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More Senseless Violence – Woman Punched in the Face Fri. Night

by Prince Of Petworth April 9, 2012 at 11:30 am 70 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user brendan.o

Dear PoPville,

This past Friday at 11:30 p.m., I was walking alone west on the north side of U Street. I was between 17th & Florida, which has narrow sidewalks & is dimly lit. I was nearly at Florida when a group of approximately 6 or 7 young teens began walking towards me. They moved into single file to let me pass & then very unexpectedly, one of them punched me in the face. Thankfully when I started to scream, they ran off. I managed to escape with a fat lip & a sore jaw. I called 911 immediately and filed a police report. I hope that this random act of violence does not become the norm here, but thought I would share it so that people are more aware of their surroundings.

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  • scottonsstreet

    That is just outrageous and depressing. What kind of little assholes hit a girl walking alone for no reason whatsoever?

  • Scared of Young Punk Thugs

    They are at it again I see. Amazing how many times young children in this city like to break the jaws of young lone women walking down the street. The violent youth of DC should have their own reality TV show, it’s truly remarkable the bad behavior our city tolerates, we might as well get paid to highlight it to the nation and the world.

    • Identified

      Our city does not tolerate violence.

      And your idea to promote violence for money is just weird.

      • Anonymous

        Our city does not tolerate violence? They sure as hell aren’t doing much to prevent it!

      • Anonymous

        This happened less than a block from a police station, and even if the cops had seen it, caught the kid, and prosecuted him, he’d be out assaulting people within a week, or escaping from a group home with no oversight within hours. DC officials absolutely tolerate youth violence and youth crimes. I think it’s clear the writer was being facetious with the reality show idea.

        • Identified

          city officials our city

          laws of the city our city

          Don’t like the laws: VOTE PHIL MENDO and JIM GRAHAM out of office. They run the youth programs and the judiciary committee. They are absolute jokes.

          Preventing violence is difficult, and there is much being done.

          Altering culture will take time. Voting out the people who do nothing is as simple as the next election.

          When it comes to race and PoPsters, I rarely think posters are joking about “them”.

          • id

            Apparently PoP does not suppport for not eqaul, whcih wouldmake the first 2 lines make more sense.
            city officials =/= our city
            laws of the city =/= our city

          • Anonymous

            Changing the culture of the city would speed up if ocuncil members let the natural progression of gentrification to take place. Let the developers in adn lets change this city into a yuppie utopia.

          • Identified

            50’s white flighters: we can’t have our kids in school with black people. let’s all move to the suburbs

            2010 + white returners: it’s boring and expensive to live in the suburbs with our grand/parents. We’ll make this city what it should be – a yuppie utopia for our kind only.

            neither white flight nor gentrification are “natural progression”.

          • Anonymous

            Agreed identified.

          • If anyone thinks the city can gentrify it’s way out of crime problems, he’s delusional. Besides, a yuppie utopia dousn’t sound so great either. Preps & hipsters slap-fighting over the results of a kickball game? Pass.

    • JoeEsq74

      Re: “The violent youth of DC should have their own reality TV show,”

      People post videos of people getting jumped, knocked out etc on the web all the time. There are ‘hood’ (and ‘redneck’) fight videos of people being beat up all over.

      • Anonymous

        @ Indentified either is setting aside income restrictions to allow people who can’t afford to live ine area certain afforable. I don’t care about white or black my whole family is black and my parents grew up in west baltimore. Lettingg free market reign and letting these developers put up condos will raise the value of my own. So :P

        • anonymous

          The uptick in crime is affecting some of the most gentrified areas in town. Ostentation encourages crime.

    • Mister_Fed_Up

      They DO have their own violent reality show. It’s called YouTube.

  • Timmy

    That’s really scary. Glad you aren’t seriously hurt physically. Be sure to take care of the psychological side of things too.

  • MPD?

    So this is literally around the corner from the Third District Station – which shows a high level of brazenness.

  • My dearest hope is that the kids who do this kind of thing find themselves on the other side of it, but much worse, and soon. I have zero sympathy for them and I don’t give 1/2 of 1% of one rat’s ass as to why or how they got the way they are, if society failed them, or DC failed them, or the schools failed them, or their parents failed them. I just hope the pain and fear they cause is returned to them threefold.

  • Sick and cowardly. None of that guy’s friends thought anything of it? This is the kind of thing that gives our great city a bad, unfortunately somewhat deserved, reputation for crime.

  • dp

    “I hope that this random act of violence does not become the norm here”

    Too late.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately I’ve heard of several instances occurring like this and something similar happened to my boyfriend in Dupont two years ago and it landed him in a coma for 24 hours and in the hospital for a week. They only took his iPhone, but not his wallet. You’re lucky there was not more damage done to you and you were able to report it.

  • Rock Creek

    COPS ON THE BEAT. I simply don’t understand why, in a city with so much violence like this, we almost never see police officers walking the streets instead of patrolling in cars. I get the argument that you have to be in a car to respond quickly to an incident, but I truly believe (and it’s been proven in other cities that care about safety and quality of life) that a noticeable police presence is a major deterrent of crime.

    • Denizen of Tenallytown

      So you’re saying that at 11:30pm on a Friday, there is little to no police presence on U St around 17th and Florida? Apparently you’re not looking close enough. Maybe not directly on U St between 17th and Florida, but that’s because it’s a residential area – all rowhouses – on that block. But on 18th Street and further down 16th Street, there are cops all over the place.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, I took some visitors to that area once and they thought it was incredibly sketchy because of all the normal police activity.

      • What gives?

        Yes, maybe so. And yet, there was no police presence in the area of this incident, which, I believe, was the point of Rock Creek’s comment.

        • Denizen of Tenallytown

          That’s correct. There was police presence one or two blocks east, and one or two blocks west, but not directly in this quiet residential area. Should one cop be posted at each intersection from 20th through 5th across the U St corridor?

          In other words, is lack of police presence really the issue here? I believe that was Rock Creek’s assertion. I disagree.

          • guess you haven’t been to Manhattan in the past decade or so…

    • J

      I couldn’t agree more. Yes there may be a police prescence, but police driving around is not the same as police walking around. Almost a year and a half ago now, I witnessed a purse snatch from far away at the Dupont Farmer’s market. While on the phone trying the police, I followed the perp from a distance hoping to find a police officer to alert. A good 15 minutes of walking, couldn’t find one officer.

  • Ladylike

    Very sorry to hear this. Take good care of yourself. +1 to what Timmy, too.

  • JoeEsq74

    I already know where the comments will ultimately go so I wanted to get my $.02 in early. When I was in high school 20+ years ago this used to happen on the, street, bus, subway etc.. ‘Bullies’ would get on the bus / subway and punch kids in the face and take their stuff for no reason. The bus drivers, adult passengers would not even look up. This happened to me (a couple of times, almost had a broken jaw) and my brother. I knew I might have to deal with this everyday from middle school to high school, so I had to learn to put on my street scowl and be ready to go if need be. I was nice kid who never bothered anyone but I knew I could be a target.

    These kids are bullies, cowards so they go after who they perceive to be weak. Single women are not the only victims. I guarantee there are hundreds of kids in this city (if not more) scared to go to school or their local park because of bullies like this, because the adults will not protect them. There are kids who live in fear and have their childhoods destroyed. People see kids fighting on the street or in Gallery Place subway and think ‘look at these terrible kids.’ Some of those kids are good kids who just want to meet friends for a movie and pizza and get jumped by bullies, I have been that kid who was jumped. I have looked into the eyes of adults while this happened, I have seen it happen to kids, their eyes crying for help, and I have seen the adults who were present just look away. Twenty years later the bullies are now targeting adults…this should have been addressed years ago.

    • Denizen of Tenallytown

      I agree with your sentiment, but the people who can only address this are the parents of the bullies. If you are an adult and you touch a minor, even if it’s to defend somebody else, you’re asking for a lawsuit. Adults seeing minors getting into scuffles are not going to run over and get involved, because they themselves will get injured, sued, or both.

      • Anonymous

        I agree but I think a lot more adults would even jump in to stop this violence if it were not the fear of getting shot. I for one can defend myself very well not afraid of any phyiscal confrentation however now a days no one knows how to use their fists. I love watching a fair street fight but they way these kids fight now its quite cowardly just watch the Caribean festival fights to get my point. They only jump in when its 3 or 4 on 1. I think more people would step up to confront these bullies if they weren’t afraid of repreisal of gun violence. I’m not afraid of any man who wears skinny jeans. i can’t fit into skinny jeans because I do to many squats and deadlifts.

      • JoeEsq74

        I am glad you agree, however, if I saw a teenager punching a woman I would intervene, physically, very physically. I am raising two girls right now. The only way I know there will be people willing to protect them is to be someone who is willing to protect them and by extension women in general. I would probably be scared sh*tless but I would have to stand my ground and deal with the consequences.

    • Humanity Wanes with Density

      Sorry, so wrong and sad. Every one of us is ultimately responsible for our own behavior and we all make the choice everyday. My basic nature is to smile at everyone on the street, trying to spark and keep good energy going.

      But when I get even the faintest whiff of dead stares and intimidation I walk with the nastiest scowl I can muster, fists fully clenched and a come-get-some stance. But even that doesn’t hold much water against a truly bent individual with a weapon. And someone with a slighter presence can’t expect much success with my methods.

      It’s so damn sad that the common people on the street, the spice of the human experience, are turned against each other as the ultra-rich hoard resources that can very effectively turn this tide. Ayn Rand was dead wrong, a huge nail in our coffins.

  • mark

    Jesus wept.

    • jch

      As did Tebow.

    • SingLikeSassy

      And this made me laugh, mainly because I have been using this a lot over the past few days.

  • SingLikeSassy

    Sigh. I am so sorry this happened to you. Just reading this made me tear up.

  • Grand Funk

    I hope someone chases them down next time and gives them an a$$ whooping…or is that against the law since they are juveniles?
    Sorry and hope you recover quickly.

  • live from Columbia Heights

    street cameras – put ’em everywhere.

    • Tim


    • The cameras on the corner don’t pick up enough – get some of your own on your house. It’s really not that expensive.

    • Anonymous

      If there going to punch people beside a police station, do you really think cameras are going to matter?

    • Anonymous

      If they are going to punch people beside a police station, do you really think cameras are going to matter?

    • I’m not sure street cameras are the right answer. I think of the one that’s on my block, the lens ripped out and dangling uselessly on an old wire in the breeze. The kids get wind of where the cameras are, and one well-aimed rock later their problems are over.

      • You’re right. Cameras are an easy answer, but they son’t really deter crime. Sometimes they might help in identifying a criminal, but that’s about it.

        • Doug

          They seem to be working in West Baltimore.

  • neednewhob

    This is close to where I live, and I, as a woman, walk alone frequently in this city. As of late however, I have been taking cabs, buses whatever I can to get home in a safer capacity — reduce the odds if you will — especially if I am out late. I used to walk alone to save ‘money’ but then realized I’ll gladly spend the $1.50 bus fare or $8 cab fare from U Street.

    I used to think I was tough until I was walking home alone after a show at the 9:30 club some years back and I was followed for a few blocks by some thugs. Nothing happened, but man, my mind was swimming with “What are they going to do? What if?”

    Legitimate fears. Know your surroundings, walk in pairs/groups if you can, and take precautions. It’s a shame that more and more in today’s society, no matter where you are, people just don’t seem to give a shit about being bullies, “professionial assault artists,” or killers.

    • Anonymous

      I feel really bad that you ladies have to take all of these extra procauations but at least you naive to the point where you don’t think they are necessary.

  • Sorry to hear about this. I’m not sure if this will prevent incidents like this from occurring, but avoiding groups of teens (especially walking amongst them) might be a good tactic. I’min no way blaming the victim – just trying to think of ways to keep people safe. We know the city won’t do it for us. After all, these are just “good kids” with a reflex problem.

  • Anonymous

    Naive young woman walking down a quiet block at 11:30pm alone gets assaulted. Anyone else not surprised and/or concerned by this?

    Ladies, don’t walk around by yourself at 11:30pm on a Friday. As another woman so brilliantly pointed out, take a cab, walk with a friend, or at least stick to crowded streets…

    • sarah

      nice victim-blaming, there. everyone should be concerned about this, whether you’re surprised by it or not! everyone should be vigilant if walking alone at night by themselves – no ipods, cell phones, etc – and it sounds like this woman was. the answer to this kind of violence is not ‘women shouldn’t be out by themselves after 11pm.’

      • Anonymous

        it shouldn’t be but it is.

        • sarah

          oh, please.

    • C’mon – A woman should be able to walk a couple of blocks without being assaulted. Stop trying to be provocative.

    • It’s one thing to urge reasonable precaution, and it’s another to say that violence against women is a sign that we should all just give up being able to walk around. I mean 11:30 pm? I’m a freaking granny by most social standards, but 11:30 pm is not that late.

    • Rock Creek

      If you really feel “unconcerned” about a woman being assaulted on the street and aren’t just using the anonymity of a message board to get off on saying something provocative, I feel almost as sorry for you as the victim. What a sad, angry, hopeless world you must live in.

    • And when all the women start taking cabs, the bus, driving, the hooligans will start sucker punching the men who have the audacity to walk on the streets. Except, I think the hooligans already attack men.

    • alisa

      Naive young woman taking a cab at 11:30pm alone gets assaulted. Anyone else not surprised and/or concerned by this? Ladies, don’t take a cab by yourself at 11:30pm on a Friday.

      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Welcome to being a woman. Here’s your standard-issue rape whistle.

    • This comment makes me so angry. Let’s focus on where/when she was walking and not the coward who hit her for no reason. This kind of depravity must be addressed — nothing to do whatsoever about gentrification and yuppies — has to do with civility and living together in a city.

    • Mouse

      Would a cab pick me up at 17th and U to drive me home to 17th and Mass. on a Friday night? Doubtful.

  • Sincerest wishes that you recover both physically and emotionally soon.

  • Anonymous

    I hate that block more than any other block in the city. Dark, narrow crumbling sidewalks, rats the size of small dogs, and trash cans everywhere.

  • Carlos

    These type of articles makes me sad and depressed. At Easter family dinner yesterday, one of the guest were talking about rude young people riding the Metro on her way last Saturday to a Comedy event downtown. She stated, these young people were using profanity, talking loud, and acting ugly on the Metro train. She asked them to behave themselves and they curse this 65 year old bllack woman out. It’s best not to say anything to people today because people are mean and they will curse you out or hurt you. I wished we lived in a perfect world where we all could get alone. This would be dreaming.

  • I think the map is showing the wrong spot — the woman stated that she was walking on U Street between 17th and Florida (a residential block with lots of rowhouses and not much lighting), but the map shows the intersection of Florida and 17th.

  • This is totally depressing, and also totally typical. It is useless to agonize over gentrification, politics, and victim blaming the way these posters all are. I’m very sorry for what happened to you. My wife was attacked in a similar fashion twice, once in Adams Morgan and again in the U St. area. I was assaulted in Columbia Heights a few years ago. When its at a personal level like that, there are no excuses, no reasons. But there are things you can do to get yourself up and out the door again. Here’s one I recommend: learn some practical self defense. This is a good place to start. http://www.betaacademy.com/ There are plenty of others. Just having some knowledge may help you feel confident and more aware, and help you to feel in control again.

  • NoLongerNew2CH

    I am honestly surprised that we have not had a Trayvon Martin or Bernard Goetz type situation in DC, especially now that people can carry licensed handguns legally here (I believe). It’s only a matter of time before someone rightly (like in this situation, or Bernie Goetz) or wrongly (like the Martin situation) feels threatened by a roving gang of youths and starts shooting, and if it happens, it could be a scarily polarizing event for this city with dangerous repercussions. I just wish that the juvenile justice system would function in such a way to reduce these incidents before citizens start taking matters into their own hands.

    • Charles

      D.C. residents aren’t allowed to carry handguns outside of their homes. On the issue of Trayvon Martin and 5 blacks being shot and killed by 2 whites in Okalahoma over the weekend, race relatons in D.C. and in the U.S. have worsen.

  • Thought this story was going to be about the woman sitting in Starbucks who was punched in a jaw by a homeless guy in Dupont this weekend. So, two unrelated cases of random, senseless violence against individuals… great.


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