Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mount Pleasant Vigil for Jean Louis; Killed in Police Standoff

At some point a three weeks ago, during a daytime standoff in Mount Pleasant, Jean Louis was shot and killed by DC Metro Police. That marked the end of a chain of events that aren't all clear to me, but involved the closing of Mount Pleasant Street, deployment of special operations police teams and rooftop sharpshooters. All in the pursuit of one person who never left the building he was found in, and as far as I know was never lost track of, period. 

But, lost in all the details I don't know is that a real live person and resident of the neighborhood died, and I'm left to wonder why and how.

I don't know much about Jean Louis, except that he was male, and was middle aged at the time of his death. But others do and they are graciously coming forward to hold a vigil for him in Mount Pleasant next week. 

Several groups and individuals will hold an evening vigil next Thursday July 14, one month after his death. The location will be 1630 Irving Street NW and begins at 9:00pm.

From the organizers:

"On Thursday, July 14th at 9 pm there will be a vigil in front of the apartment building at 1630 Irving Street, N.W. where long time Mt. Pleasant resident Jean Louis was killed after an hours long standoff with police who had been called to assist in efforts by mental health workers to have him hospitalized for mental health treatment. Community groups have called for a full and complete investigation of the circumstances surrounding his death and the use of deadly force in the incident.
"Neighbors are gathering to recognize his life and the tragic circumstances surrounding his death", says Jose Sueiro, long time Mt. Pleasant resident and Director of Metro Diversity. "He was well known in the community and by those service providers involved in caring for the mentally ill".
Terry Lynch, a long time Mt. Pleasant resident and Executive Director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, has called on the police to release their report and for the City Council to consider holding hearings on how police assist in events such as these. "It is not clear at all that police and city mental health workers are using best practices......let's make sure that is the case and a tragedy like this does not happen again", he says. 

Clergy from Sacred Heart Church which has a large Haitian community will lead the vigil in prayer. The vigil is being organized by local business owners, the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, and DC Latinos United, a group dealing with immigrant rights and the defense of civil liberties."