Former Mayor and current DC City Council member Marion Barry, right, with his son Christopher Barry.

DC Councilmember Marion S. Barry (D-Ward 8) and his son, Marion C. Barry are back in the news with more traffic problems.

According to Gwendolyn Crump, spokeswoman for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, Barry was involved in an accident with injury at approximately 9:15 p.m. on Aug. 2 in the 2900 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE. He was cited for driving on the wrong side of street, failure to have insurance, and for an unregistered vehicle. Both drivers were transported to the hospital.

LaToyer Foster, public information officer for Barry,77, said he suffered a hypoglycemic attack and became disoriented. As a result, he caused a minor fender-bender.

The incident became top news when allegedly a police officer notified the press the councilmember was involved in an accident, which is against MPD protocol. Assuming the worst, the press ran to the scene, some leading off news clips speculating the accident was due to drugs.

On Monday, Barry fired back with a tweet criticizing police unethical behavior. @marionbarryjr tweeted – “So instead of protecting people, I’m advised that @DCPoliceDept called news media to come film my hypoglycemic attack & accident? Sad.”

MPD denied the accusation. “MPD is unaware of this allegation, as this is prohibited by MPD policy. If someone has information about an MPD officer violating policy, we will investigate it. Our Public Information Office did however respond to specific media inquiries, as usual, with general information,” said Crump.

Barry was taken to Howard University Hospital where he was treated, observed, and released unharmed. Former Sen. Charles Moreland (D-DC) drove Barry from the hospital to church services and later to an international event with D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and African leaders. “Councilmember Barry came into the office today while calls of support and concern kept coming,” said Foster.

Barry released a statement Aug. 6 that said his vehicle registration was valid.

On another note, the councilmember’s son, “Christopher” as he is affectionately called, goes back to court on Aug. 7, for a detention hearing for driving with a revoked license. The court appearance stems from a May incident where Christopher, 34, was stopped by police for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was released on his own recognizance. Christopher’s driver’s license was revoked. He was ordered not to drive until further notice.

But the younger Barry ignored the court order and was caught driving on July 31, without a permit. According to court records, Christopher was also in the possession of an orange bag with the name “Scooby Snacks” written on it.

Scooby Do or K2 as is a synthetic marijuana-like substance. The product is sold in many gas stations and corner stores owned by Ethiopians and Asians. In December, 2012, the council adopted harsh laws to imprison for six months any person in possession of the substance. However, no penalties were passed on the retailer.

“In 2012, D.C. Councilmembers ignored community concerns that making possession of synthetic marijuana a crime would put young people at risk of arrest,” said Grant Smith, deputy director with the Drug Policy Alliance. “Possession and use of synthetic marijuana should be treated as a health issue. It has no place in D.C.’s criminal justice system.”

Christopher was not charged with the substance. Family attorney Frederick Cooke Jr. could not be reached for comment.


Valencia Mohammed

Special to the AFRO