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r / March 1, 2011 2:13 AM

I've called 911 before on neighbors for domestic violence disturbances, but physically intervening in a situation on the street would require a lot of sizing up the opposition to make sure I don't get harmed--but I would still call 911 once I got out of earshot.

David / March 1, 2011 7:46 AM

I've called 911 a couple of times on situations that I wasn't sure about, but I've also more directly intervened.

I suppose the most memorable of those experiences was actually a group intervention. Some assh*le was screaming at and hitting his girlfriend in his car. They were parked on a side street near where a group of friends and I were hanging out, so we dragged him out of the car and "subdued" him until the police could arrive. Other members of the group attended to the woman. I suppose it was gratifying in a way, but it was a pretty terrible experience.

Charles / March 1, 2011 9:09 AM

I was living in Sacramento. Some huge Samoan dude was dragging a girl by her hair. I was walking by and intervened. The guy almost killed me. My white sweatshirt was drenched in blood. After the paramedics arrived at my apartment and the cops showed up, the idiot actually drove by and they caught him. I was like "He was driving this little shitty blue car...and there it is!"

Charles / March 1, 2011 9:14 AM

Interestingly enough, I joined the Marines a couple months later.

vise77 / March 1, 2011 10:18 AM

Yes, twice, both when I saw a guy hitting or otherwise beating on a woman. One time I scared the asshole away; the other time, I scared him away but not before getting kind of beat down myself by the guy, who, it turns out, was a gangbanger with a pretty lenghty arrest record. But I have insurance and the guy was caught and I showed up at court and I don't have to look at myself in the mirror and think about being a coward (more than I can say for all those big, bad yuppie men who saw the same things I did but just walked past like they couldn't see--to those so-called men, I give a hearty Fuck You. What, you don't have sisters?).

Bill / March 1, 2011 11:15 AM

Many times. It comes with working in bars, but also just being a responsible member of your community. 911 is always the first option, but when you see violence underway, man up (or woman up) and first yell, then step in, unless you're totally outnumbered. In which case, loudly shout "Calling 911!" and keep watching to make your identification of the criminals stand up in court. And do go to court.

Carrie / March 1, 2011 11:27 AM

I saw a man screaming at a woman one time. He was grabbing her, grabbing her purse, she was trying to fight back. I called 911 and then walked over to them. I stood close enough, but still a safe distance so he couldn't slug me and yelled for him to move to the wall and wait until the cops could arrive. He tried to say something, at which point I yelled again, "get to the wall!!!" and pointed to where I wanted him to stand. He listened and waited for the cops. (I could tell it was a domestic dispute vs someone trying to rob this woman) I guess maybe he wasn't used to a woman yelling at him and it startled him enough that he listened to me? No idea, but I'm glad he couldn't tell I was shaking in my boots.

jj / March 1, 2011 1:07 PM

Yes, in fact, I think I'm on a first name basis with the 911 dispatchers. Most common interventions for me have been domestic fights and mentally ill lost people, and once a guy who was stabbed who I ran into on the El. Lost children tend to find their way to me also, oddly.

It is important to remember your own safety when intervening. Not that I follow my own advice on that, but still...

JW / March 1, 2011 1:55 PM

I guess you could call this an intervention. I was living in Baltimore a few years ago and my friend's car had just been stolen. I was on a walk when I saw my friend's car drive by, music blaring, with about four teenagers on a joy ride. The car actually drove right by my friend's apartment so I ran to his door and told him his car just went down the street. I then took off after the car, in sandals. I had no plan of what to do when I caught up to the car. Thankfully, I caught up to the car at a red light and there just happened to be a cop parked at the light. I knocked on the window and said "Officer that white car there is stolen" and he took off after them, arresting all of them two blocks away. I think all of them ended up getting off and my friend was upset I found it because he wanted to get a new car with the insurance money. There are also a lot of murders in Baltimore.

lam / March 1, 2011 2:08 PM

I've never witnessed anything violent. I guess I live a sheltered life.

But as far as injustice goes, once I was in line at a store and noticed that the cashier was overcharging the guy in front of me by a dollar. It seemed deliberate. The guy was Asian and didn't speak English very well, so he seemed confused but was paying up.

I did step in and said something to the cashier and he ended up giving the correct change.

I thought about reporting it to the manager, but since I wasn't 100% sure it was intentional I didn't. I probably should have, but I didn't want the guy to get fired if I was wrong. I just hope that getting called out on it was enough to keep him from trying it again.

Brubeck / March 1, 2011 2:38 PM

I've never intervened in any kind of injustice or altercation; I'm a complete coward.

bob / March 1, 2011 3:25 PM

While not as courageous as the actions mentioned above, I generally have a hard time holding my tongue as I walk past the homophobic preacher man who stands in front of the Old Navy on State + Washington. Regular scenario goes something like this....

Him: "Homosexuals are going to hell"
Me: "Homophobes like you are going to hell, too."
Him: "You're going to hell"
Me: "See you there!"

mike / March 1, 2011 3:51 PM

I call 911 all the time. Luckily, I've never been in a situation where an innocent person is being victimized and I needed to decide whether or not to intervene. I like to think that I would, under certain circumstances. For example, I did not intervene the time two thugs got into a violent brawl on the Red Line.

y a j / March 1, 2011 4:50 PM

I am impressed to read about so many of you interrupting domestic abuse. I’ve worked on this issue my whole career and sometimes I feel like things aren’t getting any better. Thank you for giving me some hope and please keep it up!!

CC / March 1, 2011 5:16 PM

Once I was standing and waiting for the northbound red line at Belmont when I realized I was standing between a very well-endowed woman and a creepy punk who was muttering all sorts of disgusting, lacivious things to her. I was following my usual MO of just ignoring him, but after a minute or two I couldn't stand it anymore. I turned to the man and yelled, "Shut the fuck up!" He lost. his. shit. He started screaming at me, everyone on both platforms turned and stared, and I quickly fled on to the train that had just pulled up...onto which he followed me.

He sat across the aisle from me and continued to spew a string of insults at me: I was an ugly bitch, I'm the one who should shut the fuck up, etc., etc. I had long realized he was totally insane and anything further I said would only encourage him, so I sat there like a stone. I also didn't dare get off the train to wait for another since he had already followed me once. The real highlight of his tirade came when he turned his string of insults about me into a rap! It was kind of hilarious (in retrospect), and I wish I had been able to secretly record it somehow.

He finally disemarked at Wilson with one last flurry of insults. I should add that I thought it was ironic that I intervened because a woman was being verbally abused for a minute or two, yet no one else in that train car intervened when I was then verbally abused for a good 15 minutes. But then again, they were probably smart enough to realize that you don't try to shout down a crazy.

Spook / March 1, 2011 5:31 PM

From out side my window, I saw a drug dealer, Johnny Lawless
who lived across the street choke his girl friend.

I called the cops, got dressed, and ran outside, just as they pulled up. The women threw up right in front of said cops, but said she wasn't being beaten. I said she was and she told me to mind my own F*cking business.

The cops said since she wasn't going to press charges, they had no reason to arrest him. I said in Illinois cops can make domestic violence arrests if they see evidence of abuse. The cop( who was a training officer) denied what is in fact law. I then said can you at least check him for outstanding warrants. They asked for ID, ran his name and released him as nothing came back.

Five months later at about two in the monring, I hear a women screaming "Johnny don't kick me I'm pregnant" over and over again. I look out the window and sure enough it's Johnny Laws dragging and kicking the same women down the street. I call the police, grab my baseball bat and run outside. Johnny sees me and walks off, but the police arrive and as they're questioning him, I call for a Sergeant( to make sure this arrest goes right) and explain that this is the second time he's done this. He takes pictures of the women, calls for an ambo to take her to the hospital and arrests Johnny Lawless.

I show up to court twice and Johnny gets a felony conviction but no jail time. I was disappointed because the state's attorney took jail off the table( she told me this later) because the defense attorney implied to her that I was sleeping with the victim.

This was one of the rare moments that I've truly been caught off guard. I should have went to the state's attorney's boss to file a report about her not telling me this until after trial was over and not letting me go before a jury. I actually walked out of the building feeling dirty.

p.s. to those of you who don't call the police, and hide behind your doors, while letting your neighbors take all the risk, you're worse than the criminals and I don't care if you have babies.You suck!

Spook / March 1, 2011 5:36 PM


You did the right thing! too bad the train was filled with cowardly idiots who allowed you to be assaulted !

If this thread goes for a few days I'll tell you a similar tale that happened at an empty Bucktown bar

Dalton / March 1, 2011 5:47 PM

I used to be the Cooler in bars; I would back up and direct the bouncers.

I took a job in a Road House that had gotten far too rough. My attempts to clean things up put me in conflict with Brad Wesley, the town bully and rich person. Things heated up, so I ripped out a guys throat and nailed a hot blonde.

Garrett / March 1, 2011 8:57 PM

Not only that, Dalton ... if I remember correctly (and I'm ashamed that I do), you nailed her while standing up, against the wall!

rope / March 2, 2011 11:15 AM

One night, after a few too many beers, a buddy and I are walking south on Damen. A young girl came towards us wearing headphones going north. Being older boring married guys, we made comments to each other about wearing headphones at night. Not two seconds later she screams, we turn around she is on the ground and some dude is off with her purse. Shockingly my buddy bolts towards the scene and I follow. We, I thought, chase the dude down a gangway into the alley and it becomes an all out foot race. I suddenly realize I am the only one chasing the dude, or in military terms I out ran my fire support. My buddy helped the girl. Regardless the dude completely out runs me and jumps in a car at the end of the alley. The cops showed up rather quickly and the biggest cop I have ever met questioned my friend and I. The girl was shaken but seemed all right. She took a good shot to the face but I take my hat off to her. She was tough. We, check that, I spent the rest of the night being made fun of for being too slow. We still laugh about how big the cop was.
So I guess that makes it an attempted intervention.

charlie / March 3, 2011 5:07 PM

I once bitch slapped a dude for putting ketchup on his hot dog. What is happening to us, people?

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