On Sunday night, Allen Haywood was randomly and viciously attacked by two kids on the platform of the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station. Dozens of people witnessed it. Several people filmed it. Nobody helped.
Haywood was trying to transfer to the Yellow Line around 7:15 p.m. when the assault happened. He was headed home to Fort Totten after working out at Results on Capitol Hill, a gym bag slung over his shoulder and a book in his hands. As he read with his back to the station wall, “all of a sudden someone whacked me on the back of the head really hard,” he recalls.
Haywood turned around. The boy looked to be about 11 or 12 years old. Baffled, Haywood asked, “What the fuck are you doing?” The boy stood there laughing. Then someone else cracked Haywood from the other side. He turned around again. This time it was the girl in the video above. She didn’t stop swinging for more than a full minute, chasing Haywood around the platform as other kids egged her on.
As seen in the video, Haywood repeatedly asked the girl why she was attacking him, pleading with her to end it. “Stop it! Stop it! Goddamn it! You stop this shit right now! I did nothing to you!”
Haywood looked to strangers for help, but all he saw were other kids with their cell phones out, recording the scene and laughing. Judging from his voice-over, the man shooting the YouTube video above doesn’t appear to be part of the group. The video showed up yesterday on Unsuck D.C. Metro, which posted an anonymous account of the attack Tuesday.
“I can understand people not wanting to get physically involved,” says Haywood, who’s 47 and works in a Friendship Heights flower shop. "But nobody pressed the emergency button or went to the booth,” as far as he knows.
Haywood tried grabbing hold of the girl but she squirmed away. She grabbed his book, which had fallen to the ground, and threw it on the tracks below for no reason. All the while, the cell phones kept rolling.
“That may have been the whole point, if there is such a thing: 'Let's make a video,'" says Haywood. “They held them high, a pack moving together.”
Haywood finally got free and sprinted to the station booth. He banged on the glass and told the station manager to call 911. With gashes and blood on his face, he ran back to the scene of the attack, hoping the kids would be detained. The ones who’d delivered the beating were gone, but the kids who’d filmed it were still there – and they still had their cell phones in Haywood’s face, taunting him.
“How are you doing, sir?”
“Any comment, sir?”
One of them said if he paid them, they would give him video of the attack.
A Metro worker arrived on the scene and told Haywood to go upstairs. Haywood said he didn’t want to leave, because the kids had evidence of the attack and he wanted them questioned. The worker kept insisting, and Haywood relented. He still doesn’t know what happened to the kids.
A transit police officer arrived and took Haywood’s statement and photos of his damaged face. They tried to fish his book off the tracks but it was too close to the third rail. Haywood declined an ambulance. By the time he got home he had bruises all over his face and a knot on his head, though the bleeding had stopped.
“I was angry and I was shocked and I was hurt,” he says.
A detective assigned to the case told Haywood he’s trying to pull video of the attack from Metro station cameras. Haywood is hopeful they’ll be able to make a few identifications between the surveillance footage, the already-posted YouTube footage, and any other video that might spill out. A Metro spokesperson confirms that transit police are investigating the attack.
Haywood’s sister, Laura Haywood-Cory, says the video that surfaced disgusts her but she appreciates it as evidence. “I am both gratified and furious all over again, after having watched it,” she says. “I hate everyone who stood around and did nothing almost as much as I hate the people who did this to him.”
Yesterday afternoon Haywood returned to L’Enfant Plaza. He’s convinced the kids have attacked people before and that they’ll do it again – “or maybe worse,” he says – and he wanted warn people. Though he never thought he’d do such a thing, he drew up a sign. It read:
“I WAS ATTACKED AT L’ENFANT METRO SUNDAY AT 7:15 PM. NO ONE HELPED. PLEASE BE CAREFUL.”
Haywood held up the sign at the Metro entrance in silence for about 45 minutes during the afternoon rush hour, hundreds of strangers spilling past him and onto the escalators. He got a lot of sad looks, plenty of kind words, and even a few hugs.