10 Teens Arrested After Fracas at Metro Station

By Martin Weil and Steven Ginsberg
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Ten teenage girls were arrested at the Anacostia Metro station yesterday after a fist-swinging, hair-pulling brawl, authorities said.

The fighting, which may have involved 15 or 20 girls, occurred on the underground Metrorail platform and in the aboveground bus departure and arrival areas at the station, according to Metro Transit Police and rail passengers.

Pepper spray was used aboveground to quell the melee. An adult woman, who may be a relative of one of the teenagers, also was arrested after the 4:30 p.m. disturbance, according to Polly Hanson, chief of the Transit Police.

At least one girl was taken to a hospital, and others also may have undergone medical treatment, Hanson said.

She said some bystanders at the station on Howard Road SE might have been affected by the pepper spray. On a typical day, the station is used by more than 20,000 bus passengers on a dozen bus routes.

A woman who arrived at the Green Line station by Metrorail after the disturbance had been quelled said, "When I got off, I saw hair everywhere."

She also said she saw "a whole bunch of blood" on the train platform.

Names could not be obtained for any of those arrested.

The disturbance came after the end of the school day, and it appeared to have involved girls on their way home from classes. It was not clear what schools they attended.

"We don't know what the beef is," Hanson said. "This is purportedly an ongoing thing with a bunch of girls. They decided they would meet there and fight."

She said that "their parents knew about it and came, too." She could not clarify a relationship between the adult woman who was arrested and any of the others.

Reports in the neighborhood, according to another law enforcement official, said the fighting may have stemmed from "a schoolyard dispute."

Lendia Johnson, an Advisory Neighborhood Commission member who lives not far from the station, said she was "truly shocked" to hear about the goings-on. She also said she believed that the city has been experiencing an upsurge in violent confrontations involving girls.

One Green Line rider said that shortly before the brawl was reported, she was on a train with a large number of girls who were taunting another girl and creating "a lot of commotion."

She said the girl being taunted got off at Anacostia Station, followed by many of the others, and she said she believed that fighting began at that point.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company