Rep. Grace Meng attacked, robbed

November 20, 2013

Updated 5:57 p.m.

Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), a freshman lawmaker from the New York City area, was attacked and robbed Tuesday evening in the Eastern Market area.

Meng said she had just said goodnight to a friend she had dinner with in the neighborhood about 8:30 p.m. when she was attacked from behind.

Responding police officers found Meng disoriented at 2nd St. and Independence Avenue SE with bruising and swelling to the back of the left side of her head, and injuries to her left knee, hand and face. Meng was not able to remember where she was robbed or describe her assailant or assailants, according to a D.C. police report.

All Meng could tell police was that she had dinner on 8th Street SE and her black Gucci tote bag was stolen during the attack. Medics evaluated her at the scene then took Meng to George Washington University hospital. The report described her injuries as abrasion, swelling, bruises and unconsciousness.

No arrests have been made in the case, but an “active, open investigation” is underway, according to U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider.

By Wednesday, she was back on Capitol Hill for a series of procedural votes in the afternoon. She missed the first two votes of the day in the 1 p.m. hour, but arrived in time to cast votes all afternoon. As she left the House Chamber Wednesday evening, she told reporters she was "just taking it a little slower today."

"I’m from New York City and I have not been mugged like that. But the Capitol Police were great, the D.C. Police Department was very helpful," she said.

Meng said she was encouraged that officers were able to take fingerprints from an old cellphone that had fallen out of her purse.

"Maybe they’ll see something," she said.

Meng, 38, is a freshman lawmaker representing parts of Queens, including Bayside and Flushing. She is the first Asian American elected to Congress from New York. At age 32, she was the first Asian American woman elected to the New York State Legislature.

Attacks on lawmakers are rare, but in early October, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) was assaulted by a bystander in the Longworth House Office Building en route to a vote. In Jan. 2011, then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was severely wounded by an armed assailant in Tucson.

Peter Hermann contributed to this report.

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