Residents frustrated by D.C. street cameras’ failure to capture violence

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MPD provided a blurred image of a white Toyota Camry sedan with a shattered rear window associated with the shooting of a pregnant woman on Eastern Avenue, N.E. (Courtesy Photo)

By Sharece Crawford
Special to the AFRO

District of Columbia residents are fed up with violence and calling on city officials to take action and enhance camera technology for better images of “getaway” vehicle license plates. 

The frustration with gun violence is being flared by poor camera quality of images provided to the public to “assist” Metro Police Department (MPD) with making arrests in critical cases involving getaway vehicles. 

“Make the plate visible and the public will assist,” said Alfred Baker in response to images shared by MPD after a shooting with multiple victims on the 600 block of Longfellow Street, Northwest. The vehicle is described as a black Honda Accord sedan. 

The three victims were identified as 24-year-old Keenan Braxton, 31-year-old Donnetta Dyson and 37-year-old Johnny Joyner on Longfellow Street NW. 

Dyson served at Medstar Washington Hospital Center and left behind two young children. 

“The MedStar Washington Hospital Center family is so heartbroken to learn of the passing of Donnetta Dyson, who was a patient services assistant working in the OR. Donnetta had a kind heart, and worked tirelessly serving our patients and the community with grace and dedication. We send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Donnetta’s family, friends and colleagues,” Washington Hospital Center wrote in a social media post.

Outraged residents, like Sharon Burns, expressed frustration with the perpetrators and law enforcement while asking MPD, “What’s the tag number,” to the alleged vehicle that was released in conjunction with the murder of Dyson, Joyner and Braxton. 

After a shoot out on the 600 block of Morton Street, Northwest, that left two men shot and one man deceased, MPD released photos of a dark-colored Lexus that they called a vehicle of interest. (Courtesy Photo)

“Why is the plate blurred? That would seemingly help the public ID the car, along with law enforcement checks being done on the plates,” asked  concerned resident Chris Miller. 

Another D.C. resident who asked to remain anonymous stated, “D.C. speed cameras get every detail of liscense plates when sending notice of speed violations, but when crimes are commited and it’s a homicide, people are getting away with murder. Upgrade the [EXPLETIVE] cameras.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser addressed the need for better quality of cameras.

“It’s another indicator that we have to act with urgency in areas where people who are demonstrated violent offenders,” Bowser said. 

A reward of $75,000 is also being offered for information that helps find the murderer of the victims. Police have not yet made an arrest.

D.C. saw seven shootings over the Labor Day weekend, which left four people dead. As of Sept. 7, D.C. crime is up 14 percent higher than the entire year of 2020. 

After a shoot out on the 600 block of Morton Street in Northwest, D.C., police released two photos of a dark-colored Lexus that they called a vehicle of interest in that early morning shooting that left two men hurt and one man deceased. 

A pregnant woman was shot and wounded in the 600 block of Eastern Ave., NE. MPD provided a blurred image of a white vehicle, which was later identified as a newer model Toyota Camry sedan with a shattered rear window. Still no vehicle plates were able to be identified from the blurred image.

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee is calling on District Residents to help with any home surveillance and Ring cameras that face the street, particularly on 7th Street between Kennedy Street past Longfellow Street. Contee said authorities are seeking footage from the hour of 7:30 p.m. that Saturday night and any other identified shootings.

The AFRO reached out to the D.C. Department of Transportation and the D.C. Department of Transportation Committee Chair to get an idea on the kind of technology that’s capturing these images, however there was no response at press time, and while the incidents are still under investigation.

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