January 31, 2009 6:40 PM   Subscribe

My mother was just assaulted a few moments ago. I am in VA, she is in DC. What can I do?

Shes in DC, I'm in NoVa. She has bruises on her knees by getting pushed down by some thugs. She doesn't speak English very well and she has not reported it to the police. I am very pissed off and am very close to driving down to DC right now to search for these thugs (no I don't know what they look like but she said the were tall black teenagers) and go report it to the local station. So..what should I do? This a poor helpless women who was walking home from the Chinatown metro and just randomly pushed down OVER AND OVER by some thugs. I am pissed beyond belief.

Is there a chance there are cameras located around Chinatown?
posted by guniang to Law & Government (10 answers total)
When you can collect your cool a little and travel safely, head down to DC not to search for the thugs, but to be with your mother and help her in filing a police report, following up with any detectives and helping her plan routes to and from her apartment that she feels safe with.

You aren't going to find these teenagers, but you will no doubt find some teenagers that fit the description and have never laid eyes on your mother, but it's not your place to now anyway and you'll only hurt the chances of them being dealt with properly in the future.
posted by Science! at 6:48 PM on January 31, 2009

Drive down to be with your mom and help her to report it/translate to the police. At the very least, call on her behalf, explain the situation, maybe they have someone who speaks her language who can go and take the report.

I don't know if you want us to tell you to go beat up groups of teenagers I understand your anger (really) but that's not a good idea, and won't get anything accomplished.
posted by AlisonM at 6:49 PM on January 31, 2009

No. I need legal advice, I dont need encouragement to round up a bunch of thugs.
posted by guniang at 6:51 PM on January 31, 2009

Have your mom write down everything she can remember as soon as she can. Drive down and be with her. Ask her questions and help her take notes. Go to the police department with her as soon as you can, and possibly call them first to tell them where and when the assault took place.

Ask her if there were witnesses, whether it happened in front of a store where people might have seen it, etc.

Everything else is in the hands of the police.
posted by zippy at 6:57 PM on January 31, 2009

I think you've gotten the only legal advice you need at this stage. Your mother needs to report this to the police, and anything you can do to help her do that you should do. Beyond that there's not much you can do.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:58 PM on January 31, 2009

I know your mother doesn't know me from Eve, but I'd like you to tell her something -- as one mugging victim to another.

I was mugged when I was 19 years old; and I did report it to the police. Now -- reporting it to the police did not get me my money back; they didn't catch the guys who did it, and I didn't get any of my property back which they took. Fortunately it wasn't much (just $15 cash; they didn't even get my credit cards or anything).

But that doesn't mean that reporting it wasn't worth it. Because it DID get me something -- it got me back a sense of control, and it kept me from feeling powerless. If I hadn't filed that report, I would have walked around for months feeling like a victim, feeling like there was nothing I could do and nowhere that was safe. But when I filed that report, that was my way of taking control back from the guys who robbed me, and my way of proving that they were NOT going to keep me from doing everything I could to stop them. I was proving to myself and to everyone else that there was no way that I was going to go down without a fight.

I would encourage your mother to report this for the same reason. I'm not saying that she won't have moments of being scared, and I'm not saying that this will definitely lead to them being captured. But if she makes a report, I promise that she'll feel like less of a victim, and that can be an invaluable thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:59 PM on January 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

As another thought, if you want to go to the police station to help her with this. Chinatown Metro is in the First Police District, and the station is located at 415 4th Street SW.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:01 PM on January 31, 2009

One of the things you have to come to grips with is that it's really hard to get revenge on any specific group of thugs so you need to focus in your mind on getting revenge on thugs in general. You report a crime the police presence will be higher people breaking the law in that area will be more likely to be captured. If you want to confront people good luck but there are different groups of kids fucking shit up all the time. Ethical or not it isn't practical. Tell the cops and if you want to walk your mother at around at night for a while she might welcome it but beyond that you probably won't be able to do anything useful. Sorry. There is a chance that there are cameras located around the Chinatown metro it depends how far. Not sure what good it will do you.
posted by I Foody at 7:39 PM on January 31, 2009

I am sorry your mother had to endure this. I am sorry you are having to feel the stress of knowing that someone hurt your mother. Be with your mother as much as possible for the next couple days. Comfort her. Soothe her. Do your best to calm her fear, and reassure her that this situation was the unusual, not the usual. You need each other right now.
posted by netbros at 9:13 PM on January 31, 2009

Get your Mom a book on self-defense such as Self-Defense: Steps to Survival, Self-Defense for Peaceable People: Defend Yourself Regardless of Size, Gender, Age, or Strength, or Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear. These will be invaluable in at the least giving you a better sense of how you didn't deserve this to happen and empowering you to realize what you can do to control whether it happens again, such as enhanced situational awareness.

It's the city. Thugs happen. Just try to make sure they don't happen to your Mom again.
posted by dhartung at 2:56 PM on February 1, 2009

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