A “Shocked and Saddened” ANC6B Wants Stronger Action to Redress Justice/Equity Issues

A “Shocked and Saddened” ANC6B Wants Stronger Action to Redress Justice/Equity Issues

by Larry Janezich

June 10, 2020

Last night, in its June virtual meeting, ANC6B adopted a package of resolutions aimed at redressing policing and social issues which arose out of the equity and justice demonstrations following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. The resolutions in the package, sponsored by Commissioner Corey Holman, were agreed to en bloc by a vote of 5 – 1 with 2 abstentions, and are addressed to various city council committees and to officials in the Office of the Mayor.

Holman said that he thought that commissioners had a moral imperative as elected officials to respond to this moment – “that it is important to say that these particular things express our values. “ Some commissioners expressed reservations that it undercut MPD, others objected to the all or none approach.  Several commissioners crafted added language stressing the thrust of the measure was not a reflection of MPD’s efforts and community engagement, but rather aimed at reallocating limited budget resources to address inequities.

Commissioner Chander Jayaraman was successful in striking two sections he objected to:  the first requested a 5% budget reduction for MPD per year and a study of the costs and benefits of dissolving MPD and creating a new safety and justice department.  The second would have required that the Metro Police standard operating procedures align with those of the MPD.

(Commander Morgan Kane of the MPD’s First District joined the virtual meeting for the discussion on the resolution, indicating the department’s interest in the reaction of elected officials to current MPD policing practices.  Halfway through the debate, she announced she had to leave to respond to a shooting near Pennsylvania Avenue.  This later proved to be a homicide near 15th and K, SE.)

Under the provisions of the Resolution, the following preamble is to be attached to each of the separate subordinate resolutions.

“Like you, the commissioners of ANC 6B are shocked and saddened by the actions of local and federal police and paramilitary troops operating in the District over the last two weeks. ANC 6B recognizes the immediate cause of these protests is the murder of George Floyd, but the seeds have been sown for over 400 years in the form of systemic racism and oppression. As elected officials, we will dedicate ourselves to dismantling this system.

Further, we recognize that while the direct spark of these worldwide protests is police action, it underlies centuries of housing, educational, employment, and social formal and informal discrimination. ANC 6B encourages the [Council/Mayor] to reform community safety and justice, but also work to end unequal educational opportunities, exclusionary zoning/housing policy, disparate health outcomes, and all other aspects which continue to undergird our unjust social structure.

ANC 6B values the support and hard work of what MPD does in our community on a daily basis. This resolution is not a reflection regarding their community engagement, rather than reallocating our limited budget resources to address underlying inequities in the broader community.”

Here are the provisions of the Resolution as it passed the ANC:

The list of budget requests and the City Council committee to which the request is to be sent includes:

  • Judiciary and Public Safety: To reject the Mayor’s request to increase MPD’s budget by $19 million and instead keep funding constant for FY20 and future budgets subject to downward revisions.
  • Judiciary and Public Safety: To restore and expand funding for violence interrupter programs.
  • Judiciary and Public Safety: That the City Council mandate the use of mental health and trauma experts in lieu of using MPD as school resource officers.
  • Judiciary and Public Safety: To immediately ban the use of stop and frisk.
  • Judiciary and Public Safety, Committee of the Whole: To create a Community Safety and Justice Revision Commission to replace the recently authorized Police Reform Commission and task it with shrinking the capabilities and responsibilities of MPD, and to update standard operating procedures and reporting requirements with a focus on equity and justice.
  • Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization: To fully fund the $60 million in needed repairs to public housing in FY2021 and create a permanent fund to repair, maintain, and create public housing over the five-year capital budget window.
  • Committee on the Whole: To include dedicated funding that requires the Office of Planning to create actionable area plans to build affordable housing units in the Capitol Hill Planning Area.
  • Transportation and the Environment: To move Council Member Allen’s Metro for DC Bill to a hearing as soon as possible.

Request to be sent to the Office of the Mayor with the above preamble attached:

  • Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice: To not renew collective bargaining with the DC Police Union expiring on September 30 and to request a public process involving community members, especially those willing to participate who have experienced harm or trauma from MPD.
  • Chancellor Ferebee: To implement at-risk preference through MySchoolDC for all schools for School Year 2021-22 not just new schools and to require this preference of charter schools as well as public schools and place this preference at the top of the lottery preference.
  • Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice: To immediately direct MPD to revise standard operating procedures to end the use of stop-and-frisk and to review and expand the scope of regulations on unbiased policing to include increased reporting requirements on racial makeup of stops by ward and police district.

CHC asked Chander Jayaraman, who is running for an Independent seat on the City Council, to comment on the ANC’s action:  “The resolution captured the anguish of the community and the broad systemic inequities in our city.  I am glad that we voted to restate our support for the violence interruption program, limit the role of armed officers in our schools, and took a stance against stop and frisk.”

Afterward, Holman told CHC:  “The resolution is not perfect, not exhaustive, and certainly not sufficient. However, it reflects the state of the council budget process and ANC calendaring limitations.

Our neighborhood, city, and nation are taking on the barriers that have for hundreds of years have prevented equality for our black neighbors. It is imperative that we not only say that black lives matter but take active roles in listening to and amplifying the voices of those who continue to experience trauma and harm from our racist institutions…As a Commission, we must use our limited power and position of influence to actively participate in the dismantling of the systems which prop up structural racism.

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