City Desk

City Paper Cover Story Subject Arrested

On Jan. 7, Jumiya Crump, the subject of a recent Washington City Paper cover story on the plight of kids in the city's child-welfare system, was arrested and charged with destruction of property.

The arrest—the day after the story appeared in the paper—is just the latest setback in the teenager's two-year odyssey through the system.

Jumiya's arrest started with a phone call at her group home from her mother. It is unclear what her mother said. What City Paper sources make clear is that immediately following the phone call, Jumiya vented her frustrations—punching several holes in the group home's walls, breaking a glass and a mirror. Throughout the incident, she screamed about her mother.

After her arrest, she was transferred to the Youth Services Center, the city's juvenile detention facility.

An administrator with the group home, located on 57th Street NE, says they didn't want to press charges. "Since they took her away from here, we haven't had any contact," says Ovella Williams, the group home's case manager. "She's a nice young lady. She has great potential."

According to case records, city officials didn't see Jumiya as a great risk. Like all juvenile defendants, she was given assessment based on her charge, her family background, and mental-health history. She scored low enough, according to two sources familiar with her case, that she could have been released. "For this risk score and this level of offense, this is very strange for her to be held," says a former official with the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS). "It definitely seems suspect."

A current DYRS official blames the Office of the Attorney General, which prosecutes juvenile cases, for Jumiya's circumstances. The official says city prosecutors are pressing forward with the case. "The OAG are assholes. This is what they do. It's really about a win for them no matter what," the official says. "It's not about what the best need is for the kid. They try to build their careers on the backs of these kids. This is what they do. They will commit kids on very, very minor things."

The OAG refused to comment on Jumiya's case. But the District's lawyers have the authority to bring charges against a juvenile if they think there's sufficient proof. Other factors may also come into play—especially if prosecutors believe the juvenile is in need of care or rehabilitation.

So far, Jumiya's treatment has meant an extended stay inside a District jail cell.

Jumiya, 17, became of a city ward in 2008 after police and city officials discovered bruises and burn marks on her body—allegedly from her mother. The D.C. Child and Family Services Agency placed her in a series of group homes. None of the placements worked as they failed to address Jumiya's most basic traumas. She consistently ran away—always back to extended family or her boyfriend's mother's house.

By the time the City Paper story ran, Jumiya had already turned herself in to authorities. But District social workers had few fresh ideas on what to do with her. They ended up placing her in the Echelon group home on 57th Street—the same exact facility the city first put her when she came into custody in 2008.

She wasn't put back in school for nearly a month, she says (she is in the 11th grade), nor did she regain access to a therapist or medications she had been taking.

Sometimes Jumiya stayed at the group home. Sometimes, she did not. If her placement wasn't so stable, Jumiya had her own remedy. She wanted to save enough money so she could rent her own apartment. The night before her arrest, Jumiya had landed a part-time job at KFC.

With her arrest, Jumiya's future remains just as cloudy as it was the day she came into care. At her first hearing, her social worker did not show up. Jumiya did spot two familiar, friendly faces in the gallery: her two aunts. "She does have [family] who is willing to take her in," says a source familiar with Jumiya's case.

Maybe the city should start listening to Jumiya this time. Her next hearing is Tuesday, Feb. 2 in D.C. Superior Court.

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  • Common Sense

    The OAG refused to comment on Jumiya's case. But the District's lawyers have the authority to bring charges against a juvenile if they think there's sufficient proof. Other factors may also come into play—especially if prosecutors believe the juvenile is in need of care or rehabilitation."

    Jason- In all my time as an officer, I've never seen a juvenile case brought to papering that has been papered (which is what seems to have happened) without the complainant showing up to papering and cooperating with the OAG. Standard OAG procedure is to no-paper any cases where no complainant shows up to the OAG's office on the day of papering. Maybe you ought to call Barb Chesser at the OAG's office (who papers most juvenile cases) and ask who from the group home wanted to proceed with the case?

    If nobody showed up or wanted to press forward, you'll know that the OAG's office wanted to make an example of her pure and simple.

    ______________________________

    "A current DYRS official blames the Office of the Attorney General, which prosecutes juvenile cases, for Jumiya's circumstances. The official says city prosecutors are pressing forward with the case. "The OAG are assholes. This is what they do. It's really about a win for them no matter what," the official says. "It's not about what the best need is for the kid. They try to build their careers on the backs of these kids. This is what they do. They will commit kids on very, very minor things."

    On the flipside, the idiots as DYRS haven't met a kid that needed to be locked up. That, and the OAG's office no papers most cases brought to them, so its a stretch to believe that they're building careers on the back of kids.

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  • Mr. Bigglesworth

    Didn't you just have a kid? :-)

    Thumbs up to Cherkis, not only for his parenthood, but also for his sincere work to focus on kids who aren't his own.

  • Guido

    You mean I'm now resonsible for my actions? NO!! (Cue tempter tantrum number 2)....

  • Ward1

    To CommonSense - Actually, I represented a 16 year old juvenile who was accused of hitting her child's father - a 22 year old man - with a purse after he followed her on the metro all the way from Silver Spring to DC and would refuse to get out of her face. The "victim" to his credit did not want to press charges and the OAG's office pursued the case anyway. After pointing out that the "victim" had committed statutory rape and would incriminate himself on the stand if he testified, the OAG's office pursued and received a grant of immunity from the US Attorney's Office for felony statutory rape so that the "victim" could testify in a misdemeanor simple assault case. I wish your experience matched with mine.

  • Rick Mangus

    Liberal Bullshit!

  • Truth Hurts

    ONE CITY, BABY.

    Don't blame Nickles or Fenty for this idiocy. Gray's running the show now. What do the new mayor (who you helped elect) and his new AG have to say about locking up this child?

  • Sally

    Congrats on the baby!

    You're still a partisan hack not even masquerading as a reporter.

  • Terry Miller

    There may be a new Mayor and a new AG, but there are still a whole lot of Fenty-appointed people in high levels in government, including at the AG's office.

  • DCJUSTICE

    People on here do not have all the facts...its a complete shame. DYRS, Barry Holman and crew, point to facts like these that are unfortunate, but fail to mention all the kids who are murdered and/or become murderers on their watch. The funny thing about this case is that DYRS did not invoke "confidentiality" for the press. Ask them about one of the dangerous youth and they will say they cannot comment. Way to go...DYRS management is so juvenile...no pun intended. Some people should come and sit in court and observe these arraignments.

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