DC Police Union hired lobbyists in effort to overturn crime bills

U.S. Capitol Police officers block the way for demonstrators during the protest in front of the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Wednesday, March 8, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Protestors rallied against a Republican-sponsored resolution blocking new District of Columbia laws that would overhaul how the nation’s capital prosecutes and punishes crime. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

The D.C. Police Union hired lobbyists in its push to get Congress to overrule the D.C. Council’s reforms to the criminal code.

The 3,500-member union contracted with the Modern Cartographers, a union-focused consulting firm, to lobby on multiple resolutions that would overturn D.C. crime legislation, according to a document filed with the Senate.

Amid lobbying by the police union, the House and Senate passed a bipartisan measure this month to block D.C.’s proposal to overhaul criminal sentencing, which would have reduced maximum penalties for some crimes. President Biden said he would not veto the resolution ahead of the vote, angering House Democrats.

The union is launching a new effort to scrap D.C.’s Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act, a bill that restricts officers from using chokeholds, requires public disclosure of body camera footage following police shootings and increases oversight of the police, among other measures. 

House Republicans last week introduced a resolution to overturn the bill, which D.C. lawmakers began to work on following the police killing of George Floyd. 

D.C. Police Union Chairman Gregg Pemberton jeered the bill, stating that D.C. has lost 1,200 police officers since the bill was approved and only replaced 700. 

“This Act is laced with bad policies with real-world consequences that delay justice for families and victims,” he said in a statement. “This pro-criminal policy is now a public safety crisis that has stifled recruitment and caused an unprecedented spike in resignations and early retirements.”

The lobbying effort has drawn criticism from D.C. lawmakers, who say that the D.C. police union is misrepresenting the facts of the bill and worry that Congress is increasingly overriding the district’s policies. 

“Clearly the DC FOP is behind this override bill,” D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said in a statement. “They already took it to court. And lost. They ran cable TV ads against it last year. Now they are going to Congress — and misrepresenting it — as a last, desperate attempt to avoid accountability.”

Tags Biden crime bill DC lobbying overturn police union

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