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District of Columbia

D.C. man arrested for killing trans teen charged with ‘road rage’ two years earlier

Child cruelty, reckless driving offenses dropped by prosecutors in earlier case



Darryl Carlton Parks Jr. was arrested in the case of a trans woman who was shot to death in Maryland. (Photo courtesy St. Mary's County Sheriff's Office)

A D.C. man who was charged last week with fatally shooting an 18-year-old transgender woman outside a Mechanicville, Md., bar on March 24 while inside his car was arrested in an unrelated incident in D.C. in February 2021 for allegedly ramming his pickup truck into a car in an incident police attributed to “road rage.”

Among the charges filed against him at that time was Attempted Second Degree Child Cruelty after D.C. police discovered his three-year-old child was sitting without a seatbelt in the passenger seat of the pickup truck he used to ram the other vehicle.

The St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office announced last week that its deputies, with the support of D.C. police homicide detectives, had arrested that same man — Darryl Carlton Parks Jr. — in D.C. on a murder warrant for the shooting death of Tasiyah Woodland in a parking lot outside the Big Dogs in Paradise bar and grill after “some type of confrontation” occurred.

The announcement said Parks has been charged with First-Degree Murder, Second-Degree Murder, Firearm Use/Felony-Violent Crime, Illegal Possession of a Regulated Firearm, and two counts of Reckless Endangerment from a Car.

He was being held without bond in D.C. while awaiting extradition to St. Mary’s County. The Sheriff’s Office statement says investigators do not believe Woodland had been targeted for the murder because of her gender identity. But her family members have disputed that claim, saying they believe the murder was a hate crime.

In the earlier case in which Parks was arrested in D.C. on Feb. 21, 2021, court records show he had been charged with Aggravated Reckless Driving and Attempted Second Degree Child Cruelty.

Charging documents filed in D.C. Superior Court stated that D.C. police officers witnessed Park intentionally ram a pickup truck he was driving into another car near the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and 2nd Street, N.W. while he was “engaged in a road rage.” An arrest affidavit filed in court says after Parks exited his truck when police arrived on the scene of the crash, one of the officers opened the passenger door and found Parks’ three-year-old child in the front passenger seat with no seat belt on and no child safety seat in the vehicle.

One of the charging documents says the child cruelty charge was filed because “Parks did intentionally, knowingly and recklessly attempt to maltreat D.P., a child under 18 years of age, that is about 3 years of age, and attempt to engage in conduct causing a grave risk of bodily injury to D.P.” The charging document identifies the child only as D.P.

Another charging document says there were four people in the car into which Parks allegedly rammed his truck, with one of them “sustaining injuries.”

Court records show that prosecutors with the office of the U.S. Attorney for D.C. on several occasions requested a delay in the proceedings. On one occasion, on June 15, 2022, court records show the judge approved a motion by prosecutors for a “continuance” to delay proceedings due to a “Government Witness Availability Issue.”

Finally, with no reason given, the court records show that on Sept. 26, 2022, Judge Kimberley Knowles dismissed the case at the request of prosecutors one day before a non-jury trial was scheduled to begin.

“The United States of America, by and through its attorney, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, hereby requests the Court to enter a nolle prosequi in the above-captioned matter,” a dismissal motion filed by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ryan Creighton and Elizabeth M. Van Haasteren says. “Nolle prosequi” is a Latin term used in U.S. court cases to disclose a refusal to prosecute or a cancellation of a prosecution.

Patricia Hartman, a spokesperson for the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office, told the Washington Blade on Monday that the office never comments on its reasons for charging related decisions, including decisions to ask a judge to dismiss a case.


District of Columbia

Inaugural Uptown Pride to take place June 10

Festival to feature drag storytime, makers’ market, DJs



Logo created by Anthony Dihle (Courtesy of Justin Noble)

A new Pride festival is coming to D.C. 

The inaugural Uptown Pride will be hosted in Sixteenth Street Heights on June 10 with Pride celebrations for Washingtonians of all ages.

The festival, hosted at the intersection of 14th Street, Colorado Avenue and Kennedy Street, NW, will feature a drag storytime, a makers’ market, DJs and more. There will also be a raffle for various prizes, with all proceeds going to the Trevor Project, which provides suicide prevention services for LGBTQ teens.

The festival will be from 2-7 p.m. and is partnering with local businesses like Moreland’s Tavern, Captain Cookie and Lighthouse Yoga Center for activities and refreshments.

Justin Noble, one of the organizers of the festival, said that the inspiration for the event came out of wanting a Pride experience tailored to the residents of the Sixteenth Street Heights, Petworth and Brightwood neighborhoods.

“It can be a hassle to get to downtown,” Noble said. “There needs to be something in our community that supports LGBTQ+ people and the culture and all of that because we’re everywhere, right? We are everywhere.”

Organizer Max Davis said that the inclusion of children’s events like a drag storytime was purposeful, and helps make the event more accessible to LGBTQ families and youth. 

“Kids I feel are the most important in as far as just showing them, just visibly showing them that you can live out and you can be queer,” Davis said. “There is no more dangerous time than now to be queer, questioning youth … So who better to welcome into the fold than kids who might be questioning their sexuality.”

Davis said that a big part of wanting to bring Pride celebrations uptown was to have a physical representation of support for the LGBTQ community.

“I felt like because there wasn’t anything going on in Sixteenth Street Heights — the clientele that we were serving up at Moreland’s absolutely is supportive, and I never felt that it wasn’t a supportive environment — but if you don’t have something to actively support that I feel that your support is just words,” Davis said. “If our community had someplace to attend even for one day to just be like, ‘Hey, I stand with you,’ … that is something that every community should have available to them to actively support the LGBTQ community.”

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District of Columbia

Capital Pride announces 2023 honorees, grand marshals

Assistant Secretary of Health Levine among picks



Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Assistant U.S. Secretary of Health Admiral Dr. Rachel Levine and acclaimed longtime D.C. LGBTQ and transgender rights advocate Earline Budd are among nine prominent LGBTQ community leaders named on Wednesday by the Capital Pride Alliance as its 2023 Capital Pride honorees.

Capital Pride Alliance, which organizes D.C.’s annual Capital Pride parade, festival, and related events, announced in a May 24 statement that it will present the honoree awards to each of the recipients at a ceremony scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, June 2, at the Penn Social event and catering hall at 801 E St., N.W.

“The recipients are nominated each year by members of the community,” the Capital Pride statement says. “They represent individuals who and organizations that have advanced the causes of LGBTQ+ rights,” it says.

The statement says Levine was selected for the Capital Pride Paving the Way Award, which “acknowledges an individual or organization that has provided exemplary contributions, support, and/or advocacy that has positively impacted the LGBTQ+ community, and whose leadership has inspired continued progress.”

Levine, who was appointed by President Biden in 2021 as Assistant Secretary of Health, is a longtime pediatrician who also serves as an admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. She became the first openly transgender person to hold the admiralty position.

Capital Pride named Earline Budd as recipient of the Capital Pride Super Hero Award, which “recognizes additional significant and important contributions to the LGBTQ+ community in the national capital region.”

The statement announcing the honorees says Levine and Budd will also serve as grand marshals for the June 10 Capital Pride Parade. It says each of the other honorees will serve as parade marshals.

The announcement says the following four people have been named as recipients of the Capital Pride Hero Award:

• Shi-Queeta Lee, the D.C.-based nationally acclaimed drag performer
• Benjamin Rosenbaum, longtime congressional staffer, LGBTQ rights advocate, and LGBTQ Jewish community advocate
• Nancy Canas, president of D.C. Latinx History Project and advocate for the LGBTQ Latinx community
• Abdur-Rahim Briggs, longtime leader of the D.C.-based Project Briggs, which provides philanthropic support for LGBTQ causes.

The following two organizations were named as recipients of the Capital Pride Breaking Barriers Community Impact Award, which recognizes individuals or organizations that have “demonstrated a significant impact to the LGBTQ+ community at either the local or national level and who helped eliminate barriers for social, personal, or professional growth of the LGBTQ+ community:

• Drag Story Hour DMV
• National LGBTQ Task Force

The Bill Miles Award for Outstanding Volunteer Services, which acknowledges “exemplary contributions to the Capital Pride Alliance, its programs, initiatives, or other Pride sponsored activities,” is being given to Brandon Bayton, Jr., a longtime Capital Pride volunteer, consultant, and organ transplant advocate, and LGBTQ rights advocate.

“We are fortunate to have such a vibrant honoree selection process, with so many outstanding individuals who were nominated,” said Ashley Smith, president of the Capital Pride Alliance Board of Directors. “We are very pleased to celebrate these individuals at the 2023 Capital Pride Honors,” Smith said in the CPA statement.

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District of Columbia

Blade names recipients of two summer fellowships

Kravis, Lev-Tov join LGBTQ news team



Isabelle Kravis and Joel Lev-Tov are the Blade Foundation’s 2023 summer fellows.

The Blade Foundation this week announced the recipients of its 2023 summer fellowship program. 

Isabelle Kravis (she/they) is a senior at American University studying journalism and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She will focus on covering LGBTQ issues in the local D.C. area for 12 weeks starting this week. The fellowship is made possible by a generous donation from the DC Front Runners Pride Run 5K event.

“I’ve been reading the Blade since I first moved to D.C. for my freshman year and I’m so excited to be able to contribute to such a historic paper,” Kravis said. “I love covering the LGBTQ community because of the diversity of experiences that each queer person has and the joy that queer people bring to everything they do. I’m incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to be able to cover both the city and community that I love.”

Joel Lev-Tov (they/them) is a senior at the University of Maryland College Park studying journalism. Lev-Tov also serves as president of the Association of LGBTQ Journalists at College Park. Lev-Tov is the sixth recipient of the Steve Elkins Memorial Journalism Fellowship, which honors the co-founder of CAMP Rehoboth. The fellow covers issues of interest to the LGBTQ community in Delaware, also for 12 weeks. The fellowship is funded by donations from the Rehoboth Beach community.

“I’m extremely excited to start reporting about my community for my community,” Lev-Tov said. “The Blade is offering me a special opportunity that I’m very grateful for. I can’t wait to start reporting!”

Kevin Naff, editor of the Blade, welcomed Kravis and Lev-Tov to work this week.

“We’re all excited to work with Isabelle and Joel this summer,” Naff said. “There’s never been more news to cover and they will add an important, fresh perspective to our work. Thank you to our donors and to the Front Runners for making this program possible.”

For more information on the fellowship program or to donate, visit

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