When D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray was arrested for blocking a street on Capitol Hill during a protest Monday, it was the latest in a string of high-drama events associated with Gray’s months-old administration.
There was the time Gray (D) launched an independent probe into his own administration after allegations that he’d promised former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown an administration job if he’d continue attacking then-Mayor Adrian Fenty.
Then there was Council Chairman Kwame Brown’s request for a fully-loaded Lincoln Navigator just hours after the election. (He actually ended up receiving two after the first one failed to meet his specifications.)
But Gray’s activism in the name of D.C. autonomy might’ve changed the public’s perception of him. Gray and six council members joined a crowd of about 200 near the Capitol, alleging that the District was used as a “bargaining chip” in the federal budget battle. (Included in the overall $38 billion in spending cuts is a provision that would ban federal and local funding for abortions for low-income women in the District.)
In what was definitely the first time a mayor had live-tweeted his own arrest, Gray sent social-savvy readers into a frenzy Monday afternoon:
Getting arrested on the Hill for DC autonomy @DCVote
Six council members, including Brown (D), were also arrested in the protest, and it seems as though Twitter was the broadcast medium of choice. In the process, a pro-autonomy hash tag — #dcfightsback — was born:
Looks like I will be late for dinner. About to be handcuffed and taken to jail #DCfightsback
Because he was locked up throughout Monday evening and into Tuesday morning, Gray’s staff took to Twitter to give his followers updates. Shortly after his release, Gray went on an early morning media tour to put the issue of D.C. autonomy into the national spotlight, pointing out that the District should be allowed to spend its local tax dollars as it sees fit.
“I’m tired of being a pawn in a political game,” Gray told CNN. “All we want is to be able to spend our own money.”
For D.C. residents, it’s been a long, strange road. And we’re only four months in. Tell us:Tweet Did Gray's arrest change your perception of him?
Describe your feelings about the Gray administration in one word using the hash tag #grademayorgray and we’ll post your responses back here.
Check out these reactions on Storify: