DC Council Chairman: ‘You Can Get Away With Murder In This City’

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The Chairman for the Council of the District of Columbia slammed police investigators Thursday, claiming individuals can “get away with murder” in the nation’s capital, as officials move to vote on a new emergency crime bill.

Phil Mendelson expressed frustration at emergency legislation proposed by Councilmember Brooke Pinto aimed at addressing rising incidents of crime and violence in Washington D.C. The legislation, comprised of three bill, is seeking to “address pressing gaps in [D.C.’s] legal system and public safety apparatus by promoting accountability for offenders, supporting victims, ensuring police have the tools they need to keep communities sate, and improving accountability and
transparency at [the] 911 call center,” Pinto shared in a release

Critizing the proposed legislation, Mendelson told Fox 5 News it didn’t do enough, casting blame for rising crime on police for not solving the crimes in a timely manner. “When kids are talking about how they’re not going to get locked up. That’s because they know the police aren’t going to close the case,” Mendelson told the outlet.

“Most robberies are not solved. Half of homicides are not solved very quickly, if they’re solved at all,” Mendelson continued before adding, “You can get away with murder in this city.”

When asked to clarify his remarks, Mendelson reiterated that because roughly 50% of murders are not solved in a timely manner, individuals can get away with murder in the city. While Mendelson contended it was true of many other major cities, he emphasized that if police would increase the case closure rate, it would have the “quickest deterrent effect” on crime.

The D.C. City Council voted to defund the police to the tune of $15 million following Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. In April 2022, the D.C. Police Union specifically called out Mendelson, as well as D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen, for the soaring crime rate in the capital. “Their laws let criminals run free and prevent police from keeping us safe,” the police union stated at the time. (RELATED: DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson Withdraws Crime Bill Ahead Of Senate Vote)

When asked whether the council bore any of the blame for the rising crime rate in the city, Mendelson flatly denied culpability, stating, “The council does not investigate murders. The council’s not the one who determines who is the suspect. The council is not the one who goes out and arrests. The council doesn’t have police detectives on our payroll. No we’re not responsible for the case closure rate.”

Mendelson added that if the police need more resources in order to close more cases, the department needs to make the council aware so that they can fund them.