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2-yo Girl Ticketed for Littering After State Agents Found an Envelope in Alley With Her Name On It

In a bizarre case of overzealous government run amok, Washington, D.C.’s Department of Public Works branded a two-year-old girl with the ominous title: VIOLATOR — and slapped her with a $75 ticket in the mail for littering.

“I opened up an envelope that listed Harper as having violated D.C.’s littering code,” said the toddler’s mother, Theresa, according to a local CBS affiliate. “And Harper goes, ‘littering, that’s not good.’”

In an alley directly behind Harper Westover’s home, Public Works workers discovered two unopened envelopes — one bearing Theresa’s name and the other addressed to the toddler from Bucky’s Buddies, a club for young fans of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, as the Washington Post reported.

Appalled her daughter had received a citation for littering, Theresa — an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board — contacted the solid waste inspector listed on the ticket to clear up the obvious confusion.

But, to her astonishment, things didn’t go as planned.

“The inspector’s response was there was a piece of trash in the alley with Harper’s name on it,” Theresa told the Post in a phone interview. “I said, ‘I understand that, but she’s only 2 years old. Are you willing rescind the ticket?’ She said, ‘No.’

“They list Harper as a ‘violator.’ As a mom, it bothered me.”

Public Works issued two $75 tickets — one for each piece of mail — but Theresa insisted the family would never intentionally litter, and it’s likely the two letters somehow came loose from the trash bin they place in the alley each week for garbage pickup.

She surmised that because large garbage trucks cannot fit in the narrow alley, the advance team which drags everyone’s trash to the main road either forgot a bag or the letters somehow came loose. Either way, Theresa emphasized none of the Westover clan is a litterbug — and Public Works jumped to a conclusion based solely on the envelopes’ addressees.

After being rebuffed by the solid waste inspector, Chuck Westover — Theresa’s husband and father of the young child — posted a picture of Harper’s ticket to a popular blog called Popville, which then published it with the title: “Today in Has the World Gone Mad? 2 year old issued littering citation in NE.”

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Comments overwhelmingly supported the Westovers — some with humorously sarcastic overtones.

“I’m glad we’re not letting these young punks get away with this kind of antisocial behavior,” wrote one commenter, cited by the Post. “Garnishing her allowance for the next three years will teach her an important lesson!”

“This is idiotic,” asserted another. “What this is basically saying is that if a USPS worker accidentally dropped or purposely threw your mail on the ground, you are responsible for littering. Or if a thief stole a package and threw the packaging on the ground, or if the trash truck driver dropped some trash containing something with your name on it.”

Despite the online uproar over the haplessly-issued citation, Public Works still tried to demand proof of Harper’s age before it would agree to dismiss the ticket.

“She told me they’d be willing to withdraw the ticket or dismiss it, or whatever word you’d like to use, if I could prove to them Harper was only 2,” said Theresa.

They requested a copy of Harper’s birth certificate — which Theresa was prepared to send, until events again took a turn.

Early Friday evening, mother and daughter readied themselves in the alley for an interview with local TV stations, when Andre Lee, a spokesperson for DPW, arrived on the scene to better understand the situation.

“I heard that it was a 2-year-old illegal dumper,” Lee said, “so I’m like wow, really?”

Upon seeing the toddler, Lee agreed to waive both tickets — much to Theresa’s relief.

“I apologized to them for the mistake, but we’re doing our jobs,” Lee explained. “But it shouldn’t have gotten this far.”

Harper’s mother agreed, noting, “There needs to be some common sense layered into the system somewhere.”

According to the CBS affiliate, the Westovers hope the controversy over issuing a citation to a two-year-old will force DPW to more thoroughly investigate before handing out such tickets.

“She’s not a criminal,” said Harper’s father. “We talk to her all the time about picking up trash and not littering and stuff like that. So, the big irony is that she was tagged with this violation.”

Harper, luckily, remains blissfully unaware of her brush with inane bureaucracy.

  • coastx

    Statist teaser. 2 year old VIOLATOR= #27.

  • IceTrey

    There’s trash all over that alley.

  • Drogan

    Book her, Dano! /s

  • AJ

    Clearly, the issue was never about “littering”.

    It was about revenue collection.

  • Bendy Bentley

    It should have been dismissed, but NOT because of her age. There is no way to prove how the items landed on the street, and a fair court trial would have noted that fact. Getting a fair trial in a corrupt system is another matter entirely.

    • Steve Rusk

      Fairness is counterproductive when they want your money so badly they’ll do anything to take it.

  • Badcopwatch

    Fck all government employees. Brainless idiots.

    • kiljoy616

      And some of the posters here.

      • Razedbywolvs

        The character of Ron Swanson was based on a real government employee.

      • HandymanRon

        Yes, including Badcopwatch, who is willing to include ALL government employees without knowing anything about them. For nearly 20 years I kept his ass safe as a prison guard (state employee) from violent criminals, a job he is probably incapable of doing. Not everyone is cut out for it. It takes a special breed.

  • Prince

    Don’t throw away mail with your name on it!

  • billdeserthills

    Oh No, a lawyer found her daughter was a Criminal, am I sposed to feel something?

  • FeshonALfliP

    When crime is at an all time low, they will find or make up crimes. The beurocrat probably had police plant it.

  • Zing Om

    They should have sued them back for stealing mail.

  • robert T

    God Dam Police State WTF !!!!! The only garbage are the people running this country in law enforcement….. weed out the ignorant cops clearly an epidemic in this country .What swat didn’t show up to arrest the two year oid like Nazi rule .No excuses anymore fire the idiot who issued the ticket period, police are accountable to the people whom pay their salaries.

  • Kountry Bumpkin

    LOL, D.C. liberals always get their feathers ruffled when they themselves become a target of the nanny state they work so hard to force down the throats of the rest of us.

  • mirageseekr

    ““I apologized to them for the mistake, but we’re doing our jobs,” Lee explained.”
    More State agents without a drop of common sense, we really should start taking this type of individual out of the gene pool.

    • haauwnk

      The Auschwitz guards were just doing their job too.

  • baruchzed

    This is just one more example of people acting like machines…just following orders…fulfilling their program…the lack of actual thought is quite disturbing. People who behave this way should lose their jobs.

  • SeaConcepts

    the parents are lucky they didn’t send the police to lock up the 2 year old and impose a huge bail!

  • Amor Terra

    The family should have gone to court and demanded that the city prove that the two-year-old was the person who dropped the envelopes.

  • haauwnk

    The govt. has a new task force that goes around digging through people’s trash to see if they aren’t recycling in order to issue fines. Methinks this same dept. intentionally strews trash w/ names on it to issue more tickets.

  • Nite_Owl

    I admit it officer. I placed that envelope under all that garbage. With Thanks to Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.