Progressive DC Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed new legislation that would roll back much of the progressive police reforms passed by the city council following the death of George Floyd in March 2020.Bowser’s announcement on Monday came as the nation’s capitol faces a spike in violent crime. Critics have long said the reforms made it more difficult for Metropolitan Police Department officers to enforce public safety.In addition to nixing the liberal reforms, the new proposal would also target organized retail thefts and open-air drug markets in the city.“We need to act now, and we need to send the strong message that violence is not acceptable in our city — and this perception that people have that you can commit a brazen crime and get away with it has got to stop,” the mayor said at a news conference Monday. “This legislation will change that.”“We have to have a policy environment that allows us to recruit and retain officers, and not lose our officers to the surrounding jurisdictions because our policy environment makes them scared to do their job,” she added.Bowser’s proposal — dubbed the Addressing Crime Trends Now, or ACT Now, bill — would specifically clarify or amend parts of the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Amendment Act, a progressive reform passed by city officials in December, according to Bloomberg.The ACT Now bill would limit circumstances under which information about officer disciplinary actions are revealed to the public, for instance, negating a provision of the police reform bill that created a database of police disciplinary files that were eligible for open records requests.Another provision of the bill would clarify the law’s definition of a chokehold, which Metropolitan police said was so broad that even “incidental” police contact with a suspect’s neck during an arrest was considered a serious use of force.It would also allow police officers to view body-worn camera footage before they write up their police report — which officers say can shield them from making any inconsistencies that could be used against them in court.Additionally, language in the bill would specify what use-of-force incidents necessitate the release of body-worn camera footage to the public, and would amend the city’s restrictions on vehicular pursuits — allowing officers to once again engage in a chase if they believe a person has committed a crime and poses an imminent threat to others, and if they believe the chase would not endanger others, according to DCist.Speaking of the police reforms this legislation seeks to undo, Bower said the changes “don’t match the daily practice of safe and effective policing.”“I think they were well-intentioned, and all of us following the murder of George Floyd wanted to make sure we were doing everything possible to make sure we had a safe and constitutional police reform,” she said.But, she added, “I think some of the reforms have made our communities less safe.”Bowser went on to describe the suggested rules as “plain common sense” as she seeks to crack down on open-air drug markets and organized retail thefts.The new bill would make it illegal for anyone over 16 to wear a mask in a public area or demonstration with the intent of engaging in criminal activity, and make it a felony to shoplift more than $1,000 worth of merchandise or to steal 10 or more items worth at least $250 over the course of 30 days.It also spells out first-degree penalties for fencing stolen goods or engaging in return fraud, while also creating a new crime for organizing retail theft punishable by up to 15 years in prison.The ACT Now bill would also restore the War on Drugs-era police chief’s authority to declare an area a drug-free zone.Drug-free zones would be determined based on Metropolitan Police Department surveillance data, as well as concerns from community members.A similar law was repealed in the city back in 2014 over fears it may be unconstitutional. The repeal was backed by then-councilmember Bowser.She refused to say why she voted for the repeal back then and why she is changing her mind now, according to the Washington Post.Instead, she simply said: “Part of the reason we call this Addressing Crime Trends Now is that we want to blunt a trend we see in open-air drug dealing that we have pretty much squelched in the city, and we don’t want that problem to proliferate.”Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, another Democrat, said he was “disappointed” in the proposal.“Residents are concerned about gun violence, robberies and carjackings,” he told the Washington Post. “This proposal does not address gun violence, robberies and carjackings.“Instead, it trots out ‘solutions’ like recreating drug free zones.”But Acting Police Chief Pamela A. Smith said the proposal is a step in the right direction.“Residents have very real complaints about drug transactions they are witnessing in public spaces,” she said at the news conference.“This serves as another tool for our MPD officers to address drug-related crime on our district streets and protect the public from dangers” associated with dealing.Homicides in DC have reached their highest rate in more than 20 years in just the first six months of this year, and the number of carjackings committed in the city surpassed 800 this weekend — a 108% increase over the same time last year.Thefts in the city that do not involve vehicles are up 22% compared to the same time last last year, but remained below what the city experienced before the pandemic in 2018 and 2019, and the number of burglaries is roughly the same as it was last year — as it remains below pre-pandemic levels.Overall, violent crime is up 41%.
24 Ekim 2023 - 21:55
DC mayor proposes rolling back progressive police reforms amid spike in violent crimes
Progressive DC Mayor Muriel Bowser is proposing new legislation that would roll back much of the progressive police reforms passed by the city council following the death of George Floyd in March 2…
24 Ekim 2023 - 21:55