Bowser’s Press Briefing Today: Capitol Hill Homicide, Police Reform, Football
by Larry Janezich
July 6, 2020
Mayor Bowser’s 11:30 briefing today, where she appeared with members of her administration, was largely concerned with public safety – particularly the three homicides which occurred last Friday and Saturday. One was on Capitol Hill, and that 11pm July 4th event occurred the McDonalds on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. Chief of Police Peter Newsham said it stemmed from a disturbance when fireworks were set off inside, and the restaurant and when a patron –36 year old Antonio Gardiner – “went outside to see what was going on, he ended up getting shot”. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. Newsham said he anticipated a quick closure of this case.
The two other deaths were on July 4th when 11 year old Dayvon McNeal at 1400 Cedar, was an unintended victim of gunfire in front of his home following a “peace cook out” hosted by his mother who works as a violence interrupter, and that of 20 year old Jordan Simmons on July 3rd who was another unintended victim of gunfire resulting from a parking dispute at 1900 18th Street, SE,
Other points from the briefing:
- Bowser said that she will act tomorrow on city council passed Emergency Police Reform legislation. She said she has delayed action because the bill “involves serious issues and we want to make sure we understated the implications for public safety.”
- Regarding the decision to reduce the budget for violence interrupters by $800,000, she said there is no magic answer to solve gun violence reflected in the budget or the city council’s approach. There are lots of reasons to fight back against cuts to the police budget; when there’s an attack on the community or on a child people want the police to do something about it. Bowser said, “Budget cuts won’t affect their desire to do something; there will just be fewer to do it”.
- Bowser said she was pleased that Northern Virginia is still in the posture of not having bars open in their Phase III opening, and hoped they would remain in that posture.
- On COV-19, DC has not seen cases increase related to transmission by mass gatherings but the DOH continues to monitor. Mass gatherings continue, so they can’t excluded them as source. Currently DOH is seeing increased cases resulting from household transmission, essential activities, and other activities coming on line related to slow phase reopening.
- On football, Bowser said she is happy to see the team and the league moving to change the name and hopes they make clear what the process is to do that. She said that minority owners of the team looking to get out of the franchise provide a great opportunity for more diversity in ownership. “A team called Washington-anything”, she said, “should be playing in Washington,” adding that “the name is not the only issue” …“there are lots of issues.”
On Capitol Hill, free walk up COVID Testing continues this week at FEMS Engine 8, 1520 C Street, SE – Thursday, Friday, 4-8 pm; Saturday 12 pm–4 pm. Appointment not necessary.