IIRC when this incident occurred D.C. did not have 9-1-1 service. Calls to the police were called in on (202) 727-1010. If you gave an address the call taker would have to take your word for it. If they had an open line they would have to call (then) C&P telephone company to start a trace. Prank phone calls to police and fire departments were, and still are everday occurrences. The difference is now kids are doing it from "dead" cell phones because they know with E-9-1-1 the call takers get their number and address (if land line) as soon as the call rings in. People also call 9-1-1 and ask the police to "check the welfare" of people they are stalking. They also request welfare checks on their soon to be ex spouses. People try to use the police to harrass people they have problems with.
The officers responded on and investigated the first call. The call would have been cleared as either unverified or unfounded. Less than ten minutes after the officers give that clearance, a second call is received saying basically the same thing at the same address. There was no independant verification of the callers location. This is before seven a.m. on a Sunday morning. There were no calls from any neighbors about screaming. Officers were just there less than ten minutes ago, saw nothing wrong, heard no screaming, and got no answer when they knocked at the door. And it was more reasonable for the officers to consider this a credible call than someone wanting to harrass the residents there why?
With todays technology where it could be clearly seen that the call was coming from inside that residence it most likely would have been handled differently. But the court held that the Metropolitan Police had done everything they were required to do.