Props to the Cops – Case of the “Pudding Slinger”


Photo by PoPville flickr user KJinDC

Dear PoPville,

Last Thursday around 5:30pm, I was waiting to park my car at 13th and Q Streets NW. I had just turned my hazards on and was anxiously awaiting traffic to pass so that I could cut into the parking spot. As soon as traffic abated, I backed into the spot and then I began rounding up my belongings to ensure that no one would bust out a window while my car was parked overnight, I noticed that there were streaks of a black viscous substance on my driver’s side window. I got out and inspected the damage: someone had flung pudding at the driver’s side of my car while I was waiting to park. I was floored – why would someone do that to me? Why would someone deliberately throw pudding of all things at my car when I was patiently waiting for traffic to pass while my emergency flashers were engaged?

I got out of the car, inspected the damage and popped open my trunk. I rooted around and uncovered an old t-shirt – which I used to wipe the pudding off of my car. As soon as I had cleaned it off the best I could (black streaks were still quite abundant), I proceeded to grab my sunglasses from my car and leave; however I was immediately blocked in by a grey Chevrolet Malibu. Three plain-clothes police officers stepped out of the vehicle and identified themselves as the Vice unit of the MPD. They stated that they had witnessed a car drive by and fling pudding at my vehicle and that they had stopped the occupants a block away.

MPD stated that they witnessed the passenger of the vehicle throw the pudding at my car. When MPD asked the man why he would do such a thing, he replied: “I was just playing a prank on my friend.” The police had the passenger in question walk up to my car for me to identify him. To no one’s surprise, I had never seen this scared-looking mid-twenties man before in my life. The police then asked me what I would want to happen to the pudding slinger and noted that they could easily take the man to jail.

I let the police know that a fine or stern warning seemed more in line with the crime and the last thing I wanted to do was to burden an understaffed and ineffective legal system.The police then asked me how much a car wash would cost – I told them $12-15. The police stated that the suspect was going to pay to have my car washed and they instructed the man to walk up to my passenger side window to apologize and hand me money. The man apologized and from the look on his face, I didn’t think that he was going to sling pudding any time soon. He handed me a wad of cash – which came out to be $30. I protested to the police that this was more than a wash would cost and they told me to go wash my car and tip the attendant as well. The police left and that was the conclusion of my experience with them.

47 Comment

  • Small incident, BIG DRAMA!

  • How bizarre! Glad to hear that the cops were on the ball.

  • I’m really glad that the plains clothes officers in NE are worrying about these serious infractions. But what I really think was going on was a pre-textual traffic stop. Once they have a legal reason to stop someone hopefully they can get a hit for drugs/guns and also avoid any racial profiling difficulties (if any). Hopefully they were not enforcing littering/vandalism laws.

    • regardless of how big or minor the “infraction” is stuff like that makes a whole neighborhood terrible. If stuff like that never happened, it would be a much more pleasant place to live. Yes, guns and drugs are a problem, but so it this kind of behavior.

    • vandalism is vandalism, crime is crime. No matter how big or small.

      Allowing small infractions to pass by sends the message that they don’t matter and that isn’t a good message for our neighborhoods.

    • Just echoing what brian and wittypan said, but also: why wouldn’t you want the police to enforce littering/vandalism laws?

      As others have said here, the little things that matter, too. Not just the murders and rapes. Maybe this incident will make this guy think about how he acts towards other people, making him turn over a new leaf. We can always hope, right?

  • How did you knoew it was pudding and not something else?

    • Also isn’t chocolate pudding usually dark or milk chocolate colored brown? Maybe the victim tasted it.Proofs in the pudding I guess.

  • PDMtP

    Sounds like the cops took ten minutes to be visible and let people know they’re watching for people acting out. Is this worth more than that? No, but it beats the hell out of taking ten minutes to eat a donut.

  • So when people catch criminals in action doing crap they are just gonna do again if left unpunished, they choose “not to burden the system”. But every pile of dog poop on the sidewalk and every graffitti tag on someones garage is totally fair game to burn up the city interwebs and phones for months?

    You realize this kid was laughing about this to his friends an hour later and his behavior hasn’t changed.

    You aren’t burdening the cops. DC has plenty of them. Having them take him away would have burdened HIM and would have been a much larger deterrent in the future. Getting locked up, getting a record if he didn’t already have one, spending the night in the can, having his car towed and impounded…these are the things that would have cost him upwards of a thousand bucks and a full day out of his life and been a stark reminder the next time he thought it would be funny to throw crap at people.

    • meh. i think the punishment should fit the crime, so slingin’ puddin’ should never result in “Getting locked up, getting a record if he didn’t already have one, spending the night in the can, having his car towed and impounded.” fine the guy, ticket him, a weekend of picking up trash, whatever. if this was a “pre-textual” stop and they found criminal grounds to arrest him, then it’d be a totally different story. but based on the end result, sounds like the twerp was just stupid and inconsiderate.

  • I kinda like that the guy was tried and convicted via on-the-street justice instead of using our court system.

    Too bad we don’t do that with more crimes- just appoint the police officers as street judges so we can have more Judge Judy moments like this.

  • …meanwhile in CoHi another gay man gets beaten.

  • Can’t wait to read monkeyrotica’s response to the title of this post!

  • Wow, the commenters on this blog can be so negative. I think this is AWESOME.

    This is exactly how I want our police to act for all crimes (not just pudding throwing)–with common sense. No, that doesn’t mean I want them to just let everyone go but I think this was handled perfectly.

    And props to the victim as well for being reasonable.

    If anyone from MPD is reading, thank you. It’s the little things in life that are important.

  • I see this plainclothes unmarked car all the time in Dupont east, and man, they are aggressive, pulling people over all the time. In this case, their street justice almost seems illegal (though I like it). Can cops really choose not to pursue an arrest and instead force a suspected (or known) perp to make financial amends to the victim on the spot without going through the courts? Did they search the perp’s car for guns and drugs? Did the perp have a criminal record and was he on the lam?

  • I told Aunt Bea and Andy that little Opie brat was getting out of control!!

  • Butterscotch gets off with just a warning.

  • I bet the OP is a Yelp! All-Star.

  • Definitely props to the cops. That letter, however, used way more words than necessary to describe the incident.

  • I for one commend you on NOT getting this dude thrown in jail. Yes, it’s an act of vandalism and destruction of property. Yes it lowers the overall quality of life in a neighborhood. But every person has the discretion make the call when they’re victimized as to whether or not they want to press charges, and I hardly think that a gob of pudding warrants hauling someone to jail, and thus taking cops off the streets for the time it takes them to take a minor perp to central lockup.
    My guess is that a lot of people would be deeply “hurt” by something like this, but jesus, it’s pudding. Dude paid you, got his 5-0 scare for the day, and hopefully will have learned his lesson. Bravo for not being a total dick about something so trivial. You’d have to take time out of your day to testify, he’d have a permanent record for a stupid and ill-conceived act. All in all, not worth it for any parties involved. Well played.

  • It may be small, but small does not mean insignificant. Think of the broken windows theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory

  • With all this anti-pudding enforcement, and Cathy Lanier’s decision to redeploy detectives to shake down all those venomous sellers of used books and records in AdMo, I’m just forever thankful that there isn’t any serious crime here in our marvelous city . . .

  • Anyone who puts their hazards on to park deserves to have pudding thrown at them.

    • My wife and I argue about this all of the time. She says that one should put their hazards on while waiting to park/parking.

      I on the other hand say that you are supposed to put the respective blinker to the direction you are parking on while waiting to park/parking.

      I know it sounds stupid but we really do get into it about this issue. I have never ever heard or read anywhere that you are to put your damn hazards on while parking, it makes no sense to me. I will just leave it at that.

        • Actually, I take that back, maybe partially. If you are waiting to park (or parking) in a space that is empty, then you use your blinker. If you’re stopped and waiting for someone to get in their car and pull out of a space so you can then park in it, then hazards might be okay because you’re not actually parking yet, you’re just stopped in the road. Still, I’d say a blinker is way better because it gives an indication of why you’re stopped.

      • If you’re parking, then a blinker to the direction that you are waiting to park is right, as far as I know. Hazards are, well, for hazards. Heh

      • Deploy your blinker AND put the car in reverse to illuminate backing lights. That makes your intention pretty clear.

        Hazards in that position are the domain of some jerk double parking while he runs in to CVS for smokes.

      • Oh you guys don’t have to tell me, I know I’m right. I could go on and on about this…

  • austindc

    I was on the metro in Chinatown, and as the doors closed, someone whipped a pudding cup through the doors and hit a sleeping woman in the head. The pudding exploded all over her, and there was a red welt on her forehead. Of course by the time she could react, the doors were closed, and the train was on its way.

    I was impressed with the dignity and self-restraint the woman exhibited after the attack. Other passengers helped her to clean her face and coat.

    I wonder if this is the same pudding-slinging asshole? Also, what a poor use of pudding.

  • That car was probably coming from the Kingman Boys and Girls Club. A lot of the vandalism in the neighborhood resonates from that facility.

    • Why do you think that the vandalism was coming from Kingman Boys and Girls Club? Unless you have a valid incident to site. You shouldn’t spread rumors!

      • I live on that block, there’s lots of vandalism in the alley where the Club is, as well as noise complaints and parking complaints from neighbors because of the parents that pick up/drop off there.

        • What is a lot? And who are you complaining to? I would like to know what kind of vandalism has occured that is attributable to the Boys club. Parents picking up and dropping off kids and causing parking problems is very different from someone throwing something at a moving car blocks away from the club. If you have a complaint about the club you should contact them or the proper authorities. Don’t come to a blog and make false accusations anonymously!

          • …or respond to anonymous comments anonymously. For real?
            a) the “puddingpocalypse 2012″ occurred on the same block as the Club
            b) lots of complaints are made to the police.
            c) the police have stated to neighbors who live on Kingman/Q Street/13th Street NW, that most of the vandalism (spray paint on houses, trash thrown in the streets, trash cans knocked over, et.al) are usually kids who used to go to the Club, are older now, and come back to visit friends, horse around on the play ground, etc…

            I’m not trying to poo poo the Club, but petty vandalism like pudding-gate, can be attributed to dumb teenagers…where are there a high concentration of kids on that block? Bam. Boys and Girls Club. Look at me…CSI Logan Circle.

  • “I let the police know that a fine or stern warning seemed more in line with the crime and the last thing I wanted to do was to burden an understaffed and ineffective legal system.”

    Will someone please give this person keys to the city and a ceremony?

  • come on. I can’t be the only one who laughed out loud reading this each time I came across the word pudding.

  • One of the simultaneously dumbest and funniest things I’ve ever seen was when I was in 5th grade. A bus was just about to drive off and a guy had his arm hanging out of a window. A friend of mine pulled a sandwich from his backpack, opened it up and wiped the mayo on the dude’s arm. He got off scott free.

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