In May of 1991, street riots broke out in Mount Pleasant, Washington, D. The streets were filled with rocks, bottles, burning buildings and clouds of tear gas as police in riot gear pursued groups of young adults through the predominantly Hispanic areas of Mount Pleasant. The 1991 riots in Mount Pleasant were important because they were a pivotal time in the history of Mount Pleasant and Washington, D.C.
The riots began as a disturbance involving Hispanic young adults after an officer shot a Hispanic man. Police said that this man was detained for public drinking. This shooting quickly turned into a rampage of African-American and Hispanic young adults. These riots consisted of dozens of relatively small groups moving throughout one particular area of Washington, D.C. The safeway on Columbia Road was broken into and was robbed of an automatic cash-dispensing machine, food, liquor, clothing, money and other items as well. Many other stores were broken into and robbed as well which put all of Mount Pleasant into an immediate state of shock.
There was more to what sparked the riots that just the shooting. Many local Hispanics had been complaining of second class treatment from the police for some time. "The police believe we're all dumb, illegal and drunk," said Mario Vasquez, a construction worker originally from Honduras. "They don't treat us as well as they treat blacks. We call them - they come two hours later. If we are standing around on the streets, they tell us to move on. They don't do that to blacks." Vasquez also discussed how cultural differences can be confusing, "At home [in Central America] people drink outside and it is not against the law." He also discussed how socioeconomic status affected how the police behaved, ".if we had big houses and air conditioning, we wouldn't have to stand in the streets." .
Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon enforced a curfew after youths, for the second night, engaged in street violence.