafted what turned out to be a controversial piece of legislation.

But some time later, Graham saw the light. What changed his mind? Suspicions that, in an unrelated incident, a local cop profiled two teenage girls outside the Boys and Girls Club No. 10 on 14th Street NW in Columbia Heights. Graham explains in an email to City Desk that, on March 9, 2009, "two young women (ages 15 and 17) were arrested for assaulting a police officer."

"In that situation, there were conflicting reports about whether the police were unfairly targeting kids."

After Graham met with the girls' parents, he felt differently about so-called "loitering": "I left the meeting certain that, before moving forward with this type of bill, much more work is needed to heal old wounds of misperception[s] and mistrust that run deep in our community..."

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  • Rick Mangus

    Put in place a loitering law on the books, and tell the ACLU to go fuck themselves! Besides like I have said before the majority of the staff at the national and local ACLU offices live outside of DC, and that's a fact!

  • Loitering

    Graham also wants to get re-elected. He attended an AM ANC meeting that was about his proposed loitering legislation last year and left pretty quickly when he got a sense of the room.

    The room was packed with folks (black, white, young, old, gay straight) and not one person there, other than Graham, and his two staff members (one of whom is on the ANC) were in support of the legislation.

    No one in the room disagreed that there are problems on 18th St and in other nightlife areas about groups of folks, but instead of just targeting that, like they do in San Francisco, Graham's legislation (a whopping 2.5 pages) was way too broad and failed to provide any particulars. Instead putting particulars in the actual legislation, he left that all up to the Chief of Police and the Mayor to figure out afterwards. He really is a lazy legislator in situations like this...

    But this is classic Graham...whichever way the wind blows...

  • Douche

    This was the third time he has introduced anti-loitering legislation. One for each term in office. Total political opportunist.

  • Carlos V

    I'm so sick of all this man's talk... what really has he done but flip-flop on everything. So, yet, again, he changes his position and won't do a damn thing.

    But it's an election year, but Mr. Graham, you WON'T be getting my vote!

  • DCDude

    When did City Paper become the communications department of re-elect Jim Graham? This is not a story...will Graham go out and apologize to the community groups and ANCs that opposed his ridiculous one page law? I can appricate a change of heart but this is the third (one,two,three) time he has done this. With Wimple gone are you guys just writing down everything DeBose says without challenging it? No wonder DeBose left the Washington Times, no one questions the lies he writes now.

  • Rick Mangus

    For all of you who think that this move is conveniently staged, plus all of you who can't stand Jim Graham, aka (The Queen of All Media), can I hear an A-MAN!!!!

  • Ward One Resident

    I find it interesting that Rick Mangus and "Loitering" (who I am betting is Bryan Weaver) have different views on the loitering legislation but agree that it is time for Jimmy Boy to go!!!

  • Ward One Resident

    By the way, it is time for him to go. Adios Jim


    Miss Graham is a two faced Queen and she can't be trusted. It's time for Miss Graham to be replaced on the Council of the District of Columbia along with the other 12 idiots.

  • DC Hoodrat


    Girl, are you throwing your hat in the ring, hunny?

  • Better Ward 5

    Well, in Ward 5, we have a great relationship with MPD. When we see heathens that we don't want or don't belong on our street, we simply txt 50-411 and report what we see. MPD is very quick and responsive. We call 311 to report graffiti, and we generally act as a thorn in the sides of our elected officials to let them know that we are sick of these thugs running our streets. Become proactive and get to know the police in your district, and you will see results-- though, I am all for a loitering law, it is long overdue. I mean, if you are hanging out on someone's property, and you aren't invited or belong there, that is trespassing and the cops should be able to lock your dumba$$ up.


    DC Hootrat, fuck you. You are a retarded son of a bitch. Why don't kill yourself you white piece of shit or die of prostate cancer.

  • Grace Jones

    DC Hoodrat, you sound like a bitter old sissy who can't get laid. That's sad when you get too old to be fudged packed. DC Hoodrat, you and the Ward 1 D.C. Councilmember would make a good couple. Slave to the rythem and Pull up to the bumper baby.

  • Jesse Helms

    DC Hoodrat is a wanna be Negro. Please stay in your trailer park. We all know you are a member of the Tea Party.

  • Jon Bon Jovi

    Hey DC Hoodrat, you need to chill out dude!

  • Bryan Weaver

    "Loitering" is not me. But CP isn't part of the Omnibus Public Safety Amendment Act of 2006 that Jim just announced on all the local listservs ---

    "enact a public nuisance abatement statute that authorizes the filing of civil actions by community-based organizations, the Office of the Attorney General, or the United States Attorney’s Office against a public nuisance, to provide definitions, to authorize protective
    orders, preliminary and permanent injunctions, and penalties for violations"

    a fancy way to was anti-loitering law? Except now it gives the authority to Civic Associations (incorporated or not) to bring people to bring a civil action.

  • Bryan Weaver

    So watch out the KCA could file an injunction on you from using your front porch... because they filmed that Mojito party you held last spring. (I am joking Denis)

  • Columbia Heights

    Jim Graham should be in a jail cell with his butt buddy Ted Loza. Jim loves getting screwed by Latino men legal or illegally in the United States.

  • IMGoph

    rend: you need to actually come over to trinidad and walk around 16th street, from oates up to mt. olivet. those aren't teenagers loitering there. they are by-and-large adult males, many in a state of perpetual drunkedness.