Saturday, July 16, 2016

"Dear Members of the Bloomingdale Community"

See this 07-16-2016 message:

Dear Members of the Bloomingdale Community,

I want to thank everyone for coming out on Wednesday evening to honor Seth's life and participate in our neighborhood vigil. Specifically, thank you to all of Seth's friends and loved ones. Your presence meant so much and I cherished learning more about the good man that Seth was. I think I speak for many people when I say that it was comforting to have our community together in one place, to meet one another, and to simply talk about recent events in our neighborhood and in our country.

If you took pictures or video, kindly upload them to this Google Drive folder: 
Seth Rich Vigil Photos.  I want to print some photos to share with Seth’s family along with the many notes of condolences we collected.  We can also share a link to the folder with them so they can browse through all of the videos and photographs if they would like.
To Teri Janine Quinn and the Bloomingdale Civic Association:  Thank you for supporting our vision of what we wanted the vigil to be and for allowing us to take the lead in planning and organizing. I especially appreciated your efforts in trying to make sure that any speeches made were about Seth and for Seth. We specifically did not want politically motivated speeches or individuals who were looking to place blame. That was very important to us and you did your best to support that.

To Members of the Metropolitan Police Department:  I want to thank you for your service to our community. You make a choice every day to serve and protect and that is admirable. I have witnessed your increased presence in our community, both before and after the tragic loss of life Sunday morning. In fact, the response time to the sound of gun shots early Sunday morning was almost immediate. I have been informed that there was an officer two blocks away on a Segway, patrolling the street. He was doing so in response to our neighborhood's request that police officers not only patrol that particular block, but that they do so outside of their police cruisers. I have seen cadets and police officers walking four abreast down our streets. I have seen cruisers patrolling up and down our alleys and parked at intersections where crime is more likely to occur. The police cannot be on every corner at every moment. It is not my desire that they militarize our neighborhood. Their response was swift, compassionate, and appropriate. I urge you all not to place blame on the MPD, but to partner with them, not only in finding justice for Seth, but in continuing to build a safer, stronger, and more cohesive community here and throughout DC.

I was there when the detectives arrived at Seth's front door on Sunday morning to gather more information about him and speak to his roommates. I believe they have been respectful of both us and Seth's family. They have answered our calls and texts promptly. They have facilitated communication between us and his family so that we can offer support and provide updates about the community's response. Please, if you have any information about the events that took place on Sunday morning, reach out to Detective Joe Della-Camera or Detective Brian Bradol of the MPD Homicide Branch,
 202.645.9600. It is their job to help solve this case and provide some closure to Seth's family, friends, and loved ones.
To DC Water, Skanska, and the Allied Barton Security Officers:  I want to thank you for offering such a personal letter of condolence.  Most importantly, I want to thank you for immediately following through on your promise to check, repair, and provide additional lighting, improve visibility, and increase security.
To the Media:  I want to thank you for honoring Seth's life, for your concern for our community, and for increasing awareness of the issues surrounding this tragic loss.  The vigil was largely about our community rebuilding after a tragic loss and you were respectful of that.  Most importantly, I ask and hope that you will cover the next death that occurs on the streets of DC with such compassion and attention, regardless of the demographics of the community where it occurs, the background, race, or gender of the person, or the circumstances surrounding his or her death.

Thank you all again.


Rachel Cohen
Bloomingdale Neighbor

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