The U.S. attorney's office is examining the shooting of a Hispanic man by a police officer that sparked two nights of violence in the nation's capital, Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon said Wednesday.
Riot-equipped police imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew Tuesday night, driving out crowds and answering hurled rocks, bottles and insults of the two previous nights with 60 arrests and patrols that occupied the usually busy district."Independently (of the city police), the U.S. attorney's office is looking into it and independently of that, I think the civil rights division of the Department of Justice is looking into it," said Dixon.
A spokeswoman at the Justice Department said she had no information about an investigation and spokesmen for the federal prosecutor and the FBI were not immediately available for comment.
The initial rampage followed the gunshot wounding of a Hispanic man by a rookie policewoman. Police said the man drew a knife as the officer attempted to arrest him and several others after they challenged her warning about drinking in public.
Some residents disputed the police account, saying the man, Daniel Gomez, had been handcuffed when he was shot.
Gomez was listed in critical condition Tuesday and charged with assaulting a police officer.
Political leaders, meanwhile, grappled with community complaints that the violence grew from longstanding frustrations over joblessness, police harassment and other problems in the Hispanic community.
Streets normally filled with people were virtually empty Tuesday night and the windows of fashionable nightspots were boarded over. Only the police, reporters and residents who wore police-issued arm bands patrolled the area as citizen observers walked Mount Pleasant Street, where the shooting of a Hispanic man during his arrest Sunday night sparked the unrest.
Police chief Isaac Fulwood Jr. sent some 1,000 officers into the area, including all of the department's 108 Spanish-speaking officers.
In all, 107 people were arrested over the two nights, many charged with curfew violations that carry maximum fines of $300 and 10 days in jail.