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DC Council chairman claims ‘there is no crime crisis’ in nation’s capital days after Senate staffer stabbed

The chairman of the Washington, D.C., city council testified in Congress Wednesday that there is no crime crisis in the nation’s capital as House Republicans go on the offensive against the city’s policing reform bill.

“With regard to crime, yes, there is considerable concern. But while perception is important, the reality is less concerning. Let me be clear: People should feel safe and it is a problem that many residents of the district don’t,” D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson told the House Committee on Oversight.

“I know this belies the common belief — and when it comes to crime, how people feel is important — but there is not a crime crisis in Washington, D.C.” Mendelson said.

The hearing comes after months of fights between Congress and the D.C. council over crime proposals, and occurs just days after a staff member for Republican Sen. Rand Paul was hospitalized for serious injuries after being stabbed by a man who was recently released from prison.


DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson says there is no crime crisis in Washington DC (House Oversight Committee)

Mendelson was supporting Washington D.C.’s policing reform bill that House Republicans have threatened to overturn through Congress’ authority to strike down city laws.

According to Mendelson’s written testimony, D.C.’s crime bill — passed as a response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020 — “promotes police accountability by codifying our Use of Force Review Board, enhancing auditing capabilities, strengthening training requirements, and prohibiting the hiring of officers who have a history of misconduct. It also enhances our police chief’s ability to strengthen the force by firing officers who engage in egregious misconduct or commit serious offenses. If Congress tosses these measures aside, it will be a dramatic setback in the District’s efforts to address longstanding concerns about officer misconduct and make it harder to hold bad cops accountable.”

Striking down the bill would hamper efforts to promote accountability in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, Mendelson said. 


The D.C. police union is opposed to the measure, saying it was part of a failed experiment of passing anti-police measures that has had disastrous effects on public safety.

“The empirical data is in, and we know for certain that their efforts have been an abject failure, resulting in thousands of more victims of crime in this city,” Greggory Pemberton, chairman D.C. Police Union, told the committee in written testimony. “The lasting impacts of these horrible policies will not be fully realized for some time, and the efforts to repair the damage done could take decades without swift and thoughtful actions.”

Mendelson stated that crime in the district is lower so far in 2023 than at the same point in 2022, and testified that “the number of violent crime incidents in 2022 was 45% lower than the number of violent crime incidents in 2012.”

Phillip Todd, a staffer for Sen. Rand Paul, was stabbed on Monday

Phillip Todd, a staffer for Sen. Rand Paul, was stabbed on Monday (Courtesy of the Todd family)

Sen. Rand Paul’s staffer Phillip Todd was attacked on Washington, D.C.’s H Street around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, allegedly by a man identified by police as Glynn Neal. The suspect had reportedly been released from prison just a day prior to the stabbing attack. 

“Our son is in a stable condition, having undergone trauma surgery to address the wounds in his body.  He also has a fracture on his skull, which will be treated with non-invasive neurosurgery. He is expected to make a full recovery due to his young age and good health,” the parents continued. 

Neal was arrested and booked on a charge of assault with intent to kill. A previous update from Phillip Todd’s uncle this week revealed Todd sustained a “deep knife wound to the head” from the attack, and doctors were concerned he could suffer from seizures over the next month. 

President Biden signed a bill that passed Congress in a bipartisan manner overhauling proposed changes to D.C.’s criminal code earlier this month – the first time since 1991 that Congress had nullified the capital city’s laws through the disapproval process. The actions renewed calls for D.C. to be granted statehood.

The city council’s measure was opposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser in January, explaining in a letter that she had “very significant concerns” about some of the bill’s proposals. Bowser later suggested changes after the council overrode her veto.

Fox News’ Emma Colton and Julia Musto contributed to this report



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