DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) hosted a press conference Monday morning to announce new legislation and amendments to the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Amendment Act.
Bowser called these changes “plain common sense” in the District’s fight against crime and emphasized the importance of providing law enforcement with additional tools to hold criminals accountable and to promote public safety throughout the District.
The bill will provide the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) with several policy changes including ensuring that officers can review their body-worn camera footage prior to writing their initial police report in certain circumstances, clarifying the distinction between a serious use of force and incidental contact with the neck, making permanent the clarification of vehicular pursuit and defining what information about officer discipline will be posted publicly and more.
Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Lindsey Appiah noted of these changes a need for “balance” both providing the public with transparency and holding officers accountable for their actions and of privacy rights for officers.
This legislation, which, if passed by the DC Council, would include policies that reinstate the ability of the MPD Chief to declare drug-free zones to help prohibit the purchase, sale or use of illegal drugs in public space, create criminal penalties for organized retail theft and reinstating the law that makes it unlawful to wear a mask for the purpose of committing a crime, causing fear or threatening other people.
“This legislation reflects what our community is telling us: they want appropriate accountability for those who choose to commit crimes and inflict fear in our neighborhoods,” Bowser said.
Appiah emphasized the importance of not just combating crime, but as a part of a larger effort to prevent it. “We are simply committed to working with our community and gov partners every day to make the city safer,” Appiah said.
Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at email@example.com.