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'Trying to stay alive': 70 protesters sheltered in stranger's home during D.C.'s curfew

Protesters who sheltered in Rahul Dubey's Northwest D.C. home exit on Tuesday morning. (ABC7 Photo)
Protesters who sheltered in Rahul Dubey's Northwest D.C. home exit on Tuesday morning. (ABC7 Photo)
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A D.C. man says he sheltered about 70 protesters who were allegedly corralled and pepper-sprayed by police on Monday night in Northwest. The curfew in the District ended at 6 a.m., and the protesters left his home safely and peacefully.

Taylor, who was sheltering in Rahul Dubey's home all night, describes the moments leading up to entering his home. She says she felt like she was going to die.

Andre, who was also sheltering in Dubey's home, says he feels relief and is happy everyone got through it together.

Listen to Dubey's narrative of the story in the video below.


Dubey says at about 8:30 p.m., he was sitting outside and saw police set up a brigade on 15 St. and Swann St. that turned into a holding area. People started sitting on his porch and asked if they could charge their phone and use his bathroom, Dubey says.

MORE COVERAGE: 'Shameful!' D.C. Mayor criticizes Trump, police for forcefully moving peaceful protesters

To hear more of Dubey's account, listen to his conversation with ABC7's Kristen Powers below.

Some of the protesters in Dubey's house have been tweeting about the experience, and say they were pepper-sprayed by police. A full interview with Dubey and Lane is in the video above.

Councilmember Charles Allen has been vocal about the situation, adding that the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety Oversight of Protests will be looking into "incidents where individual rights or personal safety may have been violated by law enforcement." He added in a statement that the council has no jurisdiction over federal law enforcement.

"This specifically includes a review into the activities last night along Swann St., NW," Allen also wrote.

"Residents should also know that the District has an independent, civilian police complaints agency – the Office of Police Complaints – with jurisdiction over the Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Housing Authority Police Department. OPC maintains a 24-hour hotline at 1-866-588-0569, and online complaint filing is available online."

He added that residents who were affected during the Swann St. incident are encouraged to reach out to the committee via email.

Allen ended the statement with:

"Finally, I want to remind everyone that the DC Council does not have any authority over the federal government agencies who have been brought in by President Trump or otherwise have jurisdiction over federal lands – it is one more reason why the District of Columbia must be the 51st State and maintain complete autonomy over our affairs. The escalation of federal agents and military helicopters is outrageous, deliberately provocative, and making the situation more dangerous, cracking down on Americans peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights."

On Monday night, this is what Swann St. looked like as police officers covered the streets.

Austin Beach is from Baltimore but came to D.C. for the protests. When he heard about the people sheltering in the home on Swann St., he wanted to stop by, make sure they were okay, and stand in solidarity with them. He says it's his obligatory duty.

We have to use our privilege and what we have to protect people in whatever way that we can.

Wednesday, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said the allegations of police using excessive force on Swann Street will be investigated.

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