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What can I do in DC of the USA when verbally threathened in road rage ?

 
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Traveled to Washington DC.  A crazy road rage driver lost control and rushed to my vehicle and bang my window and verbally threatened to beat me, then he walked away.   I stayed in the car all the time.   want to know --- Under such circumstances, what kind self defense US law in DC allows driver to take ?  Shooting? Stun gun ? pepper spray ?
 
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I'm fairly certain none of the above. Are you seriously considering actual violence in response to verbal abuse?
 
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By coincidence, I was just reading about "stand your ground" in the USA just a few days ago, and I believe DC and Vermont are the only jurisdictions in the USA where you have the duty to retreat at all times, even in your car and home. I think you're only allowed to use self-defense if there is no way to retreat without causing yourself serious harm, and even then the defense has to be proportionate to the threat, i.e. you can not shoot a man because he threatened to beat you.

In the case of road rage, your best bet is to avoid all contact with the other driver, and if they become violent or threaten you, note their licence plate number and call the police.
 
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That kind of behavior is at least "menacing" which can be a misdemeanor or a felony. I'm not a lawyer but you should definitely consult one if you really want to make a complaint. If you can, record the encounter. I have a dashcam system that also takes video of what's happening to the rear of my vehicle. Or just use your cell phone, if it has that capability. You can use the footage as evidence to support any formal complaint.
 
Linwood Hayes
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Thanks.  I didn't call police this time although I think there is monitor camera there.    About ten years ago, I experienced a minor hit-and-run, a car hit my car bumper from behind but didn't cause much damage, the driver just drove away.  I called police that time.  To my surprise, the police didn't want to help find out who was the driver, etc.  They checked my bumper and didn't think it was serious enough for them to pursue the case.  I also learned that, if they really identify the other driver, the case would require me to exchange my personal info with that driver.  so the policeman even sort of suggested me not to do it, since there wasn't much visible damage at all.  I was pretty disappointed from that experience since I got an impression that police wouldn't take such minor case seriously.

This time the other driver bang my window pretty hard but there was no damage for the window either.   I figured  the police would not bother either.   if all the cop would do is just to help exchange the info with that idiot, then I have no interest in doing it this way.  Why would I be interested to let the cop do nothing but help me make such non sense info exchange ?
 
Stephan van Hulst
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It was probably about insurance info in the first case. They're obviously not going to tell you to exchange info with somebody who threatened you.
 
Linwood Hayes
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Stephan van Hulst wrote:It was probably about insurance info in the first case. They're obviously not going to tell you to exchange info with somebody who threatened you.



Thanks Stephan, I think you are right.  I will take a note.  Just want to hear how other people would do under my situation (the recent incident, not the one 10 years ago) -- Do you think I should have called police given the fact there was no actual personal harm or property damage, except verbal threat and some rude/loud bang on my window ?  
 
Stephan van Hulst
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Yes. A threat is a threat, and you could not have known whether it would escalate. Some angry people get even more angry when you *don't* engage them. Just get on your phone as soon as they start banging on your window and make sure to note the licence plate. Often that will be enough to scare off the assailant, but even so you will want to make a report of it.
 
Linwood Hayes
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Stephan van Hulst wrote:Yes. A threat is a threat, and you could not have known whether it would escalate. Some angry people get even more angry when you *don't* engage them. Just get on your phone as soon as they start banging on your window and make sure to note the licence plate. Often that will be enough to scare off the assailant, but even so you will want to make a report of it.



Thanks.  But last time (ten years ago) it was also in DC, the driver hit and run, I had his plate number, but the policeman basically didn't want to bother to do anything.  I was disappointed so I didn't give up, I drove to the nearby police station.  Another police man basically said the same thing to me, I guess this bad experience discouraged me to call cop that time.  Anyway, I think you made a good point.

Now it has been several days.  I think the driver was from that community and if the police really wanted to find out, they should be able to since there should be camera there.  Do you think I should go ahead to pursue it or let it go ?
 
Stephan van Hulst
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It's up to you and how you think it will make you feel. But note that even if the police decide not to do anything with your report, you will still have done your part.
 
Linwood Hayes
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Stephan van Hulst wrote:It's up to you and how you think it will make you feel. But note that even if the police decide not to do anything with your report, you will still have done your part.



Just FYI --- The police (ten years ago) created no report at all.  They basically didn't take it serious.  I was totally disappointed by DC police
 
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I'm thinking that nowadays, the most effective response *at the time* might be to start recording a video.  Doesn't help you much now if you didn't do it then, of course. . But it would give you options, including possible shaming on social media, or backing up your account to the police, if the behavior warrants it.
 
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Linwood Hayes wrote:Traveled to Washington DC.  A crazy road rage driver lost control and rushed to my vehicle and bang my window and verbally threatened to beat me, then he walked away.   I stayed in the car all the time.   want to know --- Under such circumstances, what kind self defense US law in DC allows driver to take ?  Shooting? Stun gun ? pepper spray ?



You might want to look up self defense laws for your state. However, avoid shooting anyone unless it is absolutely "unavoidable". It is possible that violence might be unnecessary (as you saw in your case) and there is also the challenge of proving self defense in court after shooting someone.

I guess you should try to leave the scene quickly if it was clearly not your fault and head to the nearest police station to report the incident. If there is no way to leave quickly, then stay in the car, with the windows locked and your window slightly open (to hear him). Record the incident with your cell phone until you can leave. If you can't leave and the guy seems crazy, then call 911 and put it on loud speaker.

For the future, I would recommend getting a high quality dash camera with front and back cameras for your car. If needed, get 24 hour parking mode recording by supplying an external battery to the cameras. Optionally, buy a cheap, easily removable, camera for any rental cars. You could get a body camera also, like some bike riders do, in addition to car cameras. But, this is probably an overkill.

It is difficult or impossible to prevent crazy people from getting guns legally. Moreover, I doubt if there are any mandatory training programs to train people to use guns responsibly. Heck! even the police mistakenly shoot people sometimes, despite whatever training they get. Until those problems are fixed, you'll have to accept the (even if small) possibility of getting shot.

MISC - some articles from recent news that are worth reading.
You should avoid getting out of car and if you still need to, then maintain sufficient distance between yourself and the other driver.
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/02/14/san-jose-man-knocked-unconscious-during-parking-dispute/

Self defense in road rage case.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/prosecutors-wont-charge-motorcyclist-who-fatally-shot-a-man-in-road-rage-incident-near-tacoma/

Good luck and stay safe. TIA - This is America.
 
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