- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was robbed at gunpoint in his Southeast apartment Monday night by two young men whom he had paid minutes earlier to help him carry groceries from his car.

Mr. Barry, 69, said he was not injured during the robbery, but felt downhearted about being robbed in the Ward 8 neighborhood he represents on the D.C. Council. He also said that he doesn’t want authorities to prosecute the robbers, if they are caught, and that he “loves” them.

“I was really kind of hurt,” Mr. Barry, a Democrat, said at a press conference yesterday at City Hall. “There’s sort of an unwritten code in Washington among the underworld, the hustlers, and these other guys that I’m their friend.

“I don’t advocate what they do, but I advocate the conditions to change what they do,” he said.

Mr. Barry said his wallet containing his driver’s license, credit cards and an undisclosed amount of cash was taken. Police later recovered the wallet, minus the cash.

Mr. Barry said he had been shopping and had a trunk full of groceries when he stopped his car in front of his apartment building in the 2600 block of Douglas Road SE at about 9:30 p.m.

He said two young men approached him, calling him “B,” as the neighborhood’s young people refer to him. The men asked him whether they could help carry his groceries upstairs.

Mr. Barry said he frequently pays young people who ask him for money in the neighborhood to perform such services, preferring that to a handout.

He said he made small talk with the men, one of whom identified himself as Marcus and told Mr. Barry that he lived across the street.

The men brought the groceries into Mr. Barry’s apartment, and Mr. Barry gave each man some candy before they left. About 10 minutes later, he said, the two men came back to his door, and he thought nothing of letting them in.

“They had a gun, pointed it at my face and pushed me in the kitchen,” he said, adding that his life flashed before his eyes when one of the men cocked the handgun while pointing it at his head.

Mr. Barry said that the apartment building has a secure outer door, but that it is often broken. He said he thought the door locked behind him when he came in.

Seventh District Cmdr. Joel Maupin said that he was “very surprised” to hear that Mr. Barry was robbed and that it might have been a crime of opportunity.

“It shows a lot of people really don’t care who you are,” he said. “All they want is to get what you have.”

Mr. Barry said that he held no animosity toward the men who robbed him and that he would prefer they not be prosecuted if they were caught.

“For the young men who did this to me, I say to you, I don’t hold any animosities, I don’t even want you prosecuted really. I love you. Give yourself up. Call the police, let them know you engaged in this activity,” he said.

He said that getting guns off the streets should be the “No. 1 priority of this city” and that crime had reached crisis proportions.

Metropolitan Police Department Capt. C.V. Morris, head of the violent crimes branch, said he did not agree completely with Mr. Barry’s assessment of crime in the District.

“I agree to an extent,” Capt. Morris said. “We have a situation where, yes, a lot of our crimes are declining, but when you look at our robberies, our robberies are peaking. And it’s all about guns. So I definitely understand this.”

Through November, the most recent month for which statistics are available, preliminary police reports show that all categories of crime except for robbery had declined citywide. Robberies were up 5.8 percent.

In the 7th Police District, which includes Ward 8, robberies were up 15 percent, statistics show. Homicides and sexual assaults were each up 16.3 percent, statistics show.

Mr. Barry said he visited former council member Sandy Allen on Monday, hugged her and offered prayers two days after her grandson was killed in the same area.

Mr. Barry’s first three terms as mayor ended with a 1990 crack cocaine arrest and six months in federal prison.

He returned to win the Ward 8 council seat in 1992 and then the mayor’s office in 1994 for his fourth term. However, Congress in 1995 sapped most of the mayor’s powers by instituting a control board to run the city. Mr. Barry declined to run again in 1998.

In 2002, Mr. Barry backed out of running for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council after U.S. Park Police reported finding “traces” of marijuana and cocaine in his illegally parked Jaguar. No charges were filed, and Mr. Barry has disputed the account.

In 2004, Mr. Barry was elected to the Ward 8 seat on the D.C. Council after he defeated Mrs. Allen, the incumbent Democrat, in the primary.

Recently, Mr. Barry pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges stemming from an investigation that revealed he did not file taxes from 1999 through 2004. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18.

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