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“The Tripping Man in Shaw”

by Prince Of Petworth June 8, 2016 at 12:55 pm 51 Comments

tripping man

Ed. Note: You may also wish to contact the Mobile Crisis Team (MCS). “The team is part of the Dept of Mental Health’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program which operates 3 mental health programs:

Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES): 202-673-9319 (24hrs, 7 days per week)
Mobile Crisis Services (MCS): 202-673-9300 (9am -1am, 7 days per week)
Homeless Outreach Program (HOP): 202-673-9124 (9am -8pm , M-F)

Also you can call 311, 911 or 1(888)7WE-HELP (1-888-793-4357).”

“Dear PoPville,

I’d like to let you, PoPville, and the community know about a man in the Shaw area (around Florida and Georgia Aves NW) coming up to people and harassing them for (I assume) money by putting his hand in front of people’s faces (he doesn’t actually speak minus some mumbling: “come on”, “gimme” etc.) and following you if you try to walk away.

I first saw this man on Saturday (6/4) – he was tripping people as they tried dodging him and walking away, and after tripping them, he would move on to the next passerby. At one point, he even took a bunch of balloons near the soon-opening Cava and popped them in a bunch of people’s faces as they waited for a stoplight to change.

I saw him again yesterday evening at around 8:30 pm while waiting for the 70 at the Florida and Georgia Ave stop, right outside Howard Hospital. He came right up to me, lingered for way too long, and nearly whacked me in the face. A woman behind me yelled at him, then he went right up to her and did the same thing. He continued going up to people as they walked by, then started walking away from the bus stop.

While I haven’t seen him do anything more outrageous than tripping and annoying people in his general vicinity, it’s rather unsettling to be approached when you’re minding your own business at the bus stop.”

  • shaw

    Same guy was bothering people on the sidewalk in front of Chaplin and walking into the intersection at 9th and P last weekend. Drunk out of his mind (had a 40 oz. in hand).

  • Matt

    This guy threw a beer and then kicked it at me and my friend on 6th between P and Q Saturday. He also stepped on the back of my shoe after he asked us for money and we said no.

    • CatieCat

      gave you a flat tire! Sorry you got assaulted but I LOL’d remembering that old school move.

  • CapitalDame

    I mean this with no sarcasm, is intentionally tripping someone assault? Also, it seems like this guy is recent, but is he escalating to physically touching people or has he always done that?

    • CatieCat

      Yes, this is assault. Calling the police is probably your best move based on all these accounts of violence and harassment.

    • GBinCH

      I think it could be. And tripping someone can result in bad injuries.

    • textdoc

      Even if he weren’t trying to trip people, what he’s doing is considered “aggressive panhandling” and is illegal.

    • Technically (i.e., in a legal sense) it would be battery, not assault.

      • anon5

        Battery doesn’t exist in DC criminal code.

      • Anonymous

        Not a lawyer, but my experience with similar things like that in DC was that they were classified as “simple assault”.

  • He looks a lot like a guy I saw purposely run into a runner during lunch hours around Farragut Square. When he did, he threw his watch on the ground and claimed the runner made him drop his watch and break it, and then started demanding money for it.

  • LoganLady

    This same guy was in the alley outside of Sundevich Saturday. He threw water on a lady and then threw a cup at her. My husband and I were trying to get by and he tripped my husband. I also saw him yesterday in an alley off P St between 9th and 10th.

    • FridayGirl

      He threw water on a lady?! Did she call the police?! I would have IMMEDIATELY.

  • JMR

    While stopped at the light on Florida Ave, in front of the Duke Ellington statue, this guy walked into the middle of the street, hands out begging for money, harassing a guy in a motorcycle. The light changed to green (he didn’t seem to notice or care). He looked at me as I was about to move, and I was terrified that he was going to jump in front of my car!

    • JMR

      “Yesterday.” The first word should be “yesterday.”

    • 7thStTechGuy

      He and another woman of East African descent are pretty regularly contacted by MDPC. They hangout at Duke Ellington Plaza, and the Zenebech guys have done everything they can to get them to leave.

      • 7thStTechGuy

        Do’h MPDC.

  • logan

    A few weeks ago, I was in an uber stopped at NJ/RI NW, and he repeatedly banged on our window asking for change.

  • AJ

    This is the same guy (pretty sure) that lounged at me while walking past him on about a month ago just east of the intersection of Florida and Georgia NW. Came within a few inches of my face and then yelled “ha got you what you gonna do now.” Thanks for posting the emergency numbers.

    • 7thStTechGuy

      There are a lot of those guys hanging out at that intersection….

  • ST21

    Counter crazy with crazy. Give him a little taste of his own medicine and I bet he backs down real quick. I hope I run into him- might just start barking (literally) in his face and see how he reacts. Could be fun.

    • also anon

      This sounds like a great idea with not a single possible bad outcome. Let us know how this works out for you!

      • textdoc


  • C_petworth

    THANK YOU to the for providing the PES and MCS numbers. I was not aware that they existed.

    Twice in the last years I have wanted to call the cops about someone whose behavior was possibly illegal (similar to things in this post/ in comments below) but hesitated because they were clearly mentally ill and was unsure about how the cops would respond. I am glad their are other resources.

  • Bus Passenger

    This sounds like someone I rode the 90 (or 96) with a month ago. He sat in an aisle seat in the back, right at the steps up to the way back. He made a point of touching every single person who walked past him with his knee. It was subtle enough at times that some people apologized for bumping into him.

    On their way out, he’d stick out his foot to make them trip down the stairs. It wasn’t just that he was manspreading and taking up the aisle– he’d stick out his foot for the trip and then immediately retract it once they fell. He also started spitting at times–directed at people standing by the rear exit.

    I got really agitated and wanted to do something about it, but I was in the back and felt trapped by him. I got up as quickly as I could at my stop and jumped down the stairs to thwart his tripping/spitting agenda.

  • 7thStTechGuy

    This guy spit at a woman on the corner of 6th and Florida the other day, I confronted him when he was following me on my heels. He’s going to do it to the wrong person one day.

  • LionofLedroit

    Sounds like this fellow gets around. I was walking home last weekend past the Howard Theater when this same guy moved in front of me to try and block me from walking forward. When I tried steering to the right, he followed, got extremely close to me, and looked like he was about to lunge at me. Note that I’m a very well-built, broad-shouldered mid-30s male who is about twice this guy’s size, so the fact that he acted as brazenly as he did during the middle of the day in a crowded setting struck me as extremely unusual, as that type of behavior generally indicates that such a person is armed, psychotic and/or has little regard for the consequences of his actions (translation: I have a lot more to lose by engaging such a human being than doing whatever is in my power to avoid him). In any event, the next time I see him around the neighborhood I’ll pause to observe him in action, call the police if warranted and help do what I can to stop his behavior via lawful means – no vigilante justice, this ain’t Trump’s America! Roarrr – Lion of Ledroit

    • dcd

      “Sounds like this fellow gets around.”
      I was just going to say the same thing. The photo looks a lot like a guy I passed on the canal path in Georgetown at 7:30 this morning – as he passed me, he turned away from me, faced the canal, flipped it off, and yelled “eff you!” (There was no one there.)
      (There was a time when I could have described myself as a “well-built, broad-shouldered mid-30s male.” Sigh.)

    • mcd

      Interesting he didn’t seem intimidated. I am similar build and I live in the neighborhood described and walk these areas several times a day but I thankfully haven’t run into him yet. You are a better man than I am though…if you physically come at me you’re going to flip my HAM switch. Happy to walk around you or ignore your stupid rants, but touch me or spit on me (as someone noted has happened) and we might have a problem.

      • textdoc

        What’s “HAM”?
        “Interesting he didn’t seem intimidated.” — Crazy people frequently aren’t making logic-based rational decisions.

  • MylisiaDC

    This looks like the same guy who cornered me just above Thomas Circle at 14th Street and blocked my path while demanding money a few weeks ago. When I said no he laughed and continued to block me in. I was pretty freaked out–I’m a woman and felt singled out and aggressed–but I darted around him. He followed me for about half a block, then got bored. This was the middle of the workday and I was just behind two other people (who both turned around but didn’t say/do anything), so he’s definitely bold.

  • v

    same guy in the middle of traffic on Friday drinking and asking people for money at the same time…

  • FloridaAve

    There was a man near Right Proper that I witnessed do this to several people. I was outside smoking a cigarette and he approached me and said “gimmie a cigarette”. I replied with, “excuse me” and “did you just TELL me to give you a cigarette?”… I didn’t want our conversation to escalate or become confrontational, so I did end up giving him one so he would move on. But, he was extremely aggressive with not just me but the others around me and I haven’t seen him since.

  • Kristen D

    I’m pretty sure I saw him get arrested yesterday on P st in front of Whole Foods. Was drinking and smoking like a chimney. Ranted for awhile then cops cuffed him.

  • M SH

    I just encountered this guy at 7th and R st. He came stumbling into me asking for money with no advance warning. Thankfully- I did not fall over and after the initial shock – I turned on my NJ attitude and told him to back off. He did and scurried away. This guy appears to have mental issues!

  • NotTodayPal

    I’m so glad someone posted this, because I almost kicked the living sh1t out of this guy last year while waiting for the bus on 11th and U street. I felt really guilty afterward, but now I see that I wasn’t the assh0le in this situation. (I should mention that I suffer from some PTSD, not from the military, but from a crap childhood. And when I feel threatened, I don’t take it well. I once leaped out of my chair at an outdoor cafe and hit a junkie in amsterdam when he got too close to me when I was eating. During grad school I was also handcuffed, but not arrested, for beating the crap out of someone in a fast food drive through who tried to road rage me).

    I was wearing my earbuds and he came up and asked for money and got way too close. I said no, and heard him cuss me out. We were in a bus shelter so he was boxing me into the corner. I took out my earbuds and confronted him.

    Me: what the FCUK did you just say!
    him: Huh
    Me: You asked me for money and I told you “no”, right?
    Him: Yeah

    He then walked to the other side of the bus shelter and gave me the stinkeye, so I went up to him
    Me: What the fcuk is your problem?
    Him: huh?
    Me: I told you to get the fcuk out of here. So get the fcuk outta here or I’m gonna stomp your fcuking ass.

    Then he crossed the street and went to the fake 7-11 to aggressively panhandle until the owner came out and yelled that he was calling the cops on him.

    I felt guilty afterwards about losing it, but now I see that he was intentionally trying to provoke me. I’ll have some good news for my therapist this week :)

    • Jeff

      You shouldn’t feel guilty about that. He got what he deserved. I would of lost it too.

    • textdoc

      “I once leaped out of my chair at an outdoor cafe and hit a junkie in amsterdam when he got too close to me when I was eating. During grad school I was also handcuffed, but not arrested, for beating the crap out of someone in a fast food drive through who tried to road rage me).” Whoa. I hope you’re working on resolving your anger issues and on not escalating nonviolent situations into violent ones.

  • Smittty

    Pretty sure this is the same guy I saw throw a glass beer bottle at someone (didn’t hit them) on 9th street just south of Florida/U merger. For some reason I thought the two people knew each other but these posts make me second guess that. Sounds like this guy has serious mental issues and needs to be off the street. If I see him again, I’ll call the authorities.

  • Lindsay

    He charged at me from the sidewalk at 8th and S last night at around 9:30pm. I was in the street on my bicycle. Not sure what he thought he’d be able to accomplish by chasing me down, but it did give me a bit of a scare.

    • Accountering

      He did the same to me at 7th and R at about 9:45. I called the police to tell them about all the trouble he has been causing, and apparently he was still harrassing people at 10:15. Come on MPD…

  • Please don’t call the cops on him folks! You could ruin someone’s entire life by doing that, especially if they’re mentally ill.

    • Accountering

      This is nuts. You 100% should call the cops. The alternative is that he is going to mess with the wrong person (he is a little guy) and get badly hurt.

    • LittleBluePenguin

      Yeah, no, I’m with Accountering on this one. Mental illness isn’t a carte blanche to harass, intimidate and assault other people.

    • Lindsay

      If he’s mentally ill, I am fairly certain that the cops can admit to a public hospital for psychiatric treatment.

  • Leigh K

    Lunged at my girlfriend and I with the intent for face grab in front of Reeves Center last night (6/9) around 7:45 pm.

  • DCRachel

    He did the tripping thing to me and actually crossed in front of my husband to do it, after he got in our faces mumbling something inaudible. It was very sudden, and then he followed us a little ways up the street. We both yelled at him and got the eff away from him as soon as possible, and then he started in on an elderly lady who also got away from him as soon as possible. I believe this happened around 10th and Florida NW, around 5 pm last Saturday (June 4th).

    Frankly, I hope he is getting the help he needs (if there are mental problems) or he is in jail if he is just a world class prick.

  • gentle-soul

    This guy lunged at me on T St NW on Saturday. Then he chased after a poor girl who had her arms full. He let her go as I went to her aid, so I continued home, but I was this close to laying him out.


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