District of Columbia
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Last updated March 5, 2020
No knock warrants
The police reform bill passed by the D.C. City Council in June 2020 bans no-knock warrants.
The police reform bill passed by the D.C. Council in June 2020 bans the purchase of weapons from the federal government. As with no-knock warrants, the passage of this reform hinges on the federal Congress.
Military style training
The police reform bill passed by the D.C. Council in June 2020 includes provisions to redesign training to focus on racism and white supremacy. As with no-knock warrants, the passage of this reform hinges on the federal Congress.
D.C. has not yet enacted a law requiring the recording and cataloging of SWAT team use.
Civil asset forfeiture
D.C. reformed its civil asset forfeiture process in 2015. Now, no forfeiture proceeds go to law enforcement, the D.C. government assumes the burden of proof when an owner makes a claim to regain seized property, and those impacted by a forfeiture to contest the seizure shortly after it occurs.
D.C. has not yet enacted a law ending quotas for low-level arrests. In Feb. 2020, former MPD officers testified to the use of citation quotas as evaluation tools, and claimed they were pressured to issue tickets.
Cost of misconduct
D.C. has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.
D.C. legalized the posession of small amounts of marijuana in 2015. However, it has not made efforts to decriminalize non-serious crimes like loitering, despite cases brought to the District Court that suggest these practices are discriminatory.
Objective justification for stops
D.C. has not yet enacted a law requiring officers to establish objective justification for making a stop (i.e. not simply for furtive movement, suspicious activity, or matching a generalized description).
Reporting stop details
A new data update in July 2019 allows D.C.'s Metro Police Department (MPD) to collect stop data broken down by age, race, gender, use of force (including pat downs), and presence/confiscation of a firearm. The data is publicly available on the MPD's website.
Reckless civil rights violation
D.C.has not yet enacted a law lowering the prosecution requirement from ‘willful’ to ‘reckless’ deprivation of another’s rights.
In June 2020, D.C. passed emergency legislation that, among other things, "modified the composition of the Police Complaints Board, moving from a five-member board with one Metropolitan Police Department representative, to a nine-member board with one member from each Ward, plus an at-large member, and no police representatives." Notably, the bill did not address police prosecution.
D.C. has not yet enacted a law ending qualified immunity.
Mental health response
As of 2016, there were 869 active MPD Crisis Intervention Officers in the field. CIO's receive the individual training that teams noramlly receive in Crisis Intervention Training programs across the nation. Though the officers are trained in crisis intervention and encouraged to bring mentally ill individuals to a hospital rather than a jail, this program still dispatches police to mental health crisis situations.
Education, Housing, Community Health Resources
It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer.
D.C. Council's newest budget includes increased funding for student social/emotional learning (redirected from school security funds) and violence interruption/ restorative justice (funds redirected from the Metropolitan Police Department)
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