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Was Fenty trying to avoid victims' family members?

Our Washington Post colleague Paul Duggan reports this stand-off Thursday between Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) and the press:

After the story of the 14-year-old wrongly arrested in last month's quadruple homicide broke Thursday morning, the mayor's office sent out an advisory at 4:24 p.m. saying that Fenty, Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Attorney General Peter Nickles would hold a news conference at 5 p.m. at police headquarters. A half-dozen TV news crews arrived and were told to set up outside the building. They hurriedly did so.

Then a group of angry-looking people arrived outside headquarters, including Nardyne Jefferies, mother of 16-year-old Brishell Jones, one of the four victims killed in the March 30 drive-by shooting; and Norman Williams, father of 20-year-old Jordan Howe, whose March 22 fatal shooting touched off the cycle of retaliation that led to the attack. They were fuming, saying they had come to confront the officials about the continuing violence on D.C. streets.

Soon a Fenty staffer appeared at the mayor's podium and announced that the news conference had been moved - it would not be held outside, but inside, on the third floor of the headquarters. The TV crews howled in protest, saying they were on deadline.

The standoff dragged on.

A couple of city workers told the TV crews to remove their microphones from the mayor's podium. Then the workers folded up the podium and carted it away on a dolly. A pastor representing Jefferies, Williams and the other angry-looking people announced that they would hold a press conference of their own - and said they would talk only with reporters who stayed outside the building. The TV crews set up a microphone stand in place of the hauled-away podium. The only news crew to lug its gear up to the third floor were from the D.C. government cable channel.

Fenty, Nickles and Lanier finally emerged from the building about 6 p.m. -- an hour after the scheduled start. Jefferies, Williams and the others stood quietly by while the mayor, chief and attorney general conducted their news conference, allowing the officials to finish explaining why the teenager had been wrongly charged in the drive-by shooting before confronting them. When Fenty, Nickles and Lanier were done, and were turning to leave, a TV reporter began peppering them with questions about their delayed appearance outside.

"Can anyone explain why the press conference was moved inside?"

Fenty tried to shrug it off, giving no clear answer. "As we said in the beginning, we kept you all waiting, and we apologize," the mayor said. "I think we were just trying to let everybody - we didn't know how long we were going to be, so we apologize. ..."

"Why move it inside?" the reporter asked. "Because you didn't want to be around the family members?"

"We just didn't want to keep people waiting," Fenty replied. "We apologize for taking so long." Then he turned again to walk away. "Thank you all very much!"

By Paul Duggan  |  April 23, 2010; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety , Mayor Fenty  
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Next: D.C. audit finds unpaid parking fines for cars assigned to Fenty, Rhee

Comments

Everyday I say to myself, that Fenty is the Devil...

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | April 23, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Talk about a much to do about not much.

Real life should not be described as though it is an episode of "As the World Turns" or "Guiding Light."

Posted by: CrabHands | April 23, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

You're going to blame the mayor for the "continuing violence on DC streets"?

That makes no sense. You can't blame the police either. You want a cop car sitting on every block in these high crime Wards/neighborhoods 24-7? You going to pay a lot more taxes for that? These people blame the police & then they turn around & keep quiet & refuse to cooperate with them.

Why don't you try a novel approach? One that's never been tried before. Something new, parents & "concerned citizens."

BLAME THE YOUNG BLACK MEN THAT ARE DOING ALL THE SHOOTING!

Posted by: uncivil | April 23, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Classic...

is it me or is the District of Columbia government gradually returning to its infamous roots as being one of the most disoriented and drama filled executive and legislative bodies in the country?

Posted by: blackman1 | April 23, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Uhh, could it be the "angry looking mob" that caused the change in location? PS Angry Mob: look around you to see why so much violence occurs in your neighborhood. You keep blaming others for your own offspring's behavior...

Posted by: dcdoug | April 23, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The "angry-looking" mob should be holding protests in their own communities. They want to blame everybody but their dysfunctional culture for their crime. When the DC govt try to come down hard like a hammer on the Trinidad neighborhood a year or two ago, there were howls of protest that rights are being infringed upon. So the check points leading into that neighborhood were dismantled. People, you can't have it both ways.

Posted by: jabreal00 | April 23, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The problem is many of the "PARENTS" expect the schools, police and gov't to raise their kids. I'm sick and tired of the excuses, to hell with someone's "rights" - the dead no longer have them.

Posted by: missboo | April 23, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Although I don't expect the Mayor Fenty, Police Chief Lanier or Attorney General Nickles to solve the problem of teen violence in the district alone, I do expect "City Leaders" to not tuck tail and run simply because they don't want to be confronted by angry residents.

The citizens that they chose to run from were personally touched by the tragic events that were the subject of the press conference. Since Mayor Fenty, Chief Lanier and AG Nickles did not respect them enough to explain the turn of events to them in advance the least they could have done was to allow them the opportunity to vent their frustrations. In my opinion, that is what true leaders would have done.

The District of Columbia does not need cowards running the city we have more than enough of them destroying it.

Posted by: Taxpayer26 | April 23, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

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