House Republicans have introduced legislation to reverse several Washington, D.C. police reforms, including many that were enacted after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020.
The latest resolution comes on the heels of Congress passing a measure to block a separate D.C. crime bill.
Many of the reforms were enacted in efforts to increase transparency and weaken the police union’s hand in disciplinary disputes. The reforms included a ban on Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers using neck restraints, making it harder for officers to disperse gatherings, including riots, and giving the Office of Police Complaints “unfettered access” to D.C. police records, according to Mayor Muriel Bowser (D).
Reps. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) and Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.) are spearheading the latest effort by congressional Republicans to roll back police reform in the nation’s capital. Clyde called the city’s reforms “anti-police legislation” that will “exacerbate low morale” and hinder officer recruitment, according to Axios, which first reported the news.
The D.C. Police Union said the police reform law “destroys collective bargaining rights” for MPD officers.
Axios said the measure has 15 co-sponsors so far.
The new resolution follows the Senate’s passing of a measure this week nixing a D.C. crime bill that would have lessened maximum sentences for certain crimes. Thirty-three Democrats voted with Republicans after President Biden said he would sign the measure.
The D.C. city council had approved changes to the city’s criminal code last year, but Bowser vetoed the bill for “sending the wrong message.”
A majority of voters in D.C. approved of the bill, and council members overrode Bowser’s veto. House Republicans then introduced and passed legislation to overturn the bill. Only 31 House Democrats voted to block D.C.’s bill, but Biden’s vow not to veto the resolution in part gave cover to Senate Democrats.
“I support D.C. Statehood and home-rule — but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the Mayor’s objections — such as lowering penalties for carjackings,” Biden tweeted at the time. “If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did — I’ll sign it.”