“I want to get word out of what happened so no one else makes the mistake of thinking of going to metro as a safe haven like I did.”

by Prince Of Petworth March 31, 2016 at 1:00 pm 139 Comments

petworthe metro

“Dear PoPville,

I was walking home from the grocery store and crossing Randolph when a blue Altima made a full at full speed almost hitting into me. I put my hand on the car out of instinct when you are about to be hit. They were so pissed I touched there car. They went into the Wendy’s turned around and chased me down with their car. There were 5 people in the car. I ran towards the metro because I saw police there earlier. No police were outside so I ran into the station.

2 of the girls jumped out of the car and ran down into the metro station after me. I was banging on the booth asking for help. The metro attendant took his time and called the police. He did not offer me refuge in the booth. Instead only let me on the other side of the turnstiles where the girls then took a full box of bus schedules that was left on the floor and slammed it against my head. The other metro lady found this funny and laughed. The metro janitor also laughed saying should I clean this up or is this evidence. The metro police came 15 to 20 mins after being called followed by the dc police.

I had a partial license plate, car type and color. Both the girls were caught on camera. They said “I Guess we can request footage” No one asked me one if I was okay. Metros safety push is a joke. I have never felt more unsafe. I want to get word out of what happened so no one else makes the mistake of thinking of going to metro as a safe haven like I did. Assault to them seems to be funny.”

  • Eric

    Those Metro employees should be fired. But they won’t be.

    • DCDuchess

      Public employees in this city have no idea about customer service or even normal manners.

      • Ryan Shepard

        During the last big snow, I was struggling to shovel out my car (which had been plowed in several times) while a DPW crew cleared snow at the end of the street. After about 10 min. of my hacking away at, one of their guys came down with his mini-bulldozer and offered to break the snow up to make it easier to shovel. They then came back when I was done and scooped up the snow so it wouldn’t block the street. They didn’t have to do either.

        TLDR; don’t paint all public employees with a broad brush – there are a lot of good, conscientious ones in DC. I’ve been here for 20 years and have met quite a few.

        • muriel


        • Anonymouse

          Thank you. I left the private sector to come work for the DC government because I believe in public service and want to do my part to make this city better. My colleagues and I work long hours for a fraction of the private-sector salary because we want to advance the public interest. It’s demoralizing to read about how we’re universally panned for the actions of a few bad eggs (which, I might add, exist in the private sector, too).

        • Colhi

          Thank you! I work with public employees and people have no idea how badly they get treated. A lot of people have very little manners and take it out on city and service workers every day.

      • anon

        We’ve heard one very biased side of the story. Maybe before firing the Metro employees, or filing criminal charges against them, we could get the facts?

        • Rich

          Biased? Why of course, how dare the actual victim be “biased.”

          • anon

            Knowing only half the story, from a biased participant rather than a neutral onlooker, I haven’t actually decided if the OP is the “actual victim.” I like to have both sides, or at least hear from some people who weren’t involved, before assigning victim status. Sorry if keeping an open mind is a problem.

        • The Other Jason

          This city needs a superhero that just chastises bad Metro employees and yells at those who expect everyone to yield to them when walking, biking, driving (like a Sesame Street version of Daredevil).

    • OverMetro

      There should be criminal charges against them!

      • Anon Spock

        For what? You’re not required to help people unless you’re police, etc, and that’s usually medical in nature.

        I absolutely believe they should help, but it still doesn’t make it criminal not to do so.

        • sbc

          you’re not even required to help if you’re the police in DC. Read about Warren v. District of Columbia if you want to be horrified.

          • Anon Spock

            You meant Deshaney v Winnebago cty. Warren didn’t establish the public duty doctrine.

            Sad case nonetheless. Seems like dispatch was mostly at fault for not properly coding the calls.

          • sbc

            I meant Warren, which is the local case and interprets DC law.

            DeShaney is an interesting case on a similar topic, but it arose from an incident in Wisconsin and was heard in federal court on 14th amendment grounds.

            Neither Warren nor Deshaney established the public duty doctrine (in fact, neither found that there was a public duty). But Warren discussed the issue first: the DC Court of Appeals decided it in 1981, while DeShaney wasn’t decided by the Supreme Court until 1989.

      • anony

        They’re union employees. Nothing will happen to them.

        • Derek


        • tacopuss

          Believe it or not, union employees who are shitty at their jobs CAN be fired. They often aren’t not so much because of a corrupt union protecting them but rather incompetent management which doesn’t think it’s worth the effort to try and correct the problem.

          • anon

            +10000 I’ve had my share of unpleasant run-ins with government employees, but the fact that they’re in a union doesn’t mean they can’t be fired. It simply means that management itself must overcome its own incompetence and document the issues so they can be fired with cause. A union provides a due process protection. If management cared, they could fire employees (although I don’t see a fire-able offense here).

          • textdoc

            Didn’t the Metro drivers who were documented sleeping while “driving” trains get only a wrist slap?
            These employees probably won’t even get a wrist slap.

    • Derek

      Metro employees can basically never get fired; same is true for DC public employees.

      • AnonAnon

        I have seen plenty of District employees get fired, it happens regularly, more regularly than most people realize. Fenty and Williams actually went through and cleared out thousands of district employees at one point, it was relentless. It happens all of the time. DC employees are actually at-will, it was a Williams and Fenty era reform. The problem is the metro employees are not.

  • Date/time of this awfulness?

    • ten

      6:30 yesterday.

      • reader

        And did you catch the names of the metro employees, and file a formal complaint with WMATA?

  • Mike

    So violence is funny to metro employees? I am so sorry to hear your story and feel for you. I have lived in the city for 15 years and have never felt more unsafe here. I lived in Adams Morgan in 2003 and was violently mugged there (2 nights in the hospital) and still feel like the city is more dangerous now. At some point, a lot of people will give up on living in the city and move out. I will stay, but so much of the gains in population, new shopping and restaurants, revitalized neighborhoods, will all just slowly disappear.

    • Duponter

      This is all because of a lax criminal justice system that in DC is over-correcting for the over-incarceration of low level offenders, but instead of focusing on over-correcting as to non-violent crimes, they are doing it for all crimes, including violent ones.

      If you assault another person, you should be in jail. Period. The stories you hear of young people being released without being charged or released on bail and never actually punished is astounding.

      • J

        I was the victim of an armed robbery for which the perps were caught and positively identified, but never charged. My interaction with the district attorney’s office made it pretty clear this is frequently, if not usually, the case for juvenile offenders.

  • anon5

    one person’s side of the story; perhaps there is more to it.

    • anonymous

      Oh sure, because whatever this person could have done to the outside of a car (really? even if they slapped or banged on it which I have done instinctively when walking with a child a car was about to plow into) they deserved to be physically assaulted for?

    • neighbor

      Even if the OP purposely dented/damaged the car or called them names or anything, chasing someone and hitting them with a box of brochures is assault.

      • textdoc

        This is very true.
        Unfortunately, the best way to react in a car-related conflict situation like this is probably not to react at all. We’ve heard about previous incidents where the offended party tapped or slapped the driver’s car, and the driver responded with WAY disproportionate rage/action.

        • 20011

          This is mostly due to pedestrians standing up for themselves and disrespecting the “food chain” of the streets, which is supposed to reflect that drivers are superior to pedestrians.

          • textdoc

            What’s the point of “standing up for yourself” if it leads to your being assaulted?
            Better to just bite your tongue than to risk angering a volatile person.

          • textdoc

            As far as I can tell, the “food chain” of the streets is that other people must yield to YOU, regardless of what role you’re in.
            If you’re driving, pedestrians must yield to you. If you’re a pedestrian and you feel like crossing Georgia Avenue against the light and with traffic coming in both directions, then those cars will just have to stop for you.
            Basically, it’s “I’m going to do whatever I want to do and f*** you if you don’t like it or if it’s against the law.”

          • HaileUnlikely

            I don’t think it’s just that. Somebody who is willing to stop their vehicle, get out, and get physical over some perceived sign of disrespect, which happened to occur in the context of driver vs. pedestrian, is probably willing to get physical in a wide array of situations including those involving only drivers as well as situations involving no vehicles at all.

          • HaileUnlikely

            textdoc’s 2:14pm comment is pretty much right on the money.

        • textdoc

          Incident where a bicyclist banged on a car hood and the driver broke the bicyclist’s jaw:
          Related discussions (primarily about people perceiving someone else touching/tapping/slapping their car, etc. as a sign of disrespect and flying off the handle):


    • textdoc

      If there’s really another side to the story, I suspect it’s in the OP’s description of how he/she touched the car (“I was … crossing Randolph when a blue Altima made a full [turn?] at full speed almost hitting into me. I put my hand on the car out of instinct when you are about to be hit. They were so pissed I touched there car.”
      There are people out there who are volatile and perceive all kinds of things as disrespect, and who will fly off the handle at this perceived disrespect.

      • textdoc

        And the racial dynamics can magnify (amplify?) the perception of disrespect.

  • Billy

    Please submit the information you have to WMATA:

    They should take this more seriously, although the altercation may have started outside of its system, it sounds as though an assault occurred within the system and their employees need to take that seriously. Hopefully, the information will get in the right hands and the behavior of WMATA’s employees will be addressed.

    • anon36

      As someone who has used this form on multiple occasions, including reporting an unsafe bus driver that seemed to purposely veer at me, don’t waste your time. You’ll get an automated response and nothing ever again.

      • AnonPetworth

        I have used this form on several occasions and have about a 50% rate of them getting back to me indicating that the driver was going to be retrained or punished. It helps that I’m typically reporting dangerous behavior from inside the bus (or I tail them on my bike until I’ve memorized everything) so I fill out every single field and thoroughly document the incidents. I also pretend like I am a concerned bystander when I’m the victim so it seems like the behavior was bad enough that a 3rd party noticed. I get the feeling that they would immediately throw out any complaint that started with “I was on my bicycle.”

    • AnonAnon

      POPville or reddit no offense is far better place for this to be pushed out. Submitting it to WMATA means it will go into a dark abyss and be ignored otherwise. This forces them to take it seriously. The more pressure that comes to metro from the outside, the better. The mayor and dc council would be a good place to send the complaint too as well. I would have gotten the names of every single metro employee there.

    • Tracey

      I did an got the Auto response that other person was talking about. They said give 5 to 7 days for a response.

    • textdoc

      Makes sense to try reporting to WMATA directly, though I suspect more is likely to happen as a result of media/blogosphere exposure than as a result of WMATA’s complaint system.

  • Jasper

    Something seems very off with this story to me.

    • Eric

      Seems completely believable to me. Yesterday in Petworth I had a teen threaten me for having the audacity to look in his general direction while walking down the street.

      On numerous occasions I’ve been threatened with violence by aggressive drivers while using the pedestrian crosswalk at Quincy and New Hampshire. This is the reality of the city in which we live.

      • anon29

        I used to live on Georgia just north of the metro in a very nice building. I heard, “You got off at the wrong stop, white boy”, on several occasions. Never really felt unsafe (other than the time I was on my motorcycle and a homeless man attempted to jump in front of me), just not welcome.

        • C_petworth

          I have lived in Petworth for 6 years and I have only ever had trouble over the past 7 months. Its really upsetting.

        • BigPuddin

          I don’t believe you heard that even once, let alone several times.

    • anonymous

      Sound perfectly normal to me. Or is this another “the victim must have deserved it” post like the one above?

    • anon

      i’d guess that there were some words exchanged after the hit and before the chasing. the driver is 100% in the wrong, but perhaps a little conflict de-escalation could have helped OP. then again, there are plenty of irrational teens running around the city, so maybe there’s nothing OP could have done.

    • Mojotron

      It could just be that the OP isn’t great at recounting the details of the incident (and when you’re worked up that’s very possible) but I had the same feeling.

  • spookiness

    This is the local culture. The metro employees are probably just the aunts, uncles, neighbors or cousins of the perps. Just kids having fun you know.

    • transplanted

      You aren’t as subtle as you think you are. And beyond the simple racism, this comment is incredibly stupid in the face of the bus driver who stopped a mugging by a group of teens a couple of weeks ago.

      • Tracey

        I didn’t see any racism or talk of color of anyone’s skin at all

      • markus

        Slow down transplanted – no need to assume there is racial connotation here. In my experience too there is very much a culture of acceptance for this kind of activity. Must be acknowledged or it can’t be countered.

        • transplanted

          I’m not assuming, I’m reading. He hit 80% of the POP dogwhistles in 3 sentences and you think I should slow down? You have to be kidding, or willfully blind.

          • Colhi

            +1 This wasn’t even subtle racism

          • Colhi

            It was very upfront racism

          • Bryan Sipho

            +1000 Thank you for calling it out when you saw it.

          • anon

            +1–also makes you view the name in a different light. I don’t know how other commenters can be raised in America (white or black) and not immediately see this for what it is.

          • Blithe

            One more thank you. I’ve cut way back on my Popville habit because I got tired of including disingenuous racism in my day. Thank you for calling it — which at least puts it on the table for open discussion.

          • FacePalm


        • Didn’t you know that only the black citizens of DC have relatives who live here?

          • DontEvenLikeDogs

            Probably not many white WMATA employees with relatives in Petworth, eh? I think the dogwhistle was pretty clear.

      • Just asking

        Was it said anywhere that the assaulting group was a minority? I didn’t see that. That would mean you are actually the one being racist wouldn’t it?

        • transplanted

          At least your username is accurate. JAQ off all you want, you won’t get the plausible deniability you’re looking for here.

  • Anonymous

    Very typical for ward 4 police. Sad, but true. Very sorry this hope need to you.

    • textdoc

      This would’ve been Metro Transit Police, not MPD (the Metropolitan Police Department)… though perhaps Fourth District officers wouldn’t have been much different.
      The Fourth Police District does cover a chunk (or maybe most?) of Ward 4, but that’s purely coincidental. When I lived in Adams Morgan (Ward 1), my police district was the Third District.

      • textdoc

        Oops, I misread — the OP said “The metro police came 15 to 20 mins after being called, followed by the dc police. ”
        I’m surprised MPD came at all — it seems like the two police forces are always eager to say “Not my jurisdiction.”

  • ke

    Ugh, I’m sorry that happened to you and that you were not treated appropriately when you tried to get help. Did either of the police agencies take a report? I imagine that MPD would kick the can over to Transit PD…you should make formal complaints, and when nothing happens, kick the issue up to councilmembers, ANC, etc. I found a formal complaint form for Transit PD here: http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/transit_police/cc_form.cfm.

  • anon36

    I have to say that the Georgia Ave/Petworth station managers are particularly worthless. I’ve seen them stand by and laugh at potentially escalating situations. The station managers disappear from the booth for long periods of time (don’t seem to be anywhere else either). To give you an idea of how competent these people are: Several weeks ago I needed to take the train, so I looked up the train times on the WMATA webpage using the trip planner for the next available train. When I showed up, the entire schedule was not even close to the schedule on the trip planner. I asked the station manager, if the trip planner was off due to construction or had I missed my train. He said that metro does stand behind the schedule on the apps. When I clarified that I was not using a third party app but the WMATA webpage, he told me that he wasn’t sure where I got my information but WMATA does not have an official schedule and there is now way to know when the trains will come, “they just come when we can get them to the station, that’s the best we can do.”

    • 20011

      When in doubt, use the trip planner, but before you actually depart for the station, look up the real time arrivals.

      • anon36

        Ya, I should have. Reading back, I think the point of the story was lost. My point was that the station manager had no idea that WMATA had a webpage with an online trip planner/schedule. He basically just kept telling me that there is no real time schedule that WMATA stands behind.

        • anonymous

          I can’t say that surprises me. The station manager has probably been working at Metro since before there was an internet available to all, and has probably never looked at the WMATA webpage.

        • Ben

          The schedule was only applicable when trains ran on automatic train control. That was > 7 years ago. The schedule is still roughly true but is not applicable with things like track maintenance etc. So he wasn’t far off.

    • eggs

      I don’t think that this is limited to the Georgia Ave/Petworth employees, that’s the answer you’d get from any employee anywhere in the system. Also, likely the same answer you’d get from pretty much anyone you ask around here. Metro is completely incapable of running based on that trip planner.

    • HaileUnlikely

      He told you the truth and he was correct. It probably reflects poorly upon his employer that he is willing to tell you that, but I think he did you a favor in communicating to you that the published schedule is basically meaningless.

  • Chris

    I would contact the new Metro GM directly. He seems proactive. Also, wash post may be interested

    • madmonk28

      I agree that contacting the GM is a good idea, but not the Washington Post. The Post barely covers DC anymore and when it does, it is from an outsider’s perspective. I think WAMU, or NBC4 are much more likely to care about an incident on Metro. They might even be able to get footage of the incident.

  • andy2

    Yep Fahqing Metro – agree Dan.

    • Mt. PP

      +1 Dan!

  • Patrick

    What’s going on in DC is what happens in every city that experiences a boom of transplants with higher incomes. All the gentrification is nice — I benefit from it — but it is not inclusive. We will continue to see backlash, especially on the edges of the city, if we continue to mind our own business and don’t take action that makes a difference in the lives of people that are not on the benefit side of the gentrification equation. This is a sad situation and the perpetrators should be penalized, but the victim is fortunate that she was just slapped over the head with a box of bus schedules and nothing worse.

    • LL

      We do not know if the person who this happened to is black or white or another race. we also don’t know the race of the attacker. that’s a very general statement that might not fall true in this story.

    • jdc

      “…What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

      • Patrick

        Thanks, Billy

      • HaileUnlikely

        Even if it is not rational, do you seriously doubt that this does happen? I don’t.

    • say what

      JFC. I am so tired of that thinking. So OP deserved to get assualted because she has the audacity to live in the City? These assholes who chased her would be assholes no matter what becuase they are born into families that do not give a shit about them, then ignored or abused for the next 16 years by these families. But people who obey the law are to blame. You are so condescending. Bascially you are saying that low income AA are incapable of being part of society unless gentrifiers help them. give me a break.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Justifying and explaining are different. Not to say that it is “fair” or “acceptable” or “excusable” (whatever any of those words even mean), but I think it is probably accurate to say that incidents like this are likely to continue, at least in part for some of the reasons that Patrick cited.

        • 1) we dont know the race of the victim, 2) we don’t know the race of the criminals, 3) we don’t know the race of the Metro employees. Now, simple statistics and personal experience can probably

          • woops… can probably give you all 3 of those pretty easily, but to start making excuses or explanations for people we don’t even have descriptions for seems a bit much. And let’s assume that the victim is white, and the perp and employee are both black, do you really think every time a black person feels put upon their natural instinct turns to “kill whitey”? Because I’m not ready to make that leap yet.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Patrick’s comment, which I was addressing here, was a general comment that was about class not race and was not about this specific incident but rather a general one. I think it would be fair to say that Patrick’s comment was off-topic relative to a discussion of a specific incident, but if you re-read it, I would ask what in it you disagree with.

    • CapHillNative

      I had a similar conversation just last night with boyfriend about this. It’s so important that “gentrifiers” or anyone really to be a part of the community and integrate with the one that is already there. Whenever I am walking in my neighborhood I say hello to everyone (the white people rarely say hello back to me) and look them in my eye. I do this to try to create silent allies for safety (if I scream while being attacked, I hope you will stop and look back at that nice lady who just said hello to you) and to prevent attack (its harder to attack someone that just looked you dead in the eye with a cheery hello). I have proven that I am alert, FRIENDLY, and part of the neighborhood in one go. WIN WIN. This is my biggest safety tip to all of my (very white, new to the city) friends.

      • CapHillNative

        also this is just a suggested step 1… the following steps include volunteering, community involvement, having actual conversations with the little knuckleheads in the neighborhood etc. You would be surprised how one conversation will get a “naw dont f*** with her, she’s cool yo”

        • HaileUnlikely

          Agreed 100%. Couldn’t have said it better.

        • CapHillNative

          If kissing ass is defined as being a friendly neighbor and seeing the humanity in everyone, then yes. If coddling is following common sense rules for safety in a city then also yes. I’m sorry that you moved to DC and it wasn’t the Disney World, and I’m also sorry that the poor people who you live around aren’t getting out fast enough for you.

        • HaileUnlikely

          You teach them that, toughguy.

      • textdoc

        +1 to “Whenever I am walking in my neighborhood I say hello to everyone (the white people rarely say hello back to me) and look them in my eye.”

      • louc

        This. This. This. +1,0000 times this.

      • Anon

        I say hi to people in my neighborhood too (and you’re right that the white ppl are the least likely to respond), but I don’t harbor any delusions that it’s going to keep me from getting robbed or messed with. That’s wishful thinking. Especially in Capitol Hill (where I live too), where a lot of the street crime is committed by people from outside the neighborhood.

        • HaileUnlikely

          It might make a neighbor slightly more willing to help you (whether physically intervene or let you seek shelter in their home or simply call the police) than if they see you as the “expletive expletive white expletive that thinks he/she’ s too good to acknowledge us.” As a white guy in my 30’s with relatively little in common with most of the white people in DC, I’m put off by the attitudes of a lot of the white people I see on the street and thus might be less than enthusiastic to help them out if they were in trouble.

    • ParkViewneighbor

      OMG, the evil gentrification strikes again ! Boooooooh ! OP shouldn’t have been crossing that street because OP doesn’t belong in PTW since she hasn’t been there for 6 generations. Seriously Pat ?

  • General Grant Circle

    OP what was the time? When I got off at around 6 there were 4 police officers at the foot of the escalator.

    • Ben

      Saw that too – with 2 girls in handcuffs.

    • ten

      I saw those girls. There where 4 police cars. That’s why I ran back in that direction. I was not looking to fight 5 people. I was only looking for help.

      • General Grant Circle

        Related or some other girls causing trouble at Metro?

        • ten

          some other girls causing trouble I assume. they were already being taken away when I saw them.

          • Anonymous

            So I guess the police are not completely worthless.

  • Nathan

    I would find a way to get this directly to the new Metro GM. Tweet a link to this account.

  • Runner

    Next time run one block north! There is a police station on Shepard!!

  • C_petworth

    4 years ago I witnessed a man trying to (and looking like he was going to succeed) in overtaking a women to try and steal her bag. As a 5’5 120 lb lady myself I did not think I was the best person to try and stop but so I shouted I was calling the police thinking he would stop. My phone did not have service so i banged on the glass of the both (the metro employee had been watching the whole time) and said hey call the cops . no joke he respond he “was not getting involved”. I had to run up the escalator and fortunately their was a cop car and I alerted them of what was happening. I have no idea if they made it in time to help this poor women. Petro is so poorly policed and the employees even when standing behind bullet proof glass won’t even call the cops

  • Q

    Holy cow. I hear a lot about spur-of-the-moment type crimes, but to have been chased that far for that long AND to not have any help from any of the people you encountered had to be absolutely terrifying for you. I’m so sorry it happened. And I’m sorry that a lot of people responding here are just unsympathetically doubting and Monday morning quarterbacking the situation. I really hope you get some resolution.

  • Michelle

    Yep, similar story — coming down the Dupont escalator at night, someone (an employee, maybe?) hit the button to stop the escalator before looking to see if anyone was actually on it. I went head over heels down a few steps and caught myself. I got to the bottom, shaken and bleeding from where I’d cut myself on the escalator stairs. I told the metro employee at the bottom that someone had stopped the escalator. She just shrugged and told me I’d better run for the train. I was so shaken up that I did. She was purposefully unhelpful and unsympathetic to someone who landed in front of her bleeding and hurt, and I wish I’d sued the @#)%@# who decided it was time to stop the escalator while someone was walking down it.

  • dieu

    you should tweet this at the new metro manager. what a freakin joke these people are. more than half the time, they just sit on their lazy bum and when you come to them they’re acting as if we’re causing them some huge inconvenience. no wonder no one takes them seriously.

  • anonymous

    Did OP say anything to the unhelpful jerks? I would’ve shamed them.

    • textdoc

      I imagine the OP was too stunned to say anything.

  • anon

    God, I’ve have nightmares like this. Hope the OP is doing okay.

  • districtwanderer

    Not surprising. And these worst part is that some of these Metro employees are probably going to get a very long paid vacation if the new GM is serious about the plan for repairs.

  • Sue

    So sorry this happened to you. I live in Petworth, coming out of that metro everyday is a gamble. Sometimes I feel safe, sometimes not. Lately there has been a group on young-ish girls (late teens maybe) hanging out before exiting the escalator, just saying “hey you!” to people. The other day a woman in front of me kept walking and refused to acknowledge the “hey you!” and that angered the young girls, so they followed her saying “Stupid white B***, I hate white people, they are so nasty…hey stupid white B*** turn around…” It was scary. I don’t even know what to make of it. Not sure what I would have done in that situation, prob the same and just keep walking while hoping they don’t escalate beyond yelling at me.

    • Petworthian

      Cue the usual excuses….

    • anon1

      This is the kind of situation where there’s seemingly no right way to respond. When she ignored the girls’ calls they yelled nasty stuff at her. If she had turned around as they’d asked, presumably their response would have been much worse.

  • Anonymous

    I am fairly sure that there is some kind of protocol on how to respond to a complaint of a crime but it probably does not include allowing a stranger into the booth, even if that stranger claims to be the victim of the crime. Maybe some employees would do that, but I’ll bet they are not required to and are probably advised not to. The token booth clerks in NYC are locked in their booths. They are not coming out to help you and not letting you in to protect yourself. The best you can hope for is that they will call the police. Sounds like the Metro folks called the police for you. That it took some time for them to get there is not surprising.

  • TacoPants

    Once, I saw a metro train pull out of Dupont circle with flames coming off the last car. Approx 1-2 foot long flames. Not normal. I told the attendant in the booth that a metro car was on fire and he didn’t even look up from his phone. I asked again to make sure he heard me, and he confirmed he heard and continued to mess around on his cellphone and not look up. He seemed pretty annoyed that I was bothering him at all.

  • Blithe

    -As I read this post, I thought back to a recent Popville post by a parent who was so incensed by a well-meaning effort to alert her to a potential problem with unsupervised teenagers as she was nursing her child in a library, that her first thought was to publicly shame the employee who was trying to be helpful, and, upon reflection, to ramp it up by threatening her job. I wondered if the employee would ever again go out of her way to help a stranger. I also wondered how long it would take for a parallel post — with someone needing help that would go way beyond an employee’s job description — to show up on Popville.
    – While I can understand the OP running into the Metro station — bringing along disruption — for help, I think that the protocol was likely followed. My guess is that it’s not up to Metro employees who are not involved in security to intervene in a physical altercation, or to provide “refuge” in the booth. I would guess that protocol would be to contact the police, which was done. While I don’t find this situation to be at all amusing, in any way, I find the OPs expectations to be somewhat problematic. A bunch of people come running into the Metro station, and one of them starts “banging on the booth”. The employees contacted the police, who are trained to assess and intervene.
    I have no idea what the cost or practicality of this would be, but if, as citizens, we’re willing to pay for it, perhaps we could advocate for having a police officer in every station, with additional officers available in stations that have particular needs — either because of a history of problems, or because of the size and unpredictability of the populations that they serve. I think it’s a shame that we/I look to police to perform functions that communities used to handle effectively, but I also recognize that communities, neighborhoods, and a sense of shared interests have, perhaps irretrievably broken down.

    • HaileUnlikely

      This is a really thoughtful post and excellent point.

    • On Capital Heels

      Thank you for penning one of the only comments worth reading in this thread.

      (Honorable mention to the folks who called out the Popville doc whistling though. That, too, needed to be said. Everything else was sound and fury.)

    • textdoc

      “My guess is that it’s not up to Metro employees who are not involved in security to intervene in a physical altercation, or to provide ‘refuge’ in the booth. I would guess that protocol would be to contact the police, which was done.”
      Yes, but I find this troubling: “The metro attendant took his time and called the police. [. . .] [T]he girls then took a full box of bus schedules that was left on the floor and slammed it against my head. The other metro lady found this funny and laughed. The metro janitor also laughed saying should I clean this up or is this evidence.” It doesn’t seem like the Metro attendant took this particularly seriously, and the fact that two of his colleagues laughed at an assault is pretty shameful.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I completely agree with this, while I also agree with Blithe’s main point as well.

        • textdoc

          To me, it seemed like part of the larger picture of Metro employees frequently being unresponsive to customers, whether in a crime-related situation or a non-crime-related situation. (People have posted in the past about Metro employees being unhelpful when they reported crimes that had just occurred, a person masturbating on the train, etc.)
          I don’t think most people expect Metro employees to intervene directly with criminals, but it’s not unreasonable to expect them to call Metro Transit Police without waiting.

          • Blithe

            I’m belaboring many points here but “took his time” to call the police is the OP’s slant — not objective information. 10 seconds or even a minute can seem like a long time when you’re distraught. On the other side, “banging on the booth asking for help” when multiple people have just run into a train station might take a moment or two to assess. Again, I’m not disputing the OP’s version of events. I am recognizing though, that it’s only one version.
            – I’d also like to say that the vast majority of my experiences with Metro employees have been extremely positive — and I’ve been taking buses and trains for quite awhile. YMMY.

      • Blithe

        In general, I try to stay out of these OP provided descriptions of grievances — because I recognize that there are multiple sides to every story, and we’re often only given the perspective and slant of one of them. So I limited my response to the concern that has come up a lot here lately: what — if anything — can/should we expect when we seek help from people whose job is not, in any way, that of intervening in security-related issues.
        – textdoc, I agree that this description is troubling. Without questioning the OP’s version of events, I could also imagine other sides: “slammed against my head” vs “flung a bunch of pamphlets at me and ran off”. Do I think that it’s okay for people to laugh while others are being “assaulted”? Of course not. But I’m also willing to at least entertain the possibility that “assault” was not what the other people saw, or how they interpreted the OP’s description of events, just as I’m willing to at least entertain the possibility that “I put my hand on the car out of instinct” — as reported by the OP — might be leaving out a lot of details that would give a fuller, and possibly clearer picture of an interaction that prompted people to get out of a car and give chase to the OP.
        – You rightly point to many instances of “perceived signs of disrespect and volatile people who fly off the handle”. I’m willing to at least entertain the possibility that the OP might be one of those people.
        – I chimed in though, because I’m concerned about some bigger issues that we’re dealing with as a community: a lack of mutual respect, a lack of safety, and an inability to communicate with each other for a variety of reasons that seems to be pervasive, increasing, and increasingly polarized.

  • DCNative

    Sounds like part of the story is missing…. You were unsafe crossing the street? So is metro supposed to provide you with a crossing guard??? And no one leaves a moving vehicle to chase a stranger on foot into a public train station without any previous negative interaction.

    Lastly, what exactly were the employees supposed to do other than allow you thru the gate??? Assault or detain someone based on your rendition? Not buying this tall tale nor the damsel in distress act 1 bit. This is a metropolitan city, not a movie set.

    • textdoc

      “And no one leaves a moving vehicle to chase a stranger on foot into a public train station without any previous negative interaction.” Sure, but the bar for “negative interaction” can be pretty low.
      My guess is that the OP’s “touching” the car was probably more of a “tapping,” which the driver perceived as a sign of disrespect.
      More discussion of perceived signs of disrespect and volatile people who fly off the handle: https://www.popville.com/2016/03/fahqing-metro/#comment-1109153

      • DCNative

        Not buying it.

  • ChooChooPolice

    Fuzz here.
    First I’m sorry you had to experience such an event and then have a negative experience while seeking refuge.

    The way Police respond to a call is based on the crime and/or what is articulated to police dispatch. Simplistically, police respond in two modes…Routine, being you get there when you get there. And. Code1 aka emergency response, being you go lights and sirens pedal to the metal.

    Based on what you stated and me having no knowledge of this specific call for service, this seems as being dispatched as a simple assault,a misdemeanor in the district. Being slapped in the head with pamphlets and not causing serious bodily injury, wouldn’t constitute a code1 response. Most likely also, the suspects probably fled after assaulting you with those pamphlets, which was probably relayed to dispatch , thus suspects no longer on scene.
    Now, based on a Police Departments own policies, they are only allowed to go in Code1 status for certain crimes/situations.
    This is a policy that each police dept has, that dictates when an officer can go lights and sirens to a call.
    In my opinion based on what the OP stated and the response time, this was not articulated as a Code 1 call.
    Now what I can tell you is this. Detectives follow up on all these reports and if there is an articulated crime and victims continue to want to pursue, BOLOs(be on the lookout) are disseminated with pictures of suspects to identify to all police officers in the area. Detectives then get warrants on those suspects once indentifyed.
    Additionally, with MTPD, they have more foot officers than officers in vehicles. So when responding to calls, they are at the burden of train times.
    Also was mentioned police activity earlier where mtpd had some females in custody at the station in an unrelated incident. Now you have to consider that that took an officer out of service , who was working that beat (Georgie ave station) to process that arrest, thus affecting response times.
    Now, speaking on metro employee expectations. Personally, I have experienced where station managers allow victims inside their kiosk for safety or until police respond. Now, this is not something they have to do by law or policy. It is not their job to provide security for potential victims. Same scenario if you ran into some random store, it is not their obligation to assist you in protection.
    But, in my opinion and experience, you are more likely to get help at a Metro station or metro related assets, than anywhere else. I have heard and experienced multiple times, where people get shot or seriously hurt in some nieghborhood and then come to the metro or some bus, to get help and then actually get help.

    Hopefully I’m not rambling (just got off shift and it’s like 230am) and many of you gained some insight.
    Once again OP, sorry you had this experience and the experience with police while taking a report.

    • ANC

      This is really helpful to know. What can seem like laziness or indifference on the part of the police may not be. Thanks!

  • anon

    Report of urban sociopathethic behavior posted on Popville, comments begin with apologies/sympathy and requests for more information, a racist comment or two pops up, then the right reverend anti-gentrification brigade sadly informs us that this is all utterly predictable because the rest of us had the unmitigated gall to move here, followed by cheery assurances that if we just say “hey y’all” with a big grin on our face to everybody on the street all will be well. And lastly, the doubt commences, there must be more to this than the OP is telling us because random crap like this just couldn’t possibly happen in this wonderful city. Wash, rinse, repeat, and the beat goes on, and nothing, my friends, is ever going to change.


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