'We're Tired of Seeing the Yellow Tape'
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Ralph Anwan Glover plays a bad guy on HBO's crime drama "The Wire." Cross his crew, and you die.
In real life, the local go-go legend-turned-actor preaches nonviolence and urges youths to steer clear of his former life: carrying a gun, getting shot, going to jail.
Yesterday, he made another impassioned plea for restraint. This time, it was because his brother, Tayon Glover, was shot to death.
Two gunmen walked up to Tayon Glover about 10 p.m. Thursday and opened fire, fatally wounding him in the chest and stomach, police said. Two other men were wounded. No arrests have been made.
The homicide was the second in recent months in the 1400 block of Girard Street NW and the seventh this week in the District. Homicides in the city are up 6 percent, to 120, over the same period last year. Ralph Glover, known as Big G, Genghis or the Ghetto Prince, said the eye-for-an-eye code enforced by people "who think they're rough" would not solve anything.
"I'm very hurt my brother lost his life, but it ain't going to do no good for someone else to lose their life," Glover said yesterday during a news conference near the crime scene with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. "We're tired of seeing the yellow tape.
"We're tired of seeing the police harass people at all the wrong times," Glover said. "We want to see the police doing their jobs."
Fourteenth and Girard has a history of drug activity and violence -- a problem that persists even as condominiums rise nearby. Police were called there the night of June 2, when gunfire killed 13-year-old Terry Cutchin, a straight-A student who investigators say was hit by mistake. A day before that, a teenage girl was shot on the same block. City leaders have fought for more resources, some of which were in place at the time of Tayon Glover's shooting Thursday night.
"In this block, we had a police presence and cameras and a brand-new recreation center," Fenty (D) said. "But we've also got a proliferation of guns. Our job is to find more ways to get these guns off the street."
Police said they were attempting to sort out what happened and had no motives or suspects.
The Glovers have been involved in their share of violence. Ralph Glover said yesterday that he has been shot 13 times; he once wore those shootings as a badge of honor. But as his celebrity has risen -- from playing buckets on the streets, to fronting for the Back Yard go-go band, to the HBO series -- he has repeatedly been called on by city leaders to be a cause for change. For three years, he has been a close associate of Fenty's, appearing with him frequently to oppose violence.
He also had been working on his brother.
Tayon Glover, 29, had his own history of brushes with the law, pleading guilty in 1999 to misdemeanor assault. He was charged in 2001 in a shooting in the block where he later died. Court papers said he did not fire any shots but handed a gun to a friend involved in the shooting. He served a prison term after pleading guilty to a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon.
Since Tayon had left prison several years ago, lawyer and family friend Frances D'Antuono said, he had met the terms of his probation. "He was doing everything right," she said. "That's why it was doubly heartbreaking."
His uncle, Rhozier "Roach" Brown, a community activist who works with the Alliance of Concerned Men, said Tayon Glover recently had tried to mediate some beefs with youths near 17th and Euclid streets. He mostly wanted to find work as an electrician or enter job training, but cutting through the city's red tape was too daunting.
Yesterday's news conference and focus by the city came too late to save him and only left Brown with angry questions.
"All he was asking for was a damn job. It's just a damn shame," Brown said. "What does it take to save a man's life? Why is it that people only listen after the fact?"
Still, Tayon Glover remained too connected to a shadier side of street life, family members and friends said.
Walter Johnson, a mediator for Peaceoholics, a local anti-violence group, had known him since he was 18 and had been trying to persuade him to use his intelligence, street reputation and charisma to turn around troubled youths.
"He was a good young brother," Johnson said. "He was in the streets, but he was a good person. He saw things changing in the streets. The money wasn't there."
The Glover brothers grew up in Columbia Heights, where Tayon still lived with his mother. As kids, they rode bikes, visited the zoo and went fishing. Like his older brother, Tayon Glover was long and lanky and a snazzy dresser. "Shorty loved his tennis shoes. He liked to be fresh," Ralph Glover said.
Tayon Glover had five children and another on the way, and he was close to his mother. "That was mama's boy right there," his brother said.
Ralph Glover said he wasn't aware of anyone who wanted his brother dead but added -- without elaborating -- that when you're still living the life, danger can come from anywhere.
"Sometimes you just can't shake it," Ralph Glover said after rushing away from the news conference to fight back tears. "I was really trying to get him out of this. He was ready, but it happened too fast. It happened too fast."