Muriel Bowser

DC Mayor Signs Sweeping Police Reform Bill

peter newsham muriel bowser
Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed sweeping police reform legislation Wednesday, making it official.

The D.C. Council unanimously approved the emergency legislation in June to limit use of force by police, release body camera footage more quickly and limit the role of the police union in the police disciplinary process. 

The council voted to prohibit D.C. police from using tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets or stun grenades to disperse a crowd.

Some council members pushed for funds to be redirected from police to community-based safety and mental health programs. 

Council members could not agree on whether to cap the size of the police department to 3,500 officers. 

The legislation enacts changes for 90 days and is subject to extension. 

"There is no need for this type of sweeping reform to be completed in such a hasty and unthoughtful manner," the police union said in a statement in June. "The Councilmembers are seizing on the public sentiment to impose these changes that will significantly handicap the department for years to come."


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The group Stop Police Terror Project DC issued the following statement:

"Let's be clear. The DC Council doesn't deserve applause for making changes that Black people in DC and the mothers of people killed by MPD have been demanding for years, such as releasing body camera footage. There was a lot of talk today about having a more robust discussion before making significant changes to the DC police. Except for Councilmember Grosso, we did not hear a clear commitment to dismantling DC's system of racist police terror. When such a bill passes, we'll celebrate and not a moment before."

The council still hasn't decided on a proposed $15 million cut to the police department's budget.

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