Gay Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Robert Leo Dwyer, who was charged on July 28 with assaulting a man in front of the McDonald’s restaurant on 17th Street, N.W. near Dupont Circle, has dropped out of his race for re-election.
According to information released by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics on Thursday, Dwyer, 32, did not submit the petitions signatures required to be placed on the ballot in November by the deadline of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6.
Dwyer’s withdrawal from the race leaves Dupont Circle civic activist Justine Underhill as the only candidate running for Dwyer’s ANC 2B07 seat.
A D.C. police arrest affidavit says Dwyer allegedly assaulted Rinaldo Jones by spraying him “with an unknown liquid substance from a squirt bottle” after yelling a racial slur at him shortly before 3 a.m. on July 28.
“The complainant stated that defendant Dwyer was throwing homeless peoples’ belongings into the street and spraying the area with an unknown liquid substance from a squirt bottle,” the affidavit says. “The complainant didn’t know what the liquid was but stated that it had a chemical odor and was irritating the skin on his arms,” according to the affidavit.
The affidavit says D.C. Fire Department medical technicians later “treated the complainant for irritated skin.”
The affidavit says a witness on the scene who knew Dwyer told police Dwyer was an ANC commissioner, worked as a bartender at the 17th Street, N.W. gay bar JR.’s, and lived on 17th Street a short distance from where the alleged assault occurred.
After contacting Dwyer at his residence, two D.C. police detectives invited him to come to the Third District police station for an interview and he agreed to do so, the affidavit says.
“Defendant Dwyer confirmed that he had strewn homeless peoples’ personal property about the street and sidewalk,” the affidavit says, “because the area had a bad odor due to the homeless population.”
It says Dwyer also confirmed that he sprayed a person who fits the description of Rinaldo Jones with what he called a household cleaning product.
“When asked if he used any racial slurs during the offense, defendant Dwyer stated, ‘I don’t think so,’” says the affidavit.
In a court appearance last week a D.C. Superior Court judge released Dwyer on his own recognizance on the condition that he does not “assault, threaten, harass, or stalk” Jones. He is scheduled to appear in court for a status hearing on Aug. 25.
Dwyer didn’t respond to a phone message from the Blade seeking comment.
Will Stephens, chair of Dupont Circle ANC 2B, told the Dupont Current that the situation surrounding Dwyer’s action as a sitting ANC member was “unprecedented.” He told the Current the commission might take formal action depending on the outcome of the upcoming court proceedings. Stephens’ comments to the Current came before Dwyer’s decision not to seek re-election became public knowledge.
JR.’s manager David Perruzza told the Blade he could not comment other than to say “Leo has never said a racial slur at work and is known as one of our nicest bartenders, and customers love him.” Perruzza added, “I don’t know what happened that night.”