A DC man sheltered over 70 protesters overnight. Cops kept trying to lure them out

A man in a DC neighborhood where protesters were forced by police following Trump’s speech invited over 70 of them, mostly young people, into his home to avoid being teargassed and arrested. Rahul Dubey got them pizza, let everyone charge their phones and sleep overnight until the curfew was over at 6am the next morning. He wasn’t the only one in that neighborhood who sheltered the protesters – several of his neighbors did too, they just declined to be interviewed on camera. Cops went to extraordinary lengths to try to trick and lure them out. DC police accused the protesters of breaking into his home, he said they did not. They shot pepper spray into his windows. They faked a 911 call. They detained the pizza delivery guy for over an hour so Rahul called in a personal favor with another pizza place and had them deliver the food covertly over the back fence. Esquire Magazine called Rahul around 2:30 am and reported this interview with him in the first person.

When the police line had finally passed my house, that’s when the bodies stopped pouring in and I was able to shut the door and lock it. People were pouring milk on their faces, and water was being flung around. I went downstairs to get water for people. People were coughing. I had pepper spray in my eyes. They were shooting pepper spray in through the window. That was mayhem for about an hour and fifteen minutes, and then as soon as I stepped onto the front porch, [the police] said, “Get back in the house, or we’ll put you down,” and I said, “Look, I got a bunch of people in here.” They said, “Get the fuck back inside.” I waited about an hour, and I went back out and said, “I request to talk to somebody,” and they said, “We told you to get back. Get back or we’ll fucking arrest you,” so I went back in the house.

I looked around and saw kids from age 20 to 50 in the house scattered on all three floors and the backyard, and they were safe. They were active. They were asking questions. They were solving problems in little groups, and they are hunkered down here until 6 am. The police have tried to pull them out through trickery like five or six times. They send decoys to the door, telling them they can’t leave out the front, but if they leave out the back alley, they’ll be safe. I mean, bullshit stuff. They just hijacked the pizza delivery guy for an hour and wouldn’t let us come through. I mean, they faked a 911 call and said “yeah, someone called 911,” but no one did. There’s a lot of emotions.

I have a 13-year-old son, and luckily he’s with friends and family up in Delaware; he’s coming back tomorrow. He’s not there, but at the same time, I wish he was because he could see these amazing souls that are in my house are safe and they had every right to be doing what they were doing, and the police didn’t have a right to just beat them down on the street. For now, at least for the next four hours or so, we’re going to be safe here. I’ve never been so excited to get a Ducinni’s pizza in my life.

I couldn’t leave it to chance. I called the owner and was like, “Brother, I’ve been ordering from you forever. I need you to do me a favor. We are held hostage,” and he was like, “We got you man.” It’s like a covert mission to get Duccini’s pizza! I’m delirious, but it’s beautiful. It’s absurd that I had to get some stranger to hand me pizza over my back fence through police brigade, but it also shows the human spirit, too, and that’s what this is all about.

There’s about 75 people in my house. Some have got couch space. There’s a family, a mother and daughter here, that I gave my son’s room to so they get some peace and quiet. Yeah, even the ledges of the bathtub, and no one’s bitching. They’re happy—no, they’re not happy. They’re safe. They’re cheering. They’re backing each other.

[From Esquire]

Later in the piece, he said that this is the America he loves, the America he was seeing in his living room, which was like a “Coca-Cola commercial.” The Washingtonian has another interview with Rahul, conducted the next day, and I loved reading that too! He described some of the conversations he had with people and said that he was getting text messages telling him that they were ok. He said, of the inquiries he’s been getting, “It’s just shocking that the first question people are asking me is ‘Why did you let strangers into your home?’ I know in my heart of hearts that you would open the door, too. I hope so. Otherwise, what are we doing?” When I was younger I did a lot of protesting in NY and DC ahead of the Iraq war. Everyone was wonderful and there was such a sense of togetherness and solidarity. I got that from Rahul’s interview, and from the tweets I’ve been seeing from people who had the absolute bravery to stand in the streets against tyranny. Thank you Rahul, thank you to all the protesters and thank you to all the helpers.

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42 Responses to “A DC man sheltered over 70 protesters overnight. Cops kept trying to lure them out”

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  1. Seraphina says:

    The police tried to lure them out? What have we come to??? Everyday my heart breaks more and I fear for the world that is being created right before my very eyes.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      Yeah, so much for ‘panicked people just trying to do their jobs’. That’s been a popular talking point for a while. But this is another example of them just looking to do harm and provoke.

    • CROWHOOD says:

      Also- I watched This all in real time on Twitter. Then later that day saw MANY news stories saying “rioters were storming innocent people’s houses” using THIS FOOTAGE. Footage from a man WELCOMING THEM IN. Trust nothing.

  2. Debbydoo says:

    What a beautiful man. I hope he lives a long, happy and healthy life. The world is a better place for him being in it.

    PS And the neighbours too.

    • Olenna says:


      P.S. That last tweet CB posted is wrong; that was a medavac helicopter. Still disturbing, though.

      • Lightpurple says:

        And the use of it for this purpose is now under investigation

      • Agnes says:

        We live on the DC/MD border. There are gigantic helicopters hovering from 7pm (start of the curfew) to super late into the night. Sometimes they’re high, sometimes they lower. It’s scary and unsettling. It brings me back to Communist Poland when the militarized police was beating down protestors. I’m immensely proud of my fellow citizens out in the streets who are fighting for a better world. ✊🏼

  3. Aims says:

    We have seen some despicable, dark behavior these past four years. Stories like this gives me hope. Someone who would opened his door to strangers, feed them and give them safety, reaffirms my belief that the good and decent people outweigh that wrong. Thank you to this man and neighbors for doing the right thing.

  4. TQ says:

    Fantastic! What an uplifting story about human kindness and the human spirit. (But the cops trying to lure them out etc? Ugly madness.)

  5. Astrid says:

    Thanks for posting – great story

  6. tempest prognosticator says:

    This is a much needed reminder that there are kind and decent people in this world. Unfortunately, Trump is a reminder of all that is evil. May goodness prevail.

  7. Digital Unicorn says:

    Great story – those cops were clearly given free reign to do as they pleased to and with the protestors.

    I recently watched a story about the holocaust – this is what ordinary people did for the persecuted Jews of Europe AND this is how the authorities treated the people.

    Dump and his administration are literally copying the Nazis social cleansing playbook.

  8. Lisa says:

    Good for him.

  9. KellyRyan says:

    One of the ways in which to minimize and ignore the false power of the sociopath in the white house is to celebrate our everyday heroes leading by example.

  10. JanetDR says:

    I am sure there are lots of these stories and I want to hear them all! What heartening news in this dark time.

  11. sa says:

    What happens if you call the police on the police? What’s described here, shooting pepper spray into the house through the windows, cannot possibly be legal.

    And all of these stories make a mockery of the people saying it’s just a few bad apples. I don’t care who’s ordering these actions, if your conscience doesn’t stop you from following the order, then you’re part of the problem and have no business wearing a badge.

  12. Piratewench says:

    I also protested the Iraq war as a youngin’, in Philly, and it was a time of peace and unity. There was no point at which I felt scared and intimidated by police, whatsoever. I’m white.

    When I see what is happening in Philly now, a few miles from where I now live, I know it’s a completely different world. But also, we are seeing the world that black people have been living in all along.

    In Philly they are terrorizing us all with sonic warfare. Believe it. It’s happening. Hundreds of “explosions” all night long for… 5 nights now? I haven’t slept properly, no one has. We are worn down and weary. It’s terrible to hear a war zone outside every night, and in the morning the only explanation is “ATMS” were getting blown up. Um… no. All night every night for 5 nights?! Insane.

    The tactics being used here in Philly and there in DC are FASCIST TERRORISM. This man is a hero for giving protestors a safe haven. Protestors in Philly, when they finally make it to safety, say they were afraid they were about to die from gas. About to DIE, for protesting.

  13. megs283 says:

    I lived in DC for 10 years and the residents there are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I think part of it is that so many people came from elsewhere (whether that’s another part of the US or another part of the world), so everyone is eager to create or welcome people to their community.

    Great job, Rahul. <3

  14. Rae says:

    People like him give you hope that we’re not totally lost as a society.

  15. AMM says:

    The post ruined a beautiful story by interviewing his landlord who was complaining about the guy not paying Mays rent. The landlord was on twitter and kept saying it was his house and that real hero’s pay rent. It was gross. The man who let them in had to explain to the newspaper that he’s a consultant and his work dried up due to the Covid lockdowns. Twitter was trying to organize a gofundme for him and I hope they were able to pull through.

    • H says:

      I’m going to search for that GoFundMe now. I grew up near the DC suburbs, this man is a hero. His landlord can pound sand.

  16. Jay says:

    Cops trying to lure out protesters is some fog of war type shit, like the kind of stories you hear from Vietnam and Iraq war crimes.

    Seeing footage of these guys tooling around on military vehicles like they are playing out an action movie is horrifying, and also weirdly makes me mad about the money being wasted. Like, public school teachers have to buy their own supplies, providing the most basic of medical care and food for vulnerable people is a luxury, but somehow there is money for this?

  17. woohoosah says:

    He sounds amazing! The powers that be are really showing their a$ses. Which is actually a good thing. I hope that the close quarters for him and all of the protestors does not cause them issues with Covid 19. That is still a big concern. Coming from NY, where it has been terrible, I am very, very concerned about the spike in this illness among the groups that have been coming together.

  18. Amelie says:

    Bless this man and all the people on that street who sheltered the protestors. I can’t believe it’s come to throwing tear gas through a private citizen’s home. I’m in a “quiet” part of the country so no protests around here but my heart goes out to everyone in cities where the cops are attacking and maiming people.

  19. Kate says:

    Smdh I just looked for this story on any of the major news networks so I could post screencaps to IG and NBC glosses over the fear of the hostages and the sneaky tactics by police to lure them out saying the homeowner and one of the protesters “both documented experiences in which officers continued to keep an eye on protesters and stayed outside the home throughout the night.” How nice, it’s like they were really concerned and watching over them. What the hell?!

  20. L4frimaire says:

    Saw this on Twitter as it was happening and it was just unreal and vicious what the police were doing. Bless this man and his neighbors who stood up to this brutality. It’s surreal and horrifying that police tactics you associate with totalitarian regimes and Latin American dirty wars are being used in the so-called greatest democracy in the world, during a global pandemic.

  21. Betsy says:

    I have lost track of which forces ar being used in which parts of policing/beating up protestors/committing the war crime of gassing people….

    I do not fault Obama for this – this is clearly in the GOP who are in some sort of authoritarian/theocracy death cult – but I wish he didn’t see the best in people. I think he gave way too many Republicans way too big of a pass because he himself is so good that he cannot see what evil the GOP represents.

  22. adastraperaspera says:

    The police actions are appalling. And illegal. Is this the DC police force? Or was this man’s home attacked by those uniformed, but mainly unidentified forces such as those that cleared Lafayette Square for Trump’s photo op in front of the church and the others who stood brutishly in front of the Lincoln Memorial last night?

    I have attended several marches in DC since the 1980s, and the DC police have largely been peaceful, supportive, crowd-control helpers–never viciously aggressive like this. What is going on? Time to make DC a state so Mayor Muriel Bowser is not left on her own trying to protect her wonderful citizens like Rahul.

  23. Jay says:

    I just had a weird thought – if we can’t see badges and numbers, how can we even be sure these are cops? What would stop some MAGA crazy from putting on a dark uniform and playing militia? Or some unhinged extremist pretending to be an officer of the law? We just had a really tragic situation here in Canada about that, so maybe this is me scaring myself?

    • dj says:

      This actually did happen in Kansas City, MO (on the Plaza). 2 militia-type men had AR-15s and were pretending to be part of “Plaza Security” but were found out somehow. I think they were arrested. A small sample but it can and will happen.

  24. Plaidsheets says:

    There is a GoFundMe for his rent. If you search Swann Street Shelter. I don’t think posting links is allowed, but it’s easy enough to search. Even if it goes to the arsehole landlord- I’d hate for this guy to lose his home.

    • AMM says:

      They can’t legally evict in DC right now due to non payment for Covid, but I am worried his landlord will pull some crap about breaking the lease by hosting too many people or whatever. So I’ll donate for him in hopes he can pay back rent and find a better landlord.

    • K.T says:

      Lovely idea for the gofundme – I we t to donate but Rahul seems to have stated he does not need funding. I donated to a bail fund instead! Amazing person and thank you for this good news. This, is what we need to have as well as the other news from the baby r/fascists 😫

    • K.T says:

      Lovely idea for the gofundme – I we t to donate but Rahul seems to have stated he does not need funding. I donated to a bail fund instead! Amazing person and thank you for this good news. This, is what we need to have as well as the other news from the baby r/fascists 😫

  25. Case says:

    What a wonderful group of people to shelter protestors. I’ve been reading about it happening all over where protestors are corralled and trapped by police just before curfew and they don’t allow them to leave. And in this situation, the police were terrorizing these people. It’s beyond words how disturbing it is.

  26. Sparky says:

    Reading this story and comments made me think of my dad’s stories about Kristallnacht during the Holocaust. Their neighbor stood up to the police/army and insisted that no Jews lived in their house and to leave it alone and just move on and eventually they did. It’s really scary that this was the first thing that came to my mind.

  27. DeeSee says:

    Thank you for posting this story! It doesn’t diminish the utterly horrifying shit that’s actively happening, but it’s a good reminder that there are kind, brave, principled people among us. We need to see more of those examples, in the hopes that people who are on the fence might feel more empowered to follow their lead. We all need to channel our inner Rahul and help one another however we can.

  28. JRenee says:

    Thanks for sharing the GoFundMe info. I found it and it seems to be moving along. Even if it goes toward the landlord, he deserved some help.

  29. nicegirl says:

    Thank you

  30. serena says:

    We need more people like this man and his neighbors. More human spirit, as he called.
    The way most police act in the USA is shameful, I’m speechless reading and watching all the ways the hurt people. This is the national force who’s supposed to protect people.. what the hell went wrong?