Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) is raising concerns about what she sees as the poor response of the Metropolitan Police Department after a man pulled a gun on her Wednesday afternoon as she tried to help a MetroAccess driver who was being robbed.
Alexander was leaving home and was in the 3400 block of Highwood when she saw two men standing over the driver laying facedown on the sidewalk. The driver's car was parked. "I just figured they were trying to help him," she said, adding that other cars had passed.
She rolled down her window: "Do you need some help? What's going on?"
One man got in front of her SUV while the other approached her passenger's side. "The one on the passenger's side pulled out a gun. He said, 'Keep it moving.'"
She then circled back: the men were gone and the MetroAccess driver had gotten up. "I was just so glad he was okay," she said.
But Alexander grew upset by the absence of responders. "We're both still there. No police. No ambulance. No nothing," she said.
A firetruck then arrived, and a police officer came afterward. She said she has learned that the police were responding to "an unconscious individual" though she told the 911 dispatcher that she was a council member and a gun was involved.
"Why was a firetruck there before the police?" she asked.
Alexander said she has learned that her neighbor also stopped and had a gun pulled on her. The neighbor, who did not have a cell phone, drove around the neighborhood looking for a patrol officer.
The council member, who once had her purse stolen from her car while at a gas station, said she was reluctant to publicize the incident.
"You hear about cabs not wanting to come to Southeast. Now, MetroAccess is thinking the same thing. Do we want to risk our drivers' safety? Oftentimes, they get out to help people get to their doors because they're disabled," Alexander said.
Alexander said she has consulted Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary. She said he may hold a hearing on emergency response.
-- Nikita Stewart