Clifton B. Smith, a key staff and political aide to Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.), has been charged with slugging a D.C. police officer during an argument over a parking ticket on Smith's car.
The 39-year-old Smith became angered, according to police, after Officer Max P. T. Sacks ticketed Smith's black Porche for being illegally parked in a no parking zone at 400 North Capitol St., 22 minutes after Thursday's evening rush hour began.
Smith, who was Fauntroy's 1978 campaign manager and has headed the congressman's field office here for the last four years, asked Sacks to tear up the ticket. But the officer, citing police regulations against such a practice, refused, police said.
Sacks summoned another policeman when Smith became unruly, police said. But before the second officer arrived, Smith allegedly hit Sacks with his fist on the bridge of Sack's nose, knocking off the policeman's glasses, according to Sgt. Don Pope.
Pope said Sacks swung back at Smith and the two officers then wrestled Smith to the ground, handcuffed him and arrested him.
As Smith was being led to a police car, Pope said the congressional aide shouted to a woman in a nearby parked car, "Did you see what happened? Did you see what happened? I want you to be a witness!"
Pope said the woman responded, "Yes, I saw what happened and I will be a witness for the officer."
Police declined to identify the woman, other than to say that she is 52 years old.
Police said Sacks was treated for minor injuries to his nose, neck and the fingers on his right hand at Washington Hospital Center and released. Smith was uninjured.
Smith, who joined Fauntroy's staff as a special assistant in 1975 before being promoted to direct the field office a year later, was charged with assaulting a police officer. If convicted of the felony charge, Smith faces up to five years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine or both.
Superior Court Chief Judge H. Carl Moultrie I released Smith on personal recognizance bond Thursday night, pending a preliminary hearing in the case sometime within the next 20 days.
Fauntroy declined comment on the incident. A Fauntroy spokesman said Smith would continue working for the congressman.