What We’re Watching: Curtis Mozie Documents A Changing D.C.

BBC News interviewed filmmaker Curtis Mozie about the 33 years he has spent documenting the lives and deaths of D.C. residents for his organization, The Tale of the Tape Foundation. In May, Mozie spoke with Homicide Watch about his work and the communal mental health costs caused by the city’s violence.

Mozie told the BBC about how he collects footage: Read more

Could, and Should, John Hinckley Jr. Be Charged With Murder in James Brady’s Death?

John Hinckley, Jr. Mugshot" by United States Federal Bureau of Investigation - FBI Field Office Washington. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

John Hinckley, Jr. Mugshot” by United States Federal Bureau of Investigation - FBI Field Office Washington. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

When James Brady, the former press secretary wounded in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, died this week at age 73, it opened the possibility that John Hinckley Jr. could be charged with murder.

A jury acquitted Hinckley for the original shooting, finding him not guilty by reason of insanity. He remains institutionalized at St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital. He has not yet been charged in Brady’s death.

Below, analysts consider the legal issues surrounding any possible prosecution: Read more

Weekend Read: Neighborhood Mournes James Oh, Owner of Gold Corner Market

The Washington Post looked at the 16th Street Heights neighborhood mourning the death of 76-year-old James Oh, who was killed in a robbery in his store on July 4. Though the store is now closed, many tributes have been left outside the front door.

This store has been the center of many people’s lives,” [Marvin A. Jones] said. “People came in here every day to play the lottery and wait for numbers. Elderly men sat around and debated Cowboys and Redskins, endlessly. I pray the family keeps this open.”
Shebba Blakney, 50, said she has been shopping at Gold Corner for 20 years and recalled taking her young child to meet the Ohs. James Oh was nice, she said, and his wife was nicer. “If you were low on money,” she said, “they sold you things on a promise.”

Vigil Held for Eboni Domally

WJLA reports on a vigil held Tuesday for murder victim 31-year-old Eboni Domally, who was a mother to two boys ages nine and three. Domally’s mother says that her daughter endured years of domestic violence.

Police have named Domally’s estranged husband, Michael Gayle, as the murder suspect. He remains on the run, and Domally tells us her daughter’s life ended after enduring years of domestic violence.

We want him captured and brought to justice,” she said.

I can’t believe somebody would kill such a pleasant, beautiful person. I can’t believe it. And it’s got us all in shock,” said a friend of the victim, Alfred Johnson.

What We’re Reading: Chief Lanier Calls Domestic Violence Homicides “Our Biggest Challenge”

The Washington Times reports that MPD attributes an increase in the number of 2014 homicides to domestic violence killings, a number that includes the deaths of more than 10 women. The women represent just over 20 percent of the city’s homicide victims so far.

MPD Chief Cathy Lanier said that “high-visibility” tactics used to curb other crimes don’t prevent domestic violence effectively:

“A lot of these women were in violent relationships,” Chief Lanier said of the victims.
Read more

Weekend Read: DC’s Current and Past Leadership on Crime

WTOP this week looked at DC’s murder rate this year and spoke with Police Chief Cathy Lanier, former police chief Charles Ramsey, former Mayor Anthony Williams and others about violent crime.

Writes WTOP:

Lately, homicides have been fluctuating once again — they are on an upswing.

Metropolitan Police Department figures indicate there have been far more murders in the city this year than at the same time last year.
Read more

Weekend Read: “Before Relisha Rudd went missing, the 8-year-old longed to escape D.C.’s homeless shelter”

The Washington Post‘s Theresa Vargas, Emma Brown, Lynh Bui and Peter Hermann look deeply at the disappearance of eight-year-old Relisha Rudd and the safety net that should have kept her safe.

In the story they ask: Who failed Relisha?

It has been more than a month since Relisha’s family has seen her and more than a week since the police search for her became a “recovery mission.” People who knew her now talk about her in both the present and past tense, revealing in the same breath their hopes and fears.

But whether Relisha is alive or dead, the instability of her life — evictions from apartments where gunfire was common, weeks at motels and then months at the homeless shelter with a troubled mother and three brothers — put her on the radar of school administrators, social workers, shelter employees and volunteers, who make up the safety net for the city’s vulnerable children.

Read the full story here.

What We’re Reading: New Deli Commemorates June Grace Lim

Washington City Paper reports that a new restaurant called Heaven & H has opened at the same address where June Grace Lim was murdered outside her deli in June 2012. But rather than hide Lim’s shooting death, the restaurant pays tribute to Lim’s impact on the surrounding community with its name, menu items named for Lim, and a mural with her face.
Read more

WAMU Looks Back at the Crack Wars

We are almost a generation removed from the worst of the District’s crack epidemic, but the city still bears scars from the violence of the 1980s and ‘90s. WAMU looks back in a five-part series that is well worth your time:

Washington, D.C. is in the midst of major change — its population is growing, new high-rise buildings can be seen across the city, and the homicide rate is at historic lows. But 25 years ago, dealers sold crack at hundreds of open-air drug markets, addiction swept across entire neighborhoods, and the city came to be known as the “Nation’s Murder Capital.” In this five-part series, WAMU 88.5 explores the legacy of that era and how D.C. continues to grapple with an epidemic that affected families, neighborhoods, politicians, policemen, and schools.

Listen to the entire series here.

Weekend Read: Morgue Photos

The Washington Post this weekend writes about a DC practice which allows families to purchase post-autopsy photos of their deceased.

It’s unusual, but not unheard of, for medical examiners to provide families with photos of departed kin, although most often it’s done only after the autopsy, the police investigation and court proceedings are complete. Practices differ across the country: As a rule, Maryland does not release photos to relatives or to anyone else; Virginia does, free, under tightly controlled circumstances.
Read more