Dear PoPville – Assault on 14th and H Street, NE

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Dear PoPville,

Last Saturday just before 12AM I was walking home as I passed the intersection of H and 14th NE when I was jumped by a group of roughly 10 teenagers in the age range of 14 to 17. One kid sucker punched me in the back of the head while another took a swing at my face and missed. I was able hit that assailant in the face subduing him but it wasn’t enough. At that time the other kids threw me into the side of the bus stop and preceded to kick and punch me repeatedly. Finally a group of women were driving by and yelled when the suspects fled by foot towards Trinidad.

When the police came they tracked the kids down, I was able to identify 2 of the kids that hit me. The detective on the scene knew exactly who the kids were and said they have a history of doing this stuff in the neighborhood.

After I clearly identified 2 of the suspect the detective said he was still unable to charge them with anything other than a curfew violation. His reasoning was that I was unable to provide any other distinguishing characteristics to press charges, such as facial features or specific clothing type. It is virtually impossible when being kicked repeatedly to identify any other feature than race and general clothing. Each one of the assailants was a black teenager wearing black.

Luckily I didn’t sustain any major injuries other than a few bumps and bruises. This is because I was able to tuck and protect by head. If I didn’t know how to protect myself I don’t think I’d be able to write this email right now.

When is this type of unnecessary violence going to stop? Everyday I read this blog and at least once a week I read a similar story about someone who was mugged by a group of random teenagers. Clearly, the mayor and the police chief don’t deem this as a problem that they need to solve or else there would be strict curfew enforcement and prosecution of these types of crimes. When is this going to become a priority? When are the good citizens of this city going to standup and demand that something is done? I’m afraid that some innocent person is going to need to lose their life before anything is done.

164 Comment

  • Oh man. I don’t have any answers to your questions, but I’m really glad that your injuries were not worse. Take care.

    • I used to live in that area – and, if the cop was black too, then it’s quite possible he’s related to those kids. I’ve seen cops give kids in that area with criminal actions a break because it was their “cousin” – this is not an uncommon practice by any DC gov’t employee.

      Riding the X2 you’ll hear about all kinds of shifty stuff (hook-ups) especially in terms of WIC benefits, SS benefits, or other such gov’t funded subsidies. You are living in Chocolate City – don’t forget it.

  • so these asshats have a history of doing this and all they get is a curfew violation? wow.

    it’s an endless discussion on this site about how the council and mayor are a bunch of dimwits who don’t have the balls to deal with crime and the justice system (esp. with juveniles) and it is so frustrating (to say the least).

    what needs to be done to change this (besides voting them out – because we all know some of these clowns will never be voted out of office)?

    • Wait, let me get this straight. They have enough evidence to identify for a curfew violation, but not assault. Does not compute.

      • Since the kids were found outside, they were in violation of curfew. Them simply being outside does not sufficiently link them to the assault… at least in the eyes of the law.

        • Now, that unfortunately makes sense. they weren’t ‘caught’ at the scene.

        • Except the police officer is not prosecutor, judge or jury– if a clear, credible eyewitness ID is made, and the victim is willing to testify to that, the police officer should be required to at least present this to the prosecutor’s office. Let the US Attorney’s office kick it back for lack of evidence. This is lame, and the victim should get back in touch with the police before they forget about this.

  • jim_ed

    I’m failing to understand how they can’t press charges if you identified two of them as your attackers? That sounds like a complete load of horsecrap by a cop who doesn’t want to do the extra paperwork or juicing the violent crime numbers at its worst.

    If I were you, I would immediately call the 1st district commander and raise absolute hell until the correct charges are filed. If they won’t help, then go to the media. As much as I loathe them, the Washington Times would probably splash this across page 1.

    This is the kind of thing we as a city need to say “no more” to.

    • Isn’t going to PoP going to the media? This site is a pretty large forum for DC residents. I agree with you that the way the cop dealt with this incident is completely unacceptable, and from what I understand the way this city deals with juvenile criminals–even ones who commit crime after crime–is absurd. I don’t really know much about how laws get changed, but it seems to me that when enough people get pissed off about something and actually organize as a group to get their message across, that’s when things really happen. So nothing is going to change until someone who would normally comment on something like this anonymously (myself included, obviously) makes a decision to take action by starting a city-wide petition or organizing a protest.

      • They should sentence them to real prison, with adult offenders. That might deter some of these thugs.

        • The prison system is notoriously bad at rehabilitating, or even detering, criminals

          • Probably true, but it’s also true that every single person in prison isn’t out assaulting people on the streets. Get rid of the non-violent drug offenders and put thugs like these behind bars.

      • Reporting something to your local blogger is not “going to the media.”

        • Prince Of Petworth

          Reporters from the Washington Post and local NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox often pull stories from the site. Government agencies besides DDOT are often very responsive to stories posted on the site.

          • I’m not ragging on you or your site PoP. Both are great. But from what I’ve seen, blogs – including yours – are typically cited after the fact as confirming concern within a community over a particular issue. As in a crime “wave” hits an area and traffic on local blogs is cited as confirmation that residents are worried about crime. Or “x” area is undergoing a makeover and there is tension between the old residents and the new residents, as demonstrated by traffic on the local blog. I wouldn’t post something here thinking it’s going to get the attention of the news media, or MPD, the City Council or the Mayor’s Office for that matter.

          • Prince Of Petworth

            I know you’re not ragging on the site. I’m just telling you that reporters regularly ask me for contact information about stories they are interested in.

          • PoP,

            When reporters pull stories from your blog, don’t they have to be careful to vet the story? Reporters are supposed to be neutral when reporting and I’m only guessing but if you post someone’s letter or experience about something, you are not necessarily going for objectiveness when reporting 1 side? Or do you try to be balanced or fair and get the other side? I think that’s the a big difference for me between your blog and media outlets such as newpapers and TV.

        • Thank you. Also a protest or city-wide petition is almost as worthless as complaining on a blog. Politicians only understand votes. Vote them out and let their successors know that they’ll face the same fate if things don’t improve.

          • Only a small little problem with your suggesting. I think if the majority or all of the PoPville community voted, we’d change the face of DC politics (if PoPville were the only people voting). You’re preaching to the choir. The people you need to reach your message are not reading this blog.

          • Of course politicians only understand votes. But protests and petitions and other actions that connect a group of people and spread awareness about an issue are the types of things that actually sway votes. I think we actually agree, it’s just, you have to start somewhere. The point of those things isn’t to appeal to the hearts of politicians, but to make them aware that enough people give a damn about something that if they don’t address it, they risk not being reelected.

          • Good points. But if everyone on PoP who cares enough to post also voted (and encouraged like-minded friends to vote), they would be successful at least in the elections where low voter turnout opens up the game to determined minority. If protests and petitions get that wave going, then great. But it will take a lot more than camping out in a downtown park or signing your name to clean up this city.

        • yea, i don’t know if i consider the Pop a ‘local’ blog, more like almost a city wide blog, and considering the city is the nations capital, more like a large-city internet news forum

      • PoP is not the media. Sorry, PoP, but the outlets are different. I agree with Marcus A. that while reporting this on PoP informs those who check/read PoP today will learn about this but people comment and then drop the subject. That does nothing concretely for the issue. It might make people feel better or feel supported by a virtual community but it doesn’t do much to change the way this situation was handled.

        • I disagree PoP isn’t the media. I believe it falls into the realm of social media or online media. It’s a purveyor of information to a mass audience. Note also that most traditional outlets used the photo posted on PoP of Michael Davis after he was arrested for the Petworth assaults.

          • Please see my question to PoP (11:29) where I explain why I see a blog as different from newspapers or TV. Reporters have the journalistic obligation to be neutral or objective. I don’t always find that to be the case with the entries here, especially when what is posted is someone’s letter explaining what happened during an event or issue. If I am wrong, please correct me. I take news from any blogs with a grain of salt. I think this blog is helpful in terms of what is happening in this city and it is a great resource.

          • Newspapers and TV stations have been securing photos from regular people (if they have good shots of something) but that doesn’t make the people/photographers reporters with any sense of journalistic objectivity.

          • I disagree that “objectivity” or having a point of view is the criteria for determining whether an outlet qualifies as part of the media. What about publications such as The Nation or The Weekly Standard, or, hell, Fox News? I’m not saying all of us who comment here are reporters, but that the site functions as a form of mass media that would probably fall into the category of new media. What about something like Huffington Post or the Drudge Report? Media? I think so.

          • Please note that I said reporters/journalists have an ethical obligation to be neutral/obective in their reporting, which includes trying to get as many sides as possible in order for the reader or viewer to reach their own conclusion about the event/story. I don’t think that always happens here. I’m not talking about people who comment because commenters do not make for reporters, they are giving or stating their opinions, which is not journalistic in any way. I’m saying how I assess the sources from where I get my news. I understand that some people consider blogs as a source of news but I tend to be a bit more skeptical because of how the stories are sourced is all.

          • Well, it certainly is an interesting discussion and worth thinking more about.

      • This is painful to hear. About a month ago in the afternoon my wife and I were walking down D street (around 12th NE) and a couple of teenagers were walking the other way. One of them spit very close to us while the other was filming us on a camera phone. It was extremely challenging. I smiled and put my arm around my wife as we continued to walk through them. I heard the other one call me a “bullet head”. I don’t know if that has anything to do with my balding head or a more violent connotation. Either way they luckily left us alone.

        I’m very sorry to hear about your assault and I think it could have happened to us. What disturbed me most about that situation was the fearlessness in their actions. The vibe was that they were hoping for me to take the bait so they could react. As if they had been doing this for a while. They couldn’t have been older than 16.

        What can we do as a community? I still can’t get over how they did not press assault charges. I have to agree with Jim_ed below. I think the media may be the way to spread awareness.

        Wishing you a speedy recovery both physically and mentally

    • boochow

      Not for nothing but alot of buisnesses have survelance cameras in the front of the buildings. The detectives should review them…

    • saf

      “I’m failing to understand how they can’t press charges if you identified two of them as your attackers? That sounds like a complete load of horsecrap”

      I have to agree with this.

      • Simple, the more of a fuss you make the more it makes them look bad. Cops need to make it look like crime is decreasing, so it can appear that they are doing their job. That’s why they try to talk a lot of victims out of even filing a police report in the first place.

  • Whoa, I’m SO sorry this happened to you. And also tired as can be of writing similar words to all the other victims of similar random beatings. At a loss as to what can be done?

  • The Detective’s response is unacceptable. I suggest that you raise this issue up the chain of command and bring in your ANC and council member. Not sure how active the MPD listserve is in that area, but you may also want to relate your story on the listserve. It may spark some action.

    • The First District MPD listserve is active and the commander routinely responds to people who have issues. It might be a good place to start. So sorry you had to go through this and for the appalling response from the detective.

    • I agree that the detective’s response was uncalled for. He had probable cause to make the arrest, based only on the victim’s positive identification. Let a prosecutor decide whether to pursue the case or drop the charges. When the cops short-circuit the process like this — ESPECIALLY with kids who are known problems — it makes it impossible to get justice, deterrence, or change in this town.

  • What this town needs is a silent guardian, a watchful protector.

  • orderedchaos

    I hope you got the name of “the detective on the scene.” Sounds like he was resigned to letting such behavior go unpunished, or was too lazy to be bothered.

    Either way, it’s worth pursuing further with your district lieutenant, or councilmember, or yes, the media if need be. Because you’re right: these attacks will continue until they are forcibly punished, and hopefully it won’t take more horrible injuries or deaths to make that happen.

  • You got a stupid cop. If you identified the attackers, he can charge them. Whether your ID would stand up in court is another matter. So sorry this happened to you, and I’m glad you weren’t hurt worse.

  • Wanted to wish you a speedy recovery and so sorry that this happened to you.

  • Not a hero that DC deserves, but the one it needs right now…

  • Raise this up the chain – call your CM if neccessary.
    I pray for the day when they do this to someone with martial arts abilities and get their asses beat-up. I don’t normally condone violence – but these kids need to get a taste of their own medicine.

    • Or the kids claim that the adult with said martial arts skills attacked them and the adult gets charged.

  • fuckers. this is what makes me walk around with a party-size pepper spray, unlocked, in hand. i swear to god, somebody’s really gonna get it one of these days, and it’s not gonna be me.

  • So sorry for your injuries. I hope you recover quickly.
    While I appreciate the information, reporting this to PoP does nothing but start yet another crime/race/class/gentrification thread.
    If you really want something to change, I hope you reported (or will report) this to your Councilman or Councilwoman as well as the MPD Commander for the district where this occurred. You should also send it to the Washington Post and any other news outlet. What you described makes no sense and is not proper police procedure. If you “clearly identified” two people as your assailants, they should have been arrested for assault. Period.

    • Congratulations for being the first in this thread to bring up race, class, and gentrification (yay!!! you!!!!). The OP did not say anything to incite issues with any of the above. Please. Don’t. Start.

  • What do other cities do about this type of crime? Because I’m absolutely certain that most jurisdictions do not tolerate this sort of thing.

  • This was actually on H Street?

    Sorry this happened to you, I live very near here and it’s incredibly troubling. I can’t believe you could ID two of the individuals and they did nothing. If you were on the south side of H, I’d say go to Tommy Wells. On the north side I’m not sure if the councilmember elect is in office yet.

    • i think he is sworn in today. this could be a good first project for him.

      to the op – so sorry this happened to you. hope you recovery quickly. and i echo all the comments about doing something to make this right. you were screwed at the scene – by these kids and the cops.

    • wells represents both sides of h and all the way up to the south side of florida ave.

  • I’m very sorry this happenned to you. I also implore you not to let this die down. Go up the chain of command, get the media invovled, get your ANC involved, anything. The first step for law abiding citizens of this city to wrest control back from criminals and those people in power who coddle them is for someone like you to not be satisfied with that lazy cop’s answer and demand better. Know that you have the support of a LOT of people on this.

  • So sorry to hear about this but glad to hear you are OK. Not that it matter because this is not cool regardless but are you a man or a woman?

    Can I suggest to all that if you are in this same predicament and if you do fight back, don’t just try and hit them or get them off of you, try and put your fist, elbow or whatever THROUGH their face, put your heel straight through their kneecap. I know it sounds violent/harsh and a lot of times if you are sucker punched you might not have the chance. But I do promise you this, if you are jumped and the rest see you demolish one of their boys they are more likely than not to bounce. That is what punk MFs do, big and bad until shit gets real.

    Again, I am not promoting violence but in the streets sometimes you don’t get a second chance, protect yourself however you can, make sure they can’t come back after you. There are no rules in a street fight. When my father and I used to teach karate/self-defense esp to woman, we taught them to use and do whatever they learned/could do to get away for obvious reasons.

    Be safe out there.

  • This is painful to hear. About a month ago in the afternoon my wife and I were walking down D street (around 12th NE) and a couple of teenagers were walking the other way. One of them spit very close to us while the other was filming us on a camera phone. It was extremely challenging. I smiled and put my arm around my wife as we continued to walk through them. I heard the other one call me a “bullet head”. I don’t know if that has anything to do with my balding head or a more violent connotation. Either way they luckily left us alone.

    I’m very sorry to hear about your assault and I think it could have happened to us. What disturbed me most about that situation was the fearlessness in their actions. The vibe was that they were hoping for me to take the bait so they could react. As if they had been doing this for a while. They couldn’t have been older than 16.

    What can we do as a community? I still can’t get over how they did not press assault charges. I have to agree with Jim_ed below. I think the media may be the way to spread awareness.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery both physically and mentally

  • You know, what is really crazy about this story is that there are normally a rack of police around that area at that time, normally one is parked right at the Argonaut.

  • It will stop when Bernard Goetz comes to town and starts shooting some of these punks.

  • to me it seems more worth it to carry an illegal weapon and taser the little f’ers and deal with the consequences (if you are even to get caught) then to be a victim. if the law isnt going to teach them a lesson then i would be happy to.

  • you should’ve chewed their faces off

    • -1 So wrong for that. Let’s just hope these kids don’t start doing bath salts.

    • The “new” South Beach Diet.

    • +1 for referencing other current events. also why do we care if they start doing bath salts??

      • You would care if it was your face or a loved one, hell even some random commentor on here. Or do you not understand what bath salt has to do with any of my comment thus meaning you don’t fully know the story.

  • Someone who has experienced something like this needs to start a petition — that they deliver to the mayor and the council — demanding that the city take action. It can’t be led by someone like me who has not been a victim.

    BTW, where are those posters who doubt that the city is soft on teen crime?

  • Welcome to the summer in Washington DC!

  • An innocent person has died at the hands of random teenagers. A few years ago, a colleague of mine was assaulted on his way home from the Safeway in SW. He died in the hospital about a week later, due to brain trauma. The cops caught the kids and they were tried and convicted. I never followed the case closely, but I know they weren’t tried as adults and will probably soon be released.

  • This makes me furious. I’m so sorry this happened to you. A similar thing happened to my boyfriend a few years ago, in that vicinity of H Street, except it involved a trip to the emergency room and stitches (all in all no serious injuries sustained, thank god). They took his wallet, but really…the crime wasn’t about getting money as much as perpetrating random violence. If you can find a way to press charges, it might keep others out of danger?

  • I hate that I think that is both clever and informative…

  • Yesterday I spoke with the 1D Sargent about this issue. He said they are going to increase patrols for curfew violators and aggressively target metro stops where these teenagers hang out. With regards to pressing charges, the police were adamant that due to my inability to give them a specific initial lookout that the charges would not hold up in court.

    After talking to a few other officers they said that this true and is not the fault of the police but the systematic gutting of the laws by the Mayor, Police Chief, City Council and the DC Courts unwillingness to take up these cases. I learned that recently the City Council, under threat of legal action citing freedom of speech, repealed laws which protected police officers against threats and profanity. So now anyone can go up to an officer scream profanity and threats in their face without any retribution.

    Furthermore, when these curfew violators are caught they are not locked up. They are instead taken to a community center which basically amounts to a party for them until their parents pick them up.

    I don’t blame the rank and file police officer, their hands are tied by the Mayor and Chief. This is the byproduct of a do nothing political regime who balks at the face of what’s right under the threat of legal action. This city is not going to live up to its potential until these people are out of office.

    • Sorry to hear about this, glad you are OK.

      For as much as everyone tries to make this not a racial issue, that’s exactly what it boils down to. Now when I say that, it’s not to label black people as criminals and white people as victims, but it explains how a clown like Gray can get into office. The majority of the black population in DC does not want an aggressive police force targeting young black men, so they’ve put into office a mayor who has no desire to go after these teenagers, even though they make up the majority of the criminal population in DC.

      That doesn’t make me a “racist” or whatever other nonsense that gets thrown around on here. It’s going to be a significant problem in DC as gentrification continues and is one of the large reasons we left the city last year to move to NYC. Anytime you have a low-income population and a high-income population in a small density area, you are going to have incidents like this happen. Add in the black/white dynamic and it just gets worse.

      Frankly, the only way I see things getting better is for the black population in DC to continue to grow smaller, making it possible for elected officials of other ethnic backgrounds (white, hispanic, asian, etc) to enforce the laws needed to prevent these random assaults from happening so frequently.

      • A little confused by your comment. Are you saying that black people favor crime therefore they want a mayor that is soft on criminals? There are “low-income population and a high-income population in a small density area” in NYC too.

        • the standard jury in dc is very very tired of putting more and more young black men in prison. our neighborhoods are filled with ex cons that can’t get jobs. the cycle is horrible and many would prefer the hope of self rehabilitation over the penitence of the penitentiary. however misguided you may find that, it plays itself out often.

          • I was asking a question. Are you agreeing with what Anon said? Or citing an example of how the jury system plays out the process?

          • Thanks for that non-pejorative insight. I disagee with that school of thought since I believe the balance has tilted too far towards leniency to the detriment of the city, but it’s helpful to hear the other side of things.

        • I’m not suggesting all black people favor crime. Or even most of them. Simply that many believe it is in their best interests to have a city government and police force that does not take juvenile crime seriously.

          • So you’re saying a minority of black people are soft on crime? That’s not what it seemed like you were saying, but maybe you could specify the percentages. All I know is I’ve been on 3 juries over 15 years with a mix of races and we convicted 3 times, unanimous votes each time, of course.

      • it may not make you a racist, but it does make you a reckless generalizer who thinks that ALL black people in this city have the same agenda. which, in turn, makes you look foolish. the reasons why people vote for certain people are usually specific. to blanket an entire community is ridiculous, regardless of the outcome.

      • Yes, it does make you racist. You think that black people are criminal, or criminal coddlers. You think that the important factor in these issues is the color of people’s skin. That is the definition of racism.

        racism |ˈrāˌsizəm|
        the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

      • thebear

        No, when ALL residents 1) stop ignoring what is going on in their neighborhoods (or even their own homes in some cases) AND 2) tell the “don’t snitch” element to STFU, ignore them and start dropping dimes (even on friends and family members) will we see a significant and sustainable decrease in crime. I was at a citywide meeting a couple of years and some (apparently well-known) black woman stood up and railed against gay marriage because she believes it’s against “God’s will.” A while later, she stood up and told people “to be safe and not snitch” when this very subject came up. I stood up and told her “that standing up for the truth and not harming your fellow man was also God’s will, why was she not against violating those tenets” She got applause and I got booed, and was told in so many words to “keep [my] white ass shut.” The MPD people got pretty much the same reaction

        • Do you think “snitches get stitches” is ironic or something? That “stop snitching” is a moral imperative universally adopted by an entire community of apparent 80s cartoon villains rather than an actual threat from people willing to back it up?

          I mean, it is a moral imperative too; but one borne of actual fear of violence, not because they’re just too stupid to realize that crime is bad.

          • I think what people are missing is that not snitching is the end of result of systemic neglect like the OP experienced. The long-timers who tried to say something got their asses beat, moved to PG county and/or learned to keep quiet. People usually react well to whites. When they don’t, you can only guess how bad it would be if you’re a black person that needs help.

            If posters would engage and listen to their neighbors, they might learn something.

            This attack is insane and should not be tolerated by anyone.

        • Thebear, respect to you for calling her out. Too bad others in the audience refused to see her hypocrisy.

      • This is by far one of the most ignorant posts I have ever read on PoP. I’m African American, female, a very well paid public affairs consultant with a masters, own my home in Brightwood and read PoP in addition to several major dailies and blogs each day. To assert that me as an African American would support letting a black kid or group of kids off for this offense is asinine. I want this city safe for everyone. And I’m horrified when I read these stories regardlessof the race of the person. What people need to remember is we are all put in fear when crime occurs. And when I walk down the side walk I’m suspicious of everyone regardless of their race. Even the most unassuming white person could be a rapist or an African American or a Hispanic. Anyone. I promise you that every single on of my African American colleagues and friends who NEVER support letting these kids off. They need to be charged and in jail. Please don’t generalize my race because your comments are ignorant. And thank you PoP for bringing issues like this to our attention. While you may be a blog you are one of my top sources for news in the city.

    • Of course you can curse at a polcie officer without being charged with anything. The supreme court held that officers are expected to have thicker skin that the average citizen, and are expected to be professional enough to brush it off. That’s not the fault of the city, but it’s our constitution. You have the freedom to call a cop names, even profane ones, without retribution.

      It sounds like the cops are makign excuses. I’ve heard the “we don’t want to arrest them, because the case won’t go anywhere anyway”. Not making an arrest after having an identified suspect a short time after the incident is the police’s fault.

      • “You have the freedom to call a cop names, even profane ones, without retribution.”

        Haha, do you seriously think that’s true though? Remember the lawyer a few years ago who was overheard telling his friends he hates the police, and was subsequently arrested? Most of these guys have fragile egos and you should never do anything that could bruise them.

    • I don’t think what these officers told you is correct. The best person to tell you whether something will stand up in court is a prosecutor, not a police officer. In any event, arresting and processing these kids might have some value even if the charges eventually get dropped – at least they suffer some consequences as a result of their actions. Right now the lesson they’ve learned is that they can brutally attack someone and not lose 10 minutes of freedom.

  • good thing the city is more concerned with ”speeding” and putting up more speed traps (cameras).

  • Has anyone besides PoP covered this event? I live a few blocks from where it took place and haven’t heard anything about it before.

  • Sadly, DC gov’t will only care when a few of the teenagers are killed while attempting to beat/mug someone. The news stations will jump all over the crying families and it will be society’s fault, not the teens or parents.

  • The Juvenile Curfew Act of 1995 (DC Code 2-1541 et. seq.) states that persons under the age of 17 cannot remain in or on a street, park or other outdoor public place, in a vehicle or on the premises of any establishment within the District of Columbia during curfew hours, unless they are involved in certain exempted activities.

    What are the curfew hours?

    For the months of September through June:

    Curfew begins at 11 pm on Sunday through Thursday nights, and continues until 6 am the following day
    Curfew hours are 12:01 am to 6 am on Saturday and Sunday (curfew on “Friday night” begins at 12:01 am Saturday; curfew on “Saturday night” begins at 12:01 am Sunday)
    During July and August only:

    Curfew hours are 12:01 am to 6 am, seven days a week

    Does the curfew law apply to non-District residents?

    Yes. The curfew law applies to all persons under the age of 17 who are in the District of Columbia during curfew hours. This includes both District residents as well as young people who reside elsewhere.

  • I hate most DC teenagers and their stupid parents. Good job at raising a fine kid

  • I must have just missed this incident…I think I saw the group that the OP is referring too…they were congregated around the bus stop at 14th and H. They were clearly all minors and as I waited at the light, I witnessed more than one police cruiser ride past without stopping. It was obvious that they were looking for trouble and they were openly harassing a couple walking on the sidewalk near them. My first thought was it’s midnight so why are they still out…second thought was why did the couple choose to walk through them rather than cross the street.

    I catch a lot of flak from my neighbors for calling about the youth being out after curfew but I don’t think we have a choice. It is for all of our protections…I watched some older teens hang a smaller neighborhood boy from a wrought iron fence after giving him a wedgie and pantsing (sp) him last weekend. It may have started out as horseplay but it ended with him coming back with 5 of his friends…thank goodness there was a cruiser in the vicinity. They got there before things got too far out of hand.

    With that being said, I am sorry to hear about the OP altercation and wish that I had thought to call the Police when I saw them gathering.

  • “When is this type of unnecessary violence going to stop? Everyday I read this blog and at least once a week I read a similar story about someone who was mugged by a group of random teenagers.”

    When a victim finally shoots five or six of them in the face and chases the others out into traffic where they get hit by cars, that’s when. And I hope that happens soon. The older these thugs get, the higher the likelihood they’ll breed before they get put in prison, or preferably in their graves.

    If you can get their names and addresses from the police report, I’d sue them yourself. Good luck and heal up quickly!

    • the answer will not be in escalating violence. the answer will come when we have more control over who our judges are and more civil minded people sit for jury duty.

    • +1000. Time to show them we can fight back.

  • This story is exactly why I cross the street or avoid an area entirely if I see a group of three or more kids in my path. If peer-pressure and the desire to impress their friends isn’t enough to make a kid justify doing something like this to a stranger, the knowledge that the maximum penalty for aggravated assault is only up to five years will probably do it. In my opionion, kids are ten times as frightening as adults merely because they know there’s no long-term implications for their actions unless it’s murder. Now where’s my pepper spray…

    • I wonder how this idea that asphalt turns into impassable lava for all but the pure-hearted took hold in certain cultural groups. The one time in my life I crossed the street to avoid someone he crossed with me while staring me in the eye just to let me know how much of a moron I was.

      • maybe he was scared of you.

      • Well, I don’t flap my arms and scream as I’m walking another direction. Subtlety and, often times, a barrier of passing cars is enough to block a group’s attention from you. Plus, I would rather look like an idiot than have my face kicked-in. Just a personal preference.

        • If they wanted to kick your face in they’d take the same car-less route across the street that you take (while giving lie to your imagined unidirectional powers of perceiving strangers of interest). All you’re doing is giving a very extravagant middle finger to a bunch of strangers with a pre-emptive display of passive hostility.

          I simply can’t imagine the type of person who’d be brimming with enough ill-will and physical confidence to assault someone but would find crossing the street to do so simply too daunting a task to bother with.

          And more specifically, of all the generalizations of the “teens” around here, slow-footed and cautious about crossing the street in the middle of the road are traits I’ve gathered don’t fit in.

          • This is all sadly true. Note: in these cases I take the first sidewalk I reach en-route opposed to merely veering off into the street once I see a playdate gone wrong. Otherwise, I’d kick my ass too for being too blantantly disrespectful. However, being a tiny woman that doesn’t possess Krav Maga skills or the like, the threat of being physically assaulted or otherwise is enough to take extra precaution.

          • Oh, come on. I would advise people to cross the street 100% of the time if they feel the least bit threatened. The mugger/attacker is much more likely to attack an unsuspecting victim. If you cross the street, they’ll probably catch on that you’re not a naive, unsuspecting victim. I gave my friend this same advice and he chose to ignore it because he felt bad that he might offend the young black kids walking his way on 16th Street. After he was robbed by them at gunpoint, guess what he does now when he senses that something might be up? You’d be surprised at how intuitive people can be about sensing trouble. I’d rather hurt someone’s feelings 100 times in a row if it meant that I didn’t get my ass handed to me just once.

          • I know you’re trying to undermine any possible complicity in contributing to a atmosphere of hostility that reduces respect for human life to the point of violence by stating it as an issue of “hurt feelings”, but if safety is all that matters why not brandish pepper spray or a knife at random strangers?

          • if u see a group of people (or just a person) u might consider threatening, walking across the street does not help, and yes, it is an insult. If you walk with confidence and actually make eye contact and maybe even acknowledge them, 99.9% chance there will be mutual respect and nothing will happen.

            Of course if a group of kids wanna cause trouble, they will, but people, especially the suburban newcomers to the city, shouldn’t downplay the effects of being uppity with “oh god scary people please don’t kill me” behavior.

            Glad to hear this guy is ok and it must have been traumatic.

  • Really? That’s your response to an assault?

  • What might stop it is that we all send letters to our elected officials demanding a change NOW. Our Mayor and Council need to advance legislation making such crimes a high priority for punishment. Send a strong signal it will not be tolerated. DC’s hug-a-thug policy, especially as it relates to juveniles, will be hard to change, but not impossible. Amazing, another homicide ends with a plead to second degree and a weak sentence. The early 20s “kid” will be out of jail in his early 40s, totally unreasonable for a guy who fires indiscriminately into a car, leaving one dead and one injured for life. DC’s tolerance of violence is hard to swallow, but we all live it week after week as shown on homicide watch DC.

  • We need to not only petition city government to help stop this we also need to bring this in front of Congress and the Committee on Oversight. They are responsible for appropriations and obviously a lot of members and staff staff live in this area. There is a clear lack of interest on behalf of city govt. And the whole BS about lacking the necessary funds needs to hire more cops needs to stop. Especially when the city just spent millions for a community center on Gales that will be destroyed in less than a year.

    • i agree with you that congress should find a way to get involved in this issue. it’s just too bad congress is more concerned about preventing use of government funds for certain abortions and stopping our (non-voting) rep from testifying at a hearing about something impacting dc!

      if they want to get involved in dc’s business, then the least they could do is deal with the important shit, like crime. it’s their business when it’s something that allows them to jaw off about something that they think will win them points with their constituents back home. but when it’s something that truly impacts dc and its residents and has no bearing on whatever district the member is from, they could give two shits.

  • Jail is not the answer. There are 2 million people in jail and this still happens. The current system is clearly both not lenient and not working. Its time to come together as a community and solve the problem. How about volunteering as a mentor?

    • I think there needs to be some form of punishment meaning that if you do X, then Y will happen so there is understanding that actions have consequences. Punishment, alone, will not be effective. There needs to be rehabilitation and when I say rehabilitation I mean actual programs that work with individuals to gain skills or education to help them have skills and to feel good about themselves so that individuals may re-enter the community with a purpose. The transition has to be done in conjunction with a program that can ease them into a workplace. It would be great if places would be open to hiring such individuals but this is tricky (it can be done) but it has to be done without judgement from their proprietors and workers of the business and with the understanding from the individual that if they steal, cheat or what-have, there will be consequences. In order for any reform to take place and be successful, we need to be able to walk along side and give individuals skills and change the perception of the community towards them. It’s not impossible but it’s really hard given all the different perspectives that come along with living amongst lots of people. I would be hopeful if there were these support posts along the whole way. It costs money. I think you have to believe in people to make effective changes.

      • Or how about devoting resources that help the youth have a chance in life and not want to commit senseless crime. Most of these senseless crimes come from hopelessness. Consider what kind of outlook you would have if your adult role models were all dead or in jail, your school was terrible, no one gave you any hope of college or a good job, and everyone else in society is essentially telling you that you cannot have the life they have. You would have no hope for the future. Jail would not deter you from crime because you have no hope of a meaningful future anyways. If the youth are given a chance in life, this wouldn’t be happening. Or we can continue to drink our $10 beers and complain that poor people are so inconvenient they should all be thrown in jail forever for something stupid they did when they were young and hopeless.

        • That’s exactly the point of my multi-pronged answer to punish/rehabilitate/reintegrate individuals. Even better is to work with them before they commit crimes.

        • I never said that jail was the form of punishment that should be applied. I said that there should be a punishment so that when X action occurs, they know that Y will happen.

        • I don’t drink $10 beers.

        • Amen. Thanks Joe for saying this! Every single person reading this blog would act in the same way had they grown up like these kids. Please consider mentoring a young child in DC.

          • While I’m not at odds with what Joe is saying, not every single child who grows up in such conditions grows up to participate in criminal behavior, so it would be an inaccurate and gross generalization to say that every reader of this blog growing up in those conditions would also participate in criminal behavior. Otherwise, your point is fine. People who grow up with every opportunity against them, some grow up and out to become upstanding citizens. Not easy but it does happen. It would probably happen more often with the good guidance of a mentor and consistent programs.

          • f’ that s’ – “mentor a DC kid”. Do NOT put the waste product from your union on society. Rip it out and kill it before it grows.

    • Cool, so if I don’t want to be beaten by a group of 10 black teenagers, the solution isn’t to put them in jail but rather become a Big Brother?

      Are you fucking serious?

      • Ask yourself, “why does this happen?” Then, “How do we stop it from happening before it happens?” Then act accordingly. Arguing for teenagers to go to jail only perpetuates the problem. There will always be more children, and those in jail will only eventually get out with more problems that lead to the same result you seek to prevent. So this lock everyone one up forever attitude is not a viable solution to crime in the city. Over thirty years of increasingly high incarceration rates have proven this to be true. So its time the community used its collective knowledge and sacrifice to find a better solution. I suggest fixing the schools and hiring mentors for all the students in need. For all the money we waste on police, courts, and prisons, we could pay for college educations too.

        • Are you aiming for the caricature of a dense liberal?

          The 1970s are calling, and would like their failed social policies back. The schools CAN’T be repaired until the parents CARE about their children’s education.

          I agree with the notion of providing opportunity, and giving kids a chance to not follow down that path, but if they decide to walk it, then throw them in jail so they aren’t a danger to society.

        • “So this lock everyone one up forever attitude is not a viable solution to crime in the city. Over thirty years of increasingly high incarceration rates have proven this to be true.”

          Well, that argument might make sense if not for massive drop in crime we’ve seen during these decades of “increasingly high incarceration rates”. Facts very much contradict the premise of your claim.

  • Massive birth control is the answer so their moms, who are about 15 years older than then, stop having more brats that ultimately, we support and they still end up mugging us 14 years later.

  • Legit question.

    Why are DC residents against open carry / concealed carry of LEGAL firearms, if incidents like this continue to happen on a seemingly daily basis?

    I’m a military veteran, and am well trained in how to handle a firearm. Yet I cannot legally carry in DC so I don’t.

    So, if five punks decide to jump me for my iPhone I’m left to my own devices.

    Would I not be better off if I were better equipped to defend myself against a group attack?

    • I think you just answered your own question. You are trained to use a gun. The conceal carry gun law might make some people feel better about being on the streets but what it does is put a lot more guns on the street AND into the hands of people who are not trained how to use guns. Those guns could be used against them instead of as a way to defend.

      • I think that’s a common misnomer. (more guns = more crime).

        If someone with bad intentions wants a gun in DC they can get one illegally rather easy. If someone wants to commit a physical crime to another person they know that if that person is law abiding they will not have a gun on them to protect themselves.

        I think this puts a pretty large advantage in the hands of the bad guys.

        I’m not some 2nd amendment nut job. I’m all for strict gun control.
        – A strong and comprehensive licensing/screening program
        – Strict limit on the type and amount of guns one person can own
        – Strict screening for past criminal and mental illness before owning.
        – Mandatory training for owners.
        – If someone uses a gun to protect themselves hold them liable for their actions / intentions.

        Bottom line is I felt safer in Fallujah and Kabul then I do in parts of NW after 10:00pm.

        The City and it’s police force have show through a lack of action that they do not have the ability or the will to stop this type of violent crime that is being inflected on it’s law abiding residents on a seemingly daily basis.

        Let’s level the playing field a bit.

        • +100.

          I agree with everything you wrote. I’ll also add, as someone without any significant firearms training, I don’t think I would ever feel comfortable enough to carry a firearm around the District, but I think those with significant training and the inclination to do so should be allowed to do so, for exactly the reasons you’ve described. That lingering possibility that a potential victim height be armed would, I believe, go a long way to reducing the random type of violence that this post is about. Sadly, the bigger problem in this city, is the unrelenting crime perpetrated by inner city youths on other inner city youths, and a concealed carry right will do nothing to lessen that. Only when people like Marion Barry stop getting elected will we have a chance at addressing that larger problem.

        • “If someone with bad intentions wants a gun in DC they can get one illegally rather easy.”

          I find that to be a much, much bigger problem then the fact that I’m not allowed to legally carry one. That’s a problem that grows exponentially worse if more people start carrying them and subsequently get them stolen rather than just their ipod.

    • There is a lot of ground to cover between allowing nobody to carry a properly-registered concealed weapon and allowing practically everybody to do so. I would be fully supportive of a fairly restricted law that would allow somebody with your level of training to carry one, but it would be insane to allow me to carry one. I have a clean record and could easily purchase and register a gun in any state that allows concealed carry, but I don’t believe that I or “people like me” (i.e., normal folks who don’t have police or military training) should be able to.

      Heck, if one of the guys who attacked the OP was of age and had a clean record, what’s to stop him from buying, registering, and legally carrying a gun. I don’t think it’s too far fetched that at least one in a group of ten might have been 18 and might not have been convicted of a felony yet.

    • You make two assumptions that are problemmatic:

      1) that if you were armed, you would be able to fend off a group of teenagers that jump you; as opposed to being shot yourself – probably with your own weapon;

      2) that the opposition among DC politicians to guns in the hands of law abiding citizens represents the will of all or even most people in DC. If there was a referendum, I would vote in favor of allowing DC residents like me to own a handgun. I would also require that before being allowed to own a handgun, the person would have to take a safety and shooting course and demonstrate not only that they can shoot the gun but can handle it safely. I’m not sure that I would support open carry or concealed carry permits. But I definitely support the right to own a handgun to protect one’s own home.

  • Pretty much anyone who didn’t vote in the last DC election, or who is not registered as a Democrat in DC can go sit down and STFU. Because you’re the problem.

    • Really? I’m supposed to vote no matter what, even if I don’t believe that any of the candidates are capable of doing the job? I didn’t vote in the last mayoral cycle because I didn’t want ANY of the candidates to be in office.

    • Actually, “the problem” is the people that are assaulting other people.

  • Okay, so I’m really convinced that I’d like to contribute as a mentor or in some other capacity, but are these kids that jumped this guy really enrolled in a program like this? Really?

    I’ve often fantasized about what I would do if I got mugged or assaulted and the perpetrator was caught. I’d like their punishment to be hanging out with me 2x/week for a year. I’d want to work at breaking down all the hatred and anger in their hearts. I’m in no way equipped to do this, but I have a lot of energy to kill people with kindness and I’d just like to forge a relationship with somebody that would make both of us see the world a little differently.

    • The idea of mentoring or similar-type programs is that it keeps kids off the street (for a while) and keeps them occupied. Mentoring and other similar-type programs are a big commitment because it’s also about providing a good model, being supportive, filling a parental/guardian role without being a parent and acting like one. It’s about trying to open up opportunities or giving them ways to see the world but realizing this may not come easily when you go back to your respective worlds at the end of the day and they may not think those opportunites are there for them. It would be about not giving up because as a mentor it is more difficult than you thought. There is a lot of anger, hostility, hopelessness, and chock full of every day stress that you as a mentor may not experience, either ever or every day. This is only a fraction of what these programs should do and the complexity/challenges of these relationships. What it comes down to is believing in them, giving them a chance and letting them believe in themselves enough to have a chance, I think.

      • My friend signed up to mentor a disadvantaged kid in the District. After the first few visits, the kid’s mother started asking my co-worker to take her daughter for the day (so she could “run errands”). Because my friend is a bleeding heart liberal, she agreed. Then the mother started dropping hints that her daughter would love to see a movie, or visit a museum for an afternoon–never once giving my friend any money for tickets or food. The mother even asked my friend if she could borrow money, which my friend lent her (against my advice). Well my friend has never been paid back. And after 4-5 instances where my friend showed up at the girl’s house to pick her up for a scheduled visit, but no one was home, she gave up. The mother stopped returning her calls (presumably because she had no intention of paying her back and wanted to avoid her entirely). Not exactly a ringing endorsement for an establish mentoring program. When my friend reported this to the organization, they apologized and offered her another girl to mentor. No thanks.

        • You’re right, your example is an example of what sometimes happens. Mentoring relationships do not always work and there are a lot of things that a mentor is up against (a family included). Sometimes either then mentee or a friend or a family member of the mentee sees a mentor as a money fix and it’s tricky because you want to try to open up opportunities for a kid you are mentoring but you also have to set boundaries. A mentor can’t be someone that fixes the financial issues for the families (that would be another type of program). It’s easy to see how your friend had a sour experience and could say no thanks but that’s the part where it would be great if mentors didn’t give up. It is challenging, without a doubt.

  • Let me get this straight ….Eye witness identification can get you the death penalty in some states, but in Washington D.C. its a curfew violation. File a civil suit against the parents. you might not get any results but at least you can aggravate the parents of these butholes.

  • 1st RULE: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.
    2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.
    3rd RULE: If someone says “stop” or goes limp, taps out the fight is over.

    I guess someone forgot the 4th rule…

  • The thugs are out of control and like it or not they are going to get the gentrifiers (aka middle class, educated people who make civil society run).

    do get mad; do hold yourself accountable to make your paid officers and elected officials accountable.

  • Sorry, but this is always how DC has been, and how it will always be. The nice areas have gotten nicer, but if you’re going to play pioneer, you will be at risk. It will never change.

    • Never change eh. Obviously haven’t seen positive change take place in a city before. I moved 5 years ago from Chicago into Shaw. 10 years before that the neighborhood I lived in in Chicago made Shaw look like Arlington – it changed fast.

  • I don’t have the time to read all 158 comments, but this makes me very angry. Who do I call, where do I sign? Who was the cop? I feel personally threatened as though I am in danger if that is how the police work here.

  • Can you imagine the City Govt’s response if this had happened to a tourist?

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