News

Sweep of local bars leads to student arrests

By the

March 22, 2001


Twenty-two Georgetown students were arrested over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend by the Metropolitan Police Department at four Georgetown bars. Last Thursday night, 18 students were charged with underage possession of alcohol, one for underage drinking and one for drinking in public.
All of the students were brought to the 2nd District headquarters after being arrested and kept in the 2nd District cell. They were later transported downtown to be detained overnight at the Central Cell Block in D.C. Metro Headquarters, located on Indiana Ave. The students’ arraignments were held the following morning, and they were released shortly afterwards.
Five other Georgetown students were arrested for alcohol-related violations on Friday and Saturday nights.
This weekend’s large number of arrests came in conjunction with the MPD’s Partnership for Problem Solving Initiative. This initiative began approximately one and a half years ago, but has not been fully implemented until now, said Lt. Brian Bray MPD’s 2nd district.
The program involves a partnership between Metro officers, community leaders and public organizations, such as the Department of Transportation, Bray said.
On the night of March 16, Metro officers investigated four local Georgetown bars: Rhino Bar and Pumphouse on M Street, the Tombs on 36th St., Chadwicks on K Street and Champions on the intersection of M Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Twelve students were charged with underage possession of alcohol at Chadwicks, four were charged at Champs, one at Rhino’s and one person at the Tombs.
Bray, who heads the police service area which includes the University, said that Georgetown residents have said alcohol-related problems are the most pressing issues needed to be dealt with in the area. Residents often bring up the problems of underage and disorderly drinking and wild parties, he said.
Bray disagreed, saying, “In my PSA, since I’ve gotten here, the biggest problems are burglaries and cars being broken into, but these problems are never identified … [Alcohol-related problems] affect a lot of people, but it is not a safety thing,” Bray said.
Bray said that he did not think the initiative or other MPD programs, such as Stop Underage Drinking headed by Lt. Patrick Burke which began this January, will stop the alcohol-related problems that concern University neighbors.
“You can get them all you want, but it’s not going to stop them. What can you expect with a university down the block with a strip of bars? You can stop underage drinking, but people will still drink,” he said.
Bray said that his superior officer Captain Mike Jacobs of the Second District was in charge of this weekend’s arrests. He said that Jacobs planned to conduct similar police sweeps of the local Georgetown bars every one or two weeks, depending on the number of officers on duty during these times.
Bray said that on the night of the 16th, Jacobs rounded up all of the officers on duty on the midnight shift to sweep the local bars.
Georgetown student Patrick Dillon-Hughes (CAS ‘04) said that he was outside of Chadwicks when Metro officers began to arrest students last Saturday night. Dillon-Hughes estimated that he saw at least eight patrol cars and two paddywagons outside of the bar.
“The cops were dragging people up against the wall … they were pretty rough with a couple of kids, ripping stuff out of their wallets,” Dillon-Hughes said. “Kids started getting out of there as fast as possible when it became apparent that the cops were arresting people,” he said.
Dillon-Hughes, who said that he knew several people who were arrested on March 16, said he had been told that those arrested were treated badly by officers while at Metro headquarters.
“The kids weren’t treated well at all. They put eight kids into one cell, and in five hours they were only given two glasses of water,” he said.
Bray said that he thought students were generally treated better by officers than other arrested individuals. “One of the things I’ve noticed, the officers treat students better than the average thug on the street,” he said. “When you’re arrested, you’re pissed off, you’re going to perceive that you’re being mistreated,” Bray added.
Dillon-Hughes also said that he saw Metro officers using plastic “flex-cuffs” instead of metal handcuffs during the arrests. He said that he had heard that a Metro officer accidentally cut the wrist of one of the arrested female students while removing the handcuffs. “They had to send a police escort to take her to D.C. General [Hospital],” he said.
Bray said that “flex-cuffs,” which are heavy-duty plastic strips that can be linked together to form handcuffs, are used for mass arrests of more than two or three people. Officers can carry several flex-cuffs on their belt at a time, while each officer only has one or two pairs of metal handcuffs, he said.
Bray said that he had not heard about the student being cut on Saturday night, but said that, although it was rare, this had occurred in other instances. “[Flex-cuffs] have to be cut with big wire cutters. If cut too near the skin, you can cut the person,” he said.
Bray said that significant amount of grant money had been allocated for underage drinking programs at MPD. “Within the next four years, when they pass the [Congressional] bill about the Intellicheck machine, every state will have to come online with their identification,” he said. The present “Intellicheck” machine, the ID-checking technology implemented by Metro officers in the SUDs program, only recognizes ID cards from 26 out of the 50 states.
Lewis Earle, owner of Champions, said that they were taking means to prevent underage drinking. “We’re doing the best we can … Intellicheck only checks 26 states, and we live in an area where all 50 states are represented. As soon as they get a machine which can check all 50 states, I’ll be the first in line to get it,” Earle said.



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