City Desk

Lanier Willing to Name City Paper

MPD Chief Cathy Lanier

Just moments ago, appearing on the Kojo Nnamdi show, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced that Washington City Paper had gotten something wrong. In an article about the fact that D.C. cops refuse to name potentially warring crews in Petworth, and that Lanier has asked media not to report the names of criminal crews, we mentioned that sources told us two of the Petworth groups cops have had trouble with are called CRT and Taylor Street. Lanier told Nnamdi that we had gotten those names wrong.

That might be. When we attempted to confirm that those were two crews MPD had their eye on, we couldn't get a straight answer. The brass wouldn't talk. 4-D commander Kimberly Chisley-Missouri, for instance, refused to say anything, as did MPD spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump. "We do not identify the names of gangs and crews in the media," Crump emailed. If cops wouldn't tell us, we figured a public official might, but we were mistaken. Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser also refused to say. "I stand by the chief's request," she said.

It seems Lanier has the media over a barrel. While she won't confirm the names of the crews she believes are responsible for wreaking havoc in places like Petworth, when it's advantageous, she's suddenly willing to say who they're not.That seems to fly in the face of the idea that the blackout on crew names has some kind of ethical utility as opposed to a political one.

UPDATE 4:38 P.M.Unspecified City Paper Error Was Non-Erroneous, Source Says

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • cbr

    Care to address the fact that you chose to report the names of the gangs? What is YOUR ethical and/or political reason for not complying with the request from the Chief of Police? Lanier asked for your cooperation for a very important safety-related reason. On what basis did the City Paper choose not to comply? Pot, kettle.

  • Nate

    cbr, that is clearly laid out in the previous article on this subject. Please read all the relevant information before making indignant comments.

  • IMGoph

    you can't win this one, WCP. those who worship authority (like cbr here) will yell at you for even talking about this, and the police can just sit back and read this stuff on screen, smugly satisfied that they've jujitsued the story away from themselves and onto you.

  • Pete

    It's so unseemly when the media tries to make themselves part of the story. And attention-whorish.

  • Keith B

    Word, Pete. Never heard of a requested blackout on gang names, but police and the press traditionally never publish the amount of money stolen in bank heists / stickups, because that sort of thing might encourage other people to try it (so they say). Trying to deny the crews wider infamy isn't some new thing Lanier just thought up.

  • Ronan Conway

    I live in that area, and the graffiti at the Petworth and Park View rec centers suggests the gangs names are 7th and Taylor, Rock Creek Church, and Hillboyz - all of them names I've heard before in this area. CRT is Crittenden, though in previous MPD releases they've insinuated it's a gang war between crews in Petworth and Columbia Heights.

    What other cities operate by this policy of secrecy? Home in Jersey, when murders happen in Paterson or Newark the media is quick to say the gang, down to the very set lineup (aka 135 Piru or Grape Street Crips rather than just general affiliations) and a lot of times these cliques are no more organized than the block crews in DC. How does it benefit anyone to hide these gangs under the radar? The Mafia started their fall when they were exposed by the media, as have many secret societies and organizations. It just makes it seem like DC is trying to hide the fact they have a serious crew problem.

  • The Cat’s Pj

    Have to go with Lanier on this one.

  • SEis4ME

    Unfortunately I haven't seen any statement reasonably justifying witholding the names of these terror groups.

    In this country, we identify the names of criminals. In DC, we have long identified the MS-13 gangs.

    Now, the chief wants us to refrain from doing so because the stupid gangs might capitalize off the publicity? Are you freaking kidding ME!

    Let me tell you this, If I or anyone I know are accosted by there urban terrorists, I will shout their names from the steps of the basilica of the national shrine of immaculate concepton on Easter Sunday Morning!!!

    This is about as dumb as dumb can get and on this one, I'll relunctantly agree with Rend smith. So what they'll like the attention. Will it keep the next person from a sure death?

    I like Lanier ok enough, but this leaves me with cotton mouth.

  • Ward 5

    It seems as if they dont want to scare anyone into thinking we actually have "gangs" - therefore, they classify it as something else "crews". Regardless of how well put together they are (or not), they serve the same purpose.

  • Erin Petty

    Word, Ronan. In Chicago, everyone knows the Latin Kings and Gangster Disciples, and it makes people savvier about knowing what to look for and keeping themselves safe.

  • http://yahoo chona

    I believe Lanier is on to something when it comes to picking up the wrong names. If that's the case,if she such a bad chief why is the crime rate down?