D.C. police on Tuesday charged a 19-year-old D.C. man with assault for a July 30 incident in which five lesbians reported being attacked and beaten by two men outside the Columbia Heights Metro station.
In a statement released late Tuesday, police said detectives from the department’s Third District announced the arrest of Christian Washington of Northwest D.C. on a charge of assault after obtaining a D.C. Superior Court warrant.
“The Metropolitan Police Department is still investigating whether others were involved,” the statement says.
The case has attracted widespread attention after two of the victims told the Blade that police officers responding to the scene of the attack refused to take a report of the incident. The two women also said the officers released a suspect they apprehended upon their arrival on the 3100 block of 14th Street, N.W., where the incident occurred.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier issued a statement on Aug. 5 saying she was “appalled” over the conduct of the officers who responded to the scene of the incident. She said the department would conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.
One day earlier, she told members of the D.C. group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence that officers failing to take a report of a crime similar to this one could be fired from the department depending on the findings of an investigation.
An officer with the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit did take a report of the incident on Aug. 2. The report prepared by the GLLU officer listed the incident as an anti-lesbian hate crime.
The report says the victims reported that at least one of the two male attackers called the women “dykes” and “bitches” before he and another man punched each of the five women in the head and face several times.
Court records show that D.C. police charged a man named Christian Washington with unauthorized use of a vehicle on July 27, just three days before the attack against the five lesbians. The Blade could not immediately determine whether the Christian Washington charged in the unauthorized use of a vehicle case is the same person as the man charged with assaulting the five lesbians.
The four-paragraph police statement released Tuesday doesn’t say whether the charge filed against Washington was listed as a misdemeanor or felony assault or whether it was listed as a hate crime.
More information about the case was expected to emerge on Wednesday, when Washington was expected to appear in court for a hearing.
“I appreciate the personal interest that Chief Lanier has shown in this case and the fact that the MPD announced an arrest in the case today,” said D.C. gay activist Peter Rosenstein. “I anticipate there may be more arrests, and the LGBT community needs to follow up and make sure that the officers who mishandled this are disciplined or fired.”