August 29, 2018 at 9:16 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Check It building’s window smashed by vandal
Check It, gay news, Washington Blade

Check It’s building sustained up to $3,000 in damage on Tuesday.

An unidentified vandal early Tuesday morning threw a brick into the large plate glass window of the storefront building in Anacostia occupied by the LGBT youth organization Check It Enterprises, smashing the window and damaging the building’s front door, according to Ron Moten, the group’s senior adviser.

Moten told the Washington Blade a witness informed him that the person who tossed the brick shortly after 6 a.m. on Aug. 27 appeared to be an emotionally unstable woman who was dressed only in a diaper.

He said the witness thought the woman was yelling anti-gay insults as she walked away from the scene.

However, D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, said a police officer who arrived on the scene and interviewed the witness did not indicate in her report that the witness heard anti-gay words being spoken by the unidentified vandal.

A police incident report prepared by the officer lists the incident as an act of destruction of property valued at less than $1,000. The report says Officer Krishna Ramson of the Seventh Police District “canvassed the surrounding area yielding negative results” in her search for a suspect.

Parson said that although the report does not list the incident as an ant-LGBT bias related crime the report would be changed to classify the incident as a hate crime if new evidence surfaces to confirm such a designation.

Moten said he thought the cost of repairing the window and damaged door could exceed $3,000. He said Check It Enterprises has insurance that could cover the repair costs but he was concerned that filing a claim would result in a steep increase in the group’s insurance premiums.

As an initial step, Moten created a GoFundMe page to seek help from the community to assist in covering the repair costs.

Check It Enterprises moved into the building at 1920 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., S.E. in February 2017. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton joined Check It members for a ribbon-cutting grand opening ceremony.

Check It’s members are comprised mostly of LGBT youth of color who formed the organization from what had been known as the Check It street gang. The transformed group now operates as a business enterprise specializing in producing and merchandizing clothing. It also serves as a community center for LGBT youth in the neighborhood.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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