Mt. Pleasant riot: 1991
What is called the Mount Pleasant riot was an uprising by primarily Salvadoran immigrants in May 1991 after police shot and wounded a Salvadoran man during a Cinco de Mayo festival.

Mount Pleasant was a diverse community in Washington, D.C. roughly bounded by 16th Street, Harvard Street and Rock Creek Park in northwest.

Police moved to arrest three men for public drinking on May 5, 1991 during the street festival.

The version of events differ from this point with the police claiming that Daniel Enrique Gomez moved toward an officer with a knife while handcuffs dangled from one arm.

Three witnesses testified at Gomez trial that he was on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back when he was shot and that he had no knife.

While the injured man lay handcuffed on the ground, crowds of youths, mixed with a few older adults, began attacking police with rocks, bottles and bricks.

Many in the neighborhood were veterans of the long civil war in El Salvador which was just winding down at that time. They were unintimidated by the police.

Police began to retreat while they called reinforcements, but a burgeoning crowd began setting police, transit vehicles and some buildings afire while others looted stores. A battle between police who fired tear gas and the crowd that responded with whatever objects were available continued late into the night.

The city tried to calm the neighborhood the next day with a community meeting, but by dusk rocks, bottles and tear gas were again filling the streets. Fires were again set, vehicles burned and stores looted.

Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelley imposed a curfew and more than 80 people were arrested—mostly for minor crimes. On the third night a crowd again gathered and confronted police, but were quickly dispersed. By the end of the third night, the neighborhood, flooded with police, was calm.

In the aftermath, residents roundly criticized police for harassment and demanded more attention from the city. Authorities prosecuted Gomez, but his case ended in a mistrial.
2 photos · 73 views