For Immediate Release:
July 13, 2016
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105
Grosso Introduces Resolution Calling for Police Reform
Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced a “Sense of the Council to Implement Police Reform” resolution to support families of victims lost to police violence; to implement widespread police reform; and to acknowledge support for all persons fighting for equal treatment under the law. The move comes in the wake of the gun violence that occurred in Dallas, St. Paul, and Baton Rouge last week.
“I am tired of standing by and simply offering my condolences every time another person has been fatally shot,” Grosso said. “Violence is not a solution to our problems. We must proactively examine our policies to reduce the use of violence as a solution to conflicts.”
The resolution states that the Mayor and the Council should study Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) policies and practices to assess their impact and make necessary improvements to reduce incidences of police shootings and use of violence in D.C.
The killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police galvanized Grosso to introduce the measure, though they were just the latest in a string that highlights the systemic racial disparities in our criminal justice system. Recent analyses indicate that African-Americans are 2.5 times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police officers.
While D.C. has not experienced fatal shootings on the same scale as other cities, Mapping Police Violence found that police fatally shot 17 people, 16 of which were African-Americans, between January 2013 and April 2016.
“As the Chair of the Education Committee, I’m particularly concerned about the kind of message that these shootings send to our children of color about how they are perceived,” Grosso said.
Grosso sent a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser asking her to establish a citywide call to action to implement data-driven police reform measures and to strengthen police-community relations. He also sent a letter to Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee, requesting he hold a hearing in the fall to examine MPD’s implementation of recommendations made last year in a report from the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor.
Grosso also acknowledged the horrific killing of five police officers in Dallas and his desire to strengthen the relationship between residents and police.
“To acknowledge that this nation and our city faces a serious problem does not mean that we do not respect and appreciate the vast majority of police officers who risk their lives to protect us every day,” he said. “As we mourn the loss of those officers, we must hold our police, government, and each other accountable for treating every person equally and with dignity under the law so that confidence is restored between our communities and those charged with their protection.”
Below is the resolution, as introduced: