Civil Gang Injunctions Again Foiled by D.C. Council
Two weeks ago, the D.C. Council engaged in a knock-down fight over anti-crime legislation—in particular, over so-called 'civil gang injunctions.' They were at it again today, rehashing the debate regarding the permanent version of the bill. But the outcome was much the same.
A compromise of sorts was in the works today: Councilmembers Jim Graham, Jack Evans, and Muriel Bowser, all supporters of the gang injunctions, proposed allowing the measures for six months in their own wards—1, 2, and 4, respectively.
That proposal didn't get very far with their colleagues.
"We cannot have a tale of two cities," said Harry Thomas Jr., who alluded to 'Jim Crow laws' in his comments on the debate.
At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson called it "a very convoluted approach to crime-fighting."
Ward 6's Tommy Wells reversed his earlier vote against gang injunctions to vote for them here (though he didn't endorse them to the point that he added Ward 6 to the compromise amendment): "There's a lot of ideology, there's a lot hyperbole...but I think it's a rational act for the council to do this and I think it's in the best interest of children."
In any case, the council voted the ward-only approach down, 5 to 8.
On the final, permanent crime bill, it passed 10 to 3—without the support of hardliner Jack Evans. "Unfortunately the bill before us is not the bill I had hoped," he said, recounting that a cop he had spoken to had described the final bill as "the criminal protection act." Bowser and David Catania joined him in a protest vote.
At last: Let the grandstanding end!