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Teens handcuffed for selling water in DC without permits get job offers

Teens get job offer after being detained for selling water bottles without permit (ABC7)

Two young men seen in handcuffs last week are now closer to a new career.

Raymond Bell is training Nolan White and Devin Gatewood for their new summer jobs through the H.O.P.E. project. It stands for ‘Helping Other People Excel’.

Bell first learned about White and Gatewood through a viral post, which shows them being detained by Park Police for selling water bottles 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.”

It got a lot of people upset, including councilman Charles Allen.

“I’m an entrepreneur myself and I love seeing young people having an interest in working for themselves,” said Bell.

Bell is 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 and White is entering his junior year at Suitland High School.

“I just want to thank the guy who took the picture, but without him, none of these opportunities would have been possible,” said White.

Bell started the H.O.P.E. project in 2009, to combat the high unemployment rate in the community. He plans on also reaching out to the two other young men featured in the photo.


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