Trayon A. White, a member of the D.C. State Board of Education, was arrested Saturday and charged with a misdemeanor count of unlawful entry.
The arrest was made by D.C. Housing Authority police at the Woodland Terrace project in Ward 8, where White is well known as a community activist.
White, in an interview Tuesday, said he was arrested Saturday afternoon while on a routine “ride-through” of the 234-unit housing project. “I do that all the time,” he said.
Police, he said, stopped him and told him was in violation of an order barring him from the property. He disputes having seen any order.
”To this day, I have never seen a bar notice or have seen why I have been barred,” said White, 27, who lives about two miles away, in the Washington Highlands neighborhood. He did sign a stay-away order Monday as a condition of his release from jail.
White pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Monday; a court hearing is set for Oct. 25. A DCHA spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.
White is also facing misdemeanor traffic charges filed in August accusing him of driving an unregistered vehicle and misusing temporary license tags. He has pled not guilty to those charges.
A first-time political candidate, White won office in an April special election with the support of D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) and the Washington Teachers’ Union, pulling out a surprise victory over several political veterans.
In discussing the incidents, White said that he has been targeted by police, dating back to a 2007 lawsuit he filed accusing officers of assaulting him. Records show the case was settled in 2008.
He claimed that $300 he had on his person during his arrest Saturday was not returned by police upon release. He wants it back.
”They’re going to get it straight,” he said. “Everybody knows what I do in this community. That’s what I do, man, they know what I do.”
UPDATE, 9/28: Housing Authority spokeswoman Dena Michaelson said officials are reviewing the circumstances of White’s barring from Woodland Terrace, which occured on Aug. 18.
“We recognize that Mr. White is a community advocate in Ward 8, and we have worked with him in the past,” she said.