94°Partly Cloudy

“After I passed them, I heard whispers, muttering, feet movement, and 6-8 of them proceded to punch me in the face.”

by Prince Of Petworth May 31, 2017 at 12:30 pm 77 Comments

“Dear PoPville,

Last Tuesday I was walking north on 10th Street from the U Street Metro (the only entrance open at this point) and passed a group of teens that had just thrown a cup of soda at a car parked in the street with its flashers on (assuming they were waiting for somebody to come out of the temporary Duke Ellington School location.) After I passed them, I heard whispers, muttering, feet movement, and 6-8 of them proceded to punch me in the face.

I swung my umbrella at them and they scattered. I called the police and the officer who handled my case said that they had been chasing them out of allies and different neighborhoods all afternoon (my incident happened at 7:05pm.) He also said that an hour before they did this to me, they did it to a woman on U Street.

Today, talking with a neighbor on my street (10th Street), he said that a group of 6-8 teens did the same thing this past weekend to somebody on our street again. Speaking with another neighbor – she said she helped fend off a similar attack the other week.

The police advice: walk on the other side of the street.

Just wanted to see if you heard of anything and if there’s anything bigger than these incidents.”

  • BRP

    the second time the police had to “chase them out of allies and different neighborhoods,” the police should have realized their approach wasn’t working. these teens committed assault! how is “walk on the other side of the street” the only solution the police can come up with?

    (I’m sorry this happened to you.)

    • MadMax

      Maybe they like enforcing stereotypes more than laws?

    • FridayGirl


  • stegman

    This is why people cross to the other side of the street when they see groups of young black men.

    • Autoexec.bat

      Or switch train cars. This is the exact advice I gave my wife. Sorry, not sorry.

      • DC

        Sorry, not sorry you’re not sorry. Gotta be safe.

        • TNW

          You three can go ahead and stay home, you’re not bringing anything useful to the table.

          • Autoexec.bat

            I think my advice is pretty solid and borne out by years of experience. But thanks for your input.

        • H_E_Pennypacker

          You should all be sorry. A little more empathy for the victim, a little less stereotyping please. Geez..

          • dcd

            So your contribution here is, “Oh, OP, I’m so sorry!! How terrible!”
            And you feel that is more appropriate or useful than actual practical advice?

          • H_E_Pennypacker

            Telling others to avoid black people because a crime was committed by a group of black people is racism not practical advice.

          • MadMax

            You’re using the word racism incorrectly.

          • H_E_Pennypacker

            Pathetic attempt at trolling. I expect better from you, MadMax

          • MadMax

            Seems like you also don’t know what the proper usage of trolling.

          • RedCrayon

            Stories like this bring out people’s true selves.

      • Dcguy99


      • Jess

        OMG! I love your reasoning! I’m a school teacher and I’ll now deny classroom access to all white males since they are the ones who mass murder in school yards. I don’t know why I didn’t think about bigoted generalizations before! Thanks guys.

        • MadMax

          Tell that to the students at Virginia Tech.

          • RedCrayon

            So then, by this logic…if you find one person who doesn’t fit the profile, then the profile is false? Hmm…let’s see how that can be applied to this story. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

          • Reality

            MadMax definitely always has the racist comments on articles like this.

        • anon

          This attitude not only helps perpetuate the street crime in DC it’s also dangerous, feeding into people’s insecurities and goodnaturedness by labeling it “racist” if you prudently avoid groups of black male teens, even though you know damn well that this is a demographic responsible for so much of the street crime here. For what it’s worth, as a man and a fast walker I am never offended when a women ahead of me on an otherwise empty sidewalk makes a move to get away. I am not a stalker or a rapist, and I personally don’t think I “look” like one, but a woman walking alone would be an idiot not to be overly cautious in those situations. I sure as hell hope you don’t teach a public safety class.

    • Brooklander

      At a neighborhood public safety meeting some years ago, a black police officer recommended crossing to the other side of the street rather than walk past large groups of black male teens. He said that it is better to offend than be unsafe.

      • ah

        black police showing off for the white cop.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I’d recommend keeping your distance from groups of male teens of any race unless they’re on a field trip with a chaperone or something. When I go to visit my extended family in rural PA, I avoid groups of teens there, too, and there, everybody is white, yes, including the people who will attack you for sport. It’s just that in most of DC (east of the park anyway), there are hardly ever groups of teens of other races anywhere simply due to the distribution of the population.

      • navyard

        Have you ever been to Nats Park on Mormon night? It’s a little intimidating.

      • Leslie

        Yep. I’m a white woman, and I’m wary of ALL largish groups of teen males, regardless of race. Too much aimless testosterone in one place.

      • Ally

        I’ll even take it a step further and say large groups of any teens, not just males. Something about that age makes people do really, really stupid things while in groups. I always cross the street, even if it’s a bunch of girls. And, maybe I’ve been lucky, but I’ve lived in SE DC since 1998 and, so far, the only thing I’ve ever had to deal with is a stolen bicycle. Better to be safe. I try not to make the street crossing obvious; always at an intersection, never in the middle of the road. Cuts down on people getting offended a bit, I think, if there’s some reasonable doubt about why you may have changed direction.

        • stegman

          That’s a good point. Unless you can’t read people at all, you can get a sense of what’s going on with a group. Bottom line: it’s better to be safe than sorry, and avoiding potential trouble is the most effective solution.

          If it hurts a teenager’s feelings that you crossed the street to avoid them, tough – they’ll get over it. I’ve had older women cross the street to avoid me as I approached, walking up behind them on the sidewalk and I completely understood and bore them no grudge.

        • MadMax

          We can posture all we want about avoiding “everyone” equally if that makes us feel better, but the simple fact is that in DC if you actually see a group of teens gathered together on city streets they almost exclusively fit a single profile. It’s like saying you equally avoid all of the possible insects in the world when you go out on your patio, when really all you ever see biting you are mosquitoes.

    • SE DC

      I feel this way about any group of young men I see. It’s just that in DC groups of young men are almost always black. And FWIW I have never had a problem with any group of young people other than serial obnoxiousness on Metro. Sorry you had to deal with these losers.

      • Vicar

        (thank everyone who noted groups of teen/young 20s males rather than any particular race).

        I’d also say aggressive looking – nobody’s scared of people in suits.

    • Paris

      Just want to point out that no where in this story was ethnicity mentioned.

  • metsfan

    i wonder if this is the same group of kids i saw at the shaw metro station jump the fare gates last wednesday around 630pm. One of them came up to my friend and I on the metro platform and asked us some unusual questions (like ‘you guys cool?’) which seemed to be an attempt to intimidate us.

    • MadMax

      Given the amount of kids who engage in the type of behavior in DC, I would guess it’s unlikely.

    • stegman

      I think “you guys cool?” means “are you interested in buying drugs?”

  • Truxton Thomas

    This is every day after school at this location for some hours.

    • DC

      I use U Street every day during normal commuting hours. There are always teens in/around the entrance. I normally put in headphones, keep my head down, and haul a$$ as quick as possible from the plaza…

    • denise

      Yes. I am black and I don’t like it either. I see cops patrolling that area frequently.

    • Neighbor

      I live up the block from this school. Yes kids hang out outside of school, as at literally every school ever. Mostly, though, they’re normal kids and nerds with instrument cases. Hardly a menacing group.

  • Herbie

    Are you white op? Just curious.

  • Smittty

    ugh, I use this metro everyday for work. there are always a ton of kids there but I’ve never really seen them harassing people (or worse). normally they are being typical obnoxious teens though. sigh. be safe neighbors!

  • Anon

    Just a bunch of knucklehead kids being kids.

    • CaphillDad

      As a kid I never went around with my friends and punched unexcepting men or women in the face, that is called assault.

      • MadMax

        Did you grow up in DC though?

    • That One Guy

      Do you come from a Trumpian reality where alternative facts are acceptable?

    • phogoodness

      Unfortunately being a knuckle-headed kid does not justify assault. My former roommate was randomly punch in the head last year on U St. and police was not the least bit helpful in investigating the criminal behavior.

    • Dcguy99

      Kids being kids? No, this is straight up assault.

      • Leslie

        Yep. Being punched in the face by 10 people could potentially kill someone.

    • Bobert

      That seems factually incorrect – assuming veracity of the account, this kids commit “simple assault” per D.C. code.

      • Bobert

        *these kids committed

  • MadMax

    The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club.

  • claire

    I dont know what it is with kids these days. it is why i take the long way to work and home each day. (blue line)

    I could stop at l’enfant, but the kids are always creativng havoc in some way. it’s just not worth the headache.

    i think it’s boredom. they honestly have too much time on their hands or something

    • Bobert

      “I dont know what it is with kids these days.”
      Severe/criminal parental neglect, along with untreated childhood trauma stemming from said neglect. This isn’t something particularly new; intergenerational poverty only compounds these issues further.

      • MadMax

        It goes beyond that even, and carries over into adulthood too. If you ever sit on a jury in DC you’ll see some people absolutely refuse to convict someone even in the face of glaring evidence because they feel “the system” has been rigged against them.

        • derp derp

          Were you on the same jury as me a few years back?? We had the same exact thing happen during our deliberations.

          • Ally

            I was on a grand jury several years back and one of our fellow grand juries refused to indict ANYONE, even in cases of overwhelming evidence. Some kind of ill-informed protest against drug laws, which was ridiculous since the prosecutors make it very very clear that they never charge anyone for simple drug crimes unless it’s in conjunction with a more major crime or dealing.

        • stegman

          That is really upsetting to hear.

        • Bryan

          The system has been rigged against them.

      • Leslie

        I sincerely believe much of what’s wrong with the world stems from untreated childhood trauma.

        • Bloomingdale

          I totally agree. Not excusing it; just explaining it.

        • melissa

          Lead poisoning also is a medical cause of violence in kids and teens. Both very sad causes.

  • LosLobos

    am I too jaded or uninformed to believe that even if they were caught by the police, there’s nothing they can do since minors have an automatic get out of jail card and they will probably still qualify for payments from the city under the proposed program to pay youths for following the rules?

  • TJ

    Carefully take a picture of them if you can. If they go to Ellington’s school at 10th and U, they will run and cover their faces. The school has a zero tolerance policy for such crap and they will kicked out. If not, the photo might help the police.

    • Kevin

      Gotta say, if you’re being assaulted by teenagers, maybe taking out your phone to photograph them isn’t the best idea.

    • Carey

      I’m not sure I see the benefits in that; they’d just have even more free time to assault people.

    • MadMax

      Aren’t there cameras from multiple businesses available nearby? This is supposedly one of the most heavily surveilled cities in the country, yet things like this seem to go uncaught / unpunished routinely.

    • Kathryn-DC

      I am sorry to hear that this is going on and that our police are being so unhelpful.

      I think it’s only a matter of time until one of these kids punches someone with a medical condition who cannot recover from an assault like that, and then they will be facing real charges. The cops aren’t doing them any favors by overlooking this.

  • NoNadeu

    Get angry and write to the DC Council — to Phil Mendelson, and to the At-Large Councilmembers: David Grosso, Alissa Silverman, Anita Bonds and Robert White. Call the police frequently.

    Unfortunately, Councilperson Brianne Nadeau is of little or no help to our Ward 1 at all. If she wanted to have something done, she would be begging on TV and radio and in the street for more law enforcement. Look at any crime map, and U Street has become a focal point and hotspot of lawlessness. If Nadeau cared, she would be out there doing a Take Back the Streets kind of march. She would be out there organizing to have graffiti scrubbed off the walls, or setting up stings to catch these relentless graffiti taggers and punish them heavily. She would demand for the police to have a couple more squad cars stationed along the route. She’d do something about the late-night buskers, and the way-too-loud noise that spills out of bars like Amsterdam, and follow-up on the fights that have spilled out of there, too. Nadeau would be pursuing more meter readers for all of the illegal parking and double-parking. She would have more signs pointing to the 14th & U garage as the place to go, or working to have a new garage built. She would have parking signs that extend privileges to weekends and late-nights for residents only. She’d be making a big to-do about the carpet of broken car windows that thieves deposit on every block. Nadeau would work with businesses and trash collectors to do something about the pizza and chili bowl boxes, and other convenience and fast-food garbage, that overflows the few trash cans there, and is strewn up and down every block, every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. She’d be working with Cardozo High or any avenue possible to identify all of the kids who grab and run at the 7-Eleven and CVS day after day, and the criminals who are stealing packages off of people’s porches EVERY DAY, DAY AFTER DAY!

    There is sometimes a squad car stationed at 12th & U, and it’s incredibly necessary to be there as a crime deterrent. I’m so happy that the Council and officers responded to a citizen’s request for help. People have been shot, stabbed, beaten, robbed and run over on that block and the adjacent blocks. Why is this area not a bigger priority?

    You want to extoll all the virtues of a diverse, artsy neighborhood, but you don’t want to do anything to protect it? Many thousands of people will be living between 7th and 15th Streets in the U Street corridor very soon. None of them need to be victimized or pushed aside for liquored-drenched tax dollars.

    But where’s Brianne Nadeau? She’s on U Street to smile in the Funk Parade during the day, but never see her doing anything to protect the area at night. She’s there to tell us we need to accept an overpriced, under protected homeless shelter that will provide no parking for the amount of traffic that it will bring to a tiny lot. What did we elect her for? Regret it all the way.

    • Anony

      She was also instrumental in disbanding the effective VICE squad which no doubt improved crime in my neighborhood

      • Anony

        to be clear the VICE squad improved crime. Her disbanding of it, made things worse…

    • Bort

      Graffiti stings! Bahahahaha, I’ll just check with the boys down at the crime lab, they’ve got four more detectives working on the case. They got them working in shifts!

    • Neighbor

      Hahahaha this is the funniest joke I’ve seen in the popville comments in a long time.

  • 10thst

    I’m sorry this happened to you. Thank you for sharing and for raising awareness. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  • Bobby

    Instead of ‘walk on the other side of the street’, how about MPD hassle and arrest these thugs and rats?

    • facts

      because they won’t be prosecuted and they know it.

      crossing the street, 100% of the time, is the right answer.

  • Bort

    Shoulda hit ’em with the Stunner…CAUSE STONE COLD SAID SO!!!

  • ftoast

    I was harassed verbally by a kid near this location who started following me, a few weeks ago, in the afternoon. I’m avoiding​ U st metro until the other entrance is reopened.


Subscribe to our mailing list