PoP PSA: Good Advice if you are Followed and Verbally Assaulted

Photo by PoPville flickr user julianne’s

I’ve been following with interest and disgust a series of emails about incidents near the Eastern Market metro. Many of the emails recount stories like this:

“My family (4 and 2 year olds) also was closely followed and verbally assaulted by this guy last month when crossing the street in front of the EM metro. I was totally flustered by the encounter, even with my husband present. I felt awful about the incident, namely because in rushing to get away from him and across Penn Ave, I basically led my 4 year old into traffic. While the man seems mentally ill, he has his wits enough about him to repeatedly target/assault families with small children in tow.”

I also wanted to share the wise advice given by another poster:

“I was taught if someone is following you on foot or even in your car, DO NOT GO HOME, go to the closest business and call the police.”

16 Comment

  • When accosted by someone spouting verbal insults, proceed to the nearest groin area and kick. Hard.

    • Not with this guy; he’s crazy crazy. Go someplace busy and call the PoPo. I have a feeling this guy will be found pretty quickly. He’s a regular in the area.

  • I’ve encountered him before. He’s totally threatening and complete nutjob, but I just kept laughing and walking and nothing happened. He’s old, lanky and short so it’s not like he’s picking people out that are particularly vulnerable he just says really awful things and follows you very close.

    He’s got a serious mental illness, so I don’t think he’s in control of his actions. He might be associated with community connections which is a mental health center located at EM.

  • yeah. I see a few crazy, talkin’ to themselves, guys on 14th street all the time, and i usually just ignore them.. but if one of them actually got in my face, i’d pull the temporarily crazy routine I’ve got. It works pretty well for me ..and there’s no fight.

    • +1

      That actually works. Acting like a crazy, white serial killer has helped me escape a few uncomfortable situations.

  • To begin my morning commute yesterday, I saw a presumably mentally ill woman right out side the Fort Totten Metro. She was yelling at everyone, then she apparently had to use the restroom. She dropped her pants and just started taking care of business right on the sidewalk. That was fun.

  • If someone is that mentally ill, they should be institutionalized whether or not they object. I mean, I can understand not wanting to return to the old days with abuses like in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “The Bell Jar”, but seriously crazy, deranged individuals need to be taken off the streets and placed in St. Elizabeth’s. There’s a guy who hangs out in Columbia Heights who isn’t threatening, but he’s comepletely insane otherwise, ranting, raving, talking to himself, practically foaming at the mouth, totally incoherent. What does it take to be institutionalized these days? Argh. These people need help 24-7, and by wandering the streets, they are harming our community and making the city an unfriendly place for families with young children.

    • “ranting, raving, talking to himself, practically foaming at the mouth, totally incoherent.”

      Sounds like just about any metro rider. Especially these days.

    • I know who you’re talking about. I agree that he needs to be institutionalized, not because he “harms my community” or is unsightly to the children–but because he is too vulnerable to elements of the community.

      He sits on the curb frequently. As traffic and walking patterns change 2x a day now, there is a very high chance that he could be hit by a car.

      • The other day, he stumbled into the fountain in the plaza, and freaked out all the kids at play, and as usual paramedics had to come and take him away. He may not intentionally be terrorizing anyone like the verbally abusive person described above, but he needs to be removed from the community both for his own sake, and to bring some much-needed tranquility to the area. Here he is, pants down, doing his thing:


        • Ewwwww! You should’ve added a warning to that post. When you said “doing his thing” I imagined him yelling in the middle of the street — not bending over with his pants down!

  • if the person is psychotic, it’s really not about you. have some compassion.

    for the poster, just get away from them and you this as a teaching point for your kids about how some people get sick and can’t control themselves.

    there’s no need to be confrontational, but if you need to speak to them, use a low calm voice and keep your physical distance. if the person is agitated or upset, use tone and words that will deescalate the situation.
    no gas on the fire.

  • If this is happening in a commercial zone like EM, you could also consider going inside a business just to get away from the situation. The person will likely lose interest.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to call the police, either. They likely know who this guy is will respond quickly, the police are all over EM and the substation is only two blocks away.

    It’s sad that someone with a mental illness can’t get help unless they have lots of resources.

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