WASHINGTON (WJLA) - A commissioner with the District's Advisory Neighborhood Commission is accused of assaulting and yelling racial slurs at a homeless man in Dupont Circle, in what a police report suggests was an unprovoked attack.
Commissioner 2B07 Leo Dwyer, who announced earlier this month he is seeking reelection, serves as the chair of his local Zoning, Preservation & Development Committee, according to the Dupont Circle ANC 2B website. Now, he is also facing serious charges in an alleged hate crime.
Metropolitan Police say someone approached a homeless man on the corner of 17th and Corcoran streets NW around 3 a.m. Monday, and sprayed him with a liquid before shouting, "I'm sick of you ni***rs like that sleeping on the street," and scattering his belongings.
Dupont Circle residents were stunned to hear that police arrested 32-year-old Dwyer for the crime on Thursday morning, charging him with assault and a hate crime.
"I know we have a lot of homeless in the area, and I can imagine frustration with that, but that's not how you react," said resident Jean Hughes. "I'm just very, very sorry to hear it."
"It is too bad that somebody who is elected acts in this way," resident Roberto Moreno added. "These people deserve compassion."
The vice chairman of the Dupont Circle ANC told ABC 7 News by phone, "If the charges are true, they are abhorrent. And it does not represent the attitudes of the ANCs or the neighborhood."
Though many area residents told ABC 7 News that neighbors make a special effort to reach out and help the homeless, former homeless woman Crystal Derbin says she is not at all surprised by the allegations against Dwyer.
"They're very nasty to homeless people in this city, I can say that," she said. "All around the city."
Dwyer, who is due in court Aug. 25, did not respond to ABC 7 News' requests for comment.