“Is spitting harassment worth calling the cops?”

by Prince Of Petworth March 6, 2017 at 1:15 pm 20 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

There’s a whiteish skinned man with freckles on 18th Street near California almost every day that I walk by to work around 10am. He loiters in that area wearing a white cap (looks religious), big black coat and backpack, carrying a large trashbag in each hand.

He tries to spit on me, at least in my direction, every time I walk by. When I try to cross the steet before reaching him, if he spots me, he actually will pursue and cross the street as well.

I really don’t know what to do. Is spitting harassment worth calling cops? I noticed he doesn’t spit on men, and I have never seen other women around to know if he spits on other women or not. I’m female in my early thirties. What can I do?”

Ed. Note: You may wish to connect with the DC Mental Health Mobile Response Team.

  • Really?

    “Is spitting harassment worth calling cops?”


  • Anon

    Walk down 19th street.

  • Mark

    Of course it is. Next.

  • anonulous

    yep, that’s assault and battery. take his picture (from a far) and call the cops.

    • anonulous

      and stalking/harassment … i.e. more and more (worse and worse)

  • titus pullo

    I live on that corner and don’t think I know who you are talking about. I’ll keep an eye out and call the cops if I ever see it happen. Strength in numbers and all that.

  • L.

    Ew. I’d say go ahead and call the police, especially if he crosses the street to mess with you on a regular basis. That seems pretty aggressive to me, and spitting can spread some nasty diseases like the flu or TB. No matter how that turns out, I’d also say if someone’s that messed up in the head, consider changing your route to work. I had a similar problem recently (I somehow set off a couple who were mentally ill and would scream at me every time they saw me) and the best solution I found was to change my routine to avoid them. It’s not fair since you’re just going about your business, but it’s worth it to feel safe in the face of something that no one can change (aggressive behavior/mental illness).

    • Anon

      Good advice. I think k if she doesn’the know this person, as she seems not to, then this would be the definition of someone messed up in the head.

  • LosLobos

    If by white-ish you mean a POC suffering vitiligo and by freckles you mean moles, I think I know who you are talking about. I have not seen him in a few weeks, but I used to see him closer to 9am on that area acting all shady. I usually put on my “don’t you know I’m loco” scowl on and he leaves me and my wife alone. However, I’ve seen him harass others before.

    On un-related topic. The guy that lives on the building pictured has a crow as a pet and walks his pit bull without a leash. You’ve been warned

    • Timmy

      Defnitely Vitiligo. I go down 18th every morning and see this man frequently around 9am as far north as Wyoming (often around the Vet) and on U between 17th and 18th.

    • lucie

      On your unrelated topic: the crow isn’t a pet, he just feeds him. And the dog isn’t a pit bull, it’s a Cane Corso, though it certainly looks like a pit. The dog is actually very friendly and calm (though I agree this is neither a good practice nor legal). He’s a little bit of an odd duck but he’s really very sweet and chatty – he works over at U Scoot and is a total gearhead.

    • James

      Last I knew, the guy living there owned a black Italian Mastiff that was incredibly well trained and laid back and walked without a leash. It’s size is the only thing startling.

  • cam

    There was a guy a few years ago who would hang out near my office building in Chinatown/Penn Quarter and spit at people, but only women. The security guards and police took the issue seriously. I’d say report it.

  • Rachel

    It sounds like this is repeated rather than a one-off experience. If that’s the case, then definitely, definitely yes.

  • andy2

    If he is always there and you don’t like the behavior – why not cross the street several blocks away?
    The individual sounds like he’s suffering from mental illness and not fully in control of what he is doing.

    Living in Seattle for a long time perhaps prepped me for dealing with stuff like this. Part of city living.

    • Johnny

      You mean it prepped you to ignore and run from problems in your neighborhood..where you live. Do you really think that ever solves things? Seriously, calling it “Part of city living” is such a crap cop out. I’m so sick of hearing that. When those I care for were assaulted the cops said the same thing. Over and over. Guess what, I didn’t listen to them, kept pushing for change, kept calling, confronted those people with neighbors and now it’s likely you frequent places in my neighborhood you wouldn’t have dreamed of visiting just 2 years ago.

  • AroundTown

    He was at Starbucks on P St in Dupont last week and spit on an employee and a patron.

    That said, I (and other passengers) were once covered in spit balls by teenagers on the Metro — got off the train and reported it to Metro PD who did not give one $%^. “Told me that’s what happens in summer when the kids aren’t in school, what can ya do?”

  • Anon

    I think I had an encounter with him a couple of weekends ago. It was a Saturday morning at 15th/U. I didn’t notice him at first because I had my earbuds in and I was carrying two heavy bags of groceries. But then I saw him and he was scowling at me and spit at me, but he was too far away. It looked like he started following me somewhat quickly, but I picked up my pace and got out of his view. I too am a female in my 30s.

  • Spittee

    The same guy spit in my face a couple of weeks ago on 18th near Marie Reed. I didn’t see it coming.

  • spittee

    I was spit on by a man in Mt. Pleasant last summer while walking with my husband. I figured there’s more than one offender in the city, especially that far north from where others are reporting it, but then I read about victims being female in their 30s, which matches my description. However, I didn’t get a good look at him since it happened so quickly in passing.


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