At around 2:20 p.m. Thursday, a man threw a copy of the day’s Washington Post though a gate outside the South Lawn of the White House. Seconds later, another man, at the north end of the presidential compound, tossed a home movie of a trip he took from Arlington on 9/11.
The incidents sent Secret Service agents scrambling and caused officials to place the White House on security lockdown for 90 minutes. The men, who say they did not know each other, were immediately arrested and charged with “throwing a stone or missile,” a violation in the District and punishable by a $500 fine.
On Friday, after spending a night in D.C. jail, the men, in separate hearings, stood before a D.C. Superior Court judge, pleaded not guilty and were released until their next court hearings, ending an eventful week of security lockdowns at The White House.
According to charging documents from the Office of the Attorney General, Erriche Von Greenbrier, who threw the newspaper, told officers he wanted to deliver a message and several gifts to the president and first lady. The president was out of town Thursday, headlining Democratic Party fundraisers in California.
Greenbrier, 44, of Woodland, Calif., had highlighted in pink marker several articles in the newspaper, according to the documents. Outside the courtroom, wearing flip flops and an oversized T-shirt that said “Rescue Mission,” he said he slept “wherever I lay my head,” which is often in D.C. parks.
Greenbrier said he did not throw the newspaper at the White House, but threw it at the gate. He said the newspaper slipped through the bars and fell inside the White House grounds. Greenbrier’s next hearing is scheduled for May 19.
Security at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW had been heightened this week. On Tuesday, the White House was placed on lockdown for more than an hour after a motorist inadvertently followed the motorcade carrying President Obama’s daughters into the secure perimeter for the compound. That man was arrested, charged with a misdemeanor and later released.
As Greenbrier’s case was being called before Magistrate Judge Karen Howze, Evan Jerrold Graham’s mother sat in the hallway waiting for her son. She had gotten a call, she said, from the Secret Service about her 42-year-old son, who was arrested for throwing a videotape through the White House gate. “Evan always liked drama,” his mother said.
Graham, who was on probation for a 2011 charge of reckless endangerment and carrying a handgun in Prince George’s County, said he did not throw the videotape, but instead, the tape fell on the ground between the bars.
After his hearing, Graham said the videotape was a home movie he recorded during a trip he made from Arlington to his home in Capitol Heights. He said the tape was made on Sept. 11, 2001, and he wanted to provide the tape to FBI agents but did not know how. Graham was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation. His next hearing was scheduled for May 21.
Both men said they did not know each other, despite being asked repeatedly by officers. Prosecutors, after investigating both cases, charged both men separately.