WASHINGTON – The John A. Wilson Building is home to the D.C. Council and the mayor, as well as numerous other government offices. It sits in the shadow of the White House on one of the most famous streets in the world. Thousands of visitors pass through its doors on Pennsylvania Avenue every week.
But not everybody is welcome inside the legislative epicenter of the District.
Just days before Ellsworth Colbert allegedly stabbed his neighbor to death over a dog-walking dispute, he was testifying before a D.C. Council oversight hearing Chaired by Councilmember Muriel Bowser, D-Ward 4.
Colbert was only able to appear at the hearing inside the Wilson Building because a stay-away order had recently expired. The order came after Colbert threatened Democratic Council Chairman Kwame Brown and a member of his staff, according to Brown’s deputy chief of staff.
Court documents show on Jan. 21, 2011, Colbert went to Brown’s office on the fifth floor of the Wilson Building to complain about government services and got into an argument with Charles Mason, Brown’s director of constituent services.
At some point, the documents say Colbert became “agitated” and told Mason, “Don’t make me go Southeast on you.”
Colbert was arrested and charged with “threatening to injure/kidnap a person.” But it wasn’t the first time he had run into trouble in the building. Records show he was barred in 2009 as well.
Turns out, Colbert was not alone. According to records provided by Brown’s office, one other person is currently barred from entering the building and five others are on an internal watch list, meaning they can only be inside the Wilson Building if escorted by security. Security staff have been provided with pictures of those on the watch list.
After news of Colbert’s arrest and recent stay-away order was made public, Bowser expressed concern for her safety and the safety of others at the council’s monthly breakfast meeting.
Brown informed his colleagues of security precautions, including the watch list, and promised to provide each councilmember with a copy of the list.
Brown promised to release that list to the public, but Karen Sibert, Brown’s deputy chief of staff, tells WTOP the watch list cannot be released.
She did release the name of the one man who can not enter the building. Sibert says Richard Marty Coleman has a stay-away order from all council members, the building and Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier.
The order expires May 4, 2012, and was issued after Coleman communicated “threats to Chief Cathy Lanier,” Sibert says in an email.
Read the court documents that prevented Ellsworth Colbert from entering the John A. Wilson Building and from contacting Council Chairman Kwame Brown and his staffer, Charles Mason.