Vicky Arias, FISM News
Controversy over police reform continues to rise between House Republicans and the majority-Democrat Washington D.C. Council as two House Republicans introduce legislation to strike down police reform measures enacted by the D.C. Council in January 2023 which they refer to as “anti-police.”
The legislation is likely to be heard on Wednesday during a crime and safety hearing conducted by the House Oversight Committee. The hearing comes less than two weeks after a bipartisan law passed Congress nullifying a recent Council change to the Washington, D.C. criminal code.
RETURNING POWER TO POLICE
Republican Reps. Andrew Clyde (Ga.) and Andrew Garbarino (N.Y.) called for the D.C. Council’s recent police accountability measure, called the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2022, to be dissolved.
The act, according to the Daily Caller, “reduces police power amid rising crime in the district.”
The D.C. Council measure affects policing by:
- Restricting circumstances in which the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) may use riot gear and non-lethal methods to disperse protests
- Limiting MPD acquisitions of military weaponry – like .50 caliber or higher firearms, drones, and armored vehicles
- Including civilians on disciplinary boards
- Prohibiting body-worn camera reviews when writing reports
- Allowing police to engage in vehicular chases only under strict circumstances
- Reducing collective bargaining agreements for law enforcement members
In a recent press release, Garbarino asserted that “for years, Democrats in Washington and New York have vilified law enforcement, gutting morale, enacting policies that prevent officers from effectively doing their jobs, and inciting violent anti-police sentiment.”
Clyde cited a “mass exodus of police officers” from the capital’s Metropolitan Police Department and a “crime crisis” in the nation’s capital city.
“As the Metropolitan Police Department grapples with the District’s ongoing crime crisis amidst a historic staff shortage, the D.C. Council is determined to enact a deeply flawed bill that prevents officers from effectively protecting and serving Americans in Washington,” Clyde said.
“Alarmingly, this misguided law will inevitably jeopardize the [Metropolitan Police Department’s] ongoing efforts to recruit and retain officers, worsening an already serious problem … we must now move to swiftly block this anti-police measure to ensure our nation’s capital city is safe for all Americans,” Clyde continued.
Tensions over police reform come as crime in D.C. has been on the rise.
Data from the MPD reflects that, compared to the same time last year, homicides in the nation’s capital are up 16%, sex abuse crimes are up by 105%, motor vehicle thefts have risen by 108%, and total overall crime rates in all categories combined have risen by 22%.
In a press release on the upcoming House Oversight hearing on crime and safety, Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) said that “Congress has sent a clear message to the D.C. Council: it’s time to make our nation’s capital safe again … but radical left-wing policies have led to a crime crisis, a declining educational system, and a diminishing tax base.”
Just one week ago, President Joe Biden signed a bill that nullified a recent attempt by the D.C. Council to reform the district’s criminal code. The bill received overwhelming bipartisan approval in both chambers of Congress.