U.S. Park Police officers handcuffed a teenager and detained a second youth for attempting to sell bottles of water on the Mall this week, police officials acknowledged Friday.
The incident unfolded about 3 p.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Ninth Street and Constitution Avenue NW when a uniformed Park Police officer tried “to make contact with multiple individuals who were observed illegally selling water on the National Mall,” according to a statement released by the Park Police.
“As the officer approached to give warnings, the violators fled,” the statement said.
More officers joined the chase and soon stopped two people — who stated they were juveniles, police said — near the National Archives. Police said one of the two “failed to obey lawful commands and resisted, therefore was placed in handcuffs.”
Park Police were roundly criticized by city leaders earlier this summer after plainclothes officers handcuffed and detained three teenagers for the same violation on June 22. During that incident, officers cuffed two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old. Police said the youths were accompanied by an adult who previously had been arrested for illegal vending, leading officers to believe they were dealing with an organized illegal vending ring rather than youths trying to earn a few dollars.
On Friday, Park Police Chief Robert MacLean said in a statement that officials have heard the community’s concerns about enforcement of vending violations and responded.
“In this incident, officers responded with a measured approach to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of professionalism and strive to ensure that any contact with the public is tactful and considerate,” MacLean said.
On Tuesday, the two people were released shortly after being detained, the Park Police statement said.
They were given a verbal warning…