Saturday-Night Vigilante Justice: Victims Catch U Street Mugger

by Borderstan.com September 20, 2009 at 11:50 pm 4,137 38 Comments

Nellie's Sports Bar, 900 U Street NW.(Photo: Luis Gomez)

Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U Street NW. (Photo: Luis Gomez)

The victim of a Saturday-night mugging on the 900 block of U Street NW fought back with the help of two friends and caught the mugger, according to a friend who saw the incident. What ensued for the mugger was not pretty.

It also appears that the police might not have been involved at all. Since this occurred in Police Service Area (PSA) 305, I am asking MPD Third District if they have any additional information.

According to my source,  the incident took place around 11:45 p.m. last night (Saturday the 19th). Three guys were walking along U Street between 9th and 10th Streets NW. Then the mugger appears and apparently accosted and grabbed something from one of the three guys. The three guys chased the mugger eastward on U Street and caught him in front of of Nellie’s Sports Bar at 900 U Street NW.

Here is my friend’s report:

I was a witness as this happened in front of us, along with a friend. Were were standing in line to get into Nellie’s, probably about 100 people. It could have been a little earlier than midnight, 11:45ish? It started approximately half a block west of Nellie’s, ending at the curb directly in front of Nellie’s.

Following the mugging, he and his friends were completely fearless in chasing the mugger on U Street, dodging cars. They knocked the thug to the curb in front of Nellie’s and started some serious punching, then kicking the thug as he cowered in the gutter. Serious beat down.

At this point, the crowd broke into applause, while a few guys up on the rooftop deck of Nellie’s threw stuff… straws and napkins… on the mugger… he was in the gutter. Then the mugger got back on his feet and ran down the street. I didn’t get a chance to ask the victims-turned-vigilantes if they managed to recover the wallet or other goods.

The three guys who fought back were mid-20s… seemed to be straight, hipsters, but not too dressed up. They looked like they could have been software engineers, something like that.

No police were involved, it happened damned fast… unfolded in just minutes in front of everyone.

I would not want to be that mugger when word gets around that he was turned into a bitch in front of cheering queens.

Okay, three points:

  1. First, I am not condoning anything. The right thing would have been for the three guys to hold down the mugger while waiting for the police (if they could have managed to do so.) Tempting as it is to wail on someone who just mugged you… you know it is not the right thing to do.
  2. Second, the guys who chased and caught the mugger could have been badly hurt. He could have been armed with a gun.
  3. This follows another U Street robbery that occurred about four blocks away at 13th Street on Friday morning at 9:29. Here is the Police Alert: “ROBBERY HU GUN. ROBBERY HU GUN_929AM_1300 BLK OF U STREET NW_LOOK FOR 2 B/MS, #1 IS HEAVY SET & BLK HOODIE & BLK MASK, #2 IS SLIM, BLK HOODIE & BLK MASK DO NOT TAKE ACTION CALL 911 W/EVENT #I20090519752. Sent on: 09/18 09:39″

  • BackfromBoulder

    As a whole, I agree with your 3 points. This type fighting back could escalate to dangerous levels.

    The less polite part of me says: “Good for them. We don’t have a serious police posture to bust up this invidious street crime, so if more citizens beat the carp out of these punks, all the better.”

    Seriously, this city tolerates a an unacceptably high level of street crime. Perhaps the politico-faith community could stop hating gays for a while and focus on the real threats to our city’s sustainability.


    Why did they let him go?

  • LCDJ

    “Tempting as it is to wail on someone who just mugged you… you know it is not the right thing to do.”

    I’d agree more with that statement if there were any chance at all the mugger would experience anything from our criminal justice apparatus approximating punishment or deterrence.

  • JJ

    Here’s hoping the makes the front page of the Examiner.

  • anonymous

    MPD = completely ineffective at anything.

  • Christina

    I know it is best not to advocate for fighting back. I was just mugged the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. I was around 16th and U Street. It was a difficult decision as to what I should do being a single girl alone with only another girl there to help her. I made the decision to give up the bag and have my friend call the cops. It pisses you off and sucks. You feel annoyed that someone thinks that they should take whatever you have and can do whatever they want to you.

  • Vin

    Yes, they could have waited on the police. However, that would have been a waste of the “software engineers” time as the MPD would have treated it as a waste of theirs. A better solution would have been to leave his head on a stake at the corner of 9th and U as a warning to other thugs.

  • Binswah

    I’m a little more disturbed by the report in the footnote about the mugging at 9:30 in the morning. WTF??? I didn’t realize criminals were up that early and would pretty much feel safe that time of day.

  • muggedinCH

    I was mugged in Columbia Heights in August. This is awesome. If I had had a window to beat the sh1t out of the 4 guys that mugged me- I’d be doing it right now instead of sitting at my desk. Hats off to the guys that finally tasted sweet justice and showed some asshole mugger that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

  • NJ Nikki

    Yeah, it’s not advised to chase down a scumbag that could have had a deadly weapon.

    But, hey, he didn’t, and he got what he deserved in a city that gives tacit approval to this sort of un-evolved behavior by pretty much ignoring it. Kick him again! Harder!

  • F Catoe

    Carry mace. Mace that mugger in the face. run. call the cops.

    Its incredibly risky and dangerous to chase down your mugger with backup. But if you are going to, do yourself and your community a favor and pin that shitstain to the pavement (citizen’s arrest) until the police show up. Apply mace as necessary. Take out his wallet and read his ID. Look for any tattoos or other identifying marks. Take his photo with your cell phone. Try to find any witnesses who may still be walking by.

  • Here i am enjoying your post, interested in the story. and then, as i should have expected. we get some misogyny and homophobia to bring the point home.

    “I would not want to be that mugger when word gets around that he was turned into a bitch in front of cheering queens.”

    really was that necessary? turned into a bitch? what does that mean exactly? violence against women?

    cheering queens? even the fags thought it was justice I’m guessing is what you meant by that one.

    seriously though?

  • E-Rich

    The real sad thing about Christina’s comment is that’s about a block from the 3rd District MPD station.

  • Deep(er) Throat

    @Jennie B: I am the source of this story, and wrote the sardonic comment that caused you to instantly rise up on your haunches in suburban-seeded-guilt admonishment.

    I am gay (as mentioned in the post, we were waiting to go into Nellie’s). Do I actually have to state for the record that I was not expressing homophobia, nor advocating “violence against women”?

    It was just some street patois, and I’m sorry you’ve had a big FAIL in the irony department.

  • I have to say that I agree with the folks commenting that MPD is all but useless. I had a guy push his way into our building and I called 911 and waited and waited and waited. They never showed up. If those guys called MPD they would have likely waited several hours. And then they would have watched exactly nothing happen to him. We’ve got Chief Wiggum and Officer Barbrady protecting our town. I’m done putting my safety into their hands.

    • mattyillini

      I confirm that Deeper(er) Throat is the source for my posting. Yes, he is gay. No, he does not hate women. No, he does not have suffer from self-hatred.

  • Vin

    “We’ve got Chief Wiggum and Officer Barbrady protecting our town.”

    Don’t forget Mayor McCheese. Oh wait, Mayor McCheese probably wasn’t corrupt like Fenty.

  • tohellandback1st

    Jennie B: pc gets a bad rap, but you and comments like yours are the reason pc gets a bad rap. stop it.

  • Deep(er) Throat

    The more I think of it, the more pissed off I am at Jennie B’s style of PC bull shizzle. I comment on the irony of my fellow queens tossing stuff on a mugger who tasted some street justice, and I’m the one propagating violence and homophobia? Excuse me? Perhaps your tender little head, all jammed up with Women’s Studies gibberish, has never been where mine has–and that’s staring at the business end of a twitchy brain-fried thug’s gun.

    Here’s a translation, just for you, Jennie B:

    LGBT patrons of Nellie’s boldly created a social counterpoint to institutional violence and homophobia on the part of the mugging industry, by reversing oppressive gender and orientation roles. This was performed by tossing detritus (straws, ice and pre-chewed Orbit) of their protective community space (gay bar) upon the male heterosexual oppressor. The violent oppressor’s social peers may subsequently include this incident in their oral histories, using their vernacular to comment upon the reversal of power relationships in the incident.

  • meh

    how do you know the oppressor was heterosexual? meh.

  • Anon

    #8 has it right. The perps need to know it is time to stop. They don’t understand police action. They understand a skull for an eye. See the hate and raise it to stop the hate. Don’t cower in the corner and report the bad behavior to the police – puhlease! DC needs WAY more vigilante justice metered out on the pathetic perps attacking people at every turn. I would like to buy the guys that beat the mugger down a beer and say thanks for making the streets a little more safe – if even for a day.

  • Deep(er) Throat

    I don’t, meh, interesting point. We do know the last semi-famous mugger at this location was str8 and a ‘phobe, though: this was where a guy beat a gay man leaving Nellie’s a while back, who died on the scene, and prosecutors were too afraid to go for manslaughter because the thug’s slimy pals claimed he was hit on by the gay guy (not sure how that was supposed to matter, but there you have it).

    Just kinda maybe another reason for Nellie’s patrons to vent and cheer some street justice. (Think on that, Jenny B.)

  • dan

    Between this and the Hopkins kid in Baltimore who killed the break in artist with a samouri (spelling) sword, WOW. Nice week for charles bronson death wish Fans!

  • Christina

    @ E-Rich about my mugging location, interestingly enough that where I was standing was considered a different police district. U street apparently divides the district. Perhaps that is why it took the first responders what felt like a freaking eternity to finally show up and let my friend and I stand in the pouring rain.

    And what is up with people not being able to tolerate humor? If you don’t like it go to another blog. How many blogs exist at this point? Perhaps you should join Tipper Gore and create rating labels for blogs.

  • New to the block

    The Jenny B. hating is a bit over the top. She simply raised two points of contention about the use of language that she was upset by. Not a big deal, she stood up for something she believed in and did not ask anyone to censor themselves.

  • mattyillini

    Hi, everybody. Crime is a VERY emotional issue. I know this. Let’s try to keep things… cool. Thanks.

  • is he still out there

    the police would have been involved and may have actually gotten the mugger off the streets but the 911 operater did not know where U Street, Florida and 9th come together.

  • DC native

    DC Native right here born and raised.

    Chasing after a mugger and beating him down is not a wise thing to do.

    Hopefully this incident does start a trend where 20 something transplants start chasing after muggers after being mugged.

    Many of these criminals carry firearms and weapons and are not afraid to use them.

  • I think these guys are amazing. Congratulations to them on not laying down and letting thugs terrorize them.

  • DC native

    Just in case anybody is keeping score here.

    DC Thugs 4,350
    DC Transplants 1

    I guarantee you they would not have chased after the mugger if they were down in Southeast.

    Dont try and be a hero. Just give up your goods.

    Its not worth risking your life over a wallet.

    For the record I am 100% against committing a crime against anyone either transplant or native.

  • Deep(er) Throat

    “I guarantee you they would not have chased after the mugger if they were down in Southeast.”

    Yeah, because there is this unwritten rule that if you f*@$ with somebody, you may get a reaction you did not plan on.

    Guess that old rule applies on U Street too now, huh?

    You’re right that nothing’s worth risking a knife to the belly, or a gunshot going off into a crowd. At the same time, there is no amount of blog comment thread warnings that will control the fact that you cannot predict who was raised where, with what street skills, and for them any attack will be met with an overwhelming counterattack.

    I’m sick of thugs in DC assuming that “transplants” are easy prey, along with LGBT folks, elderly, or others. When assumptions are turned on their head, that’s often a good thing. Hipsters delivering a beat down, old woman pulling a BIG assed gun, these are pleasant surprises. There are no natives or transplants, there are just people, human beings, and you never know who will fight back hard, and win.

  • DC native

    “I’m sick of thugs in DC assuming that “transplants” are easy prey, along with LGBT folks, elderly, or others.”

    They are easy prey.
    Walking around town at night while ignoring your surroundings is asking for trouble. I am not saying anybody deserves to get mugged or robbed but often it is the transplants who end up being the victims due to their lack of knowledge/experience of living in an urban environment.

    “When assumptions are turned on their head, that’s often a good thing. Hipsters delivering a beat down, old woman pulling a BIG assed gun, these are pleasant surprises.”

    ^ 9 times out of 10 this does not happen though.

    Dont try and be a hero. Just give up your goods.
    Its not worth risking your life over a wallet, an MP3 player or a cell phone.

  • Deep(er) Throat

    DC native: I have had about enough of your approach here:

    1. I was there, and there was no “ignoring your surroundings” involved. If anyone has been “ignoring their surroundings” it was the thug, and others who are committing violent crimes in increasingly brazen settings: on a very populated block full of people just enjoying a night out, or at 9:30 am in front of Busboys & Poets (as reported on this blog), or on a busy Sunday afternoon.

    2. “Native” v. “Transplant.” I did not see you, or anyone, ask the thug, or the victims, for ID. It is unclear, then, how you know the thug is a “native” and the victims “transplants.” I am old enough to have lived in DC longer than many young perps, and I’ve contributed to my community, while they have only taken from others in their young lives: who is the native then? How do you know the thug in this incident didn’t land here three years ago from B’more, because he wasted his life and his money on bling, kicks and rims, while the victims were not born and raised in DC? How do you know the races of the victims (I do, and they would completely blur your attempted and divisive distinctions).

    3. “Hero” From what I saw, the victims were not playing heroes, but were simply enraged and reacted accordingly. This is what you seem to be willing to indulge as part of the landscape in SE, but preach against for your “transplants.”

    When it comes to violent crime, there are people in DC, period. Human beings. Residents. Your comfortable pigeon holes or labels notwithstanding, I will remind you of something I read somewhere: people own their property, nobody owns their neighborhood.

  • DC native

    I did not mention anywhere in my above writings that the DC Thugs were natives.

    YOU did.

    So that right there makes your entire paragraph above worthless.

    Stop assuming things.

    It is a fact that there are a lot of transplants who ignore their surroundings. I have seen this myself countless times. That is why they are easy prey. Race has NOTHING to do with it.

    You may have lived in DC longer than many of the young perps but you are still a transplant.

    While I am not fond of many of the recent arrivals I am not going to rob, mug or shoot at them.

    They are already getting robbed and mugged every single month by their landlords.

    The condos, apartments and homes they are renting are all overpriced.

    On the rare occasion one of the recent arrivals actually owns something in this city, 9 times out of 10 I guarantee you they overpaid for the property and the previous owner made a nice profit off of them.

    So in the end I am getting the last laugh without even having to lift up a finger.

  • NewsGirl

    Ever heard of Vernon Forrest? Famous boxer who chased down his mugger in July. He was shot to death. http://www.amw.com/fugitives/case.cfm?id=67167

    Wallet isn’t worth it.

  • Deep(er) Throat

    “While I am not fond of many of the recent arrivals I am not going to rob, mug or shoot at them.”

    Thx, how very generous of you. The rest of your comment and rhetorical thrust reeks of resentment against “transplants” to DC. Well, at least you finally spit it out. It’s been clear all along that when people are victimized in this city, it’s only a couple steps until you spew about “native” v. “transplant,” whether the victim lives in a nice condo, and your “getting the last laugh” at anyone making DC their home while they work hard and build a professional career.

    Your sense of community really shines through.

    Having lived here longer than many young perps have been alive (but still your permanent interloper), I remember the fetid pit that DC was before all the “transplants” for whom you so admirably contain your resentment began pouring tax dollars–theirs and their employers–into the city. I remember the state of crime, police, and any city service you could imagine.

    Thank God for the “transplants,” and for every decent DC resident–new or native–who raises their child to love their future more than they resent someone else’s achievements. They’ve done more to fight crime than you ever will.

  • Jake T

    This is what happens when confidence in the police drops to zero. Seriously.

    If these guys had any expectation that the police would catch the guy, or that the “criminal justice” system would do anything more than merely document his offense and then release him, then maybe they would have called the cops, or — at most — captured and held the guy.

    But this vigilante stuff is what you see in Third World shantytowns, where the police is just a bad joke. And in DC.

  • katie

    I was just mugged at 9:30pm yesterday- directly outside of U street metro exit. I live only a couple blocks away and now I’m terrified to go out of my house at night.


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