A local elected official is charged with assault after an incident police are investigating as a hate crime.
Rodney Miller has lived on the streets of D.C. for years, including the past few on 17th Street near Dupont Circle. About 3 a.m. Monday, he returned to his spot to find his belongings strewn across the street.
“He threw all of my stuff across the street, threw my medicine in the trash,” Miller said. “I had to search about three hours in the trash can to find my medicine. See, I’m a diabetic.”
According to police charging documents, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Leo Dwyer threw Miller’s belongings into the street and began spraying them with a liquid.
A passerby told police he noticed Dwyer "acting crazy" and then Dwyer used a racial slur toward that passerby and sprayed him with the liquid, irritating the skin on his arms. D.C. Fire and EMS treated the irritation.
Miller didn't see Dwyer spray the man but said Dwyer has harassed him in the past.
“I’d say it was my second encounter with the dude,” Miller said. “He came past with his black dog and he started throwing my stuff in the street.”
Dwyer admitted throwing Miller’s belongings in the street and spraying them with a disinfectant because of the bad odor caused by the homeless population, police said. He also admitted spraying the passerby, who filed the complaint with police.
When asked if he used a racial slur during the altercation, Dwyer said, “I don’t think so.”
Dwyer is charged with simple assault. Police are investigating it as a hate crime. D.C. law has a provision allowing for increased penalties for crimes against the homeless
A fellow commissioner, who did not want to be identified but told News4 Dwyer was elected in 2012 and serves as chair of the ANC Zoning Committee, said Dwyer doing something like this is shocking.