Anti-Crime Act of 2009 Press Conference at Columbia Heights Metro Station

High above the press conference.

High above the press conference.

Yesterday, during the 3-o’clock afternoon hour, Mayor Adrian Fenty held a press conference alongside District City Council Members Jim Graham, Jack Evans, David Catania, District Attorney General Peter Nickles, and an Assistant Chief of Police. The press conference addressed portions of the “Omnibus Anti-Crime Act of 2009” bill, which is on the Council’s agenda, and recent violent activities. Perhaps though, the press conference most directly addressed one hotly contested portion of the bill, Fenty’s anti-gang provision. Among the provisions’ measures, the prosecutors office would gain the authority to issue an injunction barring an alleged gang member from participating in a variety of activities, including associating with other known gang members. Fenty, Graham, Evans, Catania, Nickles, and the Assistant Chief each gave a statement in support of the recently defeated bill, which was not adopted by the Council in this past Tuesday’s meeting. Instead the council agreed to adopt an emergency measure that focuses specifically on guns, not “gang” members. Read the entire “Omnibus Anti-Crime Act of 2009” by clicking here.

About one-hundred feet east of the June 18th shooting at the west entrance of the Columbia Heights Metro Station and nearby the DC USA Mall complex, the ACLU and others demonstrated prior to a press conference featuring Mayor Adrian Fenty and several D.C. City Council Members.

About one-hundred feet east of the June 18th shooting at the west entrance of the Columbia Heights Metro Station and nearby the DC USA Mall complex, the ACLU and others demonstrated prior to a press conference featuring Mayor Adrian Fenty and several D.C. City Council Members.

The ACLU demonstrated prior to the press conference and stirred up quite a large crowd of observers. They demonstrated most vigorously (“intervention, not injunctions!”) against the anti-gang measures in the bill, which is supported by Fenty, Graham, Evans, Catania, and Council Member Muriel Bowser. Read the Washington Post’s editorial on the topic of gang injunctions by clicking here.

A number of recent activities have stirred up the city, including recent purported and actual “gang and drug violence” (for e.g.) and an agreement the District government has made that expands the city’s list of legal handgun models. Effectively by this agreement the District government has avoided a lawsuit. The press conference was merely steps from the location of the previous day’s shooting that occurred directly in front of the Columbia Heights Metro Station. Ironically enough, the suspect arrested for that shooting had just begun a summer internship in Graham’s office.

Just prior to the press conference, the ACLU demonstrated directly across the street

Just prior to the press conference, the ACLU demonstrated directly across the street

I am troubled by the recent events. The act of shooting two bullets at someone in the middle of broad daylight by the entrance of a public train station in a very busy area of the city is extremely brazen. What can be done about this type of gun activity in the District?  In the face of the District government’s stunted attempts at stricter gun control laws, is coming down hard on gangs (through these injunction measures) the best way of curbing youthful trouble making?  I’m not convinced that Fenty’s anti-gang provisions will correct the problems associated with the city’s troubled youths, but the injunctions seem to me like a reasonable measure for trying to make our streets safer.

[Continue to view more images from the press conference.]

At the Press Conference, from Left:  D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles, Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham, Ward 2 Council Member Jack Evans, At-Large Council Member David Catania, and Mayor Adrian Fenty.  In the background is an Assistant Chief of Police.

At the Press Conference, from Left: D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles, Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham, Ward 2 Council Member Jack Evans, At-Large Council Member David Catania, and Mayor Adrian Fenty. In the background is an Assistant Chief of Police.

Another view.

Another view.

Police officers gather nearby the press conference.

Police officers gather nearby the press conference.

Prior to the press conference, it looked as though this police officer asked this man to get up from his slumber and move along.  I saw this man, who had been resting for quite awhile in this space, wander down the street away from this corner soon after this interaction.

Prior to the press conference, it looked as though this police officer asked this man to get up from his slumber and move along. I saw this man, who had been resting for quite awhile in this space, wander down the street away from this corner soon after this interaction.

Mayor Adrian Fenty addresses the crowd.

Mayor Adrian Fenty addresses the crowd.

While Attorney General Peter Nickles spoke, service at Potbelly slowed down just a bit.

While Attorney General Peter Nickles spoke, service at Potbelly slowed down just a bit.

All sorts of people were in attendance...furry observers, too.

All sorts of people were in attendance...furry observers, too.

Folks checked=

Folks checked out the scene from the Trinity Tower apartments, which are located just south of Irving Street on the east side of 14th Street.

Folks take in the scene from their balconies at Highland Park apartments.

Folks take in the scene from their balconies at Highland Park apartments.

The press conference drew a rather large crowd.  However, some quickly lost interest in what the speakers had to say.

The press conference drew a rather large crowd. However, some quickly lost interest in what the speakers had to say.

"The Great Seal of the District of Columbia" on display in the front of the podium.

"The Great Seal of the District of Columbia" on display in the front of the podium.

About an hour after the larger crowd dispersed, some folks just couldn't get enough of the cameras and reporters.

About an hour after the larger crowd dispersed, some folks just couldn't get enough of the cameras and reporters.

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