Arlington, VA

Tonight the Arlington County Board is expected to vote on advertising a review of the live entertainment permit of a Columbia Pike nightlife venue.

A staff report recommends moving up the review of Purple Ethiopian Restaurant and Lounge (3111 Columbia Pike) from January 2021 to next month, due to a series of violent incidents as well as alleged noise and alcohol violations. The restaurant opened in 2016.

“The Arlington County Police Department has noted ongoing issues and violations at this establishment that have created a public disturbance and violate the conditions of the live entertainment use permit,” the report says.

Notably, one person was shot outside the lounge early on a Thursday morning in September, resulting in a non-life-threatening injury and an arrest.

A memo from the police department, attached to the report, details some of the other violations and concerns. Most of the police dispatches to the restaurant have been after — sometimes well after — 2 a.m., when the restaurant should not be serving alcohol.

More from the ACPD memo:

On February 25, 2019 at 2:06am and 3:20am, an ACPD OCS confidential informant purchased and consumed alcohol at The Purple Lounge located at 3111 Columbia Pike. The VA ABC violation is captured in report # 2019-02250152. The calls for service reflect an apparent disregard for the conditions of their County live entertainment permit, their responsibility to comply with the law as a VA ABC alcohol licensee, and they are contributing to alcohol-related harm effecting [sic] public safety. Regular alcohol service past 2am has resulted in fights, disorderly conduct, intoxicated patrons, and destruction of property well into the early morning hours.

On May 22, 2019, ABC Agent Jacobs advised VA ABC filed an administrative violation and hearing for the after-hours service violation on February 25, 2019. On September 27, 2019, VA ABC Agent Jacobs advised a verdict from the VA ABC hearing held on August 2, 2019 imposed a $4,000 fine and a suspension of Purple Lounge’s VA ABC license for six (6) days. This finding will be effective after a thirty-day appeal period. Despite the above, according to Purple Lounge’s Yelp reviews, guests that stay after 2am are invited to an “After Hours Party”. After hours alcohol service was mentioned by guests on April 5, 2019, July 10, 2019 and September 18, 2019.

Additionally, there have been two (2) incidents of security using pepper spray on patrons. The first occurred on December 10, 2018 at 5:39am, when a patron who was being escorted out attempted to re-gain entry. After being sprayed, the patron retrieved a gun and smashed the front window of the business. On May 18, 2019 at 4:19am, a security guard sprayed a patron that had just been assaulted by another member of security causing injury. After being injured, the patron returned to the front entrance and was sprayed with pepper spray.

Should the live entertainment permit be revoked, the restaurant will no longer be able to host music and dancing.

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The Arlington County Police Department is kicking off its annual Fill the Cruiser holiday toy drive tonight.

ACPD is “asking community members to donate new, unwrapped toys to bring holiday cheer to children ages newborn-17,” the department said in a press release. “Donations will be distributed by the Police Department throughout the month of December.”

Three events are being held this week, starting tonight at Ballston Quarter mall. A fourth is planned on Black Friday — Nov. 29 — at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall.

More from ACPD (emphasis added):

Officers will collect toys at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, November 19, 2019 from 5 to 7 p.m. — Ballston Quarter — 4238 Wilson Boulevard — A cruiser will be located on the sidewalk between Ted’s Bulletin and True Food Kitchen
  • Wednesday, November 20, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. — Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church — 830 23rd Street S.
  • Thursday, November 21, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m. — Lee Harrison Shopping Center — 2425 N. Harrison Street
  • Friday, November 29, 2019 from 2 to 4 p.m. — The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City — 1100 S. Hayes Street — A cruiser will be located in the food court next to the Christmas tree

Those wishing to donate toys, but unable to attend the Fill the Cruiser events can drop off donations at Police Headquarters, located at 1425 N. Courthouse Road, until Friday, December 13, 2019 at the 2nd Floor Administrative Support Unit Front Counter.

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Morning Notes

Dorsey Staying Put, For Now — “The chairman of the Arlington County Board says he’s not going anywhere… ‘My personal financial issues do not impinge on my ability to work with colleagues both in Arlington and throughout the region, our county staff and our community,’ Dorsey said. ‘I intend to demonstrate over the next four years those who voted to re-elect me did not make a mistake.'” [InsideNova]

RiverHouse Plans Pick Up Opposition — “JBG Smith’s plans to add nearly 1,000 new housing units to its RiverHouse Apartment Complex in Pentagon City, not far from the future home of Amazon’s second headquarters, now look to be in trouble. Arlington officials and neighbors are pushing back against the developer’s proposal.” [Washington Business Journal]

Police Chase Theft Suspect in Rosslyn — “Two suspects allegedly entered a business, concealed merchandise in bags and left without paying. An employee attempted to confront the suspects outside the business and, following a brief scuffle, the suspects fled the scene on foot. A lookout was broadcast by dispatch and a responding officer observed two individuals matching the suspect descriptions walking in the area. One suspect complied with the officer’s commands to stop while the other suspect fled.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

One Argument for ‘National Landing’ — “In 2018 when Amazon announced it would locate its new headquarters in National Landing, people familiar with Crystal City scratched their heads and said ‘that’s not a real place.’ But the name Crystal City itself was also an out-of-nowhere developer creation about 60 years earlier… Before it was Crystal City, it was Brick Haven, so named for its abundant brick factories.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Restaurants Still Waiting for Amazon Effect — Restaurant owners in Crystal City are excited about Amazon’s arrival in the neighborhood, but are not yet seeing tangible benefits in the form of increased business. [Washington Business Journal]

CEO of A-SPAN Retiring — “A-SPAN announces the retirement of its President & CEO, Kathy Sibert. After leading the organization for 11 years, Sibert will continue her role through January 31, 2020. Sibert became the President & CEO of A-SPAN (Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Inc) in 2008.” [Press Release]

Vienna Poaches from Arlington Economic Development — “The Town of Vienna has hired a business development manager in Arlington County to help revitalize local businesses. The town recently announced that Natalie Monkou, an Annadale resident, will be the town’s first-ever economic development manager.” [Tysons Reporter]

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Someone stole airbags from numerous vehicles in the Shirlington area early Wednesday morning.

Police responded to the 2700 block of S. Quincy Street in Shirlington and along S. Glebe Road and S. Veitch Street in the nearby Long Branch Creek neighborhood on the morning of Nov. 15 for a report of vehicles that had been broken into overnight.

Officers found “approximately nine vehicles had their windows smashed and airbags stolen.” So far, there’s no word on a suspect or suspects.

More from an Arlington County Police crime report:

LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2019-11130054/11130089/11130115, 2700 block of S. Quincy Street/S. Veitch Street at S. Glebe Road/2700 block of S. Glebe Road. At approximately 7:38 a.m. on November 13, police were dispatched to the report of multiple vehicles that had been broken into. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that approximately nine vehicles had their windows smashed and airbags stolen. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

File photo

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A woman accused of attacking two nannies in a dispute over her child’s behavior in a local park has a court date set for next month.

Falls Church resident Fatimazahra Berrada, 31, is set for a Dec. 3 trial date on two misdemeanor charges of assault and battery.

The charges stem from a dispute in the park near the Lyon Park Community Center on Sept. 23. We’re told two nannies confronted Berrada about alleged aggressive behavior by her child toward their charges. According to police, that escalated into a shouting match and Berrada throwing a playground toy and striking one of the nannies in the face.

More from an Arlington County Police crime report:

ASSAULT & BATTERY, 2019-09230176, N. Garfield Street at 4th Street N. At approximately 3:10 p.m. on September 23, police were dispatched to the report of a fight. Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect and the two female victims were in a park when they became engaged in a verbal dispute over the way children in their care were playing. The incident escalated and the suspect allegedly began yelling and threw a playground toy at the victims before striking one victim in the face. Medics responded to the scene and no significant injuries were reported. The victims declined prosecution at the time of the incident. Charges were later sought on October 4 and the suspect turned herself in to police on October 8. Fatimazahra Berrada, 31, of Falls Church, VA, was charged with Assault and Battery (x2).

The incident led to outrage on the neighborhood’s Nextdoor network after a resident posted that “racist insults” were yelled at the nannies during the incident. A source tells ARLnow that the victims alleged being told to “go back to your country,” but police and prosecutors did not find enough evidence to seek a longer sentence based on a bias-motivated crime, adding that the dispute originated with the discussion of child behavior.

The November issue of the Lyon Park Citizen Association newsletter included allegations of an “ugly incident in our community park” sparked by “a woman passing by [who] took offense at the fact they were speaking in Spanish.” Police told ARLnow they have no evidence of that sequence of events happening, however.

“It is hard to believe that the woman… hasn’t gotten the message posted in front yards across our community — Hate Has No Home Here!” the newsletter says.

Photo via Google Maps

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A woman was robbed by two people on Columbia Pike near the Pentagon on Monday evening.

The robbery happened just before 5:30 p.m. on Veterans Day, at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Joyce Street. Police say a patrol officer was flagged down by the victim, who reported being robbed by a pair of suspects, one of whom was armed with a gun.

“The victim was walking in the area when she was approached her from behind by two suspects,” according to an ACPD crime report. “The female suspect demanded her belongings and cell phone, while the male suspect brandished a firearm. The suspects fled the area with the victim’s belongings prior to police arrival and the victim ran to seek assistance. The victim was not injured.”

“Suspect One is described as a white female, with a skinny build, brown hair, wearing a pink shirt, a dark colored vest and dark pants,” the crime report continues. “Suspect Two is described as a heavy set white male, wearing a black vest, white shirt, white hat and jeans. The investigation is ongoing.”

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Arlington County Police are looking for a man who allegedly stole money from a tip jar and then bit a would-be Good Samaritan who tried to stop him.

The incident happened this past Thursday at Commonwealth Joe Coffee Roasters in Pentagon City, according to scanner traffic at the time.

“At approximately 1:47 p.m. on November 7, police were dispatched to the report of a fight,” an ACPD crime report says. “Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect entered a business in the 500 block of 12th Street S. and stole money from a tip jar before fleeing the scene on foot.”

The suspect was “tackled” by a bystander after running out of the business, according to police radio traffic, but after a brief struggle was able to get free and flee the scene.

More from the crime report: “Two employees of the business began following the suspect and called for help. Two bystanders caught up to the suspect and became engaged in a struggle with him. The suspect bit one of the bystanders, broke free and fled on foot prior to police arrival. The bystander sustained minor injuries.”

Because the bite reportedly drew blood, the suspect is now wanted on a charge of malicious wounding.

“The suspect is described as a black male, 25-29 years old, with facial hair and dreadlocks, wearing a gray sweatshirt with a black hood, gray sweatpants and red headphones,” the crime report said. “The investigation is ongoing.”

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A victim was robbed at gunpoint by a masked man, in the middle of the afternoon, outside of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall on Wednesday.

Police responded to the mall’s parking garage around 2:30 p.m. for a report of an armed robbery. By the time they arrived, the suspect — who was armed with a gun — had fled the scene with several stolen “items of value,” according to Arlington County Police.

Police are still investigating. So far, no arrests have been reported.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ARMED ROBBERY, 2019-11060163, 800 block of Army Navy Drive. At approximately 2:36 p.m. on November 6, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery. The investigation determined that the suspect approached the victim at gunpoint and stole items of value. The suspect fled the scene prior to police arrival. The suspect is described as a black male wearing a black jacket and a ski mask. The investigation is ongoing.

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A multi-vehicle crash is currently blocking Old Dominion Drive near Marymount University.

The crash, at the intersection with 25th Street N., happened around 1 p.m. and involves 3-4 vehicles, including a Mercedes and a Jeep that were heavily damaged in a T-bone style collision. The force of the impact pushed the Jeep up onto a sidewalk.

No injuries were reported, according to an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman. Police are on scene directing traffic.

Staff photographer Jay Westcott contributed to this report. Map via Google Maps.

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A man was shot in Upton Hill Regional Park in Arlington last night.

Police and medics were dispatched to the park at 6060 Wilson Blvd just after 11:15 p.m. Wednesday for a report of a man who was shot by someone in a blue vehicle.

The man was found lying on the ground and rushed to a local hospital. He was listed last night as being in stable condition.

Thus far there’s no word of any arrests nor a motive for the shooting. Arlington County Police are investigating.

Update at 5:15 p.m. — An arrest has been made, according to ACPD.

The Arlington County Police Department is announcing the arrest of a Falls Church man for his role in last night’s shooting in the Boulevard Manor neighborhood. Jhonatan Zavaleta Cruz, 21, has been charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding, Attempted Malicious Wounding, Use of Firearm in the Commission of a Felony and Shooting During the Commission of a Felony. He is being held in the Arlington County Detention Facility on no bond.

At approximately 11:15 p.m. on November 6, police were dispatched to the 6000 block of Wilson Boulevard for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located a juvenile male victim suffering from a gunshot wound and immediately began rendering aid. The victim was transported by medics to an area hospital with injuries that are considered non-life-threatening.

The preliminary investigation indicates that the suspect and victim are known to one another and that a verbal dispute preceded the shooting. There is no indication of an ongoing threat to the community.

This remains an active criminal investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective R. Ortiz of the Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-7402 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Last night, reform candidate Parisa Dehghani-Tafti was elected the next top prosecutor for Arlington and Falls Church, leaving questions about how her campaign promises could affect the area’s political and legal landscape.

Throughout her unusually contentious — and expensive — campaign, Tafti promised to stop prosecuting some marijuana possession cases, eliminate some cash bail requirements, and make it easier for defense attorneys to access case files, among other reforms.

Tafti declined to discuss details about her plans for the prosecutor’s office itself, but the other agencies most affected by her reforms say her tenure could have a big impact on their work.

Public defenders may have more time with their clients 

Chief Public Defender Bradley Haywood has been a vocal critic of outgoing Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and donated to Tafti’s campaign. He told ARLnow her win will “absolutely” change the work his office can do, adding that her election was an “amazing opportunity” for judges, lawyers, and prosecutors to work together on criminal justice reform.

One reform Haywood said will majorly impact public defenders is Tafti’s promise to do away with the the requirement that defense attorneys hand copy all the prosecutor’s files about their criminal cases — a process several attorneys say is “horribly inefficient” and makes preparing large cases impossible.

“We estimated that there were about 1,000-1,500 hours we spent in that stupid room typing manually,” Haywood said of his office’s work in the past year. “It’s going to go down from 1,000 hours to zero probably in January. That will give us time to actually learn more about our clients.”

Tafti told ARLnow last night after the polls closed and her campaign declared victory that she was “absolutely” still committed to digitizing the document policy.

The Arlington County Bar Association, which includes private defense attorneys, declined to comment when asked how the new prosecutor’s policy priorities could affect members’ work.

The Sheriff’s Office may need a budget bump

Another one of the reforms Tafti focused on during her campaign was ending the practice of “cash bail,” which she said penalizes lower-income people who might instead remain jail as they await trial.

Outgoing prosecutor Theo Stamos announced last November she would stop seeking bail for people accused of low-level misdemeanors after seven state lawmakers urged her to fix the system. However, public defenders criticized the plan for still excluding too many defendants, calling it a “cynical PR move” to help her bid for re-election.

Sheriff Beth Arthur, who won her re-election last night, told ARLnow she didn’t necessarily oppose more changes to the bail system. But she did express concern about how to manage resources if judges choose to release defendants before trial with conditions — like weekly drug testing — in lieu of bail.

“I do have concerns from a staffing perspective and from an operational perspective on how how this impacts the poor people who are managing the program and who have a caseload of 60-65 people,” she said of her office’s pre-trial program that supervises such defendants. “That’s a lot.”

However, Arthur said she’s hopeful that the county will grant her office additional resources to staff pre-trial programs should they be affected by Tafti’s reforms — or the jail diversion program for people with mental illnesses.

In June, the Arlington County Board approved a $45.3 million total budget for the Sheriff’s Office in fiscal year 2020.

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