DC Police Chief: ‘you cannot coddle violent criminals’

There was a shooting in broad daylight yesterday near Washington, DC’s Logan Circle.

Cliford Ortman watched as people inside a black sedan drove slowly past the Amazon Fresh tent before at least three guns fired at a group of young adults, he said.

Moments later, he said he saw two guns fire at the vehicle from behind a fence. The gunfire exchange lasted up to a minute before the black car drove away, he said.

Ortman, 36, screamed for everyone near him to “get in the store.” It was shortly after 8 p.m.

As the sound of gunfire echoed, people ran, tripped, screamed and cried, Ortman said.

CNN’s Jim Acosta happened to be at a restaurant nearby and caught some of the gunshots and the reaction (this is the best reporting he’s done in years):

An eyewitness described a few seconds of confusion followed by “ultra panic.”

Police released video showing some of the shooting:

Police were patrolling nearby and arrived at the scene seconds after the shooting. They found two people had been shot.

All of that is backstory for something that happened today. DC’s Police Chief went on a rant in front of a group of reporters saying he was “mad as hell” about the surge of violence in the city. Chief Robert Contee said the problem wasn’t police, it was a justice system that coddles violent criminals and puts them back on the street.

“We have to really figure out, what do we want to do as a city in terms of how we respond to this,” Chief Contee said. He continued, “I’m going to give it to you straight…where the issues are. The ecosystem, the justice system that we have right now, it is not functioning the way that it should.”

He went on to say that because courts are barely open there is a large backlog of criminal cases and most of the people charged in those cases are back in the community as they wait for the system to catch up. “The real issue is, we have a viscous cycle of bad actors who do things, no accountability and they end up back in community,” he said. “I guarantee you when we lock up whoever did this [shooting Thursday], they will be no stranger to us,” he added.

“You cannot coddle violent criminals. You cannot. You can not treat violent criminals who are out here making communities unsafe for you, for your loved ones, for me, for my loved ones—they might not want a job! They might not. They might not need services. What they may require is to be off of our streets because they’re making it unsafe for us. And if that’s what it requires then that’s what it requires. We have to own that…Because if not we see more of this.”

I don’t think I could love this rant any more than I do. It’s refreshing to see a police chief, and frankly a black police chief, speaking and making complete sense about the rise in crime. You can watch the whole thing here including a follow up question where the chief points toward lenient judges as part of the problem.

There’s also a portion of his comments in this segment from the Five. I’m including this because Greg Gutfeld makes a solid hit on CNN which has explicitly downplayed the idea of surging violence but which covered this shooting, probably because Acosta happened to be there. Maybe, Gutfeld suggests, this is what it takes for left-leaning reporters to take this seriously. They need to hear the bullets flying in their neighborhoods and the places where they go to dinner.

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