By Sheryl Estrada
Photo taken by Collin Rees during demonstrations Tuesday night.
Washington, D.C. released on Mondaythe transcriptof a911call that led to city police officers chasing, tackling and violently handcuffing 18-year-old college student Jason Goolsby on Oct. 12 for attempting to use an ATM.
At a news conference on Thursday,Goolsby’s attorney Peter Grenier said, “Jason and Michael [Brown] were brutalized by the Metropolitan Police Department for literally no other reason than the fact that they are Black.”
Grenier said the officer, who “originally tried to run [Goolsby] over, chased him and almost broke his arm,” after responding to a call that three Black men were at a Citibank ATM. The officer said to Goolsby, “A woman called and said that you made her feel ‘uncomfortable.'”
On the day of the incident, Goolsby, Brown and another friend had just completed an orientation and volunteer training to help troubled youth. They walked to Citibank so Goolsby, a musician, could use the ATM to withdraw money to pay for a recording session later that evening.
According to Grenier, Goolsby received a text message telling him the session had been canceled, so he was contemplating whether or not to take out funds. Goolsby saw a family of three coming in to use the ATM and thought they might need help getting the stroller through the door.
Transcribed Call for Sixth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE; 10-12-15:
Automated Recording: “D.C. 911 What is your emergency”
Caller: “Hi yes, umm, I want to report that there are 3, umm, teenagers in the Citibank on Pennsylvania Avenue and Seventh that are waiting at the door to let people in, but aren’t doing anything inside of the bank. Uh, we just left but we felt like if we had taken money out we might’ve gotten robbed. Umm, so”
911 operator: “For verification, repeat that location for me.”
Caller: “It’s uh, Pennsylvania Avenue and Seventh Street I’m sorry Sixth Street. Pennsylvania and Sixth; Citibank on Pennsylvania and Sixth South.”
911 operator: “You said it’s three of them”
Caller: “There is three, yeah three adolescences hanging out inside of the ATM section of the bank.”
911 operator: “Okay, we’ll have the police respond out. Were you able to get a description of any of them”
Caller: “Uhh, three umm African American boys with uhh like flat-top haircuts. One was about five-seven; one was about five-eleven. One had metal work in his teeth, umm all three had backpacks.”
911 operator: “And did you want to leave your name and number”
Caller: “Sure, it’s ***********.”
911 operator: Your phone number
911 operator: “OK, we’ll have the police to respond out to check them out.”
Caller: “OK, thank you. And I have to reiterate the only issue that really made it standout was that they were just they weren’t doing anything in the bank and as soon as we left they stayed. So, umm that was suspicious.”
911 operator: “No problem, we’re just going to check them out.”
Caller: “Alright, thank you.”
911 operator: “You’re welcome.”
Caller: “Bye, bye.”
Among complaints of police misconduct and wrongful detention, Grenier said he would be looking into civil rights violations under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments under the U.S. Constitution.
“My first instinct was to run [from the officers] because I didn’t want to die,” Goolsby said at the news conference. “I just don’t want this to ever happen again and I want to see justice.”
#TakeBackOurStreetsDC: Demonstrators March Tuesday Night
The frustrationof D.C. residents overGoolsby and Brown’s encounter with police adds to discontent regardingD.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’scontroversial proposalto reduce crime by essentially increasing law enforcement powers. Components of the bill include placing more police officers on the street and increasing warrantless searches of ex-offenders.
On Tuesday night more than 100 people, including members of the Black Lives Matter movement, marched from Congress Heights, a neighborhood that has seen increased gun violence, to the Seventh District Police Station.
Demonstrators said increasing wages and affordable housing are better ways to reduce violent crime. Activists have also accused the mayor of overlooking the role that rapid gentrification in recent years has played in isolating Black youth in the District.
According to the Washington Post, there has been a 40 percent increase in homicides in the city this year. Other major cities have seen an increase as well: “Washington is far from alone: Four of the nation’s largest cities, New York, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia, had recorded a rise in homicides by mid-July.”
Among changing explanations, Bowser, a first-term incumbent, recently attributed the increase in crimes to repeat violent offenders. However, the mayor’s plan was reviewed by the D.C. Attorney General’s office and may infringe upon constitutional rights.
“It permits suspicionless searches of parolees, probationers, those on supervised release, and those released pre-trial,” Deputy Attorney General Janet Robins wrote in a review completed last month. “These searches may give rise to meaningful constitutional challenges.”
The plan went before the D.C. Council at a hearing on Wednesday.
The hashtag #TakeBackOurStreetsDC was used when sharing photos and footage of Tuesday’s demonstrations on Twitter:
Collin Rees (@collinrees) October 21, 2015