“Don’t Drop the Soap! Don’t Drop the Soap!”
Melvin Brown didn't know that she had another man. Brown had been fooling around with the woman for a little while when he found out about her relationship with Scott Young. Once Brown got to know Young, he decided that no woman was worth the hassle. Besides, Brown had other problems to deal with—he had a girlfriend of his own, and she wasn't too happy about his girl on the side, either.
Even after the woman was out of the picture, and Brown began patching things up with his own girlfriend, Brown and Young kept on fighting. Both men have been in and out of Erik P. Christian's courtroom for the past year on various assault charges and protection orders in relation to the mess. Once, Young rode past Brown's house and threatened him with a gun. It ended up being a fake—a cap gun Young borrowed from his son—but Brown didn't know that at the time. Today, Young is in court for another schoolyard-appropriate threat: taunting Brown about prison rape.
A couple of months ago, the two men had a chance meeting in Anacostia Park. Brown was practicing some football drills with a teammate when Young drove up to pick up some items from his mother-in-law. "He pulled up in the parking lot behind my red Mustang," Brown tells the court. "I continued to do my drills. He got back in his truck. He looked like he was wanting to fight. He was bouncing around and stretching. . . . I didn't know what he was going to do. We had had an incident with a gun before, and I didn't know if he was going to start shooting, or what."
Then he rolled the windows down." says Brown. "He said, 'Don't drop the soap!'" Brown recalls. "Don't drop the soap!"
Brown "dropping the soap"—in prison slang, the precursor to being sexually assaulted in the shower—would mean a bit of personal revenge for Young. Brown had recently been found guilty of assaulting Young, and he was awaiting sentencing. "He thought I was going to jail, so I guess he was taunting me about that," says Brown. "Then he drove off real slow."
The prison rape taunt backfired. Though Brown had most recently been convicted, both men had been ordered to stay away from each other—no contact, no fights, and no taunting. By ridiculing Brown about prison life, Young was risking more jail time, too.
In his defense, Young's attorney contended that his client never uttered the "drop the soap" comments in Anacostia Park. Brown, on the other hand, had been practicing more than football that day: "He made cutting motions to his neck," Young's attorney said, an action which Young "completely ignored."
When it came time for Young to testify about the park meet-up, he broke in to tears. "I acknowledge my mistake that day, on the day of the incident," says Young. "The only reason I was down there was to pick up some items for my mother-in-law's daughter, who was sick," he said. "I do to want to have any contact with Mr. Melvin Brown. I just want to get a move on and get on with my life."
An officer has moved to stand behind Young. Judge Christian hands down his sentence: 180 days in prison, suspended, Young must serve 180 days in prison with one year with two years supervised probation. And he must stay away from Melvin Brown.
Young's lawyer thanks the judge, turns, and quickly walks out of the courtroom. Young surrenders his hat and papers. The officer applies latex gloves to his hands and leads Young into a back room.