2-year-old girl ticketed, fined $75 for littering in D.C.

Posted at 11:39 PM, Sep 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-05 23:39:38-04

WASHINGTON -- Washington DC is cracking down on its littering problem and a two-year-old girl found out the hard way after an envelope with her name on it was found in a DC alley recently.

The city sent Harper Westover the citation in the mail last week, after a public works employee found a letter on the ground addressed to her.

The fine for the piece of trash was $75.

“Just because you find a piece of mail on the ground, obviously doesn't mean that person was the one that put it there,” said Chuck Westover, Harper’s father.

The envelope likely fell out of a trash bag, but city officials said that counts as littering.

Harper Westover

Harper Westover

When Harper’s parents received the citation and fine in the mail they were outraged.

"There obviously needs to be some common sense layered into the system somewhere," Harper’s mother Theresa told WJLA.

"She's not a criminal,” said Chuck. “The ironic thing is that we talk to her all the time about picking up her trash."

Theresa made some calls to the department of public works, including the inspector that wrote up the report. Initial attempts to throw out the ticket came up empty, until she spoke with the DPW’s communications director.

The official told the mom she needed to provide a copy of Harper’s birth certificate.

Before Teresa could sent the certificate, news began to spread about the ticket.

Andre Lee, a DPW spokesperson took action.

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

After investigating, Lee apologized to the family and assured them they did not have to pay the fine.

Once the department of public works realized who received the ticket, harper was cleared of any wrong-doing.

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