WASHINGTON - A fight broke out in Dupont Circle after a comment was made about a Florida man’s “Make America Great Again” hat, according to police.
The Metropolitan Police Department said they responded to the 1200 block of New Hampshire Avenue, NW after a dispute sparked at about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The police report states a “political argument inside of a restaurant” between 32-year-old Louis Travieso of Riverview, Florida and three others spilled out into the streets.
D.C. police told FOX 5 the argument stemmed from comments made about Travieso wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat while inside the restaurant.
Travieso was getting a ride from an Uber driver when he got out of the vehicle in reaction to something that was said to him, according to the police report.
Authorities stated Travieso then assaulted the three victims, identified in the police report as a man and a woman from Manassas, Virginia and a man from Southwest D.C.
Travieso was arrested for assault with significant bodily injury, a felony. The police report classified the incident as a "suspected hate crime” due to anti-political sentiments.
Travieso was later charged by prosecutors with three counts of simple assault, a misdemeanor. He pleaded not guilty on Monday and was released pending his scheduled court date on Sept. 18.
However, Travieso’s lawyer told FOX 5 that this was a matter of self-defense. Jason Kalafat, a partner at Price Benowitz, said Travieso was having dinner at the Grillfish restaurant with his wife and two young daughters when three people began heckling him about his hat. In a statement to FOX 5, Kalafat said:
"Because Mr. Travieso was wearing a Make America Great Again hat, they were targeted and harassed by a group of three people while eating dinner. When the Traviesos were getting into an Uber to leave the restaurant, the group came outside and continued the harassment, ultimately physically confronting Mr. Travieso.
"Mr. Travieso was forced to defend himself against three people in front of his distraught family. This has been a horrible experience for them, made worse by the false allegations made to the police."
According to the Washington Post, two of the victims were treated at a hospital while the third victim was treated by paramedics at the scene.