Reader Assaulted 9:50am at 4th and L St, NW


“Dear PoPville,

I just wanted people to be aware and to be extra vigilant because I was punched this morning on L St NW between 4th and 5th, right outside the Safeway. I was walking down the street at 9:50 AM (in broad daylight), carrying a bag on my shoulder and my phone in my right hand. All of a sudden, a man who was just passing by struck the right side of my face, and my phone went flying. He yelled, “Get out of my face!” Then he just walked away. The police captured a guy who gave them “probable cause” that it was him, but I’m still convinced that they got the wrong guy. (The guy they caught was wearing slightly different clothes.) The guy who assaulted me was black, about 5’8, wearing tan khaki (not green khaki) colored pants, and a black hoodie sweatshirt. Apparently he goes into the Safeway a lot and tries to steal. Since I don’t think they got him, please be extra careful. I have a police report number in case you see him. And thank goodness I’m ok. P.S. I don’t think this was part of the “knockout game.” I think it was one lone crazy man.”

32 Comment

  • Crime is running rampant in this city. What the hell are the mayor, city council and cops doing about it?!!

    • Crime is actually at its lowest point in decades in DC. You’re just hearing about individual cases with increasing frequency thanks to this device called THE INTERNET and the rise of the over-sharing mentality.

      • Is crime lower, or are reports of crime lower? The other thread contains, what, a dozen posters saying that they were also randomly punched, but that they didn’t go to the police.

        I mean, yes, crime is undoubtedly down from the 80s. But I wonder if the MPD strategy of discouraging reports and intimidating crime victims is finally paying off for them. People aren’t reporting because they know MPD is unlikely to do anything about it, and is likely to mistreat them in the process of doing nothing. And even IF a criminal is caught, punishment will be laughable.

        • + a billionty. At this point, i don’t see how anyone could have any doubts that MPD has embarked on a department-wide strategy of attempting to suppress crime reports in order to make it appear that crime in DC is on the downswing (which, of course, they’ll take credit for). Thanks, Cathy! And when’s the next bloodhound photo op?

          • They’ve been doing this for years. So do a lot of departments and not just central cities.

            Having lived here back in the 90s, DC is much safer than it used to be, but this isn’t Potomac.

          • Don’t forget the MPD strategy of not putting police in places where crime does happen and the companion strategy of ignoring crime they do see. I’ve seen order break down around Columbia Heights Metro several times, with MPD squad cars containing a carefree cop doing nothing to intervene. Hard drug dealing is tolerated to an amazing extent.

            Officers, how hard is it to walk up and down Mt. Pleasant Street or Columbia Road a few times an hour?

            Stop & frisk should come to DC ASAP. I will vote for the candidate who wants to fire Lanier and put in a real crime fighter. Poor people are hit the hardest by the crime here.

      • yeah, way to overshare OP!

        • +1 Yea OP…Keep your getting punched in the face stories to yourself! As someone who frequently shops at that Safeway, I have no interest in hearing you giving me a heads up about my safety. You and your “over-sharing mentality”… Jesus, what a jerk…

  • I’m sorry this happened to you. I’d be willing to bet this man is schizophrenic or has some other mental illness.

    • Thank you. I just don’t want it to happen to anyone else. He clearly didn’t care who he hit because I’m about the least intimidating person around – a 5’0/100 lb woman. I’m still very shaken up about it.

      • i’m sorry. thats awful and scary.

      • This is awful – I hope you’re OK. I was mugged a few years ago and it can be very traumatic, even if you’re not seriously hurt. I live two blocks away, so I appreciate the warning that the perpetrator might still be on the loose.

  • Awful! I’m really sorry. Some of the best advice I’d heard was from a cop at one of the ANC meetings (and I live in this ANC): get in the habit of looking at shoes as people pass by; it’s the one thing they will likely not chuck as they run away, and often they are unique (i.e. a black hoodie and jeans is not, and a hoodie can be thrown off).

    That being said, may not have helped you since this guy seems to not have all his marbles. Sorry again.

  • I hope your ok and I hope they catch the p.o.s. and lock his crazy ass up….Not cool

  • Anonymous at 2:54, I understand you frustration but what do you want the Mayor, City Council and cops do do, escort every District resident where ever they go? Crime is down in the District but that doesn’t mean that random stupidness like this won’t occur. We just have to be very aware of our surroundings (stay off the cell phone) and make sure we report crimes when they occur. I’m just saying I have a bad habit of constantly listening to my MP3 player. Sometimes I feel like I need to turn it off and pay attention to what’s going on around me. So I’m not blaming the young lady, I’m just saying we all get into our little worlds and forget to watch the knuckleheads that are watching us and thinking about preying on us.

    • Totally agree re: being aware of surroundings. It’s a wake-up call to all of us. I wasn’t even on the phone, though. I was just holding it in my hand.

      • Sorry this happened to you, and glad you are ok. Let me use this opportunity to give some more advice: In addition to not being needlessly distracted, and being aware of your surroundings, you need to also be highly “tuned in” to your surroundings. It’s not enough to merely be aware. You have to also give feedback to others around you. It may seem counter intuitive, but I always make sure that every single person I pass on the street (who is within lunging distance of me) knows that I SEE HIM. I think one of the reasons people are glued to their devices is that is’t a good excuse not to look at people, which they’ve learned (wrongly) that this is dangerous to do in big “scary” cities like DC. Don’t be afraid to make eye contact, fleeting or otherwise. This is also important because eyeing the situation well before danger is imminent allows you to make evasive moves ahead of time; such as moving to the other side of the street (the best thing to do if you feel uncomfortable). Some people will say these tactics open us up to sterotyping and profiling. But let me tell you something: I am black, male, 6 feet tall and 220 lbs. These are the tactics I use every day on the streets, and I am certain it has saved me from being robbed more than once. Nothing is a sure thing when it comes to safety, but these things, along with some other good advice you’ve been given, will make you feel safer and actually be safer in the long run.

  • People keep saying crime is down in the District, but I’m curious as to where they are getting these statistis. Certainly the homicide rate is down, but as to other crimes, the argument they are down is not true in many cases.


    Aggravated assaults were actually up in 2012 over 2009 – 2011 rates; larcent/theft is the highest it has been since 2007; and robbery generally has been consistent, though slightly lower in DC.

    I don’t think the statements that “crime is down” really bears out.

    • comments like these must be from people who recently moved here lol

      like seriously…

      of course there wil probably be a rise in petty crimes
      but dc now vs dc then

      for those of you who are new to the area newsflash… you would not walk through half of the neighborhoods (let alone know they existed) you do today. it just wouldnt happen

      the city is in a much better state that it was in regards to crime, this city used to be violent beyond many of yauls comprehension

      • Shut it. You’ve been gunning for a fight all day.
        That jaded “I’ve seen worse” mentality is holding this place back as much as any other factor. Listen, I’m sure there are some shitholes in this country where you would have to listen to much less online pearl clutching about safety, so please feel free to move to them. (Feels nice, doesn’t it? Being told to leave your home?) But for god’s sake, quit belittling those of us here who would like not to get assaulted.

      • Okay, well let’s just ignore the statistics and focus on your anecdotal feelings about this issue.

      • Also, to be clear, I have lived in the District for 12 years, including on several blocks more well known for prostitutes than anything else.

        • I can recall seeing purse snatchings in braod daylight, so fast you couldn’t see where the perp went. That was DC in the 90s.

      • shouldn’t we focus on the here and now?

  • The frustrated havenots taking it out against the newbies who live the comfortable life??

  • Good thing here in Fairfax we have the right to carry – you need to protect yourself when the police are not around.

  • What about the wrong guy that got picked up? Were you able to tell the cops to release him? Or is he now caught up in the penal system too?

  • Did you say anything to the cops about them having the wrong guy? Don’t ruin a man’s life while the guilty party roams free. Even an arrest can cause someone to lose their job.

    If you don’t know, you don’t know.

    I’m sorry this happened. There are some shitty people here.

    • Yes – I told the police that I didn’t think it was him. I could not in good conscience say it was without being sure.

  • I believe the same guy assaulted me at noon on 11 Nov at 5th and New York NW. As I walked out of my building (before reaching the city sidewalk) a 5’8″ black man walked toward my building’s entrance and bumped me chest to chest and started screaming the same thing. I gave him a small push to get some distance and he kept yelling “don’t touch me.” I’m a 6’4’’ male, so he finally backed away and walked off without starting anything, but it was very odd…completely unprovoked or anything like that. It didn’t seem like he had any motive, he didn’t go for my wallet or phone, so most likely on drugs or mental disorder.

    Question for you, was he carrying a plastic milk crate?

    • Wow – it does sound like the same guy. No milk crate, though. I also thought he wanted my phone (which I would have gladly given him to not be punched in the face), but he just wanted to hit me. He strolled away, as if not having a care in the world. And you were just across the street from where I was. Very likely. If you see him again, let me know. I will report it under the same number.

      • EE: maybe you’re not the person I saw assaulted at that location at that time on that day, but I’m about 99% sure you are. I gave Popville my contact info and asked them to give it to you so we can talk. Can you please contact me when they give you the info? I’m trying to understand what just happened here.

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