Today, the various crime bills are being debated as I write this item. You can read the complete and competing bills here. The Post has gathered up the pro and con surrounding the controversial proposal to take gangs or gang members to civil court. The Post writes:
The provision — drafted by the administration of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) — would allow authorities to target alleged gang members in civil proceedings. A prosecutor could obtain an injunction barring an alleged gang member from engaging in a range of activities, including such nuisance offenses as harassing passersby on the street.
Loose Lips is liveblogging the big crime bill debate. This afternoon, I talked to a veteran D.C. Police official who has vast experience with drug and gang cases. I wanted to know their thoughts on the crime bills and the civil-court provisions.
They basically thought the crime bill(s) were a waste of time.
Here are their thoughts:
“We got plenty of laws in place. Drug laws and gun laws. But it’s a rotating door down at the courthouse. The youth system sucks in the city. You look at the history of these criminals, come on.
You need laws that the courts are going to pay attention to. Go down and sit in arraignment court and copy down names of people that walk out the same day and run their records.
The problem is not the mayor or anyone else. It’s the court system. It’s the judges in the courts. Sometimes you got to keep a criminal behind bars. If you got someone who sells drugs to a police officer—-he should be in jail. He should be locked up.
[We] experience this on a daily basis. Especially our street tasforces.
Why do we need new civil charges? For harrassing people on the street, cops could charge criminals with disorderly conduct.”