Today the D.C Council votes on The omnibus bill that would

  • Increases maximum sentences for some gun-related crimes from one to five years
  • Allows judges to hold adults accused of violent crimes, and juveniles accused of certain violent crimes, in jail until their trial. This would include carjacking. Judges who release such suspects during pretrial will have to give a written explanation supporting their decision
  • Makes it easier to charge someone with first-degree retail theft and felony retail theft
  • Creates a new felony charge for someone who organizes/directs retail theft
  • Makes permanent a temporarily enacted offense of endangerment with a firearm that makes it a crime to shoot into a crowd even if no one was hit
  • Prohibits gun possession for people who have been convicted of stalking
  • Expands the definition of carjacking to make it a crime anytime the victim is not just in their car but in the vicinity of their car
  • Allows MPD to declare “drug-free zones” for up to 120 hours in high-drug activity areas. Officers can arrest anyone in a group of two or more people who refuses to disperse after being told to, as long as police believe the group was meeting for a reason related to drugs, but includes a provision that they cannot arrest people waiting for medical services such as a methadone clinic.
  • Bans mask-wearing for purposes of committing a crime or intimidation (Pinto’s office says the purpose is not to have police arrest people over a mask but to make it easier for police to stop someone before they believe the person will commit a crime)
  • Gives police authority to enforce civil offenses for Metro fare evasion
  • Creates a “pre-arrest diversion task force” aimed at better getting drug and mental health treatment to those who need it
  • Creates a hospitality and culinary arts training program for inmates in the jail in the hope they will get jobs in those industries after being released
  • Adding eligibility for security camera rebates for small businesses that install interior cameras and glass break sensors
  • Prevents officers from being disciplined for “incidental contact” related to neck constraints or if the officer is trying to protect the suspect, but continues a rule banning officers from chokeholds and asphyxiation
  • Establishes a “blue light” pilot program that installs at least one station with video surveillance and a button for emergency communication in each ward

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