“Mob Beats Man at 14th and Columbia: 09/22/14 @ 5:45PM”

“Dear PoPville,

I was one of dozens of witnesses to what appears to be a random crime at the corner of 14th and Columbia Rd, NW. I was walking my 3-year-old from school towards the Circulator bus stop on Columbia Road at about 5:40 PM when I saw and heard a large group of people on the the East side of 14th street on the block North of Columbia Road. It looked like a march at first, but then people on both sides of the street started to yell and scream, and people of all sorts were stopping to see what the commotion was. Suddenly a 40-ish looking Hispanic male in a t-shirt went running into the middle of 14th Street (where traffic was at the usual rush hour stand still) with dozens of young black men and teens chasing him.

My daughter and I were on foot and they were quickly running towards us and onto the sidewalk so I scooped her up in my arms and quickly stepped into the street to get out of the way as they descended upon the man with punches and kicks, and he flailing around trying to protect himself. I got the hell out of the way to the opposite corner and called 911 as they pummeled him to the ground, now kicking him as he was lying on the sidewalk. The traffic was now stopped in both directions, with people standing in the middle of the street cheering the fight on. It looked like no one was trying to stop it and no one was doing anything to help. The beating went on for a couple of minutes when a security guard from the apartment building in front of which the beating took place appeared, at which point the crowd dispersed.

The man was now on his feet, shirtless, bloody, sweaty, and panting, and holding on to an iron fence for balance. It took the police a few minutes to arrive, and when they did it was the Metro Transit police and not DCPD, but by then the man had headed South on 14th. A few minutes after that, an MPD car went tearing North on 14th Street as an ambulance went heading South, I guess one after some suspects and the other after the victim. I was shocked to see such a blatant display of violence in the middle of the day in a highly crowded area, and just around the corner from Centro Nia and the DC Bilingual Elementary school. What’s worse is this crime occurred at the time of day when many little kids—including my own—are getting out of after care or extended day school, so they had to witness it too.

Anyhow, I hadn’t seen this reported anywhere and I don’t know how this event could have been overlooked. It’s impossible to ignore, considering the number of people on foot, in cars, and even on city buses that witnessed it. The ANC commissioners and the different precinct police lieutenants have been notified about the crime, but has anyone else written to you about this? When the police showed up, pretty much no one wanted to talk to them, although there were still many witnesses in the immediate area, some of them laughing about the incident.”

Ed. Note: This is the first I’m hearing about it – anyone else witness what happened?

184 Comment

  • Well that explains the Metro Transit cop flying by Meridian Hill on 16th right at that time.

  • I witnessed this as well. It was completely out of control and the response of the onlookers was appalling. A large group of teenagers was in the street heading south. They stopped in front of the Smile Center Dental and started beating another teenager. I immediately stopped and called 9-1-1. A cop on a bike showed up shortly thereafter, but by then the group had dispersed. The whole thing was absolutely disgusting.

    • Props to you and to the OP for calling 911.

    • Unless the victim in the beating was a rapist right? It’s too easy to judge these situations from behind a computer or even from just seeing the altercation. People do dumb things, innocent people get hurt, that’s why we have the court system and evidence. Leave it to the professionals to sort out.

      People don’t simply get beaten by mobs of other people for no reason. This whole “knockout game” mentality was a lie perpetrated by news media for ratings.

      • 1.) There must be a lot of rapists and a strong sense of justice in this community.
        2.) I am confused that you think on one hand it is ok for a group of people to take matters into their own hands and commit violence, but on the other hand the onlookers in this case should reserve judgment on the beating until the system works its way through.

      • You’re right, Anonymous. The guy who got attacked by a group of teenagers was probably a rapist.

        Good grief.

      • “People don’t simply get beaten by mobs of other people for no reason.” Way to victim-blame.

        • Ignore that guy. Clearly a troll- especially when he suggests the knock-out game was figment of the media’s imagination. Yeah, ok. Moving on. (I always wonder if these conspiracy theorists actually believe the crap they peddle.)

      • Mob incidents like this near 14th and Irving are appalling, one reason we decided not to send our kids to one of the charter schools in this area of 14th. It’s scary, there are young children at school here at Centronia and AppleTree and DC Bilingual. Remember the kid that got chased and beat near there just a few days ago? The shootings in summer 2009 happened right after my 2nd kid was born. I know everybody wants to think that Columbia Heights has changed but over and over we see reports of people behaving badly. Where are the police?

      • That’s bull, you need to read the news more. Reference the knockout attacks on Metro Branch Trail. My own husband rides Metro every day and has seen random attacks on Metro platforms by teens against totally unsuspecting commuters minding their own business.

        • Since we’re using anecdotal information, I ride the metro everyday and have never once seen a random attack on a commuter by a teenager.

          • Your snide rebuttal to net e the point doesn’t hold up – if the clsim is that random jumpings by teens don’t happen, and someone shows that they have happened, then saying they’ve never happened to you doesn’t mean they don’t happen.

        • i’ve personally been attacked and beaten for no reason by a group of teenagers, on U street around 10th NW. So yeah this definitely is something real.

        • Well, anecdotally I’ve had three friends attacked on the Metro by teens, and I’ve only been in DC for 10 years. As a result, I’m pretty vigilant when riding the metro and will change cars when rowdy teens get on board.

  • I don’t want this to sound like I’m harping on MPD, but enough is enough. It’s non-stop problems in this area. Perhaps the MPD needs to change tactics? Maybe be more aggressive? More cops on the beat (not in cars). I know it’s difficult, but this stuff is happening in the middle of the day now. Come on.

    • I am all for cops walking and interacting with the community (in general), but that wouldn’t have helped here. Response time is indisputably faster in cars.

      • They shouldn’t be walking the beat, they should be just standing on the corners, waiting to react. Probably from the time school lets out until at least nightfall. Multiple cops should be there. I’ve seen an atmosphere of total disorder there way too many times.

        • justinbc

          And if there were cops on every corner standing around waiting to taze people there would undoubtedly be a complaint from the other side about living in a police state.

          • as a resident of this neighborhood I can assure you there would not be a complain from “the other side”. Regular police presence along 14th from the metro south to Girard is LONG OVERDUE!

          • you’re wrong about that, anon; you’d have Marion Barry and Al Sharpton holding a news conference about discrimination.

          • justinbc

            Exactly. It’s easy and convenient to think an entire neighborhood must surely share your point of view. It’s a lot more realistic to understand that never has been and never will be the case, regardless of what issue is being discussed.

        • Hold on – I though the MPD was criticized for just “reacting” to crime rather than being “proactive.” Which way is it?
          I’d hate to be an MPD officer. You’ll never be able to do the right thing without a group of civilians criticizing you and telling you how to your job.

    • I’m totally fine with harping on MPD. Police work has to be about prevention, even if it’s not as punchy in a press release. And in many cases, just being present will have a preventative effect. We know where the problem areas are, and any local cop worth anything knows who the problem actors are.

    • justinbc

      Wrong answer. The problem here is the community, not the police. If anything needs to change it’s the parents and children involved here.

      • Who is going to make these parents and children change? Once it gets to the level of mob beatings, the ability of “the community” to change the parents and children is greatly diminished. At some point, the police are the backstop. We can make changes with the hope of preventing future generations heading down this path, but this group likely needs something stronger.

        • justinbc

          Nobody can make them do anything. At some point you either have pride in what your actions represent or you don’t. The systems in place in DC may work against these kids in many ways, but there are also many kids who rise above it and excel. It’s up to each parental / child unit to choose their actions. Even in the worst of circumstances there is no good reason for beating another man in mob form. That kind of behavior comes from an already existing mindset, and no potential reactionary punishment is going to prevent it.

          • Unfortunately, I think these actors have a lot of pride about what they think their actions represent and I agree with you that reactionary punishment likely wont change their priorities; however, that does not mean the rest of us just have to hope they will change their mind and not seek police response.

          • I know what you’re saying, Justin, but I think these problems will be with us for a VERY long time to come. Call me a pessimist, but I think there is a contingent of people for whom the status quo of dysfunction and violence is ok. So is living on the dole. What some would find repulsive and unattractive, others find ok. And if you already aren’t able to process information quickly or have a permanent chip on your shoulder, the likelihood of wanting to join society and improve your station in life lessens. I’d like to feel optimistic for once about this, but I’m too jaded and history gives me little hope.

          • justinbc

            Yeah, I agree with both of you. The world is not fair, but people shouldn’t actively seek to make it worse, as these individuals do.

          • “That kind of behavior comes from an already existing mindset, and no potential reactionary punishment is going to prevent it.”

            Then we need locked them up and throw away the key, and focus on improving the next generation.

      • Regardless of the root cause, the solution is better policing.

        • justinbc

          That’s the lazy answer. It’s “someone else’s job” to fix the problem.

          • Random street violence and you oppose community policing.

            Tell me, what are the police’s purpose in your mind?

          • He’s not opposing policing, but rather point out that policing alone won’t solve the problem.

          • west_egg

            Actually, he said policing is the “lazy,” “wrong” answer.

          • and offers exactly zero additional possible solutions. Only finger-pointing.

          • Better policing may help deal with the symptom here (random mob violence) but as Justin points out the actual problem is a society that allows/encourages such horrendous behavior to happen.

          • It’s a carrot-stick situation. For a long time, the stick was useless because there were no carrots. No jobs, bad schools, no where to go, nothing to work towards. The schools are on their way up, and the economy is, relatively speaking, booming. Carrot restored. So now the stick will be more effective. It’ll take a long time, though, and we need someone making sure that the carrot-makers stick around long enough to sustain the carrot supply.

          • @justinbc to be honest, it’s not my job. it’s not my community. if theres ever a change in this community it will be from economics or another mlk not from me. also since this problems will take a generations to fix, i’ll be dead by then.

        • Yeah, so the “visible” solution might be more cops, but that’s clearly not the only solution. And in previous posts, people have wanted foot beats. Now the consensus is a fixed post. A fixed post is fine, but depends on staffing and whether that’s the best use of that officer.

          Another solution might be the creation of a Columbia Heights Business Improvement District, like Dupont ot Georgetown. They could hire a few security guards to have a presence on this corridor. Understand that I’m not saying a security guard is better than an MPD officer. It’s just that the question “Where Are The Cops?” is an easy question to ask and not as easy to answer.

      • Sorry justinbc, you are wrong. The “parents and children involved” are not going to change. I live on Girard and the only thing that has helped slow drug dealing and violence on that little stretch of street is the constant police presence in the alley (between Girard and Harvard). Nightly lights and police vehicles have definitely helped that street, not “parents and children involved”. The section of 14th from the Metro to Fairmont is a f’n pain in the butt.

        And the reason the cops are showing up more is due largely in part to the AppleTree school and the residence of the building above it. Again, not the “parents and children involved”.

        We do not live under some totalitarian regime. More cops does not equal a police state! That is a stupid statement.

        • justinbc

          You’re misrepresenting my actual statements. I did not say that those parents and children would change. I said that they are the ones who ultimately NEED to change. They are the problem, not the police presence or lack thereof. You should not blame those who police for the actions of those they are charged with policing. This is shifting the burden of responsibility and exactly why the community is so retardant to change. Also, I never said that more cops equal a police statement…what I said was that putting more cops on every street corner will cause people from the other side of the aisle to bitch that that’s what it’s become. The point was to emphasize that there are always two sides to an argument, and being so single minded, as the previous poster indicated that there was only one way to fix the neighborhood, is a futile pursuit.

    • I cannot agree with you more, I find it completely disturbing the lack of regular police presence in this area. This despite REGULAR incidents. I was assaulted on my bike earlier this week while riding down Iriving towards 14th, the guy in the truck was following me, then got in front of me and blocked the bike lane and started swinging at me. My natural reaction was to bike away towards the metro in hopes of MPD presence, of course there was none, and I had to wait 5 minutes for a 911 response.

  • What did the onlookers do (or not do) that was appalling?

    • The OP mentioned “people standing in the middle of the street cheering the fight on.”

    • Many people were laughing and egging on the crowd. A number of people were jogging to keep up with the group and then cheering as the group attacked people. An older man approached me as I was calling the police and said something along the lines of, “we used to call this ‘letting off steam'”.

  • This happened apparently 2 blocks from me… I heard some woman on the corner talking about a race war between the hispanics and the blacks but I didn’t actually witness everything.

    Honestly though — This is despicable and is another reason why I am okay with gentrification. Yep, I said it. Gentrify Columbia Heights — end the race wars! Shit like this shouldn’t be tolerated.

    • Unfortunately, a lot of people feel that us, Hispanics, are taking away their jobs and other opportunities. I’m not sure why, may be Politically Correctness, the media doesn’t cover discrimination and hate crimes against Hispanics by other minorities.

    • Gentrify? Has that not already occurred in this area!? I am confused…

    • I hate shit like this. The diversity of Columbia Heights is one of its strong points.

    • How sad that you think gentrification ends race wars. Gentrification just signals your entrance into a race war that has existed for far too long, now.

      But, this is a very commonly held belief in this area. It’s people like you who make me feel that there is no hope for a healthy community to ever develop in this city.

      • Hmmm. I have a different perspective.

        To my mind, it is the people who are beating up people on the streets who make me feel that there is no hope for a healthy community to ever develop in this city.

  • Unless you have video that is good enough to go viral, no one will do anything about this.

  • Similarly, I saw what seemed to be a similar conflict two weeks ago on a Wednesday evening around 8:30 PM on Euclid, near 10th/11th St NW. A group of kids were swirling around a Hispanic man, and there was some clear tension.

  • I was at the Metro station a little after 6 PM that day. I was wondering why there were so many Metro police there and why that area was abnormally quiet. I naively thought, “FINALLY!! They’re stepping up their presence here!” Nope, guess it was for this incident.

  • I was picking up my kid from school too, saw this from a distance and went the other way down Columbia. The corner of Columbia and 14th near the 7-11 is always a scene, but this is completely ridiculous. I don’t understand why we need to prod MPD and the ANC. It would seem like a daytime mob beating just feet from a school would cause MPD to do something proactively and some sort of public outreach. Of course I know that won’t happen, but it should.

  • This has been going on for as long as I can remember. My father has been attacked. Many of his friends have been attacked. All in broad daylight. I was once threatened by a couple of african-american women who wanted to attack me for not allowing they to hit my 3 year nephew. They wanted to get rid of us (latinos). I called the police because the women continued trying to attack other hispanic children at the park. The police knew the women and said that if I continued the case they would arrest me.

    • That’s awful. Did you contact the Police Inspector General?

      • MPD is useless. They have a strong AA contingency and for the most part simply assume we are here illegally. The other mother are probably afraid that they’ll be harassed by MPD and have to deal with DHS/INS (even if the have papers) so they move on.

    • Zanduga, I’m confused. Adult women wanted to hit your THREE YEAR OLD nephew and the cops said they would arrest YOU?

      • The women claimed I threatened them. The police interviewed witnesses who agreed my version of the story. The police said that since my version conflicted with the aggressors, I will also be arrested if I pursued the case. I complained but the officer’s supervisor said he had to stand by the officer’s decision. I later found out that the supervisor had recently been demoted to that position after the Charlie Sheen scandal.

        • You should have pressed them. They always threaten with arrest to get you to back down. They’ve done that to me as a black woman. If you’re in the right and they’re in the wrong, they won’t follow through. It’s too much work for them.

    • Ally

      If that happened, that is just absolutely awful and I’m sorry you and your family have had to go through that!

  • Any chance it could have been a street drug purchase gone awry?

  • There is a beat cop who works this area, I’m not sure where he was or if he could’ve even helped. I live on that corner and called 9-1-1 twice as I watched the events unfold. I started paying attention to everything when a heavily pregnant woman in her car heading northbound, veered across the southbound lanes to stop and obstruct traffic to fight with and throw shoes at someone on the street. Eventually she got put back in her car, but the violence kept rolling down the street picking up more and more people. That was the first time I called 9-1-1. Then (after not hearing any police cars but lots and lots of yelling), I looked back out onto the street to see the teenagers beating up someone (I couldn’t see who) in front of the dentist. I called 9-1-1 again because the lone cop standing in front of Trinity was not doing anything (I’m not sure if he was Metro Transit or MPD). It was far too long before MPD officers showed up, and by the time they did, most of the people committing the random acts of violence had left.

    • justinbc

      Given the large number of big name businesses in this area who surely have cameras everywhere it’s kind of surprising that none of them have released tapes of a brawl of this magnitude occurring.

      • All of these incidents happened on 14th between the dental office and the alley between the Sprint store and Unity. Unfortunately, I have never seen exterior cameras on the building along 14th street on any of these businesses.

  • I mean, I wouldnt go that far. However I am all for getting rid of that 711. It really does seem to pull beggars, trash and waste around the area. That house isn’t all low income housing — i actually looked at a condo there — was going for 350 — but then I saw the outside was essentially a bus stop and didnt want to deal with that riff-raff.

    • You leave that 7/11 alone. Where am I suppose to buy food/drinks on my way home from the bars if there is nowhere open late at night?

  • Great area full of some great quality people. Why is gentrification bad again? Garbage like this happens constantly in that area. There should be cops walking up and down and posted on these streets 24-7.

  • Everyone harping on MPD and no one harping on a culture/society that encourages and creates this? We’re blaming the cops and not “how the hell did we create dozens of people that do this or cheer it on?”

    These kind of events should be a wakeup call for society not better policing…

    • +1. This is what two generations of lazy, cowardly public policy and short-sighted, ignorant personal choices produces. And I’m talking poor decisions by all involved, on all sides of the issue.

    • Why on earth would you think those two things are mutually exclusive? Sure, there are societal ills that contribute to (not cause – that lets the perps off the hook completely), but there’s no question that repeated acts of violence and other anti-social behavior calls for a police response – a significant one.
      And while I get your point regarding society, I am a little tired of the “we all caused this” mentality. My wife and I, who are raising our daughter to be a responsible member of society, are in no way to blame when other people’s kids act like thugs. No effin’ way. When my daughter starts assaulting people in the street, I’ll take the heat. The fault for these kids’ behavior lies elsewhere.

      • we caused this by generations of ‘war on poverty’ policies that concentrated people in heavily subsidized housing and allowed them to become dependent on government assistance, which by the way creates a class of people who will vote for politicians who promise to continue that assistance. dependency is not a path to a healthy society.

      • Didn’t say it doesn’t require a mpd response, just that the first 20 comments were all hate on cops with no one bringing up the actual problem. Bit like yelling at chemotherapy for not curing the cancer while ignoring the fact that I smoked for 40 years.

        -and definitely didn’t blame all. But there are plenty who support the “do what you want” “don’t impose your values” crowd that get all pissy when it results in them getting beat down.

  • Has anyone reached out to their council members about this or the 11th street stabbing? Is anyone getting any response about what they plan to do to address it? I submitted a question to the mayoral debate the other night about violence running rampant in the city, but they didn’t answer it. How do we get some city-wide hearing called to address significant public safety issues like this?

    • +1, thank you for a productive comment. In all honesty, what are the best ways for citizens to demand increased police presence in this area? Seems like every week PoPville is posting yet another disturbing incident in this area…

  • Well, I can’t wait for concealed carry to make its way through the DC courts… that will certainly make the streets safer!

    • You act as if criminals legally attain their weapons and will then legally attain their conceal and carry.

      If they legally attain a weapon, it’s cataloged with a ballistics test hence linking them to any crimes they commit.

      Only a dumb criminal would do this and quite frankly, he would be off the streets pretty quickly as it would be an easy case to investigate.

      And if you think some other criminal is going to register all his/her legal weapons and then sell them on the streets for profit to help other criminals commit crimes, guess what happens to the person that registered all their weapons?

      While I’m not a fan of more guns being accessible in general, it’s dumb to think that allowing people to legally register weapons is going to increase gun crimes in DC.

      • Quick Point. If you buy a gun legally, they don’t have the “fingerprint” of that gun. So if you shoot someone, they still need the actual gun to do the comparison test. This is why you hear that some guns “have a body” on them which means that if you’re caught with it on you, then you’ll probably be charged with the open murder that’s associated with the firearm.

        • Yeah, that was my understanding (re. a gun’s “fingerprint”). I believe the NRA has blocked all efforts to have gun “fingerprints” kept on file.

          • Oh yeah, which is unfortunate, because all of these handguns that are killing people were at one time totally legal machines that came from a factory and got sold to someone who then decided to put 300 Glocks in a car trunk and sell them on a street corner. If we had the actual rifling of each gun in the system we could go after these guys who are selling legal guns illegally.

      • Actually, I was more concerned about:

        * Well intentioned CC holders escalating a situation, acting with imperfect understanding of the situation, or at very least complicating law enforcement response.

        * the idea that CC by definition overrides basic human instincts for conflict avoidance by artificially inflating the defense response.

  • On a positive note with the cold weather coming the riff-raff in this area will start to decrease…WINTER IS COMING!

  • “What’s worse is this crime occurred at the time of day when many little kids—including my own—are getting out of after care or extended day school, so they had to witness it too.”

    the time of day is worse than someone getting beaten to an inch of their life? So you have a kid and they saw something terrible but that does not make it MORE terrible. Also, Ill let all the violent nuts know to keep the mob beatings to after 11pm.

    My point is I am tired of the quantifying. This is bad if it happens at any time of day. It’s just as bad for an adult without a kid or an elderly person, or anyone. Having a kid does not make you more of a victim.

    Let’s not start to say its worse at 5 because then at some level you are condoning the act (as long as it is done in another neighborhood or different time.)

    • justinbc

      No beatings between 12-1PM, can’t ruin someone’s lunch break.
      No beatings between 1-2PM, day care is letting out. Think of the kids.
      No beatings between 2-3PM, elementary is letting out. Think of the kids.
      No beatings between 3-4PM, middle and high school is letting out. Think of the kids.
      No beatings between 4-6PM, afternoon rush hour is happening and they’re already stressed out.
      No beatings between 6-9PM, people are taking their kids to dinner.
      Beatings after 9PM are OK, since it’s dark and fewer people will have to be scarred by witnessing it.

    • +1. I understand how parents would feel particularly upset about their kids seeing something like this, but bad stuff is bad whether kids witness it or not.

    • The point is that instead of an adult being beaten it could have been a child being beaten. And yes, that’s a lot worse.

      • That’s not the point the OP was making: ” What’s worse is this crime occurred at the time of day when many little kids—including my own—are getting out of after care or extended day school, so they had to witness it too.”

    • I suppose you can read it different ways (especially if you’re a pedant looking for something to nitpick), but I didn’t understand the OP to say that the crime is worse because kids witnessed it, but that it is worse for kids to witness a violent crime than for adults to witness a violent crime. I have no problem with that statement.

    • What makes the time of day worse is that if you’re doing something at night or away from witnesses, there’s some acknowledgement it’s wrong. Doing it in broad daylight near crowds of witnesses is saying you think it’s perfectly acceptable, and that’s even more disturbing than just committing the crime. It isn’t saying that the crime alone isn’t despicable, but it does add another layer to the disturbing nature of this crime.

  • After reading popville for two years, I am writing my first comment in response to this conversation…

    Displacing the “riff raff,” as someone so eloquently called the low-income residents of the neighborhood, does absolutely nothing to solve the problem. Gentrifying Columbia Heights does not end race wars as implied by Typical. The same societal issues are happening everywhere in this country. Pricing certain socio-economic groups out of a neighborhood only moves the problem somewhere else. Is that really what we want? Can we not come together within our neighborhoods and come up with real solutions to fix the problem instead of just sweeping it under the rug

    *If anyone was wondering, under the rug is a neighborhood in PG County.

    • Actually, research has shown that dispersing poverty does reduce incidents of violence and crime. While dense urban environments may be great for moderate to higher income communities, they do not serve the lowest income populations well.

    • “Pricing certain socio-economic groups out of a neighborhood only moves the problem somewhere else. Is that really what we want?”

      YES! … nimby

    • riff·raff /ˈrifˌraf/
      noun: riff-raff
      disreputable or undesirable people.
      “I don’t think they talk to riffraff off the street”
      synonyms: rabble, scum, good-for-nothings, undesirables, lowlifes, hoi polloi, lowest of the low, peasants


  • I hesitate to feed the troll… but if not there, where should poor people live? Do you think there’s a community that wants public housing? The only place that they’ll go is to a place that lacks the power and money to keep them out… and guess what? that just means the only place poor people will go is where there are already poor people. Public housing was there for decades before gentrification. The people who moved in knew about the projects. Just because they whipped up some fantasy of a Georgetown on 14th St, doesnt mean they’re entitled to it. I also live in a gentrifying area… and I hate the crime (that has plummeted in the last 10 years) and the criminals, but I also recognize that the people who live there who are less fortunate than me have to live somewhere and they were there before me.

    If you dont like the rate of crime in your neighborhood, maybe just pay a lot more for your house and live somewhere thats even more safe. You cant afford to live somewhere more safe? Now you know how all the poor noncriminals feel.

    • justinbc

      “You cant afford to live somewhere more safe? Now you know how all the poor noncriminals feel.”
      I like this saying, I may steal it.
      “I also recognize that the people who live there who are less fortunate than me have to live somewhere and they were there before me.”
      That may be true, but it doesn’t grant a license to act less civilized.

    • +10000 I could not agree more.

    • No… NOT providing public housing was the failed social experiment. Providing housing was the solution. Unless you’re a huge fan of the world of Charles Dickens.

      • There’s a difference betwene providing housing and large tracts of public housing, which is widely regarded as a failed social program. Government-sponsored concentrations of poverty rarely lead to good outcomes. I suspect that this isn’t the point 20011 was making, but it’s true anyway. Glenn

      • Housing subsidies work. Public Housing projects don’t. Government has a role to play in providing housing, just not as the developer or the landlord.

    • 20011 – Please enlighten me, what are the poor supposed to do? Move out of the city? Please tell us all how which much rich people will pay to bus in the poor when the dirty work (trash, operate machines, metro, serve food, utilties) needs to be completed. Please tell me if we can not manage to live together without condemnation or class wars how are we civilized again?

      • Decent jobs and a living wage is one solution. Starvation wages at “part-time” jobs (eg, WalMart-sytle jobs that keep you on hourly status so they do not have to pay benefits) neither allows one to afford housing nor gets out of poverty.

      • Trash collectors and metro workers on average make more than the area median income (which is already much higher than the nationwide median income). Look it up. But I would speculate that many of the parents of these kids, if they are around, either don’t work at all or work part-time because they cannot find full-time work.

    • Until they come up with a workable solution. The mixed income housing plans that were supposed to solve the public housing problem have failed to come up with enough low-income units to serve those displaced when public housing is closed. Since very poor people aren’t influential or campaign contributors, there is no political will to insist that they are provided for in new developments. Especially not when the alternative is lining the pockets of developers who raise the rents higher and higher.

    • PG county or SE

    • If your name is a reference to your zip code, you might be surprised by how many of the criminals in our hood live in homes that they or their families own. For the moment I’ll buy without evidence that the prevalence of criminals might be higher in homes that are rented than in homes that are owned, but in my immediate neighborhood, the thugs live with their parents in homes that they (the parents) actually do own.

    • Uh, yeah, and others perhaps less violent lived there before them. There is no entitlement.

    • We’ve one way far down this tangent here. Do we have any evidence that anyone involved in the incident that is the topic of this thread lives in public housing?

      • don’t be obtuse. public housing in this city is invariably surrounded by higher levels of violent crime.

        • I’ll stipulate that. But this whole conversation isn’t about generalities, it’s about a specific incident that occurred at a specific place and time and involved specific individuals. This incident either was or was not related to public housing, and I suspect that nobody posting here has any real idea whether it was or not. In my neighborhood, there is no public housing but still plenty of crime, mostly committed by teens and young adults who live in single family homes that their parents (or not uncommonly, grandparents) own.

  • This is why I never go up to the DC USA area; its always something. Make fun of me for living in Dupont but I love not having teenagers around.

  • You know, the question “where are they supposed to live” is easy to ask, but when you have violent, unsocialized mob attacking passersby, the answer for the residents who have to leave near these people is “not here.” It is not unreasonable to want to be able to walk down a street without worrying about groups of profoundly broken people assaulting you. How these people got so broken is an important question, but it tends to be overshadowed by the question, how do I get these lunatics out of my community?

    • Where do you put them?

      • As the pp said, not here. Someone upthread asked, “Pricing certain socio-economic groups out of a neighborhood only moves the problem somewhere else. Is that really what we want?” That’s an important policy question – one that is difficult to answer. But as the pp said, as a resident of a neighborhood where this happens all too often, “not here” is a prefectly acceptable (if selfish) response. Does it address the larger societal problems? No. Is it just making it someone else’s problem? Yes. Is it self-centered to think of it that way? Yes. But there it is.

        • “But as the pp said, as a resident of a neighborhood where this happens all too often, “not here” is a prefectly acceptable (if selfish) response. Does it address the larger societal problems? No. Is it just making it someone else’s problem? Yes. Is it self-centered to think of it that way? Yes. But there it is.”
          That’s the Modern American Way to a tee. And why this country is a sinking ship.

          • Do you really think it is unreasonable for homeowners and residents to say, “I would like people who commit violent acts either in jail, or out of my neighborhood.” Come on.

  • Unrelated or related the stabbing that occurred at 6:30 just a few blocks away at 11th and Irving?

  • Many commenters here are, understandably, condemning mob violence. Many commenters here are, understandably, frustrated by the apparent inability of the police to prevent crime and to respond appropriately and rapidly when crimes have been committed. A missing piece here, though, is the OP’s assessment of the incident as “what appears to be a random crime”. What if it’s not random? Many of us have good reason to distrust the police, and if the average person who posts on PoPville views the police as being less than ideally responsive, my guess is that you can assume that the police are not likely to be more responsive to people in less affluent communities.
    My point here is that no one writing here knows what — if anything — prompted the violence. But imagine if someone tried to hurt you or someone you care about, and you have a history of inadequate and even abusive responses by police in your community. It makes taking matters into your own hands seem like a much more reasonable option. So maybe instead of inflaming the already messy relationships between different ethnic and economic groups in this city, some of our collective outrage could be used to develop a more responsive police force — by any proactive means necessary.
    I’d certainly support measures aimed at developing more positive relationships among the various factions in our community — but reading the posts here suggests that that’s likely to be a losing battle, and not on the list of priorities for people who are affluent enough to believe that they can isolate and protect themselves from social problems that impact the greater community.

    • No, we can’t support a mindset of vigilantie justice based on a perceived injustice against someone. There’s no justification for mob beatings and certainly not for people who didn’t see what first happened cheering it on.

      One poster there said he was told, when calling 911, they’re just blowing off steam. Others have witnessed these mob attacks against Hispanics at other times.

      We need to stop pretending black people can’t be racist and start expecting more, especially of those on the lowest economic rung who are doing themselves no service creating a criminal record before they’re 20.

    • Absolutely not.

      You know what inflames tensions between racial groups? MOB BEATINGS!

      Yes, many condemn it, you condone it. Way to go.

      • Read it again. Maybe a bit slower. The post doesn’t “condone” mob violence. It does, however, raise a point: re: ways that society and or policing need to change so that no one and no community feels the need to resort to or to justify mob violence because of an unresponsive or even malicious police force.

        • Quite a boatload of assumptions built in there, primarily that this mob violence was a community’s reaction to an “unresponsive or even malicious police force.” Of course, we have no way of knowing, but I’d make a fairly large wager that this incident didn’t have anything to do with the mob’s dissatisfaction with the way the police do their jobs. Do you have any evidence to suggest otherwise, other than an apparently innate desire to be an apologist for violent behavior?

          • Nope – just providing one possible alternative to the enormous assumption that this violent act was ‘random’. — And to the many many conclusions and interventions that posters have based on this initial, also unsupported assumption. Suggesting possible explanations is not equivalent to justifying or condoning an action. I

    • Nothing excuses mob beatings.

  • Posts like this when folks call for the extinguishing of the poor make be believe that the UNITED States of America is turning into one of those countries folks flee and come here to escape. What is the purpose of living in a free country if we can not live amongst people whom are different (whether it be in color, class or religion) without condeming their existence? If you have enough money to move to a DESIRABLE area, change the scenary and oust those whom you deem unworthy, then why not just band together and buy your own society. You could pre-approve, disapprove of the unmentionables and live happily ever after without paying a police force. In America we welcome the huddled masses. Just a reminder.

    • That’s called Georgetown and they aren’t making any new developments.

    • Lovessoldier, I would caution you to not draw final conclusions about the United States based on people who write on blogs. I’ve read about studies showing that those who post on Internet forums (i.e., comments sections) tend to be more depressed and/or angry than the average Joe on the street.
      That said, I think there is an indisputable fact that people oftentimes like to live among other people who are like themselves. It may be race-based, or it may be education- or class-based (or a combination of the three, plus others I can’t think of). “Birds of a feather flock together” certainly does not apply to everyone’s thinking or living, but I think it holds a lot of truth for many. Human beings have an amazing capability categorizing others and placing them in boxes. When it comes down to it, it seems like human nature leaves many of us inherently clique-ish. Not sure there’s a solution for that.

    • It is within the power of public housing residents to stay where they are and live in peace– they just need to root out the criminal element in their midst, instead of sheltering it.
      No one is calling for “extinguishing the poor”. Just the criminals who prey on them, who live amongst them.

      • Exactly. Crime, violence, and related anti-social conduct aren’t the exclusive domain of people who are poor, or rich, or black, or white, or Hispanic, or agnostic, or ornithologists…lowlifes are lowlifes are lowlifes, and decent folk are decent folk are decent folk. The sooner we realize that it really is that simple, the sooner we’ll be able to move past the insipid cultural baggage that’s holding us back from working together to solve this problem. And yes. I know that you can’t fight human nature any more than you can fight city hall, but it’s still worth articulating as a guiding philosophy.

        Whether a person is Bernie Madoff plundering his clients while wearing a $5,000 suit or some feral passerby-beating thug with their pants sagging, that person has elected by his/her behavior to be unworthy of consuming oxygen on our planet. There’s just no way I know of to look at this kind of behavior and see anything there to work with. In the context of this incident, here’s a perspective: either you have it in your psyche–the fundamental identity and constitution that make up who and what you are–to injure a fellow human being for entertainment, or you don’t. And if you do, a whole team of psychiatrists isn’t going to be able to repair you to the point that the costs versus the benefits of having you on the planet are in your favor.

        It’s ineffectual, non-productive, and repugnant to make this about characteristics of people that they can’t readily control, like skin color or economic status. Instead, I submit that it’s high time we start thinking about lowlife *behavior* (again, the emphasis being on willful conduct) along the lines of something to be extinguished by any means necessary for the good of the deserving (again, with “deserving” defined as nothing more than behaving like a decent, contributing member of society). That may not be a problem we’re going to solve on this discussion board, but the sooner we realize that hand-wringing and calling 911 have proven to be non-viable courses of action, the sooner we can start figuring out how to get our community on the right track.

        • I have to disagree – I haven’t yet met one orinthologist who could be redeemed and become a decent human beingand productive member of society.

    • Right. If you don’t like some other group, the USA way is form a mob and beat the crap out of them.

      • Joey yes I will be your troll- Or get a badge and shoot to kill, or buy houses around them for millions of dollars, or increase educational standards on minimum wage jobs, or increase the cost of nutritional organic groceries to the point where it is unaffordable to live healthy, sell sugar based treats 100 for a dollar, provide 3rd world education so they can not compete in the workplace, turn our backs while we pump crack into the community then fane outrage when the addicts grandchildren are now terrorizing our beautiful NEIGHBORHOOD, (since it just became one), they are unsupervised since we locked up or killed their parental unit. I could go on but YES this how we do it in the USA.

        • Is there any room for personal responsibility in this USA of yours?

          • personal responsibility became virtually impossible when the dollars that run this country decided we should be divided and not unified. I am proud to be an American, yet ashamed of what money, power and entitlement has done to my country. I am done for the day. Hopefully someday we will come together and work it out vs. hiding behind anonymous screen names…. Peace and blessings.

          • justinbc

            At the end of the day there’s only one person forcing their first to hit another, and that’s the one who owns that fist. There are many good answers to this problem, none of them contain violence.

        • Pointing out that their circumstances suck is not a solution and it’s not an acceptable alibi.

    • I think you’re confusing two issues. People here seem to have no problem living among well behaved people of all incomes, ethnicities and ages. I don’t see anyone hating on the street vendors who sell their goods in Columbia Heights, for example.

      Not wanting to live among people prone to mob assaults on the street is not a rebuke of diversity; it’s a rebuke of criminal behavior.

      • from 20011 Tough shit. No one is entitled to live anywhere unless you purchase property. The good of the city and the neighborhood matters more than the welfare of a certain segment of the population.

        How exactly am I confused?

  • I, for one, think it is appalling that a crime would be committed at a time that is inconvenient for you and your child.

  • I was driving through 14th and Columbia at about 5:45 that day and had no idea what was going on, but was stuck at the light. I saw groups of angry teenagers on both sides of the street yelling at each other and one police officer who didn’t seem like he was in any hurry to quiet things down. Then the kids started throwing things at cars and I sped the hell out of there.

    I did hear someone yell, “throw it at the cop” before a bottle was hurled past my windshield and collided with another car – not a police car.

    Objectively, it didn’t seem like an attempt to bring retribution to a specific individual, just an angry mob seeking to create chaos. The underwhelming police action was quite surprising, given the time of day and rush of bystanders.

  • Pretty sure I saw the same thing. I was walking up 14th over by the 7-11 around 5:35 and there was a car trying to turn into the alley that always smells like piss. Pregnant black woman gets out of the car and starts throwing random stuff at another car, driven by a Hispanic male if I recall correctly, that was trying to exit the alley. A mob of people formed a semi-circle around the car driven by the woman and starts egging on a fight. A cop of some type was also standing there doing absolutely nothing do calm things down that I could tell (in fairness, being by himself may have felt intimitated dealing with so many people). I eventually made my way around and continued on to Target. I am guessing this beating happened only a few minutes after I exited the scene.

    Anyway, the whole thing was a mess. Only thing missing was someone yelling “Worldstar!” I considered recording the whole thing on my phone but thought someone might spot me and get upset.

  • If you don’t want to be randomly beaten in the street by mobs in the middle of the day for no reason and witout a reliable police force to protect you then move to CLARENDOM.

  • A mobile MPD substation at 14th and Irving similar to the Dupont one? Probably long overdue

  • Why didn’t anyone send in the body-slamming jogger to stop this madness?!?!

  • This is what I’m hearing from a lot of the commenters:
    “Are there no prisons?”
    “Plenty of prisons…”
    “And the Union workhouses.” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
    “Both very busy, sir…”
    “Those who are badly off must go there.”
    “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
    “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

    • Poverty and violence – diffferent things.

      • Poverty and violence – tied to each other in so many ways that people who have never experienced poverty can not, or will not, understand.

        • My 96 year old grandmother grew up in the Great Depression. She talks about making clothes from the grain sacks used to feed the horses like it was no big deal — that’s more material deprivation that most people of Columbia Heights will ever know. Never said a thing about how horrible crime was due to the rampant poverty. Statistically, I am unaware of crime surging due the horrible poverty of that era either.

          • It is a complex and multi-faceted issue. In many areas there was indeed a large crime surge during the depression as people resorted to any means necessary to keep their families fed. Numbers for crimes like petty theft and prostitution were significantly higher. The start of the depression was also during prohibition, a high point in the history of organized crime. The repeal in ’33 was helpful in cutting back their power and decrease some other types of crime.
            I could go on about how problems in our society create a cycle of poverty and conflict for people – denying them fair and equal access to our justice system, disproportionately high incidences of police force used against them that lead to a general distrust of authority, treating all poor people like criminals if they want to benefit from social services, providing inadequate educational opportunities that keep the children of the poor locked in poverty, etc. When people feel like the deck is consistently stacked against them they tend to hold your rules in low regard.

          • Emmaleigh504

            It kind of was no big deal to make clothes out of grain sacks, the grain companies started putting pretty patterns on the sacks b/c everyone was making clothes out of them.

        • Grew up in a single family home. My dad was an alcoholic who eventually left, my mom a low wage service worker, we lived in a bunch of dumpy apartments and eventually lived with relatives because we couldn’t afford an apartment, never had health insurance, etc. Yet I have never committed a violent act in my life and know tons of other people like me are the same.

          The University of Chicago did a study where it basically showed 3% of the people were responsible for the overwhelming majority of the violence in the city. I think this shows something for both sides. Conservatives need to learn we shouldn’t just abandon the good people who live in these failing neighborhoods. But, liberals need to stop overplaying the link between violence and poverty. Yeah, poverty plays a role, but there are a lot of other factors and people need to be responsible for their actions.

    • That’s right because no one in their right mind should be upset by a mob wandering their community attacking people.

      • It’s a decent jump from wanting to end mob violence to want all poor people removed from the city, but plenty on here have made it.

  • some people want more low income housing at the old hebrew home

    • Please… No more low income housing around here! If possible, is there a way reduce the number of low income housing currently in this area?

  • DC police guiding principal #1
    – Reduce crime and the fear of crime in the community

    As a resident near this intersection, my fear of crime has not been reduced!


  • Well, when the DC police want a ‘good reason’ to approve my concealed carry permit, now I know what to say…

  • Bring back Rhee and put her in charge of the police force this time.

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