Sources: Man claiming self-defense in attack of David Mercer - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Sources: Man claiming self-defense in attack of political consultant David Mercer

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WASHINGTON -

There is new information in an incident involving political consultant David Mercer, who was knocked unconscious outside a Capitol Hill convenience store on the night of July 12.

A two-week investigation has revealed the man who hit Mercer claims the punch was in self-defense.

When the story first broke last week, some media outlets showed video of what appeared to be a man stealing a phone from the counter of a 7-Eleven where Mercer was shopping. The reports indicated the theft precipitated an attack on Mercer outside the store.

But law enforcement sources say there was never any stolen phone and the video may have given viewers the false impression there was.

Sources say when Mercer walked into the store just after 10 p.m. on July 12, the video captured by a surveillance camera shows him talking on a cell phone. The video also captured a man slipping a phone into his pocket.

According to law enforcement sources that have seen the unedited video, Mercer may have thought the man took his phone. Sources say Mercer put his hand into the man's pocket and that may have started an altercation.

Once he stepped outside, law enforcement sources say David Mercer was hit once in the face and fell to the ground hitting his head, knocking him unconscious. Sources say what precipitated the punch is still unclear because the stories the witnesses are telling are not consistent.

A few days after the incident, police told reporters they were fairly confident they knew what happened to Mercer and he was not attacked at random.

"What I can say at this point in time, this is not a random assault," said Commander George Kucik. "We do not believe this involved a robbery, but there was a dispute between the complainant and another individual and it turned physical at some point."

Police say they have interviewed everyone involved.

Investigators have also spoken to Mercer, but it is unclear if he has been able to give detectives an account of what took place.

D.C. Police say they will leave the final decision on charges up to prosecutors in the U.S. Attorneys Office.


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