Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, D.C., says she will ask the city council to spend $11 million to hire 20 police officers in the next few months and 150 police officers in fiscal year 2022. With homicides and shootings up in D.C., and with George Floyd fever finally starting to break, one can understand Bowser’s decision.
But even if Bowser gets the increase, and she may not, it will only offset the $10 million cut to the police budget imposed last year after Floyd’s death in faraway Minneapolis.
It’s also unclear whether D.C. would be able to hire 180 competent police officers in today’s climate. Given the demonization of the police by the politically ascendant left and the hazards of policing an increasingly lawless city, becoming an officer in D.C. doesn’t seem like an attractive proposition unless one is desperate for a job or desperate to exercise authority.
I wish Mayor Bowser and the city good luck. They will need it.
In a related development, the D.C. police has arrested a suspect in the killing of 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney. This shooting, in which five others were wounded, produced the community outrage that likely pushed Bowser finally to call for re-funding the police.
The suspect, 22-year-old Marktwan Hargraves, should probably have been in prison. At the time he is alleged to have killed the little girl, Hargraves was free awaiting trial in Maryland on charges that included motor vehicle theft and illegal possession of a handgun. He was arrested on these charges back in 2020.
Trial was scheduled for this October.
Hargraves’ lawyer in that case said he was “shocked” by the murder charge. He described Hargraves as “a good, respectful client” who “doesn’t have much of a criminal record.”
I suppose this depends on the meaning of “much.”
Had Hargraves been convicted of motor vehicle theft and illegal possession of a handgun, he could still be characterized as “non-violent” in addition to “respectful.” Which tends to show how meaningless the “non-violent” appellation is when it comes to assessing the danger posed by convicted felons.
Further evidence comes from the police investigation into the murder of young Nyiah Courtney. It took place on a notorious block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast D.C.
According to an assistant U.S. attorney in D.C., this block and the surrounding area have been “essentially taken over” by the “MLK crew,” which “is distributing narcotics on a daily basis.” Courtney’s father is believed to have been targeted by and/or involved with that crew.
The bipartisan jailbreak crowd, in which former president Donald Trump enrolled, considers drug felons to be non-violent offenders. Law abiding residents of Southeast D.C. would probably disagree. In fact, even as Bowser and other city officials were discussing the need for more police officers, yet another person was killed in Southeast, about a mile from where Nyiah Courtney was gunned down.
Violence is an inherent byproduct of felonious drug dealing. Any criminal justice policy inconsistent with this reality threatens public safety and puts innocent lives at risk, no matter how many police officers a city hires.