Washington, DC

“Dear PoPville,

Street Altercation in Penn Quarter

On Sunday afternoon on the 600 block of E Street NW I heard yelling of obscenities from a few hundred feet back. I was unsure what was going on and kept walking. The yelling stopped but a few moments later it resumed and sounded much closer. I turned around again and realized it was a mid 20’s black male on a bike hurling verbal abuse at a white couple. It was now clear to me that he was the source of the initial yelling and was biking on the sidewalk from group to group getting very close to people and violating them verbally. He called the woman in the white couple the c-word and said he would rape her. I knew he’d bike over to me next. Sure enough he did. I decided I wasn’t going to just silently take it. As he berated me I called him a b*tch, a coward, unleashed some f-bombs, and said I would beat his ass. He began to biked off and I kicked tire real hard. He continued to pedal away furiously but his anger over his bullying being dished back made him eventually circle back to start following me.

At this point I was on a very busy sidewalk on 7th street in front of Carmines. I was ignoring his constant stream of “You F’d up. I’m gonna get you” verbal vomiting. I decided to walk between the tree boxes and the parked cars so he would not be able to bike directly behind me and cheap shot me. As I was walking I noticed a 3/4 full cup of some kind of iced coffee sitting on the sidewalk. I picked up figuring I needed something to stun him if he attempted to get violent. I crossed 7th street and as he followed I kind of got boxed in in front the Protein Bar. I saw he had a metal U-lock in his hand and intended to use it as a weapon. He remained on the bike and flailed at me with the U-lock twice. While he didn’t come within 18 inches of hitting me with his pathetic flails I clearly needed to get out of this situation. I threw the iced coffee in his face and then sprinted down the block and around the corner into a bar to have a beer. I looked back over my shoulder a few times while I was fleeing and luckily he did not follow me.

While I didn’t want to merely ignore the street harrasment like I had done dozens of times before I recognize I didn’t handle this well. I needlessly put myself at risk. I escalated rather than diffusing the situation. In hindsight I should have remained calm, filmed him with my phone and told him I’d call 911. Still, the coffee on his face was a little priceless.

This was not a disheveled looking unstable homeless person. He was clean shaven. Had a nicer and newer winter jacket on than I had. This was not mental illness triggered. I would say it was anger and racist rage from a cowardly anti-social individual who was getting his jollies off verbally assaulting random people.”

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