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Don’t Look Back – Physically Assaulted On A MetroBus
|| 8/12/2010 || 11:58 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

This was first posted on Facebook to allay the concerns of my friends after reading the tweets:


Riding home on the 92 down U street- got on at 18th & Wyoming. Going 8 blocks down U. About 5 minutes after boarding a crazy dude behind me at about 7 rows back says something like ‘look back here again and I’ll kick your ass.’ Thinking it was someone else I looked back. Crazy dude walks up to my seat and proceeds to start swinging at me in my seat. Woman from behind me, about 3 rows back, in between he & I, pulls him away. The bus stops. He gets ejected off at 15 & U. I am asked if I want to press charges. Shaken, I felt my forehead, said No. One block later, this same crazy person, walks/runs to the next block to the 14th & U intersection, outside the McDonalds, and DEMANDS to get back on the bus being that he had already paid his fare. At this point a series of people get out their phones and call 911. I call myself and give my statement. The Darwin award goes to the man who waits for the police to arrive. 3 cars do. Then a couple more. A few people get off the bus to announce to the police what happened. I get up, apologize to the bus for hindering their commute, and as I step off the bus a police officer, last name Ali, asked if I was hit by the man. I said yes. He leaves and proceeds to arrest the crazy dude. It was painful to watch them take him down. He was placed in handcuffs on his belly. Two people from the bus came forward to give their eye-witness statements. The woman in her mid-20’s from Georgia who yanked the crazy dude off me (thank you) and the mid-20’s Asian man both gave their contact information. After all the police left, one by one, the last officer got out the camera, and he took a couple pictures of the welt on my forehead. One photograph included a millimeter measuring stick that actually measured the size of the red mark. I walked two blocks toward and ran into to one of the people I’ve known longer than anyone else in DC– JR Russ– who I had my first Thanksgiving in DC with. Story told. Walked the rest of the way home. Tired. No concussion. Needless drama. Needless pain. Don’t look back.


This is the third time I’ve been physically assaulted in the District of Columbia in the last three years…. The previous assaults happened on July 17, 2008 & October 28th, 2008



PLEA FOR RESTORATION OF ALEXANDRIA COUNTY – The Washington Times, April 13, 1902
|| 8/1/2010 || 12:35 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Of note, is that this very same article was published verbatim the following week on the same page in the same newspaper with a new title REUNION OF DISTRICT AND ALEXANDRIA.


Screengrab of the headline


Mr. H. Phillips Memorializes the District Committee.


MANY BURDENS IMPOSED


Caused by Proximity to District- Problems of Police Protection and Improvement of Public Highways Cited as Reasons for Re-annexation.


Mr. H. Phillips, a resident of Alexandria county, Va., who believes that the retrocession of that county is unconstitutional and that it still forms a part of the District of Columbia, has communicated to Congress his views on the question of restoration.

Mr. Phillips statement is addressed to the House Committee on the District of Columbia, and is as follows:


“In the year 1784, pursuant to paragraph 17, section 8, article 1, of the Federal Constitution, Virginia ceded to the United States a small area on the Potomac River to form part of the permanent seat of the General Government. In 1846 Congress passed an act ceding this land back to Virginia, thus dismembering the established seat of government of ten miles square. The portion returned to Virginia was organized as a separate county, only one-fourteenth of the average size of the counties of the State.

Burdensome Problems

“The problem of local police protection and improvement of public highways in the little county has become difficult and burdensome on account of the disorder and heavy travel incident to proximity to a large city.

“In 1861, the War Department and military forces again took practical possession of the county, building fortifications on every conspicuous eminence within its borders, and at the close of the war retained the Custis estate of eleven hundred acres, later paying for it and establishing a great national cemetery, a large military post, and a station of the Department of Agriculture, within its borders. The United States makes no contribution to the expenses of the local government, notwithstanding its ownership of one-sixteenth of the area and one-seventh of the property valuation of the county.

“The suburbs of cities are peculiarly subject to the presence of unlawful persons who resort to such points for illicit liquor selling, gambling, and other disorderly conduct near public highways. Especially is this observed on the Sabbath day. The residents of Alexandria county as a class are honorable, intelligent, and public spirited. The attorney for the county is active and successful in prosecuting offenders brought to his attention, and the judiciary resolute in sentencing law breakers. The police force of this small county, limited to a few men, receiving inadequate pay, cannot, however, prevent disorderly person entering the county from the city of Washington, or preserve order along the extensive river front. The history of municipal government shows that public order is thus difficult to preserve near boundary lines of a city. Malefactors constantly seek such border for the commission of unlawful acts, or to escape the strong arm of the law; hence cities are usually extended far beyond the limits of closely-built houses.

Sanitary Protection Needed.

“Sanitary protection, equally important to public welfare, requires that Alexandria county should be restored to the District of Columbia. Disease is carried to the limits of cities in deposits of water material, not only contaminating springs and water courses used by unsuspecting persons, but adding by exhalation to the other impurities of city air. Fire protection in suburbs also makes an extension of municipal limits desirable.

“It is also reasonable that cities control the maintenance of suburban parks and driveways, contributing to the health and pleasure of its residents. The circumscribed limits of walls and fortresses observed in the history of feudal towns should be thus brushed aside by the advance of science and civilization. The principles applicable to the extension of cities generally become more important when the seat of government and capital of a nation are concerned.

“So, disregarding the legal status of Alexandria county, there are important and practical reasons why it should be restored to the District of Columbia. It was urged in behalf of ceding part of the District of Columbia back to Virginia in 1846, that the United States had no property or buildings in Alexandria county. Now, we find the United States owns three bridges across the river, and in addition, a large share of the lands, buildings, and other improvements in the county, is the property of the National Government.

“An instance of the necessity of police protection occurred a few years ago. Coxey’s army came to Washington. They were ordered from the city and came over to Alexandria County and camped, and only moved when, upon application to the Governor, a company of troops bundled the army, bag and baggage, across the river. The executive officers of the Government, the judiciary, and members of Congress pass over this unpoliced area to and from Arlington National Cemetery. If injury comes to any official of the Government on the county highways from some criminal or insane person the Government is responsible for neglecting to maintain a jurisdiction imposed by the Constitution.

The Legal Question.

“It would seem, however, to be a proper subject for judicial inquiry, whether under the Federal Constitution, one or two of the three principal branches of Government have power to alienate a part of the established seat of government. The War Department has built on the county highways water mains, telegraph and telephone lines, and pumping station on land obtained for a bridge approaches in Alexandria county, without authority of Virginia, and without permission of the owners of the fee of the public highways, so if Alexandria county is lawfully part of Virginia, the United States is a trespasser without process of law or just compensation; but if the Supreme Court declares Alexandria county part of the District of Columbia, the Commissioners of the District of Columbia may at once provide for its police protection, and the Government improvements are within the legislative control of Congress.

“Congress has prohibited fishing at certain times, and in various methods in the waters of the Potomac, along the District. If Alexandria county is part of Virginia, such legislation is wholly unwarranted, and notwithstanding such legislation, Virginians have full riparian rights in the waters of the Potomac opposite Washington, subject only to Virginia laws.

“Jackson City has long been a menace to the moral of Washington, but if the establishment of the boundary of Maryland and Virginia has any reasonable interpretation, Jackson City is wholly in the District, and the Commissioners neglect their duties if they do not police Alexandria Island, and abate a stain on Washington city.

“Considering the restoration of Alexandria county to the District, in respect to the wishes of President Washington, it is most worthy of the attention of Congress. To the efforts of the first and most distinguished President, the location, plan, and success of the Capital may be justly ascribed. It will be a deserved tribute and honor to his memory to restore the original and proper limits surveyed and established under his person direction.

“Regarding the fitness of the proposed resolution, the Supreme Court has decided that the question is cognizable only in a case between the United States and the State of Virginia, and cannot be adjudicated between other parties. If the court decides Congress did not exceed its constitutional powers in ceding part of the seat of government to Virginia the controversy ends. If the court decides, however, Congress exceeded its powers, the jurisdiction of Congress, the courts, and Commissioners of the District will thenceforth extend over the entire ten miles square.

“The people of Alexandria county generally favor a restoration of the original District. Virginia does not wish to lose more territory. The United States paid $20,000,000 to Spain for a lot of foreign islands and proposes to $5,000,000 to Denmark for three little tropical islets, so it may not be unjust to contribute $1,000,000 toward the debt of the mother of States if Alexandria county is restored to the National Government.

“The Capital, the seat of general government, is important, however, not only to the in Washington, and in Virginia, but its preservation, its size, and location and its welfare are rights of and affect the people of the entire nation. The interests of the people, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from Canada to the Gulf and the detached territory, should be fully and justly considered in the action on the proposed resolution.

“It may urged, Why disturb a condition of dismemberment of the seat of government established for over fifty years? In reply, it may be justly stated there is no progress of civilization, or improvement of any description, that does not disturb existing conditions within lawful limits. If the object of the resolution is desirable for the Government and for the citizens directly and indirectly interested, if it is entirely within the powers and limitations of the Federal Constitution, and if the resolution is appropriate to the subject matter, it should be adopted.”


This newspaper article was transcribed from a scan of the original newspaper article on Chronicling America. It is being republished here in order to continue my advocacy for full representation for the American citizens of the District of Columbia.



Violent Crime In My Neighborhood Has Increased Over 100% in the Last Year
|| 9/22/2009 || 1:43 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Last week my City Councilmember, Jim Graham, sent an e-mail about the drop in crime over the last 30 days to my neighborhood association listserv and included various local government officials like the DC Police Chief, Cathy Lanier. The e-mail featured two graphs of data from DC’s Crime Map that covered the police service area of my neighborhood and showed the crime statistics of August to September of 2008 compared to August to September of 2009. What the graph lacked, however, was the hyperlocal angle of the crime taking place in the immediate vicinity of the block that we live on and the larger picture showing the other 11 months of crime data.

As a two-time victim of violent crime last year in my neighborhood, on my front doorstep & at the end of the block, I was fully aware that the data in the graphs included me, so I felt compelled to use the very same tool my councilmember used to analyze the extent of the crimes that have recently taken place. The result genuinely stunned me and I proceeded to respond to his e-mail (text below) with the two maps (above & below) that show the various crimes that have taken place in my neighborhood.

+ MORE



YouTube Video of an Arrest Last Night Outside of the 7-11 at 12th & U Street, NW, DC
|| 8/31/2009 || 5:33 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Last night I had just finished playing movies at Restaurant Marvin and was heading home on my bicycle. I decided to get a snack before I arrived home and the only place open at that time was the nearby 7-11. As I arrived at the corner of 12th & U street, I saw the two men struggling on the ground, with one man in a headlock, and the 7-11 employee had just rushed back into the store. Right after I dismounted my bicycle, I could hear the police sirens approaching, so I pulled out my camera and began filming the moment they arrived. While I was recording, I was also trying to lock my bicycle to the pole, so there are a few times when I accidentally placed my finger over the microphone and/or the camera hits the pole itself. After I lock my bike up, and it looked as though the police had the area under control, I made my way inside and stopped recording. When I left the store I started recording again and made my way back over to where my bicycle was locked. This time I placed the camera on the ground below the pole while I unlocked my bicycle, and a few moments later I picked up the camera and rode home.

Being that I arrived at the scene after the two men had already begun struggling, I cannot remark on the nature of what happened before I got there. I’m am happy that no one was shot or killed and the police did not appear to use excessive force when detaining the man. I will update this entry if & when I find the police report.



A passive-agressive note to my Dear Neighbor in the English Basement
|| 7/20/2009 || 8:39 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

You’ve seen the website? This is my quasi-contribution. Its too bad the neighbor never followed up and contacted me. I just hope he doesn’t get mugged!



Protest videos from the first day of the RNC in St. Paul, Minnesota
|| 9/2/2008 || 3:25 pm || Comments Off on Protest videos from the first day of the RNC in St. Paul, Minnesota || ||

Below are a selection of videos from yesterday:



Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! is illegally arrested

View the rest:

+ MORE



Assaulted on my doorstep [2 hours after returning to DC]
|| 7/18/2008 || 9:30 am || 11 Comments Rendered || ||

Instead of rewriting the entire account, I am posting the e-mail I wrote to the listserv of my neighborhood association:

Neighbors,

I’m sorry to be writing my ‘return to DC’ e-mail in this context but I feel compelled to share this since it just happened.

For the last 7 days I’ve been in Colorado; first for my mother’s wedding, then for a night in the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park, and finally to spend some time with friends in Boulder & Denver. I arrived back on Westminster Street at 12:30am after being delayed for 2 hours in Denver. Since I was not tired yet, I decided to go to my favorite nearby watering hole on 14th & T. After one hour and one drink, I decided to ride my bike back to my house.

Upon arriving on Westminster Street, at approximately 1:36am I dismounted my bicycle behind Mr. Lewis’ white pickup truck parked in front of Mr. Brown’s house. As I passed behind my the truck and was turning toward my front door, I noticed 3 African Americans in their mid-20’s had stopped their car in the middle of the street and started to approach me. The tallest of the three wearing a white tank top and khaki jeans pretended to have a pistol in his back pocket and demanded what I had in my pockets. I backed up to my doorstep refusing their request, using my bicycle as a wall (which did not help much). They came up the steps continuing to demand what I had in my pockets. After refusing again, telling them to go away and that I was at my home, I was punched in the face & body multiple times by the three and was able to fend them off by fighting back and because I was not being knocked out cold by the punches to the face. They did not steal anything from me because I refused and fought back.

Before they drove off, I was able to run into the street and catch much of their license plate: A102108 / A101208 / A108021 (one of the variations [all turned out to be incorrect]), which was a Maryland plate with the orange, yellow, and black hues known as the “agricultural plate.” If my memory serves me, it was a mid/late-90’s gold Ford Thunderbird that they were driving (the car has a uniquely shaped trunk). I called the police who arrived within 5 minutes. Since I was bleeding from the lip the officer had the fire & ambulance come, but I signed the document refusing service ($$!!). There was one woman down the block who witnessed it all and ran inside for her safety. I have her contact information but I don’t think it will matter much because she was so far away and was scared enough to run inside– “I knew something was up when I saw them approach you, so I ran inside” (which I would have done too in her position– by herself at night).

In conclusion, this was the type of freak assault that is really really really hard to prevent. If you have people willing to commit that type of crime, there is very little we can do as a community to prevent it. I ride my bicycle at night for this very reason. Its one thing to be jumped because you are walking down the street alone at night, its a completely different issue when you are literally assaulted on your front doorstep. I moved to the neighborhood in May of 2004 and this is the first time something like this has happened to me. Its just very frustrating because I had just arrived back in the city and was refreshed after being in a place I cherish. Tomorrow I expect to receive a call from the MPD’s detective and I hope to hear some good news, but I’m not keeping my hopes up. If there is any type of follow-up, I will share it.

Your neighbor with cut lips & very sore jaw,
Nikolas Schiller

ps
Keep an eye out for this car:
http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/bm/94-97tbird.htm
I don’t think that’s the exact car, but its as close as my memory recalls.


I ultimately received dozens of kind e-mails from my neighbors, multiple e-mails from my city councilmember, e-mails from the DC Police, and even a hand written note from a police sergeant explaining why they parked a cop car in front of my house.

This type of response was downright flattering and it made me realize that while I might live a somewhat dangerous city, I live in a community that cares about the wellbeing of its residents.


Why the caption: “sometimes memories are worth fighting for” ?

Well in my pockets were not only my wallet and cellphone, but my brand new digital camera that I had purchased to document my mother’s wedding & excursions in Colorado. Had the thugs pulled out a gun or a knife I would have surrendered everything, but they didn’t, and I knew that if I would have voluntarily handed them the contents I would have lost all the photographs & video clips forever. I’ve heard of stories where thugs have allowed their victims the opportunity to remove the camera’s memory card before stealing the camera, but I was not about to take that chance. I held my ground, got a least one solid punch off (my ring left a scare on my hand indicating that I punched the guy hard enough for the ring dig into my skin), and was able to fight to retain my memories. Memories which I hope to share on this blog in the next few days.


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  • thank you,
    come again!