A reader shares this incredibly upsetting incident:
“I didn’t think much of the charcoal gray SUV that pulled over when I was walking up 16th St. until I heard the screams of the woman trying to get out of the passenger door. I ran towards the woman who screamed at me, “my husband beats me every day! Call 911!” And as I got closer I could see why she was screaming and trying to get out of the car. The driver was pummeling her and an infant in the backseat was wailing. I try to grab her arm but her husband is too fast and yanks her in the car and locks the door. But shutting the door does little to muffle the screams coming from the woman and the baby in the backseat. And I can see the man and his fists and arms flying.
So I do the only thing I can do and the very least I think common human decency requires. I step in front of the SUV and photograph the license plate and stand in front of the car so the abuser can’t drive away while I dial 911. But because my phone is a computer and not a phone I can’t get through but I’m not too worried about it because I know someone else is seeing this and surely they are calling 911. So I ditch the call and start beating the windshield with my umbrella to try and get the guy to lay off. He tires of that quickly and is ready to flee but I’m still planted in front of him so he does exactly what you’d expect. He starts driving into me and tries to pry me out of his path by threatening to run me over. But here’s the thing asshole: you are going to have to run me over if you think I’m letting you get away before the police get here. Because I am my sister’s keeper.
And because I am screaming and waving my arms and begging for help while this guy slowly pushes me with his car down 16th St. I just know help is on the way. Because surely there is at least one decent person, maybe even a handful, who must have called 911 by now. I know if I can just keep him there, the police will arrive and that woman and that child will be out of harm’s way. The problem is that I am only one person and I can’t block him from going forwards and backwards and he eventually realizes he’s not getting past me so he throws his car in reverse and is gone.
And I am standing in the middle of the road in the rain and it’s clear that help is not on the way. So I call 911 again and I relay what happened with the urgency I felt the situation warranted. And I wait for the police and they do not come and I see a Metro PD car and I wave him down but he does not stop which I tell myself is okay because maybe he’s pursuing the SUV but he’s not. His lights aren’t on, his siren isn’t on, he isn’t in a hurry.
If the Metro PD was interested in my eyewitness account, the photo of the license plate, or the partial video taken by an onlooker who caught the last part of the incident on tape, they haven’t expressed it to me. And I don’t know if I’m angrier at the PD for their apathetic response to this situation or the fact that not one single person stopped to help or intervene in any way. Actually, that’s not true. I’m know I’m angrier at the people who walked by and did nothing. I’m angrier at the cars that drove by as I frantically waved them down. Because what I know is that a man who pulls over to pummel his wife on a public street in front of god and everybody metes out abuse 10 times worse when he’s in the privacy of his own home. And I’m certain that woman and her child are still in harm’s way. And if we as a community are willing to turn a deaf ear to a woman pleading for help when her husband is beating her, then we are fucked and we are lying when we say we are our brother’s keeper. Here is what I believe: we are, all of us, charged with walking one another home during the course of our shared time on this planet. And I don’t think we’re walking the talk. I should know by now to never, ever underestimate human beings and their capacity to disappoint, but humans really let me down today. You too Metro PD. This is the fourth time this year I’ve been personally involved as a witness or a victim in an assault. Not one has been handled correctly. @DCPoliceDept #DCPoliceDept”
Update from OP: “The Lt. in the domestic violence unit is now actively working the case.”