(The Center Square)
The US Senate voted 81 to 14 on Wednesday to overturn the Washington, DC City Council’s plan to reduce sentences for a range of criminal offenses. Biden had expressed support for the congressional intervention.
As noted earlier, the bill would have reduced maximum penalties for offenses such as murder, armed robbery, armed robbery with home invasion, armed carjacking, illegal possession of firearms and certain sexual assault offences.
Late Wednesday, 33 Democratic senators voted with Republicans to block criminal penalty reform in a rare exercise of Congressional jurisdiction over the capital. Total crime is up 25% in DC so far this year.
The plan has drawn bipartisan opposition, including from the city’s Democratic mayor, Muriel Bowser.
After the pushback, City Council Speaker Phil Mendelson announced he was withdrawing a controversial crime law from congressional consideration, but that didn’t stop the Senate from voting to reject the bill. city law.
Related: DC Dems back down from crime bill after pushback
According to DC government data, homicides this year have increased by 31%, sexual abuse by 113%, motor vehicle thefts by 110% and arson by 300%. Some crime categories were slightly lower or about the same.
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Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee weighed in on the issue, calling for keeping “bad guys with guns in jail.”
“What we need to do, if we really want to see homicides go down, is keep bad guys with guns in jail,” Contee told a news conference. “Because when they’re in jail, they can’t be in communities shooting people. So when people talk about what we’re going to do differently, or what we should do differently, what we need to do differently, that’s the thing we need to do differently.
He went on to point out that “the average homicide suspect was arrested eleven times before committing a homicide.”
Other critics of the crime reform effort have pointed to these types of repeat offenders.
“We see these reports almost every day,” the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund said in a statement. “Law enforcement officers and innocent citizens are being killed by career criminals who should have been behind bars.”
Related: Elizabeth Warren swings for Washington DC statehood, gets hit with the Constitution
In a high-profile case, U.S. Representative Angie Craig, D-Minn., was robbed from the elevator in her apartment building in Washington, DC last month and suffered minor injuries.
That same evening, police arrested Kendrid Hamlin, 26, who has a long criminal history with involvement in incidents often near the Capitol.
“It’s time to stop the crime,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. “It’s time to stop the chaos – the chaos we see in cities across the country. Republicans are united by solutions — solutions to make American communities safer. That’s what this body is going to vote on today: improving the safety and security of those in the nation’s capital. »
Syndicated with permission from The central square.