This week I’m focusing our newsletter on updating you about the charges filed against officers involved in Karon Hylton-Brown’s death, as well as WMATA’s announcement on plans to make Northern Bus Garage the first all-electric bus facility in the DC region.
Ward 4 also has some big events this weekend! Tonight into tomorrow we are celebrating DC Art All Night with Uptown Main Street, Upper Georgia Avenue Main Street, and then the Parks Main Street in Manor Park. Tomorrow will also bring the return of the Celebrate Petworth festival. And then Sunday we’ll have the Fall Fun Fest at the Soldiers Home!
Check out my updates, more events, and community resources below.
Update on Karon Hylton-Brown
Officers Involved in Karon’s Death Indicted for Murder and Obstruction
Karon Hylton-Brown was a 20-year-old DC resident, son, grandson, father, partner, friend, and beloved community member. He should still be with us. Instead, Karon was tragically killed after being chased while driving a moped through narrow streets and alleys by officers, in clear violation of MPD’s policy restricting vehicular pursuits.
Today we learned that Officer Terence Sutton was charged with murder by the US Attorney’s Office for DC for his role in Karon’s death, and that both Officer Sutton and Lieutenant Andrew Zabavsky have been charged with obstruction of justice for delaying to report what happened to Karon and conspiring to cover up the unauthorized pursuit that led to Karon’s death. The officers’ actions detailed in the charging document show a reckless disregard for human life. Both officers will now be suspended without pay.
This indictment is not justice for Karon. Justice would be Karon still being with us. But this is a necessary first step towards accountability and healing. It comes after repeated protests and calls for accountability from Karon’s family, friends, and community. And it comes after a yearlong wait and repeated outreach by my office to USAO, as well as a press conference outside of USAO headquarters to call attention to the long delay in this investigation.
I hope that our justice system – which has failed so many other Black men and women in cases of police brutality – delivers a fair outcome for Karon and his loved ones. I will continue to monitor this case closely.
As we work to end gun violence, our laws and our justice system must consistently model the principle that Black Lives Matter. Accountability and confronting gun violence are not mutually exclusive. Accountability builds trust. Trust builds relationships. And positive relationships lead to vibrant communities where all of us are safe. In order to break cycles of violence and trauma, we need to recognize the humanity of one another. The young people I spoke to on Kennedy Street today felt seen and believed by their government for the first time. We must keep bringing the resources and building the relationships that are needed to transform our communities.
Earlier this year I introduced legislation to strengthen DC’s ban on vehicular pursuits and to codify it into law. I’m hopeful that this legislation will pass unanimously in the DC Council as part of our accountability efforts. We need to help ensure that what happened to Karon Hylton-Brown never happens again.
I continue to pray and share my condolences with Karon’s parents, grandmother, family, and friends. My hope is that this first step of accountability will bring relief as they continue to mourn. Let us continue to do the work of building peace in our neighborhoods by upholding the sacredness of every human life.
Ward 4 News and Legislative Updates
Northern Bus Garage to Be First All-Electric Bus Facility, but Not Nearly Soon Enough
This week WMATA announced that Northern Bus Garage will become its first all-electric bus garage, with infrastructure and equipment needed to run 100% electric vehicles. WMATA plans to reconstruct the facility but preserve the 14th Street façade of the historic building while installing air filtration systems, solar panels, and additional LEED characteristics. The announcement aligned with what WMATA has been telling Sixteenth Street Heights neighbors in its community engagement meetings for a long time.
While I’m proud that Ward 4 will be home to the first all-electric bus facility in our region, major questions remain unaddressed. In its initial announcement WMATA committed that the new Northern Bus Garage would “open with a mix of battery-electric and diesel-electric hybrid vehicles, transitioning to 100% electric.” This would have been a helpful step given neighbors’ strong concerns about the health impact of diesel fumes in a dense residential area, sustainability, and noise from diesel buses. But then WMATA backtracked on that commitment, updating its press release to say the facility would instead open with “a mix of the current Metrobus fleet and new battery-electric vehicles (emphasis added).” This suggests that the reconstructed Northern Bus Garage could open with a significant number of diesel buses that could remain in place for many years until WMATA converts its entire fleet to electric buses.
The underlying issue here is that WMATA’s timeline for converting its entire bus fleet to electric buses by 2045 is far too delayed. We need a faster transition that aligns with our region’s sustainability goals and the urgent reality of climate change. Other jurisdictions have much more aggressive plans for zeroing out emissions. The DC Council will host a roundtable on the need to accelerate the electrification of WMATA’s bus fleet next week on Thursday, September 30 starting at 1pm. I strongly encourage residents to submit written testimony to the Committee of the Whole on this issue by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a short, clear voicemail message at 202-430-6948 to emphasize the need for faster electrification and how it impacts Northern Bus Garage. I will be at the roundtable raising these issues with WMATA myself.
Lastly, I want to emphasize one thing: the original commitment that WMATA made in its press release to only place hybrid and electric buses at Northern Bus Garage when it opens is entirely reasonable. As you can see in the graph below, even under WMATA’s own slow transition plan, only about 20% of its bus fleet will be diesel-only vehicles by the time Northern Bus Garage is completed. WMATA can and should avoid placing diesel-only buses vehicles at Northern Bus Garage while working to speed up the electrification of its entire bus fleet. This can be done without disrupting the vital role that public transit plays in our daily lives. Thank you to the neighbors for their tireless advocacy on this. It’s clear we need to continue to push.
Celebrate Petworth! On Saturday, September 25 between 11am-5pm Celebrate Petworth makes its grand return. This is a free neighborhood festival organized by and for the residents of Petworth—celebrating the creativity, diversity, culture, and people of Petworth and its surrounding neighborhoods. It takes place on the 800 block of Upshur Street NW and features a Kids Zone with music, a Fire Engine, a soda explosion experiment, chalking, and a Balloon Bounce Community Art Project! Gather more details in Petworth News.
Used Book Sale at Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park Library! On Friday, September 24 from 2pm-5:30pm (today!) and Saturday, September 25 (tomorrow!) from 10am-4pm there will be a used book sale at the Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park Library (7420 Georgia Ave NW). They’ll have more than 1000 books for sale, and they’ll be priced to move! All proceeds will help the Friends of the Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park library in its efforts to prevent the recommendation by D.C. Public Library that Shepherd Park Library be shut down at some point in the future.
The Parks Main Street Art All Night. On Friday evening, September 24 the Parks Main Street will host Art All Night, a free arts festival that showcases performances from musical, visual, and movement artists. If you’re interested in performing or vending at the festival, fill out this form. And get your free tickets at this link!
Uptown Main Street Art All Night on Kennedy Street! On Friday, September 24 from 4pm-12am Uptown Main Street will host Art All Night 2021! This free arts festival will include live music, fire dance, Bollywood class, artisan markets, comedy, a documentary screening, visual arts and more! Check out the full schedule on Uptown Main Street’s website! You can also volunteer by emailing email@example.com.
Art All Night Brings Film and Fun to Georgia Avenue! On Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25 Upper Georgia Avenue Main Street is organizing a weekend of fun for the city’s annual Art All Night celebration. On Friday, September 24 at 7pm kick off the weekend at Cinema Night + Art All Night Launch on the Great Lawn at The Parks at Walter Reed. Then, come out again on Saturday, September 25 at 7pm for four more Art All Night activations along Georgia Avenue:
- Arts & culture walk featuring jazz at Nile Ethiopian Restaurant, visual arts at Tomoka Coffee House, poetry readings led by Huffington Post contributor and founder of Day Eight Robert Bettmann, Zenith Gallery pop-up and mobile woodshop at PS2G, and more in the 7300-7800 blocks of Georgia Ave NW.
- African cultural bands and ping pong in the 6400 block of Georgia Ave NW.
- Family-friendly comedy talk show led by Brandon Wetherbee, who has performed at the Kennedy Center and was featured in Washingtonian Magazine, at the Emory United Methodist Church, 6100 Georgia Ave NW.
- Latin American cultural bands with art and retail vendors in front of the Fourth District MPD Headquarters, 6001 block of Georgia Ave NW.
Shepherd Park Weed Warriors Host Weed Wrangle! On Saturday, September 25 from 9am-12pm the Shepherd Park Weed Warriors will be holding their inaugural event at Shepherd Field (between Kalmia and Jonquil adjacent to Shepherd Elementary School) and all are invited to attend! They’ll begin removing the invasive plants and vines that are growing on the slope between the playing field and the school. With training from the National Park Service, Weed Warriors will be leading this effort as part of a region-wide “Weed Wrangle” event in honor of National Public Lands Day. They will teach volunteers how to identify invasive and native plants and how to effectively and safely remove the invasive ones. Bring: water, work gloves, pruners, and loppers if you have them, and wear sturdy shoes and long pants. Please email Shepherdparkweedwarriors@gmail.com with any questions about this great volunteer opportunity!
3100 Oliver St NW Block Party. If you live by the 3100 Block of Oliver Street NW, join your neighbors this Saturday, September 25 from 4pm-6:30pm between the alleys for a neighborhood block party! Bring food and drinks to share, as well as a mask to keep things safe. There’s nothing as great as as a Ward 4 block party!
Fall Fun Festival Returns to the Soldiers Home! On Sunday, September 26 from 1pm-5pm Friends of the Soldiers Home is hosting its annual Fall Fun Festival. It’ll be at the Soldiers Home (enter at Rock Creek Church Rd & Randolph St NW) and will feature music, food trucks, kids activities, a pumpkin patch, and more! They’re also seeking volunteers for that day if any of you can help out. Learn more in Petworth News.
Shepherd Park Community Yard Sale. On Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3 the Shepherd Park Citizens Association will be hosting a community yard sale with dozens of homes participating. If you’re a Shepherd Park resident sign up to be part of the community yard sale (free for SPCA members, $20/day for nonmembers). A map with street addresses for all participating homes will be circulated on the day of the sale. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. The deadline to sign up your home as a yard sale location is today!
Save the Date: Open Streets Returns to Georgia Avenue. On Saturday, October 2 from 10am-3pm Open Streets will return to Georgia Avenue in Wards 1 and 4. During that time period, a miles-long stretch of Georgia Avenue will close to cars and will instead host an urban festival of activities ranging from food, drinks, fitness classes, obstacle courses, children’s games, live music, and other educational and entertainment programming.
Save the Date: Down in the Reeds Festival. On Saturday, October 9 from 11am-7pm Down in the Reeds Festival is back in Ward 4 hosted by The Parks at Walter Reed! It’s a free all-day festival celebrating the power of music to heal across communities and cultures. Check out the website for ways to plug in and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for updates as the festival takes shape.
Ward 4 Weekly Farmer’s Markets. We have:
- Tuesdays at 11am-2pm: Produce Stand at The Parks at 6922 Georgia Ave NW
- Saturdays at 9am-1pm: Petworth Community Market at Upshur St & 9th Street
- Saturdays at 9am-1pm: Uptown Market at 5500 Colorado Ave NW
- Sundays at 10am-2pm: Farmers Market at the Parks at 6922 Georgia Ave NW
DC Health Advises Eligible Residents to Receive Their Booster Shot! Today DC Health issued a press release encouraging eligible residents to get their third COVID vaccine booster shot. The CDC had already recommended that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system) receive three doses of a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The updated guidance now advises additional following groups to get their booster shot too. Details here.
WMATA and USPS Are Hiring! Please help us spread the word that WMATA and USPS are hiring! These is really important because staff shortages are tied to issues we’ve had with bus service and mail delivery in Ward 4. These are good, union jobs that could make a wonderful career for you, your family member, or neighbor. WMATA is partnering with Councilmember Silverman for a virtual job fair on September 27 and September 28 to share more information. And USPS is hosting two drive-through career fairs on September 25 (tomorrow) and October 2.
DDOT Extends 2020 Annual Visitor Parking Passes. We’ve heard from many of you about issues with DDOT’s new centralized parking permit system, ParkDC. This week DDOT announced that the 2020 Annual Visitor Parking passes will remain valid through the end of 2021, providing more time for DC residents living on Residential Permit Parking (RPP) blocks and their visitors to sign up for and start managing their visitor parking permits through the new ParkDC Permits online portal.
The Parks at Walter Reed Neighborhood History Project. The Parks at Walter Reed is partnering with the DC History Center on a history-gathering project in fall 2021 to uncover historical facts and stories from the people and neighborhoods surrounding the former historic Walter Reed Army Medical Center. They want to honor and elevate the stories of people who worked, lived, and played on and around the campus and the historically Black communities nearby. Do you have stories to tell? Please get out your photo albums and stay tuned for three community meeting dates this fall! To receive updates on the process, fill out this brief form. More details will be posted on their website in the coming weeks.
Functioning Smoke Detectors Save Lives. Last week a house on Rittenhouse Street caught fire, putting two elderly residents’ lives at risk. Thanks to smoke detectors and the courageous response of Fourth District officers, our neighbors received help evacuating the home to safety. This is a powerful reminder to ensure your smoke detector is functioning, and to take advantage of DC’s free smoke alarm program if needed.
Senior Housing Available at The Appleton at Spring Flats (Old Hebrew Home). The Appleton at Spring Flats (redeveloped at the site of the Old Hebrew Home is now accepting applications for DC seniors who are 62+ years old. They offer 1 Bedroom, 1 Bath Homes at $1,028-$1,248 per month. The minimum income requirement is $24,672, while the maximum income requirement for 1 person is $45,150. Check out their application packet and the application itself.
Housing Available at the Vale at The Parks at Walter Reed. The Vale apartment building at The Parks at Walter Reed is now accepting applications for units to rent at both market rate and affordable rates at 50% and 80% average median income. You can find more info and contact information at this link.
Lastly, I want to thank the Chevy Chase community for warmly welcoming me at Chevy Chase Day last weekend! Between all the music, dance performances, juggling, vendors, history, book sales, and free ice cream there was something for everyone to enjoy. Here I am with two of our Ward 4 ANC Commissioners, Lisa Gore and Randy Speck!
I’ll wrap up by thanking everyone who joined us on Sunday for Ward 4 Day at Nats Park! We honored three Ward 4 organizations for all they have done for our community throughout the pandemic: UFCW Local 400 Safeway and Giant union grocery store workers, the Life Success Center for Children, Youth and Families, and Ward 4 Mutual Aid.
It was wonderful seeing so many community members all celebrating Ward 4, these fantastic organizations, and a decisive 3-0 Nats win over the Colorado Rockies.
Have an awesome weekend, everyone!
Yours in Community,