The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

D.C. Crime Law:
An Attack Against the Poor

Mar 25, 2024

On March 11, Mayor Bowser signed the Secure D.C. public safety omnibus bill into law. This law is supposed to make D.C. residents and tourists safer from crime. Maybe. But this is also an election year. One of the attacks the Republicans make on Democrats is that they are soft on crime and advocate defunding the police. So, would it be that surprising that a Democratic D.C. city council and a Democratic black mayor pass a draconian anti-crime bill to counter the Republican attack?

This law gives the police more power to do more things. They can designate any neighborhood they want as a high-risk area and once done, they can stop, search, or arrest anyone walking with so much as one other person. They can arrest anyone wearing any kind of face covering at the sole discretion of the police. They can demand anyone riding the Metro to identify themselves to the police for no legally justifiable reason, whether the police have identified themselves or not. They have the right to legally kill suspects during car chases. They have the ability to review body camera footage before writing their statements. It is now a crime to discard a gun—it would become a separate crime the moment the gun touches the ground. And these are just some of the things in this new crime law.

Since George Floyd was murdered and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, the police were pushed back—a little. Some cops have been charged with murder and other crimes, for instance. This law takes back those small gains. It gives the police union what they have been demanding. And it allows the Democrats to say they are tough on crime and criminals.

D.C. is the nation’s capital—the seat of the U.S. government. And yes, there is crime, there is homelessness, there is poverty, there are young people who have been thrown away by this society.

These politicians, both Republican and Democrat, who say they are tough on crime, do nothing about poverty, nothing to address the fact that the education system has failed young people, nothing against the hopelessness and despair people feel. They only authorize an occupying army, the police, to restrain the needs and desires of the poor.