WASHINGTON – Metro Transit Police are looking for a group of teenagers they say assaulted three riders last month, taking electronics and robbing a teen of his shoes.
One of the victims was a 43-year-old man with disabilities, who was left with injuries to his back and ribs, and the mark of a footprint on his face.
The incident happened early morning hours of Nov. 22. The Washington Blade first reported the story.
Calvin Lawrence and his partner Joey Cowart were on the Green Line, heading home from a party in Hyattsville, Maryland, when two teen girls on the train began hitting a 14-year-old boy, trying to take his shoes.
Lawrence went to press the emergency call button and says that Cowart tried to intervene. But the situation escalated.
“Joey is over there trying to help the kid,” Lawrence recalled. “The girl grabs Joey, and by the time I can get to him — it was like slow motion — the girl throws him down on the ground.”
Lawrence says he ran to help when he saw others had joined in beating Cowart, who has a disability. He said there were at least 12 youths “pounding” Cowart in the head and back.
The teens took Cowart’s iPhone, a tablet, his cash and his belt. He says the 43-year-old was left with a footprint on his face and injuries to his back and ribs.
The train stopped two stations later at Shaw-Howard, where Metro Transit police officers were standing by. Lawrence credits them for quick action and getting Cowart to the hospital.
Metro’s Dan Stessel says Metro Transit investigators are reviewing “hours upon hours of video” of surveillance trying to identify the teens.
A group of teens were pulled aside for identification at Shaw-Howard, but Lawrence says he didn’t recognize them as the teens involved in the incident.
No one has been charged, Stessel says.
A police report listed the 14-year-old as the primary victim and does not denote the incident was a hate crime.
Stessel says prosecutors could decide whether there was a motivation of bias in the attack of the gay couple if and when they file charges, which would enhance the penalty.
Meanwhile, Lawrence says Cowart is still recovering from complications brought on by the injuries from the attack and is afraid to use Metro again.