D.C. Mayor Plan For Warrantless Searches Of Violent Ex-Offenders Seems Dead


Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser's controversial effort to address this year's spike in homicides in the city by allowing law enforcement officials to perform warrantless searches of violent ex-offenders appears likely to die in the D.C. Council, the Washington Post. At a hearing yesterday, council members, legal experts and scores of residents blasted the plan, which would require those serving sentences for violent crimes to consent to stepped-up searches as a condition of early release. They said Bowser's effort to focus on those police say are most likely to commit new crimes would backfire and further erode trust between law enforcement and residents in the city's most crime-stricken neighborhoods.

“The mayor's proposed legislation not only focuses too heavily on policing and incarceration, but it also undercuts procedural justice and fairness,” said Kristin Henning, a Georgetown University law professor. “While punitive responses . . . make us feel safer in the short term, they actually make us less safe over the long term.” The parade of opponents before the council members followed a protest march against the proposal Tuesday night that attracted more than 100 people in a neighborhood where almost twice as many people have died in gun violence this year compared with this point in 2014. Together, the events signaled that amid a 40 percent jump in homicides in the city, Bowser remains on the defensive, struggling to explain the rise and combat it in a year when increased scrutiny of police has galvanized cohorts of young African American community leaders to push back against what they say is aggressive policing.

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