A D.C. man has been in the hospital since Thursday after suffering a vicious beating. The assailant apparently became enraged after the victim asked him to pick up a discarded beer can.
W Street, Northwest (in the vicinity of 14th Street) is a mixture of beautiful old residential buildings, and widespread renovation and new construction.
It's a neighborhood of families and singles. But the alleys, here, can sometimes by dodgy.
Some of the residents of the condominium building at 1418 W Street use the back entrance, because it's more convenient to their inside doorways. But part of the alley is sometimes used by drinkers and drug users.
On Thursday afternoon, as a 36-year-old resident was coming home through the alley, he observed a man throwing a beer can to the ground. Police say the resident asked, "Would you please pick that up? I live in this building."
The man responded with an expletive. The building security camera caught much of what happened next: the victim is hit hard in the back of the head. He falls to the ground. The assailant then steps over the victim, and appears to kick him in the face. The semi-conscious victim rolls on the ground, with the assailant apparently taunting him. The victim staggers to his feet, other people come down the adjoining alley, and the assailant withdraws.
As a building resident comes out the door, an employee at nearby Martha's Table (who has heard the fracas) comes over to check, and then rushes back for a phone. The victim is urged to not move further, and wait for an ambulance.
He has been in a local hospital since Thursday, and got reconstructive surgery Saturday morning. His injuries were extensive.
"He has a broken jaw," explained neighbor George Southworth. "He has, also, multiple fractures in his face. He has stitches on his forehead and stitches on his chin. And I believe there are some teeth that are loose."
Unfortunately, the security video does not show the assailant's face. Police describe him as a slim, light-skinned, black male, age 18-24, height 5-5 to 5-6. On Thursday he was wearing a black jacket, black pants, and a white shirt.
Neighbors say they want police on foot patrols in the area, including the alleys. They hope to meet with police officials next week.
D.C.'s police department is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.