"As soon as I heard the flash bang and the thudding of shields, I swung open my door," the 44-year-old revealed.
Dozens of demonstrators protesting the inhumane death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer found refuge in an absolute stranger's house on Monday. What was a peaceful protest up until that point took a turn for the worse when police forces herded the protestors into a residential neighborhood where they found themselves boxed in by dozens of officers. Cornered and afraid in the narrow side street, many chanted "Let us through" even as the police inched closer from both ends. Following a tense 15-minute standoff, the officers pounced on them with pepper spray and chemical projectiles, sending the group scrambling for cover.
Tense situation on Swann Street in DC. Cops surrounded protesters and started firing pepper spray. A resident let more than 100 protesters take shelter in his home. “I’m not letting any of these kids out of my sight,” he told me over the phone. pic.twitter.com/Bk6NOIbAwf— Derek Hawkins (@D_Hawk) June 2, 2020
Rahul Dubey—a 44-year-old health-care entrepreneur—had been uneasily watching the frightening scene play out from his front steps, reports The Washington Post. As protestors scattered in a desperate search for shelter, he flung his door open without a moment's hesitation. "I was hanging on my railing yelling, 'Get in the house! Get in the house!'" he recounted. "As soon as I heard the flash bang and the thudding of shields, I swung open my door," Dubey informed The New York Times. He explained that a "tsunami" of demonstrators came barreling through his front door and began scrambled to all three floors of his home.
June 2, 2020
"They were trying three and four to get through the little doorway," he said. Speaking to CNN about the events of the night, one protestor who asked to be identified only as Meka, said: "I guess someone gave an order, and they [the police] just started pushing us, spraying mace, trampling people, and then that's when everybody started panicking."
THE POLICE BOXED IN A GROUP OF PEACEFUL PROTESTERS AND THEN STARTED HITTING AND MACING PEOPLE. A MAN TOOK SOME OF US INTO HIS HOUSE AND THE POLICE HAVE US TRAPPED. THERE ARE PEOPLE STILL TRAPPED IN THE STREET ON 15th AND SWANN pic.twitter.com/H2B2QCup1o— Meka (@MekaFromThe703) June 2, 2020
They shot mace at peaceful protesters is a residential neighborhood. The man who took us in is named Rahul Dubey. He gave us business cards in case they try to say we broke in. pic.twitter.com/gKzmrvCa75— Meka (@MekaFromThe703) June 2, 2020
The 22-year-old revealed that he saw his friend running up the steps into a nearby home where a man was waving for protesters to come in. "I just ran towards the steps ran up the steps and just started to get inside as quick as possible. In the moment, I didn't know if it was the right decision, but I guess it was," he said.
"They were running for their lives, so you open the door"— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 3, 2020
Washington resident Rahul Dubey sheltered 80 protesters in his home to protect them from arresthttps://t.co/y0C5XMdHwc pic.twitter.com/bpOK6bvvK4
Dubey told NPR's All Things Considered that people flowed into his home for about 10 minutes while he yelled directions and hoped they'd all find room inside. "They unleashed sheer hell on peaceful protesters right outside my stoop," he said of the scene outside which he described as pandemonium. "I don't know, I just flung the door open. And I just kept yelling, 'Come in. Get in the house, get in the house.' Literally I can hear skulls being cracked."
The goat 🐐 #RahulDubey pic.twitter.com/Gkt0W4SSyb— ♍️ (@Aj_ybs) June 2, 2020
"It was a full escalator, is what it felt like — just pouring into the house. I was screaming, 'Downstairs! Outside! There's a backyard! Upstairs! There's bedrooms!'" he revealed. "There was this bottleneck, and I didn't want anyone to get crushed, including myself." Allison Lane, a protester who tweeted about the events of the night in real time, said that the protestors inside Dubey's home were coughing and doing whatever they could to ease one another's pain. They eventually calmed down and began helping one another, she recalled, while their host maintained his cool and tried his best to keep them comfortable.
Lots of people are hurt but not terribly. They chased us away from the White House with flash bangs into a residential neighborhood. Nobody is really sure when we’ll be able to leave. The cops are trying to tell us we won’t be arrested if we leave the house. 😒— Allison Lane (@allieblablah) June 2, 2020
Seriously. We in these peoples basement singing Kirk Franklin - Revolution.— Allison Lane (@allieblablah) June 2, 2020
They’re lining people up outside for god only knows what.— Allison Lane (@allieblablah) June 2, 2020
Just talked to the homeowner - Rahul is a boss. Works in healthcare. All he’s asking is if you can get us food and water we’ll be straight. He’s got a network of medical professionals ready to help us. He’s the real hero here.— Allison Lane (@allieblablah) June 2, 2020
So the cops keep sending fake people to the door trying to get in the house. Rahul is not with the shits.— Allison Lane (@allieblablah) June 2, 2020
"Rahul is very calm at this point. A lot of those kids were younger. I think the youngest person in the house was maybe 16. Rahul just gave him ice cream sandwiches. It was really comforting," said the 34-year-old. Meka stated that the police tried several times to get the protesters to come outside and that despite the conditions outside, Dubey managed to have pizza delivered to the house at one point and that some members of the community also brought food.
"I hope that my 13-year-old son grows up to be just as amazing as they are."— ABC 7 News - WJLA (@ABC7News) June 2, 2020
Rahul Dubey opened his home to nearly 70 strangers overnight and sheltered them during D.C.'s curfew. He says our country needs people like THEM.
FULL INTERVIEW: https://t.co/hucxiraHk9 pic.twitter.com/BKFMsTsSgk
Becca Thimmesch lives about two blocks away from Dubey, revealed that she and three other people worked to organize rides to get the young people home once the newly imposed curfew lifted. "Then around five, with an hour of curfew to go, community members started showing up left and right bringing food and water and hand sanitizer and their cars and offering to take people," she said.
#SwannStreet has been liberated!— Alex Taliadoros (@AlexCTaliadoros) June 2, 2020
Shoutout to everyone there who took a stand against police brutality and kept the focus on #BlackLivesMatter and #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd.
Now time to #DivestfromMPD, an utter disgrace for DC. Follow @StopCopTerrorDC and @DMVBlackLives. pic.twitter.com/qDo1OK2S5N
While his actions that evening helped save over 70 demonstrators from arrest and have made him a protest hero, Dubey humbly stated that all he did was open a door. "I didn’t do anything. I just opened a door. What they did was special. There’s nothing special about what I did."
Rahul saved lives last night. He ended this with an inspirational speech about not giving up and keeping up the peaceful fight. What a guy. Thank you Rahul. #SwannStreet #savejenny pic.twitter.com/e0SETLcSpw— BLACKLIVESMATTER (@kikivonfreaki) June 2, 2020