Arlington, VA

More than 350 people have signed a petition calling for the S. Abingdon Street bridge over I-395 to be renamed “Black Lives Matter Bridge.”

The petition was created amid dueling efforts to place and remove the letters “BLM” on the bridge’s chain link fence, a thus far nonviolent dispute that has resulted in multiple calls to Arlington County police.

The BLM art first appeared about a month ago, during nationwide protests over the deaths of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement.

Two weeks ago, the red cups used to form the letters were removed, promping locals to replace them with new cups and to write new chalk slogans. Among them: “no justice, no peace” and “take it down and we’ll do it again.”

Melissa Schwaber, who sent photos of the cups being replaced, described those doing so as “Fairlington moms and their kids.”

The cups were later removed again, which led to Black Lives Matters supporters creating a heart and spelling out BLM with harder-to-remove ribbons. That won Twitter praise from Arlington County Board Chair and Fairlington resident Libby Garvey. The next day, however, someone spray-painted “TRUMP 2020” under the letters.

The spray paint was in turn sprayed over later that morning, and “BLACK LIVES MATTER” written in chalk over it. Then, more spray paint appeared.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, July 1, a local resident posted photos of an older man and a younger man — wearing a motorcycle helmet and a Liberty University shirt — who she accused of vandalizing the bridge and the lettering.

On Friday, a tipster said the “BLM vs. MAGA battle” was continuing to escalate.

“Now there are people putting up conspiracy theory banners on the bridge and people camped out on the bridge with large dogs,” the tipster said. The banners included a photo of Hillary Clinton under the words “WANTED 4 Crimes Against Humanity.”

Later that day, there were more skirmishes.

“I was driving on the Fairlington Bridge an hour or so ago and saw a man arguing with several white women near the BLM signs,” said another tipster. “He was waving his arms in one woman’s face. About 15 minutes ago, on my way home, I saw that the Arlington PD (about 3 cars) had detained the man at the gas station in Shirlington.”

An Arlington County police spokeswoman tells ARLnow that officers have responded to the bridge several times.

“ACPD has responded to multiple reports of disputes in the area of the S. Abingdon Street bridge regarding the posting and removal of signage,” said Kirby Clark. She said that “no charges have been filed related to any incidents involving the signs,” but one incident is under investigation.

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A North Carolina man wound up in jail after allegedly declaring independence from his trousers Saturday night.

Just before midnight on July 4, police were called to the 1200 block of S. Eads Street in Pentagon City for a report of a man exposing himself.

“Arriving officers located the suspect, who attempted to walk away from them. He then turned back and allegedly exposed himself to officers, who then took him into custody without incident,” according to a new Arlington County Police Department crime report.

A 36-year-old man from Fayetteville, North Carolina “was arrested and charged with Indecent Exposure and Drunk in Public,” the report continued. “He was held on no bond.”

On the morning of the Fourth of July, a 29-year-old D.C. man was arrested on the 100 block of S. Fenwick Street, in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, after another alleged indecent exposure incident.

“At approximately 7:04 a.m. on July 4, police were dispatched to the report of an indecent exposure,” said the crime report. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim observed the male suspect allegedly touching himself inappropriately. Arriving officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident.”

The suspect was charged with Public Masturbation and held on no bond, the crime report said.

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Morning Notes

Candidates Support Stormwater Investment — “How it gets paid for (and by whom) perhaps is a question for another day, but the three candidates in the July 7 Arlington County Board special election voiced support for increased stormwater-management efforts. ‘We need to be making a generational investment,’ said Susan Cunningham, one of three candidates on the ballot seeking to fill the seat of the late Erik Gutshall.” [InsideNova]

Analysis of N. Arlington House Numbers — “In the ZIP code 22207, serif addresses vastly outnumber sans serif addresses, 7,759 to 2,111. Many blocks feature no sans serif houses at all, or just one or two. But in isolated pockets–individual blocks or even orange and red “hot zones” spread across a couple of streets–sans serif numbers are beginning to break through.” [Slate]

How a Local Chiropractic Practice Is Doing — “Some businesses are still trying to get adjusted to the flow of business in the new normal. ‘I would say we’re about 75% close to where we were before,’ Dr. Hooman Hamidi said. Hamidi is a chiropractor in Arlington, Va. When the global pandemic shut things down, his business slowed to a crawl.” [WUSA 9]

Galaxy Hut Staying Takeout-Only, For Now — “Based on what we’ve seen, we still don’t feel it’s the safest option to allow people to hang out at our restaurants at this time. Instead, we will be expanding our pickup hours and introducing some new yums at both Galaxy Hut and Spacebar in the coming weeks.” [Facebook]

ACPD to Report More Traffic Stop Info — “The Community Policing Act, Virginia House Bill 1250, takes effect July 1, 2020. This law requires law enforcement and State Police to collect certain information from the driver during all motor vehicle (traffic) and investigatory stops and prohibits law enforcement officers and State Police from engaging in bias-based policing.” [Arlington County]

New Laws Taking Effect Today — “Marijuana will be decriminalized, local governments will have the ability to take down Confederate monuments, and Virginians will pay more in taxes for gasoline and cigarettes starting Wednesday. July 1 is the start date for most of the new laws passed earlier this year by the General Assembly.” [Associated Press]

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A man stabbed multiple times at a party in the Rosslyn area managed to stagger up to police headquarters in Courthouse to get help.

The stabbing happened Saturday evening on the 1700 block of N. Troy Street, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

“At approximately 6:53 p.m. on June 27, an officer was approached outside Police Headquarters in the 2000 block of 14th Street N. by an individual who had been stabbed multiple times,” ACPD says. “Officers immediately began to render aid to the victim until medics arrived and transported him to an area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.”

“The investigation determined that the victim was attending a social gathering when a verbal dispute between known individuals began to escalate,” the crime report continues. “The victim attempted to intervene, however the suspect then allegedly produced a knife and struck the victim multiple times. The victim was able to run away from the gathering, where he then sought assistance from police nearby. The investigation is ongoing.”

A passerby described a bloody scene outside of ACPD HQ.

“I was walking by the police station last night and saw police and the ambulance with the guy,” the tipster said. “There was blood everywhere on the steps of the police station. Looks like the guy way stabbed a bunch of times in the chest and stomach. Later they had to bring in a fire truck to wash the blood away.”

The victim is expected to survive.

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Two officers required medical attention after a pair of incidents in Arlington last week.

The first, early Thursday morning in Ballston, involved a 24-year-old suspect who was seen walking in the street. Brought to a local hospital for evaluation, the suspect then allegedly “struck an officer with a closed fist multiple times,” according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

The second incident, early Friday morning in Buckingham, involved a 39-year-old suspect accused of shoplifting, being drunk in public, and throwing liquid at arresting officers. The suspect later allegedly bit an officer while being transported from the hospital “for medical clearance,” per ACPD.

More from the crime report:

ASSAULT ON LAW ENFORCEMENT, 2020-06250035, Washington Boulevard at N. Glebe Road. At approximately 4:02 a.m. on June 25, police were dispatched to the report of a suspicious person acting aggressively to a passerby. Arriving officers made contact with the male subject, who was standing in the roadway and moved him to the sidewalk for his safety. The subject repeatedly attempted to walk back into the roadway as traffic was passing. He was transported to an area hospital for medical evaluation, where he allegedly began acting disorderly and struck an officer with a closed fist multiple times. With the assistance of additional officers, the suspect was placed into handcuffs. The officer sustained minor injuries requiring medical treatment. John Steele, 24, of No Fixed Address, was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery on Police.

ASSAULT ON LAW ENFORCEMENT, 2020-06260004, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 12:13 a.m. on June 26, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny just occurred. A lookout was broadcast, and officers located an individual matching the suspect description nearby. While investigating, the suspect denied having stolen anything and began walking away. The officer attempted to stop the suspect, however, he became combative, allegedly threw liquid at the officers and fled on foot. The officer caught up to the suspect, and, with the assistance of additional arriving officers, he was taken into custody. The suspect was transported to an area hospital for medical clearance, where he continued to act disorderly. The suspect then refused to get into the transport vehicle and had to be lifted in by multiple officers, during which he bit an officer. Deandre Davis, 39, of Arlington, Va., was arrested and charged with Assault & Battery on Police (x2), Obstruction of Justice, Petit Larceny: Shoplifting and Drunk in Public. He was held on no bond.

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Morning Notes

‘BLM’ on Fairlington Bridge Restored — Residents of the Fairlington area used ties to restore a Black Lives Matters message on the bridge over I-395 over the weekend. The letters “BLM” had previously been placed on the bridge’s fence but later removed by an unknown party. Also this weekend, below the BLM letters someone scrawled “Trump 2020,” but that was later covered and “Black Lives Matter” written over it in chalk. [Twitter]

ACPD Details De-Escalation Training — “In response to community questions, ACPD has created this fact sheet highlighting how we train officers to de-escalate incidents and safely resolve situations.” [Twitter]

Update to Jim Pebley Obit — Per an email from former county treasurer Frank O’Leary: “You will be pleased to hear that, due to the actions of former commanders of our County’s namesake ship, it appears that Commander Pebley’s ashes will be spread at sea by the USS ARLINGTON. This is a singular honor and reflects the high respect the Navy feels for Jim. Nothing less than he deserves. There is an old adage, ‘The Navy takes care of its own.’ Perhaps, the same can be said of Arlington.”

Candidates on the Arts — “Arlington County voters will go to the polls on July 7 to determine who will fill the County Board seat of the late Erik Gutshall. In order to help voters understand each candidate’s stand on the importance of arts and culture in the County, Embracing Arlington Arts sent out a questionnaire for the three candidates to complete covering several issues pertaining to the arts in Arlington.” [Press Release, Embracing Arlington Arts]

TTT Now Serving Unlimited Weekend Brunch — “There’s a new all-you-can eat brunch in town. TTT in Clarendon, which stands for Tacos, Tortas and Tequila, has joined its Street Guys Hospitality brethren, including beloved Ambar, in offering unlimited eats on weekend mornings.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Reminder: Metro Stations Back Open — “Metro plans to reopen the Clarendon and Virginia Square Metro stations in Arlington, starting Sunday.” [ARLnow]

Nearby: Fairfax Teachers Revolt — “A day after one of the nation’s largest school systems announced its proposal for fall learning, teachers within Fairfax County Public Schools rose in revolt and refused to teach in-person, as the plan demands, until officials revise their strategy.” [Washington Post]

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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) Two people were wounded and one is dead after an overnight shooting on Columbia Pike

Police say they were called to the 3000 block of Columbia Pike — the same block as the Days Inn and the McDonald’s — just after 2:30 a.m. for a report of gunshots.

Later, two victims showed up at a local hospital “with injuries considered to be non life threatening.” After that, police say they located another victim deceased in a vehicle on the 3200 block of the Pike, the same block as the Audi dealership and the Westmont Shopping Center. It’s the county’s third homicide of 2020.

Columbia Pike was shut down in both directions between S. Glebe Road and S. Highland Street during the investigation this morning.

“Police remain on-scene and in the area investigating,” said Arlington County police. “Anyone with information is asked to call 703-558-2222.”

On Sunday afternoon, ACPD released more information about the shooting, revealing that it happened after a dispute outside of an unidentified business. The full press release is below.

The Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit is investigating a shooting that took place on Columbia Pike in the early morning hours of June 28, 2020 that left one victim deceased and two victims with minor injuries.

At approximately 2:39 a.m., police were dispatched to area of the 3000 block of Columbia Pike for the report of shots fired and a large crowd dispersing outside of a business. While investigating the initial reports of shots fired, officers were notified that two victims had arrived at an area hospital seeking treatment for minor injuries. The preliminary investigation indicates that following a dispute between multiple parties, the suspect entered his vehicle and fired gunshots in the area of the crowd as he fled the scene.

As the investigation into the initial call continued, officers were dispatched to the 3200 block of Columbia Pike, where a third victim was located inside of a vehicle with trauma to the upper body. The victim was subsequently pronounced deceased on scene. Cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The decedent is identified as Donovan A. Green Jr., 21, of Upper Marlboro, Md.

This incident remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

This is the third homicide in Arlington County in 2020.

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Morning Notes

Police Mutual Aid Agreements Under Review — “The force Park Police officers have used against protesters could cost the agency its working relationship with some local police departments. In a statement to News4, Metropolitan Washington’s Council of Governments confirms it is now planning to review the regional mutual aid agreement which governs those relationships.” [NBC 4, Connection Newspapers]

Planning Commission to Restart Meetings — “After a layoff of four months, the Arlington Planning Commission soon will be back in business – albeit in ‘virtual’ format, at least for the time being. Having last met on March 11, the advisory panel will hold its first COVID-era gathering on July 6, catching up on a backlog of items but likely focused on matters headed for County Board consideration later in the month.” [InsideNova]

More Changes to Marathon Planned — “Our working solution is to break the 45th MCM up into 24 waves that will start over an expanded window of time on event morning. This plan will necessitate a smaller field of in-person participants. Those in the late waves will have less time to Beat the Bridge. Twelve minutes per mile is the best we can offer at this time. It possibly might have to go even lower.” [Marine Corps Marathon]

Four Bond Referenda Planned — “Arlington taxpayers would be asked to approve four bond referendums totaling just under $92 million in the November general election… More than half the total amount – $50.8 million – will be used to address stormwater-management issues. Additional bonds are being proposed for transportation and Metro ($30 million), infrastructure ($7.5 million) and parks ($3.6 million).” [InsideNova]

District Doughnut Promotion — “To celebrate the reopening of our Ballston Quarter store, we are treating you to extra doughnuts! From Friday, June 26th through Sunday, June 28th, the first 50 customers each day will receive a free doughnut with any purchase.” [Facebook]

Here’s Who Adopted Cupid the Cat — Cupid, an injured kitten brought to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington after being shot in the head with an arrow, has a new adoptive mother: NBC 4 meteorologist Lauryn Ricketts. Cupid made a recent appearance on the station’s morning weather report. [Instagram]

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(Updated at 4:q0 p.m.) After weeks of protests in Arlington and around the world, the association that represents Arlington police officers is weighing in on calls for police reform.

While arguing that ACPD is one of the most educated and well-trained police forces around, the association says that some changes may make sense. Defunding the department, however, could result in lower-quality policing, they say.

“Our officers in Arlington County are well-educated, highly trained, thoughtful men and women,” Arlington Coalition of Police President Scott Wanek said in an interview with ARLnow last week. “They’ve been delivering high-quality police services to the Arlington community for decades.”

As police departments around the country are scrutinized for excessive use of force, and as outrage over police killings boils over, the message from the association is: ACPD is different.

In Arlington, entry-level officers with no prior police or military experience are required to have completed 60 semester hours at an accredited college or university. Most officers have bachelor degrees and many have post-graduate degrees, according to Wanek.

That level of education, and the extensive training that Arlington officers receive, set the department apart.

“At every stop in [field officer training] de-escalation is taught. We have implicit bias training. We teach exhaustive conflict communications training, to include 75% of our officers are certified in our [Crisis Intervention Team] program… for mental health crisis situations,” said Wanek. “A lot of training goes in to our officers.”

Out of about 118,000 police-citizen interactions in 2019, Wanek said, there were 67 uses of force.

“Our goal is to do what we can to reduce it even further, that’s always a worthwhile endeavor,” he said, “especially since in about 40% of the cases our officers sustain injuries in interactions where they’re required to use force.”

Asked about a rising rate of complaints about ACPD officers in 2019, Wanek said some of that is attributable to changes in the way such data is recorded. He pointed out that most of the complaints were generated within the department.

“We don’t just stand idly by,” said Wanek. “That’s not in our culture.”

As for the now-infamous deployment of riot-clad ACPD officers near the White House — the squad was removed after being ordered to clear peaceful protesters away from a presidential photo op — Wanek defended the officers involved.

“In retrospect, it’s unfortunate that we were put in that position,” he said. The officers “behaved well, didn’t violate any policy, procedure, or laws. We certainly didn’t appreciate the optics we got, and we’re looking to move forward, collaborate with the community, and be a voice in the discussion of how we’re going to change law enforcement and the criminal justice system.”

“The residents of Arlington have a right and a responsibility to decide how they’re policed,” Wanek continued. “That’s where the faith in our badges come from. We can’t effectively enforce the laws of the Commonwealth if the community doesn’t believe in us.”

In terms of proposed reforms, Arlington officers are “clearly in support of any reasonable idea that leads to reduced use of force and officer injuries,” according to Wanek. That includes the forthcoming use of body cameras.

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For the second time in as many days, a carjacking has been reported in Arlington.

The latest incident happened in a parking garage on the 1400 block of Crystal Drive in Crystal City, around 3:30 a.m. this morning.

Police say a pair of gun-toting suspects stole a rental car and cell phone from a man who had been sleeping in the vehicle — described as a white BMW compact SUV.

More from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

CARJACKING, 2020-06240033, 1400 block of Crystal Drive. At approximately 3:33 a.m. on June 24, police were dispatched to the report of a carjacking just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was asleep in his rental vehicle in a garage when he was awoken by two unknown suspects brandishing firearms. Suspect One allegedly grabbed the victim’s shirt and demanded money, while Suspect Two rummaged through the contents of the vehicle. The suspects stole the victim’s wallet and items of value from his person, before fleeing the scene in the victim’s vehicle. Suspect One is described as a Black male, 20-30 years old, heavily tattooed, approximately 5’10” and 180 lbs., with black dreads, wearing a white tank top, black jeans and a white medical mask. Suspect Two is described as a Black male, approximately 5’10” and 180 lbs., wearing a black hoodie, black pants, black balaclava and a black t-shirt tied around his head. The vehicle is described as a white 2020 BMW X1 with an unknown license plate. The investigation is ongoing.

Also in today’s crime report, ACPD says another pair of suspects tried to steal a car that was left running near the Pentagon City Costco.

ATTEMPTED GRAND LARCENY AUTO, 2020-06220148, 900 block of 15th Street S. At approximately 6:40 p.m. on June 22, police were dispatched to the report of an attempted grand larceny auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that two unknown male suspects allegedly entered an unoccupied, running vehicle. The victim observed this, opened the vehicle’s door and a brief struggle ensued. The suspects stole the victim’s cell phone before fleeing the scene in a silver Mercedes SUV driven by a third suspect. Suspect One is described as a Black male in his 20’s wearing a red hat, white tank top and red sweatpants. Suspect Two is described as a Black male in his 20’s, shirtless and wearing camouflage pants. The investigation is ongoing

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A 19-year-old South Carolina man was arrested after a carjacking near Shirlington last night.

The carjacking happened around 8:30 p.m., at a gas station at the corner of S. Four Mile Run Drive and S. Walter Reed Drive. The suspect drove the victim’s car into Fairfax County but a short time later drove back into Arlington, leading to an attempted traffic stop from which the suspect fled, according to ACPD.

Police say the suspect parked the car a few blocks from where it was stolen and took off on foot. He was later located by officers and taken into custody.

More from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

CARJACKING, 2020-06220165, S. Four Mile Run Drive at S. Walter Reed Drive. At approximately 8:27 p.m. on June 22, police were dispatched to the report of a carjacking. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victim was pumping gas when the male suspect allegedly approached her and demanded the vehicle. The suspect stole the car and fled into Fairfax County. A lookout for the vehicle was broadcast to area law enforcement. At approximately 9:03 p.m., officers were alerted that the vehicle was re-entering the County on Columbia Pike. The vehicle was initially located in the area of 5300 block of Columbia Pike and an officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop, however, the driver fled at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was later located parked and unoccupied in the 2600 block of S. Arlington Mill Drive. A perimeter was established, and following a search by officers and K9s, the suspect was located and taken into custody. Verdell Floyd, 19, of Columbia, S.C. was arrested and charged with Carjacking and Eluding. He was held on no bond.

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