What Was He Thinking? DC Mayor’s ‘Mind Your Language’ Moment (Video)

Mayor Vincent Gray, along with police officers and advocates for drug-free youth, stops at a store on Georgia Avenue in North West Washington, DC on July 22, 2013. (NBC Washington)

Grassroots DC

By Noelle Galos,

Washington, DC – On July 22, 2013 Mayor Vincent Gray, along with a handful of aides and scores of reporters, paid a visit to Petworth with the intention of cracking down on synthetic marijuana and drug paraphernalia being sold at small businesses in the neighborhood. “That’s illegal, man. Can’t do that. That’s drug paraphernalia,” warned the Mayor. This isn’t the first time that Mayor Gray has posed as a law enforcement official in order to bust local shops, in his effort with the group Advocates for Drug-free Youth.

The visit took an unexpected turn, however, when Gray encountered an Ethiopian clerk who had trouble understanding English. “You don’t understand? How do you sell anything if you don’t understand? If somebody asks you for something, do you know what they’re asking you for?” Mayor Gray chided. At one point, visibly frustrated by the language barrier, the Mayor told the clerk “I don’t even, I really don’t know how you are working here if you can’t communicate with the people who come in here.” Despite criticism from NBC4 reporter Mark Segrave, the Mayor denied that his remarks could be considered insensitive and said that the language barrier was “irrelevant.”

Read more at Grassrootsdc.org



Related:
D.C. Mayor Finds Language Barrier in Drug Paraphernalia Search (NBC Washington)

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