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DISTRICT BRIEFING

Thursday, November 16, 2006

COLUMBIA HEIGHTS, SHAW

Gang Violence Has Declined, Mayor Says

Violence among Latinos in the neighborhoods of Columbia Heights and Shaw has declined dramatically since the District initiated a program to combat gangs, Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said yesterday.

Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, appearing with the mayor at a news conference in Columbia Heights, said that no Latino gang-related homicides have occurred in the District since October 2003.

The number of gang-related shootings and stabbings in Columbia Heights and Shaw declined from 40 in the four years before the District's initiative to five in the past three years.

The District launched the Gang Intervention Project in 2003 after a rash of violence, including a gun battle between two gangs on 16th Street NW, in which a bus driver was shot and a young man killed. As part of the effort, police worked with school officials and community organizations to identify gang members and to reduce tensions before they escalate.

-- Paul Schwartzman

northeast d.c.

Man Is Found Fatally Shot in Alley

A man was found shot to death yesterday morning in an alley in Northeast Washington in a neighborhood that has been plagued by gun violence in recent weeks, D.C. police said.

The man, who was shot in the head, was discovered in the 700 block of 24th Street NE, police said. As of last night, police had not identified him.

The latest incident brought to 11 the number of people shot -- three fatally -- in Northeast Washington since the beginning of October.

In response, D.C. police Cmdr. Jennifer Greene announced at a community meeting last night a "crime emergency" for Northeast Washington that will include beefed-up patrols.

-- Allan Lengel

FALSE INVOICE

Jemal Moves to Overturn Fraud Conviction

Downtown developer Douglas Jemal and his top leasing agent asked a federal judge to set aside their conviction on charges that they defrauded their financiers, or to grant them a new trial on that part of the case.

A jury acquitted Jemal and his top deputy, Blake Esherick, last month of the primary bribery charges against them, but convicted both of wire fraud involving a false invoice they presented to improperly use $430,000 in commercial loan funds. Esherick was also convicted of two counts of tax evasion for underreporting income.

Attorneys for Jemal and Esherick argued in court papers filed yesterday that the weight of the evidence does not support the jury's finding of wire fraud. Although the invoice they presented was false, the attorneys said, there was no proof that the two men had a criminal intent to harm or did harm their partners in using the funds.

-- Carol D. Leonnig

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