*Recently we reported that four young black men and were handcuffed for selling water on the National Mall without a permit.
“Thursday, June 22, shortly before 5 PM, four male individuals, (three teenagers and one adult), were detained by U.S. Park Police officers for illegally vending on the National Mall in the area of 12th Street and Jefferson Drive, NW,” said Park Police spokeswoman Anna Rose. “The three juveniles (one 16 & two 17), were released to the custody of their legal guardians, along with their container and all of the items enclosed within. All parties were released with a verbal warning against vending without a permit and vending in a geographically prohibited area. No parties were cited or arrested.”
Now comes word via Washington’s ABC7 that two of those young men, Nolan White and Devin Gatewood (both 17-years-old), are the recipients of training from Raymond Bell for their new summer jobs through his Helping Other People Excel/H.O.P.E. project.
The actions of the Park Police upset a lot of people, including councilman Charles Allen.
I sent the following letter to Park Police Chief MacLean regarding yesterday’s handcuffing of kids selling water on the Mall. pic.twitter.com/bzY4I77E91
— Charles Allen (@charlesallen) June 23, 2017
“I’m an entrepreneur myself and I love seeing young people having an interest in working for themselves,” said Bell who is now teaching the two 17-year-olds about information technology.
“We hope to be bringing them on board as iPhone screen technicians here at H.O.P.E. Project,” said Bell.
Gatewood is a senior at Dunbar High School in DC and White is entering his junior year at Suitland High School in nearby Suitland, Maryland.
“I just want to thank the guy who took the picture, but without him, none of these opportunities would have been possible,” said White.
For those that aren’t familiar, the H.O.P.E. project was started by Raymond Bell in 2009, to combat the high unemployment rate in the community.
Bell says he plans on reaching out to the two other young men featured in the photo.