taken by Bruce Johnson (@brucejohnson9)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- DC Councilman Marion Barry drew some stares when he pulled up in front of the John Wilson Building (city hall) on Tuesday. The former four-term DC Mayor made a u-turn on Pennsylvania Avenue to reveal his rear bumper was dragging the street, clearly the result of some sort of collision.
Barry at first said he didn't want to talk about it and suggested I cover more pressing issues such as jobs.
When it became clear that we were not leaving, he uttered "This is what happens when you live in the ghetto."
When pressed further, the Ward 8 Councilman added that his Jag was hit by an apparent stolen car a week and a half ago while parked outside his home in Southeast.
It was clear that Barry's car had also been keyed at some point on the side and rear of the vehicle.
The former Mayor said he filed a police report.
Wednesday, Barry's former spokesperson, Natalie Williams, issued a statement about Barry's "this is what happens when you live in the ghetto" comment.
Williams, who is a current candidate for president of the Ward 8 Democrats, stated: "to draw an exclusive correlation between hit-and-run accidents and communities such as Ward 8 was unfortunate. Hit and run accidents occur in every Ward in our city - to and by all class and race of people."
Williams says she understands how his statement is rubbing some folks the wrong way and is disheartening to some who are trying to rise above the stereotypes often associated with the word "ghetto." She does say that when the word is used "in its proper context and supported by facts there is truth in his characterization of the overall conditions of the Ward."
"The word "ghetto", which was originally coined and finds its roots in the European culture, speaks to the systematic disenfranchisement of people and the unequal treatment of those living in certain communities," said Williams. "While our community is experiencing some really exciting growth and shows great promise in the near future, we still have the highest poverty rate in the city, the highest unemployment in the city, the highest illiteracy rate in the city, as well as many other health care and educational related disparities. We still have far too many families, children, adults and seniors in need of a safety net and government support in order to make it from day to day. We are disenfranchised. We continue to be mistreated and disrespected --- and that, ladies and gentlemen, in the true sense of which the word was originated is considered 'the ghetto."