Could another Ferguson happen in Arlington?
Yes it could, admitted Arlington County Police Chief Doug Scott, but it’s not likely.
Scott and other local law enforcement and community figures were speaking at a community forum on policing last week at Wakefield High School when he was asked by WJLA’s Jeff Goldberg whether a police shooting — like the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. — could happen and spark unrest here. Yes, he said candidly, but Arlington County Police has been doing its best to ensure it does not.
For one, said Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos, Arlington officers are well-trained in the proper use of force.
“The level of professionalism, training… and the degree to which Arlington police exercise restraint in terms of the use of force,” make a controversial police shooting very unlikely, she said.
However unlikely, though, Scott said the department was prepared for a Ferguson-like shooting, in which the suspect turns out to be unarmed and conflicting witness statements are given. ACPD would stay in close contact with the local community in the wake of the shooting, would release information in a timely manner and would thoroughly investigate the shooting, he said.
“Part of my charge as the Chief of Police and working with members in the community, is to assure them that we’re going to do a comprehensive, objective and fair investigation,”said Scott. “We’re going to put the officer on restricted duty. [He or she] is going to be compelled to give us a statement. There are going to be two investigations, a criminal investigation and an administrative investigation.”
Scott said the Ferguson police department seemed to be “trying to hold something back” after the shooting. “I think that those kind of things fueled the mistrust.”
Despite the police department’s efforts to build trust with minority communities — like Nauck, Arlington’s oldest African American neighborhood — speakers at the forum expressed concern about policing in the community. Some accused specific officers of being too aggressive, while others said that officers don’t spend enough time trying to be a part of the community.
“We should not be prisoners in our own house. Were were born and raised here,” said one Nauck resident, who said she was concerned about police “harassing” her sons. “You don’t go to my church. You only come out what, during Community Day? How are we supposed to trust you?”
“The way they speak to us is unacceptable,” said another woman. “The way they treat us in Nauck is not right.”
One young woman said she gets pulled over by ACPD at least once a week because she’s mistaken for her boyfriend, the co-signer on the car, whose drivers license is suspended. Another speaker said Nauck residents get stopped for riding bikes without helmets.
“Yet you put bikes without helmets in here,” he said, referring to Capital Bikeshare stations.
After the forum, Chief Scott said it’s clear that ACPD has more work to do.
“I thought I had a pretty good pulse on some of the issues that are out there in the community,” he told ARLnow.com. “I heard some things tonight that really have made me pause and think we have work to do in some of these communities in terms of trust in the police department.”
Inner Ear Studio doesn’t have a neon sign on its door, a flashy building with modern designs or gold records on the wall.
What the Shirlington-area studio has is decades of experience recording D.C. artists, nurturing the local punk and independent music scenes, and, now, the cachet of being one of the eight studios in the country the Foo Fighters recorded in for their new album and TV show on HBO, Sonic Highways.
This Friday night at 11:00 p.m., on HBO, you can watch the Foo Fighters and Springfield, Va., native Dave Grohl record a song for the album at Inner Ear Studio (2710 S. Oakland Street), along with interviews and stories of Grohl’s time growing up around the D.C. punk rock scene. You can watch the preview for the episode on HBO’s website.
Inner Ear started in founder Don Zientara’s basement in the 1970s, when Zientara was in a band and needed somewhere he and his friends could record.
“I was in a band, and we needed to record a demo tape,” Zientara said while sitting at Inner Ear’s mixing board last week. “I had always had tape recorders, but I had a decent one at that time. I borrowed microphones, bought a basic mixer. People started to hear that I had equipment, which was not typical at the time.”
Zientara traveled around D.C. with the recording equipment in his backseat, bringing it to different independent musicians’ houses, or hosting them in his basement. “I happened to drop into the indie music scene at the right time, because it was really not supported by major studios here.”
In 1979, Zientara started the business, doing it as a side project until 1985, when it was successful enough to do it full-time. It was in his basement that Grohl recorded with the band Scream, before he joined Nirvana.
“I remember walking down into that basement as if it were Abbey Road,” Grohl told the Washington Post. “‘Oh my god, Rites of Spring recorded here!’ It was like hallowed ground to me. And then later on, I recorded at the new facility after I was in Nirvana — I recorded some stuff there with my sister and one of those songs ended up on the first Foo Fighters album. But it was cool to see our bass player, Nate [Mendel], walk down the hallways and look at all the albums that had been made there, realizing that the soundtrack of his youth was on the walls.”
The incident happened around 8:00 p.m. on the 3200 block of 24th Street S. Police say a local resident, 31-year-old Timothy Lowe, was nude and doing push-ups in the middle of the street.
“The subject ignored numerous commands by police and began approaching officers in an aggressive manner while yelling obscenities,” according to a crime report. “The subject was taken into custody following a taser deployment.”
Lowe has been charged with indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice. He was under the influence of the drug PCP at the time of the incident, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Lowe, who spoke out against what he described as police profiling and harassment at a community forum on policing a day prior to his arrest, has had other run-ins with the law.
In September, he was arrested and charged in connection to a stabbing in the Nauck neighborhood.
Photo courtesy ACPD
The fight took place in a hotel in Courthouse, two blocks from Arlington County Police headquarters.
From this week’s Arlington crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 140914015, 1200 block of N. Courthouse Road. At 5:30 am on September 14, a physical altercation broke out at a birthday party in a hotel room between intoxicated subjects. The dispute continued outside where police encountered several subjects attempting to flee. A male victim sustained a laceration after being struck in the head with a bottle. Celina Berrios, 21, of Lorton, VA, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding. She was held without bond.
Meanwhile, in the Nauck neighborhood on Saturday, a man suspected of domestic violence bit a police officer several times and tried to disarm another, according to police.
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 140913040, 2400 block of S. Lowell Street. At 2:30 pm on September 13, officers responded to a residence for a suspect in a domestic assault incident. The subject attempted to flee through a rear door and was confronted by police. The subject struck and bit the officer several times. He also assaulted and attempted to disarm a second officer as he was being taken into custody. Mark Wanzer, 24, of Arlington, VA, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest, providing false information to avoid prosecution, assault & battery of a law enforcement and attempting to disarm an officer. The suspect also had an outstanding warrant out of Fairfax County. He was held without bond.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Three people have been arrested following a triple stabbing in Arlington’s Nauck neigbhorhood last night.
Police say a 21-year-old woman, a 24-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man were stabbed near the Green Valley Pharmacy, on the 2400 block of S. Shirlington Road. The 21-year-old woman was rushed to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital after she was found lying on the sidewalk with multiple stab wounds. The other victims were also taken to a local hospital. All three are expected to recover from their injuries.
“[A] police investigation revealed a physical altercation in the street escalated between two groups and several suspect’s brandished knives and stabbed the victims,” Arlington County Police said in a press release today. “Witnesses on scene were able to identify three suspects, who were taken into custody and transported to the Magistrate’s Office.”
Those arrested include 24-year-old Satin Jones of Arlington and 39-year-old Tawana Jones, who have been charged with malicious wounding. Arlington resident Timothy Lowe, 31, was charged with attempted malicious wounding. All three were held without bond.
“The incident remains under investigation by the Arlington County Police Department Homicide/Robbery Unit,” police said. “If anyone has information concerning the incident, please contact Detective Skeens at 703.228.4166 or [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).”
Video (above) via Fox 5/WTTG
Stabbing Reported in Nauck — Three people, a man and two women, were reportedly stabbed in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood late last night. The stabbing followed an argument among a group of people. One man was taken into custody following the incident. [WUSA9]
Pedestrian Signal Coming to George Mason Drive — The County Board is expected to approve a new HAWK pedestrian signal for S. George Mason Drive at the Army National Guard Readiness Center. The safety device will cost about $300,000, 80 percent of which will be paid by the federal government. [InsideNova]
New ‘Pop-Up’ Menu for Water & Wall — Water & Wall is launching a new “pop-up” lunch menu, featuring dishes with southern and mid-Atlantic influences and ingredients. The launch of the new menu follows the Virginia Square restaurant’s successful pop-up Chinese menu in August. [Eater D.C.]
Photo via Textron AirLand
A store selling civilian and military-grade weaponry and tactical gear is planning to move into the ground floor of a condominium building in the Nauck neighborhood.
SpecDive Tactical, which currently operates out of an apartment building on S. Abingdon Street in Fairlington, hopes to move into the ground floor of 2249 S. Shirlington Road, next door to Pizzoli Pizza. When contacted, SpecDive Tactical’s owner Gerald Rapp confirmed an agreement was in place to move into the space, but otherwise declined to comment on the record.
SpecDive’s initial building permit application was rejected, according to Arlington Community Planning, Housing and Development spokeswoman Helen Duong, “because there were no parking spaces available for the new retail.” CPHD has asked for a new plan with parking provided, Duong said.
The shop has been in business since 2012, according to the owner profile section of SpecDive’s Yelp page. It has a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Federal Firearm License, according to ATF records. On the Yelp page, Rapp says he was in the Marine Corps from 1985 to 1994 and a U.S. Navy deep sea diver after that.
“SpecDive, LLC., a veteran owned small business, was created in direct response to the need for the Military and federal law enforcement to partner effectively with private industries to meet the current and future needs of a citizen-centric government and world leader,” the Yelp page reads.
The shop was the subject of a petition from Nauck residents back in March, who were hoping to prevent it from moving in.
“We, the members of the Nauck Civic Association Executive Committee are very concerned about locating this business in our community,” an email announcing the petition stated. “Although, we are attempting to solicit businesses to locate within our community, we are not convinced that this type of business fits the description of what the residents seek.”
Reached for comment last week, Nauck Civic Association President Alfred Taylor said nothing has changed regarding the NCA’s position on the gun shop. He noted that Rapp is expected to attend the September NCA meeting.
“The position of the Association has not changed in that they would rather not have a facility of that sort at that location,” Taylor wrote in an email, “but realize it is a by-right retail business in accordance with all zoning regulations.”
Rapp has already met with representatives from the county and Arlington Public Schools and members of the community, including Drew Model School Parent Teacher Association President Evan Thomas. Thomas said the PTA has no formal position on SpecDive’s planned move, and may or may not take one when its membership reconvenes after the school year begins.
“The general tone of the meeting was pretty cordial,” Thomas told ARLnow.com today. “What Jerry spent most of his time discussing was their security protocols, what they do, their process for selling firearms, answered questions in regards to how a person could go about obtaining a firearm, what types of firearms they could purchase and the difference between the requirements for a shotgun or rifle or pistol. Those are the items you can buy off the street, assuming you can pass the background check they do.”
Thomas, speaking as a parent and resident of the area, said Rapp assuaged some of his trepidation about a gun dealer moving into the neighborhood.
“I have two kids who attend Drew… so you’re always concerned about the safety of the area where there school is,” Thomas said. “At the end of the meeting I felt as comfortable as you can with a business like that. He’s very cognizant of the perils, the need for security and the implications of what could happen to him in terms of losing his business, losing his license, facing potential jail time if he slips up. I felt comfortable with him as a business owner.”
(Updated at 11:45 a.m.) When a verbal argument led to a malicious physical attack in the Nauck neighborhood Tuesday evening, according to police, the victim’s kids stepped in and began attacking the alleged attacker.
The incident took place just past 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, on the 2400 block of S. Lowell Street. Two neighbors who “have a long, combative history,” got into a verbal argument “that escalated” when one of them pulled out a baseball bat, Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said.
According to Sternbeck, 27-year-old Kendra Owens struck her neighbor in the head with the baseball bat, at which point two of the victim’s children — both under 10 years of age — managed to take the bat away and started striking Owens with it.
Owens and the victim were both found by officers lying on the ground, injured, among a crowd of about 8 neighborhood children. No other adults were present, Stenbeck said.
The two women were taken to hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries. From the crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 140506050, 2400 block of S. Lowell Street. At 6:06 pm on May 6, a female subject struck her neighbor in the head with a baseball bat following a verbal altercation. The victim’s young children disarmed the subject of the bat and began striking her with it. Police arrived on scene to find both women lying on the ground with injuries. Both were transported to the hospital. Kendra Owens, 27, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with malicious wounding following her release from the hospital. She was held on a secure bond.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Initial reports suggest a public works crew struck a one-inch gas line on the 2100 block of S. Pollard Street, near Fort Barnard Park and the intersection with S. Walter Reed Drive.
Arlington County police and firefighters are on the scene. Washington Gas was considering ordering an evacuation of houses in a two block radius, but measuring devices indicated that the gas had dissipated, according to scanner traffic.
Currently, only the 2100 block of S. Pollard Street is closed while crews repair the ruptured gas line.
A new 7-Eleven store is opening on the ground floor of The Shelton apartments in Nauck.
The store, located on the corner of Shirlington Road and 24th Street S., is now hiring, according to signs posted in the window. Interior construction appears to be wrapping up and equipment is being brought in. A Slurpee machine was visible inside the store as of Thursday morning.
The 7-Eleven may present a bit of competition to the 62-year-old Green Valley Pharmacy, which sells similar convenience staples just a block away. Green Valley Pharmacy received a historic designation from Arlington County last year.
No word yet on an opening date for the 7-Eleven.
Hat tip to @RahulG86
(Updated at 5:00 p.m.) The standardized test scores for elementary school students in the Nauck neighborhood are slipping well below the county-wide average, and some parents are fed up with the disparity.
Over the past 10 years, the graded program at Drew Model Elementary School has performed at an average of 23 percent below the county’s average in the 3rd-through-5th grade Standards of Learning exams, according to data from Arlington Public Schools’ Department of Planning and Education.
The numbers get worse the older the students get. Third-graders in the graded program — as opposed to Drew’s Montessori program, which takes children from around the county and performs on par with other elementary programs — pass the reading SOL 23.9 percent less frequently than APS average and the math 17.9 percent less frequently. For fifth-graders, that drops to 30.4 percent worse in reading and 23.2 percent worse in math.
The numbers were highlighted during last Thursday’s meeting of the Arlington School Board when Terron Sims, former County Board candidate and co-chair of APS’ Superintendent’s Committee on Eliminating the Achievement Gap, spoke out decrying Drew’s struggles.
“Since the children of the Nauck community have been allowed to attend their neighborhood school, the school has failed them,” Sims said. “For years, Drew parents and administrators bickered over whose program was better, who should occupy Drew. But now, after 10 years of failing our kids, the fighting has stopped, for all those concerned now understand that a drastic change must occur at Drew if we are to save the children from a mediocre education, and thus save them from a mediocre life.”
A group of parents and community members, led by Sims, have formed the Coalition for a New Drew to try to reverse the school’s fortunes. In a press release, the coalition alleges that APS had been releasing Drew’s Montessori SOL statistics over the past few years, but not the results for the students from the graded program as some members have requested.
The statistics cited above were compiled by the Coalition. APS officials confirm the data is pulled from its report from Planning and Education’s presentation to the Arlington Montessori Action Committee.
“The data compiled by the coalition shows there is a stark difference between the educational readiness for most Arlington students and a disproportionate number of SOL-tested Drew Graded students,” Nauck Civic Association Community Affairs Committee chair Portia Clark said in the release. “We know the students at Drew have the desire to learn and we just want them all to succeed.”
Another chart released by the Coalition shows that less than 50 percent of fourth and fifth graders in the Drew graded program are passing any SOL test. The combination of the Montessori and graded programs still makes Drew the worst-performing school in the tests.
The push for change comes at a time when the school is already in administrative flux. Drew’s principal, Jacqueline Smith, resigned earlier this month after being arrested for driving under the influence. Smith has been replaced by interim Theresa Bratt, who had retired from APS last year.
“A new Drew is overdue, and the time is right to fix this instructional problem,” Cathleen Drew, a former Drew PTA president, said in the press release. “As APS looks for ways to solve its capacity problems, it should put instruction first and prioritize solutions that promote both academic and space solutions.”
Photo (top) via Google Maps. Chart (bottom) via Coalition for a New Drew.
The victims of the house fire that claimed two lives in Nauck on March 15 have been identified as Yvonne Barrie and Bobbie Nelson Goins.
Barrie, who was 73 when she died, had lived in the house for two years before the fire, according to her neighbor Roxie Johnson. Johnson said Barrie’s son had built the house and died three years ago, after which Barrie moved into the house.
The next day, March 16, would have been Barrie’s 74th birthday, Johnson said.
Goins, who was 77, had escaped from the fire before going back into the house to try to save Barrie, according to witnesses. He did not live at the house and Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani could not release details of their relationship.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Marchegiani said, and there is no timetable for when the Fire Marshal will release the findings.
Photo via @Sooo_Sick
Nauck residents have started circulating a petition to the Arlington County Board protesting a potential gun store in their neighborhood.
The Nauck Civic Association sent out an email this week saying it heard from “reliable sources” that a gun shop was in lease negotiations with the owners of the Shirlington Heights Condominiums (2249 S. Shirlington Road).
“We, the members of the Nauck Civic Association Executive Committee are very concerned about locating this business in our community,” the email states. “Although, we are attempting to solicit businesses to locate within our community, we are not convinced that this type of business fits the description of what the residents seek.”
The petition has 246 signatures as of 4:00 p.m. today with a stated goal of 1,000. The discussion on the petition page has only three comments, one of which suggests a coffee shop in the space, one, from Cara Schatz saying: “A gun shop is not needed, not welcome, and not in line with the priorities of our neighborhood. The residents of 22204 would prefer to see a business that can thrive and provide benefits to those of us who live here. Guns don’t build communities — guns tear them apart.”
One commenter showed that not all local residents are on board with the opposition to the gun store.
“I’m a resident, homeowner, taxpayer, business owner, churchgoer, philanthropist, and community member in South Arlington,” writes Sean Steele, who said his business has been open since 2005. “I’m also a gun owner. And a hunter. And a concealed carry permit holder. All here in the neighborhood. The last time I checked guns were legal here in Arlington, and in Virginia. And, indeed, in the entire country.”
“Until and unless we get past the indefensible, knee-jerk, non-fact-based assertions… we’ll never improve our collective lot,” he continued. “This is a shameful, hysterical petition. It’s sad to see it gain such unthinking support from otherwise intelligent South Arlingtonians.”
Photo via Nauck Civic Association
(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) The man who died on Saturday in the house fire in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood had already left the burning house before going back in to rescue the female victim.
According to the Arlington County Fire Department and witnesses on the 1900 block of S. Langley Street, the man — who, along with the female victim, has not been identified — was one of several people to have escaped the house before going back inside.
“It was so sad because you could hear people yell, ‘she’s still in there,'” Cheryl Johnson, who lives across the street, told ARLnow.com. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw him go in there. You have to really love someone to do something like that.”
It took 12-15 minutes for firefighters to knock the fire down, Deputy Fire Marshal Brian McGraw said on Saturday, but the house was completely engulfed in flames by that time. ACFD estimates the fire did $550,000 worth of damage to the home. Seven occupants were displaced by the fire and are receiving housing and assistance from the Red Cross.
Witnesses heard multiple “loud booms,” which a neighbor said was from the victims’ oxygen tanks. ACFD spokeswoman Sarah Marchegiani told ARLnow.com yesterday that several factors contributed to the speed of the blaze.
“The fire spread rapidly because of the wind,” Marchegiani said. “Wind gusts were sustained at 19 miles-per-hour and reached up to 28 miles-per-hour. The vinyl siding was also a factor. There’s nothing wrong with that siding, but it caused more rapid fire spread.”
The two bodies were discovered in an upstairs bedroom, ACFD said in a press release sent out just before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters attempted an initial rescue but were forced to retreat when the flames spread rapidly to the second floor and attic. One firefighter suffered smoke inhalation during the rescue.
Roxie Johnson, Cheryl’s mother, said she “thought the water was a little slow getting on the house,” but said there was a fire truck outside the house when the fire was barely showing on the front porch.
“The house went up like a piece of paper,” Roxie Johnson said. “I don’t know how many minutes it took to go up, but in no time it went all over the house.”
Cheryl Johnson said the fire had spread so quickly, and the wind was blowing so hard, that firefighters were spraying down the house next door in attempts to prevent it from catching on fire.
“You could feel the heat from our front steps,” she said. “I didn’t think anything could burn that fast.”
Marchegiani said the Fire Marshal’s investigation is ongoing and no conclusions are expected in the next week. An autopsy is being performed on the victims today. Eighty firefighters responded to the two-alarm fire, and ACFD and the Arlington County Police Department are being assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The “epic treehouse” featured on ARLnow.com in January is now for sale.
The treehouse — described by its 36-year-old owner as a “mancave in a tree” — is for sale along with two surrounding structures: a renovated 3 bedroom/2.5 bath house originally built in 1904, and a detached 1 bedroom/1 bath “guest/in law cottage.”
Owner Andrew Knight said he has invested much of his money into repurposing a church and rectory in Lewiston, Maine into an events venue and, “after crunching the numbers,” he realized he had to sell his house.
“I need the liquidity in my Arlington house,” he said. “I was planning on staying here potentially permanently. It was a very sad moment when I crunched the numbers and realized I just couldn’t do it. I was hoping to get a variety of sources of commercial financing for the building I just purchased, but they all decided it was too risky. So I had to do it with cash.”
The 199-square-foot treehouse — which was built on a 150-year-old oak tree at a cost of about $20,000 — is described as “magnificent” in the real estate listing. The 0.16 acre property, at 1747 S. Glebe Road in Nauck, also includes a number of hidden features.
“The stylish pub in the basement provides perfect space for entertaining or for a quiet retreat,” the listing says. Knight describes it as a “medieval pub” in his basement. There is also a “spacious workshop.”
Knight said he envisions himself returning to northern Virginia and is particularly regretful he didn’t have a summer with the treehouse to grill and relax outside.
“I’m hoping that the right family will find this property,” Knight said. “I imagine it will be a family with kids. The kids love the treehouse, the parents love the guest house they can put their in-laws in, the dad loves the pub in the basement.”
Hat tip to @dpan