Man Arrested on Capitol Steps After Scuffle

Posted July 9, 2009 at 2:48pm

Capitol Police arrested a man Thursday morning after he attempted to enter the Rotunda from the exterior steps of the Capitol.Abdifatah Suleiman, 47, became violent after officers commanded him to leave the restricted area, “striking officers and resisting arrest,— according to a Capitol Police press release.Officers found him about 10 a.m. — around the same time that 26 AIDS activists had chained themselves inside the Rotunda. In that incident, officers shut down the landmark area and arrested 11 men and 15 women.But Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said Suleiman was not affiliated with the demonstrators, who were protesting President Barack Obama’s failure to fully fund AIDS programs and lift a federal ban on funding needle exchanges.Suleiman, who is from Tennessee, did not say why he was trying to get into the Rotunda, Schneider said, though he was yelling and screaming something unintelligible.After a struggle, officers searched him and found a “green leafy substance.— He was arrested and charged with assault on a police officer, assault with a deadly weapon (shod foot), unlawful entry, disorderly conduct, failure to obey a police officer and possession of marijuana.Police described the assault with a deadly weapon charge as a “shod foot— because Suleiman had used his “shod— or “shoed— feet as a potentially deadly weapon as he kicked the officers.