The Washington Post

D.C. residents who witnessed brawl fault police response

A reported street brawl in the District’s Trinidad neighborhood Friday night left a vehicle damaged and led one couple to file a complaint with police over what they described as the responding officer’s “nonchalant” attitude about the incident.

Eva Nash said that she and her husband heard shouts outside their house in the 1200 block of Neal Street NE shortly after 11 p.m. They looked out to see a crowd of 20 to 30 people of various ages on the street and sidewalks, with at least three separate fights underway. Nash watched as one person slammed another onto her car, denting the hood.

When Nash — who, like her husband, is an Army veteran — went outside to confront the men, someone wearing a ski mask used a racial slur, told her to shut up and threatened to kill her, she said.

Authorities said the fight prompted at least two calls, one of which was placed by Nash’s husband. When a police cruiser arrived, Nash said it pulled up slowly and most of the fighters scattered.

“[The responding police sergeant] didn’t seem to be concerned when he got out of the car,” Nash said. “He didn’t make any move to detain any of them.”

She said she pointed out the still-masked man who had made the threat. The sergeant looked at the man but did not approach him, she said. Instead, he asked the Nashes if they wanted to file a report.

When Vinson Nash went to the 5th District station Saturday to complain about the response, he was told that officers are instructed not to engage large crowds if it might put them in danger.

Eva Nash said Monday that she had been contacted by 5th District Cmdr. Diedra Porter and the two had what she described as a “satisfying” conversation.

Porter said she could not comment on the specifics of the Nashes’ complaint until the review process was complete.

“When a citizen files a complaint we do a thorough investigation and then notify the citizen of our finding,” Porter said.

Steve Hendrix came to The Post more than ten years ago from the world of magazine freelancing and has written for just about every page of the paper: Travel, Style, the Magazine, Book World, Foreign, National and, most recently, the Metro section’s Enterprise Team.

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