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In Reversal, D.C. Mayor Seeking Tough-On-Crime Measures

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser is proposing new anticrime measures on Monday that would loosen some reforms enacted after the police killing of George Floyd. Amid a crime wave, it would mark a U-turn for the Democratic city on policing reform, likely pitting Bowser against progressive council members, reports Axios. Bowser's plan would empower police to declare "drug-free zones" for five-day spans. The measure is an effort to outlaw congregating in public spaces for the "purchase, sale, or use of illegal drugs." Retail theft would carry stiffer penalties under a new crime for "directing organized retail theft." Wearing a mask while committing a crime would be outlawed again. The legislation revises the definition of a police chokehold. It would clarify the "distinction between a serious use of force and incidental contact with the neck."

D.C. repealed its anti-mask law — which bans wearing a mask to commit a crime, intimidate, or threaten people, or cause fear — in post-George Floyd reforms. President Biden this year vetoed an attempt by congressional Republicans to ease the city's chokehold ban. The tough-on-crime proposal comes while crime is up in D.C. — unlike other big cities where violence has declined. Homicides are up 34% compared to last year. Under the proposal, officers would also be allowed in some cases to view body camera footage before writing their initial police reports. That practice was outlawed entirely under recent policing reforms.


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