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Civil Rights Panel to Probe Complaints in Nation’s Capital

May 15, 1991

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A U.S. Civil Rights Commission panel will investigate complaints against police from residents of a largely Hispanic neighborhood struck by street disturbances last week, a spokesman said Tuesday.

″We want to get information to find out what role the commission might take,″ said Edward Darden, spokesman for the group’s state advisory committee which will conduct the investigation.

The FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service are looking into violence last week that resulted in overnight curfews in the Mount Pleasant and Adams Morgan neighborhoods, two miles north of the White House.

The FBI also is investigating the police shooting of Salvadoran immigrant Daniel Gomez, 30, while he was being arrested. Authorities said he attacked a policewoman with a knife. He was listed in fair condition Tuesday.

The Gomez shooting set off two nights of looting, window smashing and rock and bottle throwing.

The civil rights panel announced its investigation Tuesday night at a meeting at which Mount Pleasant residents complained about harassment and discrimination by the police.

Some of the residents said they had been victims of police brutality and harassment.

″Most of this violence is because of misunderstandings,″ said Carlos Alvarengo, a Salvadoran teen-ager. ″When we are arrested, we try to explain things with our hands and they just pull their guns.″

Members of the civilian board urged residents to file complaints with the board about specific allegations of brutality.

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