“Creeper with a Camera on K Street”

“Dear PoPville,

This morning, I witnessed a middle-aged male (white, medium build, dressed business casual) use a cell phone to take multiple pictures of the back of a young female, also dressed business casual and appearing to be in her 20s, who was walking a few strides ahead of him on K Street (downtown). The young woman was walking briskly, and he was making an effort to keep up. He was not very discrete with his photo-taking, though he did pocket the device when another pedestrian began walking very close to him. He eventually ditched into an office building on Vermont. It did not appear that he and the woman knew each other.

It’s possible that his intentions were harmless (though I doubt it), but such behavior and seeming lack of respect for the young woman is alarming. Keep an eye out, D.C., for this (likely) creeper with a camera.”

54 Comment

  • Despite his potentially vulgar intentions, this doesn’t sound illegal.

    • Let’s not have this debate again. I invite you to have a seat and show some respect and perhaps some empathy for your fellow sisters/moms/girlfriends/wives/neighbors/human beings.

      • We’ve become such a litigious city, indeed society, that anything that isn’t illegal/you can’t be sued for is deemed acceptable.

      • Let’s not have this debate again. It’s not the middle ages anymore — women aren’t damsels in distress who need our protection from being looked at or photographed. Whether you’re a man or a woman, someone might look at you or take your photo while you’re out in public. It won’t hurt you.

        • Yeah, you just set up a straw man there, dude. We’re not damsels in distress but the creep factor with some random guy taking photos of women on the street is way up there. So either you associate with guys like this, or you don’t have enough empathy in your body to “get it.” At the minimum, you obviously don’t have a daughter.
          +1 to SMGC’s comment. Something being technically legal does not equate with it being normal, ethical, or non-creepy. People are within their rights to condemn crap like this.

  • I had this happen to me last week outside the Bank of America on 11th and Penn NW…the guy had been sitting in the patio area of Central when he got up and followed me towards the bank I thought he was just going to the bank but when I turned around to open the door for him I saw he was taking my picture..in the time it took me to process what he was doing…I looked at him confused for a few seconds…he took off in another direction

  • He could have also been taking a photo of her outfit, either because he liked it or hated it.
    My coworkers and I work on K Street. We often take pics of tacky/inappropriate outfits of people who obviously work in the offices that surround us and send them to one another. Yes, we are bitchy like that.

    • Can’t be nearly as entertaining as the People of WalMart blog!

      • It’s the different (more expensive) side of the same coin. We have definitely seen the lower butt cheek of many women who are dressed for The Club that they are hitting up after work on Thursdays.
        Also, men in suits who are wearing New Balances? Please stop.

        • How do you know the guy wearing NB tennis shoes doesn’t have plantar fasciitis? BTW, you and your coworkers’ activities sound something that is probably more commonly found among 13-14 year olds. Yikes. At what point, does a person grow up and develop some self-respect?

          • People Magazine and Perez Hilton appear to have pretty successful publications by acting like 13 year-olds. Anyways, we have not done this since last summer. Though I imagine the warm weather will bring out all sorts of awfulness for our endless amusement.
            Deal with it? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          • Agreed. It’s like middle school, only more pathetic.

          • I can testify – I have plantar fasciitis and have been forced to wear sneakers for the past 3 weeks. Don’t judge fashion choices until the shoe is on your painful foot.

        • A lot of women in my office actually do this. They wear sneakers during their commutes and then change into dress shoes in the office. If the men were just wearing sneakers for their commutes, it makes more sense, but I’d still never do it.

    • I was wearing business type top and black pants from Ann Taylor when he took pics of me nothing tacky or inappropriate

    • I’m not sure if you owe your parents an apology for turning out like this, or if they owe you one for not raising you to be a better person, but it’s definitely one or the other. You’re living in the big city now, presumably with a real job, it might be time to grow up, just a bit.

  • An investigator, perhaps? Either way, covertly or overtly taking pictures of people on public streets is perfectly legal in most cases.

  • “Middle-aged male, white, medium build, dressed business casual.”

    This narrows it down. Will definitely keep an eye out.

    • Don’t forget “on K Street”. That’s an important detail too. And he went into an office building. As a precautionary measure, we start arresting and rounding up all those who meet this description.

  • “middle-aged male (white, medium build, dressed business casual)”

    Probably was this guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_Cartier-Bresson

    • Yep! The same blogs that fret over this behavior are often the same blogs that post and celebrate street photography.

  • justinbc

    White guy in business casual on K Street with a cellphone, got it. We as citizens have no expectation of privacy when walking around public places. Sure, it’s creepy, but there’s nothing you can really “look out for” here.
    I’m curious, if you were so disturbed, why didn’t you say something to him, or at least the girl?

  • I don’t even know what to say to some of these responses. Thanks, OP for looking out. A good reminder for those of us who walk on K Street to be aware of our surroundings. Not because what this person is doing is illegal, and not because this behavior means that he will physically harm anyone, but because we don’t want some creeper getting all excited about a photo he took of us, of our bodies as objects, without us knowing. We don’t expect privacy when walking down the street. But any time we are ogled, either in real time or in a photo, it is creepy and humiliating. And that is enough that we should watch out for and stop people that we see doing this. If the commenters here cannot distinguish between happening to be caught in a photo tourists are taking (totally innocuous and expected) and what this guy appears to be doing (gross), that’s a problem.

    • +1000 to this! I can’t believe some of the comments above! I’m waiting for someone to ask what the woman was wearing….

      • If you expect everyone to go out of their way to sympathize with a woman who was having a picture taken of her in public then you are going to be disappointed. If anything, the author of this post should have confronted the man instead of letting this “injustice” go unaddressed.

        • I’m disappointed you are my neighbor…

        • Do you really have to go out of your way to sympathize with this person? I mean, I think commenting is going further out of your way.

        • Great idea. Confronting street harassers always ends well.

          • justinbc

            So take his photo with your own phone. Send THAT in to a blog, rather than some obtuse description. If you want to end lawyer boy’s street voyeurism all you have to do is turn it around on him. Once all his coworkers find out his perversions I’m sure he won’t be at it for long.

          • I think you underestimate how aggressive people can get when embarrassed. I’ve had enough bad experiences trying to point out street harassment that I’ve stopped. When it comes down to it, this is creepy (legal) behavior and I don’t understand why some people seem to think the burden is on the female to stop it rather than on the man to be able to behave himself in public.

    • justinbc

      I’m pretty sure every single person here can distinguish the difference, that doesn’t mean that you gain any special protection from either one of them. As I stated above, if the OP had a real concern over this they would have said something to one of the parties involved.

    • I agree, and the excuses some people are making in order to wave away this behavior are just fascinating:
      – Maybe he really liked her outfit… from behind
      – Maybe he really did not like her outfit and was trying to publicly embarrass her on his blog
      – Maybe he was a really bad private investigator who can’t take a picture discreetly
      – Maybe he was a gay man doing an art shoot (when all else fails, blame the gays …)

      • The remark about a gay man is not to blame, but to point out that the rush to judgment about licentiousness may be misplaced. The OP is heavy on assumptions. Shall we enumerate them?

      • Seriously. Oh, what great lengths men will go to justify others’ sh*tty behavior..

  • good lord… Why cant folks read this, take a mental note and be cautious when walking the streets!?! In the event that another woman/girl is walking and sees this a**hole walking behind them snapping photos, they maybe better prepared to do something. Simple as that. If you are a guy and you’re fine with someone walking behind you snapping pics good for you, but don’t diminish how a woman feels when she assumes a threat, no matter how small it may be. That could be the difference in an uneventful day and one she may never forget.

    Thanks for the info OP

    • justinbc

      “Why cant folks read this, take a mental note and be cautious when walking the streets!?!”
      Because this post provides no information of use to someone who wants to do that. I guess women could be cautious of every single white guy in business casual on K Street the same way that a DC crime report for “black male in black clothing” makes them all cross the street every time they see a black guy on the street, but we both know those are gross overreactions. You’re either the type of person who says something to someone about this kind of thing or you’re not, some forum post isn’t going to change your behavior about confrontation.

      • A lot of women are always very, very cautious when “walking the streets.” I experience creepy behavior from men (of all races) nearly every day and I appreciate knowing what to look out for sometimes. I hope the men in this thread understand how privileged they are to not need this type of information or to even see the value in it, even if it won’t prompt an arrest.

        • Amen, sister. It’s REALLY easy for a man (who seems really defensive, btw) to say certain behavior shouldn’t bother us.

  • I’m kind of grossed out that so many people think that this woman should have to be OK with being secretly photographed by some creeper because she’s in public. The fact that he can legally get away with doing it doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable behavior. She’s not there for his entertainment.

    • +1.
      And then the fact that women can say, you’re right men – it isn’t illegal – but its not ok either …. and people STILL argue with them. Geez! If I feel uncomfortable as a woman, I DON’T REALLY CARE WHAT A MAN THINKS.

  • Turn. Grab phone. Smash to pieces. Ask what other shit he had on there. Ask if he wants to report it to the police. Your word against his. Also, judo kick to groin.

  • gmsdesigns

    I would be the first to agree that there are creepers out there, I see a lot of them in my walk abouts in the city doing street photography. Having said that it is entirely possible that this guy was doing just that. Silhouetting people from behind as they walk into the sunlight or shadows is common practice. I do it myself as do other street photographers.

    So before the rush to judgement consider that there are a lot of serious and amateur photographers on the street who are interested in nothing more than practicing their art. The creepers are on the train doing upskirt photos with their phones, or so it seems to me anyway.


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