Nadeau Calls for Probe in Teen’s Arrest at Columbia Heights Metro

by Tim Regan October 20, 2016 at 3:15 pm 14 Comments

(Updated at 5:07 p.m.) Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau is calling for an investigation into an incident that led to an arrest of a teen at the Columbia Heights Metro station Tuesday.

A video shared by the District’s Black Lives Matter group this week shows Metro Transit Police Department officers tripping an 18-year-old in handcuffs at the station. As reported by DCist and The Washington Post, officers arrested the young woman after she refused to throw away a lollipop and a bag of chips at the Metro stop, where consuming food is prohibited.

The video shows three Metro cops ordering a teen, who is handcuffed, to sit down. When she refuses, one of the officers trips her, knocking her to the ground.

The young woman was arrested for unlawful entry and taken to a D.C. Police station. Police later decided not to pursue charges, a Metro spokesman told the Post.

In a letter to Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld today, Nadeau said the video “indicates an excessive use of force for a violation of consuming food in a metro station.”

“I am extremely concerned that WMATA police officers took the measures they did in detaining this young woman,” Nadeau wrote. “Please conduct an investigation into the conduct of these officers. Please also describe to me what training WMTA police undergo for de-escalation tactics.”

According to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel, Metro police review use of force “whenever there is a public concern raised.”

“In addition, Metro GM Wiedefeld specifically asked MTPD Chief Pavlik to initiate such a review in this case,” Stessel continued.

  • gbrown

    Why can’t she just sit down and stop yelling when they ask her to? Is that so hard?

  • smith

    gbrown, look at the big picture; she got physically attacked and arrested for having chips and candy in the station.

    • gbrown

      Physically “attacked”? Are you watching the same video as me? Yeah, the officer tripped her and it was physical, but calling it an “attack” is totally a misnomer. Was she arrested for something trivial? Sure. But why act all hot and bothered and ignore instructions, even if you’re being detained over something you feel unwarranted? Just obey instructions and move on.

      • HiItsNino

        …and I am sure her behavior was just as difficult when the officer asked her to throw away her chips. That’s all she had to do is obey the rules. BLM cannot be reduced to defending defiance or the movement is doomed and the real justice they seek will not prevail.

        • Dion TheRock Thomas

          WMATA has a hard enough time running trains and keeping there fire ridding system from going up in flames. The LAST thing metro should be concerned with is a teenager eating chips.WMATA can’t afford a police force VA DC and MD should enforce on WMATA. Maybe if it didn’t take an hour to move 5 stations people would not eat WMATA should try and get into the business of actually moving people efficiently.. this is the only TRANSIT system in america with FEDERAL funding and they cannot operate past 12 on weekends metro has some serious issues and someone eating some damn chips sure ass hell not one of them how about having just one day where your system does not FAIL in some sort of way and actually move people in a timely manner

          • HiItsNino

            If you want to change the rules then change the rules. The point is that when your breaking the rules and a police officer asks you to obey the rules then you comply. This situation was of her own doing, and Nadaeu should be ashamed of herself for doing this to our officers, end of story.

          • Dion TheRock Thomas

            No the point us WMATA should not be in the business of policing they are BROKE and cannot handle running a functioning Transit System. That can run trains and busses on time in a safe manner. My point is WMATA should rely on LOCAL jurisdiction police and reallocate all monies from running that department into running the TRANSIT system in which several of the newly proposed service cuts would no longer be needed.

    • DC Dude

      “physically attacked” Really? Really?

  • Roma Tekovimo

    Same officer settled out of court for excessive force already in
    Ronkin v Vihn[sic]:
    http://wjla.com/news/local/catholic-student-karissa-ronkin-treatment-on-metro-sparks-outrage-75721 Why is he still allowed to do this?

  • Kevin

    This dose seem excessive for a bag of chips. But, the girl was also clearly extremely uncooperative. She is exhibit A for why policing is such a difficult job.

    Not sure exactly how the cops should have handled this? Just waited her out for who knows how long and tied up critical staff resources or just let her go and prove you can ignore police/avoid rules?

    • Perhaps metro should get of the rule and allow the police to focus on fare evaders and actual other crimes. I’m curious regarding the demographics of people who actually get tickets for eating/drinking. I see all colors sipping morning coffee.

  • HiItsNino

    I don’t care what she did, she was extremely uncooperative. The officer did nothing wrong. Just when you think she can’t get any worse, Nadaeu is making it harder for police to do their job now. I support BLM, but I don’t support people who will not cooperate with police, especially at the Columbia Heights Station, where it is a circus of people who get in your face without any respect for anyone.

  • DC Dude

    Seriously Nadeau, this is what you are choosing to focus your efforts on? The girl was irate and uncooperative, they made her go to the ground (not in an unreasonable fashion) AFTER they asked her to sit down repeatedly.

    “Measures they did in detaining…” you mean doing their job. You did the same crap when you helped dismantle the VICE squads by unfairly characterizing them as ‘jump out squads’. I can personally tell you that they were effective and as soon as they were gone drug crimes moved into the open air.

    Nadeau your pandering and lack focus on crime is a big reason I moved from your Ward. Looks like nothing will be changing unless we have a new Councilmember

  • Ugh

    Look, when someone refuses to do what the police tell them to, the police have to choose whether to let it go or use force to physically stop the person. There’s really little point in having a law if you aren’t willing to use the state’s monopoly on legitimate violence to enforce it. For those who think the rule is dumb and not worth using state violence to enforce, fine, that’s a legitimate position. But if you believe the police ought to enforce the laws on the books, I really can’t understand what here is objectionable. She was refusing to obey legitimate police directives. They wanted a person they were arresting to sit down, she refused, so they made her.

    Furthermore, you can bet that after all these reviews the transit police won’t be enforcing these or any rules in Ward 1, so we’ll all be able to thank Nadeau for really helping out on the Columbia Heights/Mount Pleasant crime wave.


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