Friday, April 07, 2006

Kids attacking bikers on 11th St between U and Florida

It looks like my Ode to the Hill is outdated. There's a gang of kids that for some reason have decided to wage war on bikers on 11th St. There was a CityPaper article last week about how they throw rocks - but Martin was actually assaulted a few days ago. I quote from a letter he wrote to some journalists about it:

Dear Mr. Grim,

I have a brand new appreciation for the article that you wrote in CityPaper recently:

My name is Martin Nikoloski, and I have been a proud resident of DC and the Columbia Heights neighbourhood for the past six years. I have been riding my bike as a major form of transportation, and I would always boast to my friends that I've never been mugged because I'm hard to catch on my bike. I'd like to share with you what happened to me yesterday, April 6th, around 3:10pm, as I was riding my bike heading north on 11th Street, b/n U St. and V St. NW. There was a group of a dozen African-American kids, that appeared to be coming back from school, as some of them still had their back packs on. My guess is that they ranged b/n 9 and 13 years of age. One of them was crossing the street ahead of me and I wasn't paying too much attention to him when suddenly he turned around and struck me with his elbow. I tried to maintain a balance on my bike with grocery bags hanging, when next thing I know I was jumped by around five kids from all directions who started throwing punches and mercilessly kicking me in my head and ribs. For a minute or two in broad daylight, there was this surreal sight of cruelty and terror.

I started yelling 'stop it, Stop it, STOP IT,' raising my voice as I was taking one blow after another in my head... I never had a chance to get back on my feet. As they ran away I could hear sheer excitement and laughter in their voices. There was a bus (#66) heading north, and my bike, grocery bags and body was blocking its way... I had a bloody nose, bloody knees and vicious headache stemming from a blow just above my right ear, which is limiting motion in my jaw...
Had it not been for my helmet I would have easily ended up in the emergency room.

I am grateful that none of my injuries are permanent or debilitating, and sad that these kids grow up with so much violence in their lives and actually get joy and pleasure from these acts. Around 3:40pm I called 311 and asked to file a police report, describing what had just happened to me. The operator took my name and address and said that she would send the next free officer to take my report. Of course the officer never showed up... I've lived inDC for long enough to know that they might not show up and that they have bigger fish to fry, but I nonetheless wanted to mention this for the record.

I guess I'd like to inform as many bikers as possible to stay away from 11th St. b/n U and Florida, the backyard of Cardozo High, and hope that the community or the DCPD can bring some attention to this problem.


Blogger hugh said...

I really don't know why he needs to identify the kids as "African-American". It is completely redundant information in this context and does nothing to to ameliorate the kind of vicious sterotypes that we all know prevail in this country.

10:16 PM  
Blogger zzzzzoe said...

I see your point Hugh, but the fact is that the colour of a person's skin is one of the few obvious things that you can notice in the few seconds in between being almost knocked unconscious. And shouldn't you give all the information you've got to the police? (Thereby ruling out any groups of white or Hispanic kids who might be getting in trouble for other things.) But I know that information by itself isn't enough for the police to do anything, and I've heard stories about all the "black men wearing sneaker" in a certain area being hauled in for questioning based on similar reports, which seems unfair (to say the bloody least!) ...I don't know, what do you think Hugh? Should someone withhold information from the police that narrows down a certain %of the human race because it feeds into our vicious stereotypes? (I know that Martin personally doesn't hold those stereotypes, having learned some good lessons from growing up in Macedonia, the "ghetto of Europe"...)

5:25 PM  
Blogger Capt. Jack Sparrow said...

This discussion reminds me... I was assaulted after school back in high school (1990s) by a man who happened to be African American. When I broke free from him and ran and told the principal, the principal asked, "Was he black?!" At first, I didn't want to answer because I wasn't sure if it was relevant. There I was, having just been assaulted, and I was worrying about not making a particular race look bad by admitting that a black person attacked me.

As it turns out, the principal had already heard of a black male acting suspiciously in the building... and the administrators were trying to track him down.

The man who assaulted me should have worried about making his race look bad, not me.

The cyclist who wrote about getting attacked has no need to hide the fact that his attackers were African-American. The "vicious stereotypes that we all know prevail in this country" won't go away by omitting racial descriptions from police reports, letters to editors, e-mails to bloggers, etc.

12:12 PM  

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