Tourist Pepper Sprayed on Metro Yesterday, Frustrating Interaction with Transit Police

“Dear PoPville,

I visited the US for the first time, arrived 2 days ago in Washington before heading to Phillie tomorrow. Absolutely love the city BTW !!

But I have no clue of what to expect in term of safety, police or if I should be cautious.

Anyway around 4.30pm, in l’Enfant Plazawe where taking the escalator down to the lower platform to go the other side of the red line.

When reaching the bottom of the escalator and almost being on the blue line platform, someone sprayed my arm from the escalator going up.

I immediately noticed and told the two policemen on the blue line platform (literally 2 meters away) than the man with a Nike backpack and a basket full of grocery sprayed something at me, showing them my arm with a large orange liquid mark. I pointed at him as he was still in the escalator and they got him.

I had no idea what it was so the me asked me to follow them. One officer was searching the guy and his basket, the other one took my girlfriend and myself on the side to ask us questions.

He asked us several times what happened, if we were sure of what happened despite the fact that I had my arm with a large orange mark raised in front of him and my girlfriend having burning skin on her face (around her left eye).

He asked us several times if we wanted a medic. I am not familiar with the procedures in the US so I said I don’t know but should I wipe the liquid ?? In case it is hazardous or something. I was expecting a “wait let’s take a picture and the give me the tissue” .. maybe I watch too many movies who know… no no, he just said “yes wipe it”.

The he asked us again if we needed a medic as they could not find anything on the guy, gave me his phone number and let us go.

While waiting for the subway, I noticed my lips were burning, as I must have touched my face somehow .. my GF confirmed her face was a bit burning too ..

On the way to the hotel I googled chilli spray in the DC metro, to see if there was some history, people playing stupid games or I don’t know, then I saw your post and the orange color on the face mask !! So I though (and it was a relief) that it must have been pepper spray “only”.

I wrote a text message to the officer to let him know we are OK but according to the color, the burning and the history in the DC metro (share your article), I thought it was pepper spray. He asked me to call him back, which I did.

He said very disappointingly “as I said earlier, what do you want me to do? Fill a complain, see a medic? It is “he says, she says”.

I told him it was more FYI, in case they asked the ID from the guy they caught, if it ever happen again…
He said alright thank you good bye…

Other than this event I absolutely loved Washington! ”


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