As officers boxed in dozens of protesters in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington D.C. around 10 p.m. Monday night, determined to make an arrest for breaking the law and escalation of potential violence, Rahul Dubey allowed them to seek refuge in his home, starting what became known on social media as #trappedinDC.
Dubey, a 44-year-old first generation Indian American who owns a healthcare innovations company, was sitting on his porch when he noticed the protesters being chased down by the police. "It was a human tsunami," he said, per Washington Post. "I was hanging on my railing yelling, 'Get in the house! Get in the house!" Dubey kept those protesters, which was around 70 people, on the three floors and gated backyard of his home for hours as police surrounded the residence, even firing pepper spray to force them out.
Dubey told DCist that he went outside twice to speak with police, but received arrest threats. He said officers came up to the door to ask them to leave, promising that they wouldn't be arrested. "We weren’t budging, because there’s 90 cops with batons and shields, and you just attacked us right?," he said. "And we’re going to send people out?"
One of the sheltered protesters, who goes by Meka, shared his account of the standoff with police.
With limited available food, Dubey was allowed to order pizza for them as they waited for the curfew to end.
Meka said officers also tried to break into the backyard of Dubey's home, telling them that could leave without getting arrested, among other methods.
Shortly after 6 a.m. Tuesday, the protesters were able to leave, and head home safely.
"I opened a door," Dubey said. "You would have done the same thing."