Bowser Agrees With Lanier: DC Justice System ‘broken'

WASHINGTON — D.C.’s outgoing police chief Cathy Lanier has said the District’s justice system is broken, and at a news conference outside D.C. police headquarters on Wednesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser agreed.

Bowser said she lays the blame on a system that splits accountability between locally elected officials and federally appointed officials.

“We are all responsible for public safety in Washington, D.C., and there are certainly things that I would like to change about our system,” Bowser told reporters Tuesday. Bowser, Lanier and other officials held the news conference Wednesday to appeal for help from the public in identifying suspects in a shooting that killed a 21-year-old pregnant woman’s unborn twin babies.

In an interview with The Washington Post this week, Lanier, who’s stepping down Sept. 17 to head up security for the National Football League, said the District’s criminal justice is “beyond broken,” which has led to strings of violent crimes by repeat offenders.

Bowser noted the court system in the District is largely a function of the federal government, because prosecutors and judges are not elected locally as in other jurisdictions.

“I wish we had a more accountable system,” she said, adding, “unfortunately sometimes I have to call people that report to the president of the United States to get answers.”

Bowser said that residents come to her about their concerns regarding crime.

“They see me in community meetings, they stop me on the street, and I’m going to see them at the ballot box,” she said.

Bowser said she would continue to work hard to fight crime and that she remains accountable to residents for public safety.

While the criminal justice system is imperfect, “it is the one that we have right now,” Bowser said, “and we are going to work with all of our partners to make our city safer.”

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