Readers Reports Fight at 14th and Irving St, NW involving Black Israelites, Motorcycle Crash at 3rd and K St, NE and Metro Riders Egged by Teens at Farragut North

Black Hebrew Israelites at Columbia Heights Metro in 2009

First a reader reports:

“At 6pm, the Black Hebrew Israelites were preaching in the CH metro plaza. Someone walked up and took issue with their posters – there were very graphic pictures, talking about abortion and the KKK. A fight broke out between them and another bystander, and the first guy was hit in the head and knocked to the ground. Not too much bloodd, but the assailant took off – police and EMS were there within 2-3 minutes.

The crowd had a real problem for the next half hour as well with the Israelites; it looked like the police eventually asked them to leave because people were starting to yell at them for causing the fight.”


Another reader reports:

“Motorcyclist hit at the corner of 3rd and K St NE about 10 minutes ago [5:45pm]. Looks like the driver of the car stayed on the scene.

Also, during the 5pm afternoon commute on the red line headed to silver spring- Farragut North riders were met by a group of teenagers on the last car of an 8 car train throwing eggs. The inside of the car was covered in egg yolk/shells and people on the platform were also hit. The kids got off at Metro Center. Metro Police was notified, but I’m not sure if the kids were caught.”

73 Comment

  • Speaking of fights, I’m sitting here watching Gangs of New York, the Knick and then Godfather 2 and laughing at the silly people posting as “Anonymous” who were impugning the entire black community regarding a “mob” on 14th street. I would like like to know how many of these posters had recent ancestors running amok and attacking burning robbing getting drunk, smoking opium, shooting liquid cocaine, selling themselves in fetid slums or frontier madhouses. How soon we forget.

    • Yea you are totally right, the (possible) transgressions of ones ancestors several generations back totally make it morally impossible for people to pass judgement on anyone else. Go back to Putins mouthpiece

    • I don’t understand your point. Perhaps you’ve bought into the nostalgic glorification of the violence portrayed in those movies, but families were ruined by the gang and mob violence. Wives in the early 20th century fought for prohibition because they were tired of their husbands coming home drunk and beating them. It was wrong then; it’s wrong now.

      Maybe some of us believe society should be evolving from its chaotic, industrial past into something more civilized. Maybe you should respect people who don’t tolerate, justify, or cheer on brutal beatings on the street rather than blaming them for condeming mass violence in their neighborhood, regardless of what dead people from a century ago did.

      • I’m pretty sure he’s blaming them for ascribing racial essentialism to mob violence, and am honestly baffled that anyone could miss that point.

        • I mean he even used a fictional hollywood movie as an example to prove a point. That is about as high on the empirical evidence scale as you can go too!

          • Scorsese didn’t make up the fact that violence wasn’t always considered the purview of black people, or that even white ethnic groups were explicitly associated with mob violence according to the general population (victims of Southern lynchings didn’t need the “ethnic” qualifier). Those people and their descendants are still around, yet those associations are gone. How did they go away? Did they all get pushed to PG County, or were there more comprehensive policy decisions that worked out for the good of everyone? (The answer is yes, the federal government enacted a glut of wealth building social programs starting with the Depression with the purpose of creating a large middle class, and these programs excluded blacks)

          • Those groups were immigrants that started low and pulled themselves out of their poor situation in a generation or two. Latinos are in the process of doing it now. For African Americans it has been slower, for many reasons, including the nature of the original “immigration” and subsequent discrimination. The reason why violence in DC is linked to a particular race, in the minds of many, has to do with crime statistics and people’s lived experience, which in turn has to do with the striking racial inequality in this city, which is worse than any other city that I know of in the developed world.

          • Worst than anywhere in the country? I think that is a stretch. DC and the surrounding areas have a strong middle class Black presence. Then look at somewhere like New orleans that has a similar population base. The inequality you speak of is much much worse down there.

  • Oh so THAT’S the name of the group that’s always yelling on the corner.

  • They’re usually there on Friday afternoons since they can “get” the biggest crowd. I saw the abortion/KKK poster too last week and just shook my head. I’m just surprised it took this long for someone to take a swing at them! Preach on ya hate, preach on.

  • They seem to be the same group as those who were at Gallery Place Chinatown on Friday yesterday. I have stood and listened to them. They preach so much hate, I was shocked that they are permitted to continue. There is a thin line between free speech and hate speech aimed at inciting violence, and if you listen to the things they say, they dabble in the latter.

    • If this is the same group, one of them was ranting at all the “white devils” walking by a few weeks ago. It’s been a long time since I’ve been called a “white devil”!

    • Every time there is a post on a blog about these clowns, someone makes the point you seem to be making: that a person’s free speech rights end where that speech is deeply offensive to others, or that they end, and the speech can be stopped by the government/police, if it seems likely to incite violence. This view is so blatantly at odds with American free speech rights and even American culture, that I’m really shocked that people believe that it is correct.

      (The police cannot stop speech no matter how offensive it is, not even if it expressly advocates violence.)

      • Yes, free speech – even hateful ignorant free speech is protected. However AMPLIFIED speech is not a right. They can shout all they like, but I should not have to hear them in my own home a block away. Please press your council members to pass legislation prohibiting stationary amplified speech – anywhere.

      • I’m all for free speech. What I’m not for is violence and aggression. I realize that these guys are going for the shock factor, but why are they allowed to set up shop in these busy areas and so consistently (I pass by Gallery Place every day on my way to work and they are almost always there) be verbally abusive, aggressive, and hateful? I’m legitimately curious about what kind of permits (if any) are required for these public demonstrations, and if there are no measures to prevent that aggressive of a style? Freedom of message is one thing, method is another.

        • No, it is not another thing. The first amendment protects all of it, aggressive tactics, word choice, location, all of it. Imagine if the first amendment let the government confine unpopular speech to low traffic places where no one would hear it. Then free speech would be meaningless. They only need a permit if they are blocking traffic.

          • Whoa, it does not always protect word choice. Threatening language can lead to fighting words, which is not protected speech.

          • It protects word choice as in, they can be as profane and threatening (say, to whites in general) as they wish. They can call for mass violence against white people in general, and they still can’t be arrested or otherwise stopped by the government. (If someone later is actually hurt, they might possibly, possibly be subject to prosecution after the fact, but they can’t be stopped from making the speech in the first place.) The only threat that is an actual crime in itself is actually stating a credible intent to harm a particular individual. I’ve never heard anyone allege these guys do that.

          • “Imagine if the first amendment let the government confine unpopular speech to low traffic places where no one would hear it.”

            One need not imagine. The law does in fact allow for Time, Place, and Manner restrictions on speech. The law also affords different amounts of First Amendment protection to different types of speech, based on the effect of that speech.

            Fighting words and incitement to violence, for example, are not protected forms of speech.

          • You’ve clearly never heard of the 1st Amendment Zones they make durint protests, far away from the action.

      • “The police cannot stop speech no matter how offensive it is, not even if it expressly advocates violence.”

        You are laughably wrong, because the relevant court decision is nearly 50 years old.

        In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) the Supreme Court held that the government can punish speech if that speech incites, or is likely to incite imminent lawless action.

        • Do you really find it “laughable” that not everyone who posts here quotes specific legal cases to back up their opinions?

          • I find it laughable that anyone would make such a statement about a subject about which they are entirely ignorant.

            It’s not like it’s a new case or new law. It has been the law for 45 years. You would think that someone purporting to explain the First Amendment would at least look at Wikipedia first so they don’t come off sounding like such a moron.

            Bottom line: if you don’t know what you’re talking about, shut your damn mouth.

        • So if a person stands in public advocating for committing acts of violence against a certian group of people, and in response to this call, and act of violence is committed (of course this correlation would have to be proven – a heavy lift, but possible), could the advocate of violnce be charged with conspiracy?

      • I am all for free speach…..hate speach is wrong. Get. Over. Yourself. You are the problem. Free speach is what this country values. Standing up to hate speach is free speech.

  • they are at Gallery Place every Friday

  • The biggest problem I have with the Black Israelites’ preaching is that, when you stand and listen to their arguments, the bigoted claims don’t withstand scrutiny. They’re not interested in a discussion about the ideas; they simply rant broad platitudes without any statistical evidence to support their claims up.

    I guess they can harness the anger of fellow under-educated folks, but there’s nothing there for higher level thinkers who recognize there’s racial issues that need to be addressed but also recognized it’s a far more complex and nuanced situation than they appear to understand.

    • Sadly, I think you also just described the Republican Party. And many other religious and political groups these days….

      • Yeah. Preach it. Speak truth to power. All those republicans and god-botherers are just so tiresome.

        Hey, are you going to join us at the Washington Ethical Society meeting? We sing songs about how much we like Richard Dawkins and secular humanism. It’s not religious in any way. Nope. Not at all.

    • I can’t tell if you’re being serious. The problem is that they don’t cite statistical evidence, and **that** is why you don’t take them seriously? How about that they dress like Santa Claus and claim that Jews are not originally from Israel but black and hispanic people all are? Can we start with that?

  • I’m gonna assume the assailants are new to town… cuz they’ve been around yellin’, whatever hate they’re yellin’ about, for quite some time.

  • The whole area around 14th ST and Irving/Metro needs to be refreshed. The sidewalks are disgusting — covered in gum marks and filth; religious zealots screaming at anything that moves. It’s incredibly unpleasant to wait for a bus there — or even to walk between the Metro and Target.

    A major problem here is traffic — there’s gridlock almost all day long, every day. I’d suggest turning everything from the Giant down to the 7-11 into shared space, perhaps creating a kind of roundabout at the 14th and Irving intersection.

    Once this is done, the current streetscape can be ripped up and replaced with new public space more inviting to the general public (rather than ranters) — cafe tables, additional shade/trees, perhaps a new fountain or two. In addition, the fountain/landscaped area outside Pollo Campero can be refreshed. Right now, it looks horrible, particularly the “grassy” space between the retail and the fountain.

    I think part of the problem with the anti-social behavior that seems to be descending on all of Columbia Heights is simply that the area is overwhelmed by filth and traffic. With the filth removed, and the horrendous traffic diverted, regular, calm, peace-loving people would likely reoccupy the streets.

    • The sidewalks, pavers, planters and fountains in those two locations, were all brand new as of 5 years ago. How often are we supposed to spend tens of millions of dollars replacing literally brand new infrastructure?

      No, the infrastructure is fine, we need to deal with the people who have nothing better to do with their days other than sit there all day long and trash it.

      Oh, and while we are changing the traffic controls, we need to add a right turn signal only phase, going east on Irving at 14th. Those buses (all vehicles actually) that stop there take 3 or 4 cycles of the light to turn right because of all the people constantly crossing that street and I frequently see traffic backed up all the way to 16th street. It is ridiculous.

      • Kelly, the infrastructure (pavers, etc.) may not be that old, but they look terrible. In many places, the pavers are already cracked and popping out of the ground. Throughout, the sidewalks are covered in disgusting gum and — each morning — all kinds of litter.

        As regards the traffic, yes, exactly! People are blocking the traffic from moving efficiently! Why? Because there are more pedestrians in this area than drivers! And, that’s exactly why I suggested that one way to control the anti-social behavior would be to make the area more pleasant for pedestrians — and people who might just like to sit and enjoy a coffee or take-away meal from one of the local shops — by reducing the amount of traffic in the area, as well as making it easier for pedestrians to cross the intersection at all locations.

        Columbia Heights has more pedestrian traffic than most places downtown — the streets, however, don’t reflect this fact and crowded sidewalks are too narrow in order to accommodate all of the cars.

        How many people behaving well hang out by the Metro stops? Almost nobody! Why? Because it’s unpleasant and only those passing through — or wanting to make trouble with religious insanity — will occupy the space. Make it a pleasant space — for people, not cars — and the transformation will be dramatic.

        • I have to agree with Kelly on this one. It IS the people who are trashing the area. I refuse to walk on the west side of 14th street just south of the Metro, because it’s all people loitering, smoking, littering, and, of course, shouting their obscenities – very unpleasant. Most of 14th in that area is completely covered with trash. I saw a woman walking a stroller yesterday and just drop a box of Cheeze Its on the ground and keep going. Today – another woman, literally INside CVS allowed her stroller toddler to drop his giant cookie on the ground. Nope, she did not pick it up (and yes, there were soon crumbs everywhere).

          What needs to happen is that everyone, not just some people, need to feel a sense of community and respect their own neighborhood. Even in the park on the east side of 14th (with the basketball in the back, chess tables in front), it’s inviting only to those people who do not mind loud music, LITTER everywhere except the trashcan, etc., etc. I get that with James’ idea his proposed park idea would not be recessed in behind a fence. Still, though, those who choose to loiter and litter and swear and spit, will probably take up that space too.

          Until EVERYONE feels a sense of community and acts with common decency, I’d rather we not spend tax payer money for a place that will soon be trashed again anyway.

    • So you’re upset because the lightening-speed gentrification of the formerly impovershed “hood” hasn’t been 100% effective yet at kicking out the folks who lived there back when you were too afraid to move in?

  • People who claim to have the answers will always attract desperate people. ISIL attracts people from far and wide who want nothing but to throw themselves onto the gears of the infidel machinery.

    These guys are just dicks.

  • If only the businesses at Gallery Place would copy Philly’s model: hiring DJs to play music over these bigots and their hate.

  • Black Hebrew Isrealites are ignorant and lack substance. They are simply loud because of a megaphpne and don’t stand up to common sense arguments.

    • I’m sure you realize that not all Black Hebrew Israelites fit the model of the extremists with the megaphones. I’m marveling at your own substantive, well-reasoned, cogent comments.

      • And not all KKK members burn crosses! Stop making generalizations!

        They’re a hate group and a cult.. Plain and simple. They hate anyone who is not them. They dont even like blacks who havent subscribed to their wacky beliefs.

        • The “generalization” was made by anonymous. The goal of the second post was apparently to point out that there are groups of African American Jews, who are not extremists like the group with the megaphones in the picture. Anon X – you ‘re making a lot of strident assertions – that may or may not be true. Care to support YOUR generalizations? Do you really know the members of the group well enough to determine that they’re “a cult”? I personally have no idea. I do know that using exclamation points is hardly a substitute for substantive information.

  • so I can yell “fire” in a crowded theater and my right to free speech is protected? Lines ARE drawn. Let’s not pretend they are not. Inciting violence…inciting panic. I don’t see the difference.

    • I think this free speech would probably not jive with leaders in Europe, where antisemitism has risen greatly these last few years. And I would hypothesize that if non-blacks were screaming hate speech about a particular ethnicity (outside a Metro station) that officials would ‘shut down’ such talk immediately. Incidentally, are these the same folks who are shouting out about the dangers of ‘the white man’ on U St., east of 14th?

  • Once they had a statue of the Virgin Mary with IDOL written on it. I left flowers by it and they got really angry… :^0 They have no sense of humor. And the people with the biggest mouths always get the most attention.

  • I was the guy who got hit and knocked down. It wasn’t a fight. Yes, I was protesting their protest, but as I was walking away someone punched me in the *back* of the head, making it, yes, a suckerpunch. It was cowardly.

    • That’s horrible! I’m sorry that happened to you.

    • I’m curious. How were you protesting? I’ve often thought of doing the same.

      • I was just yelling over them. I’m sick of it. They’re racist, and their rhetoric is violent. I have a right to stand on the corner and preach just as much as they do, but someone thought otherwise.

        • Thanks. I don’t blame you for responding. These people are vile and you have every right to yell over them.

        • Thank you for doing that – and sorry you were punched! I’ve had scary encounters with them – saying nothing – just standing nearby and laughing at them. I’ve been petitioning Jim Graham & our council for years to pass a law against amplified speech. NOT restricting speech – hateful as it is – just don’t allow them to blast with megaphones & amplifiers.

  • So if the bigots spewing hateful, racist rhetoric and inciting racial violence in the heart of DC happened to be white, does anyone think their free speech rights would be protected this long?

      • So if the Klan took to making these regular shows of force at Columbia Heights, you think everyone would similarly give them space, expressing almost no dissent and organizing no counter-protest. Sure.

        • Oh. I thought you meant Congress. Seriously though, you’re asking two different questions.
          – Would people likely protect their rights to free speech? Likely.
          – Would there be open dissent and counter-protests? Even more likely. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism, rebuttal, and protest. If anything, it means exactly the opposite.

    • Protected? Maybe. Tolerated by the locals? Likely not.

  • If anyone thinks these people are harmless… I have 3 fractures in my foot and ankle including a broken tibia. I’m going to have to have surgery.

Comments are closed.