- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 27, 2006

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams’ plan to extend emergency anti-crime legislation appears to violate a city statute barring passage of the same law more than once on an emergency basis.

City officials are trying to determine whether extending by 90 days anti-crime legislation enacted in July would violate the statute.

If it is found to violate the statute, 48 surveillance cameras placed in neighborhoods would have to turned off until permanent anti-crime legislation could be enacted, which would be December at the earliest.

In addition, police no longer would have access to criminal juvenile records and would not be able to hold robbery suspects and handgun offenders until the permanent legislation is passed. And the 10 p.m. curfew for minors would revert to 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends.

Charlotte Brookins-Hudson, legal counsel for the D.C. Council, said that the intent of the statute is to prevent city officials from circumventing the congressional review period to which D.C. laws are subject.

Mrs. Brookins-Hudson said that she will review the mayor’s emergency submission and that changes to it will have to be more than cosmetic.

“It will have to be a very substantial modification,” she said. “If it is identical, I will inform the chairman of the council, and she will make her ruling.”

Mr. Williams said that a spate of four killings in 24 hours spanning Sunday and Monday proves the need to extend the crime-fighting legislation.

“I think what we’ve seen in the last couple days, the youth violence, this uptick of it, is all the more reason we need to continue it,” the mayor said. “Technically, you can’t reintroduce an emergency measure exactly like the preceding, but substantively … I think we should continue this strategy while the council looks at the long term.”

Among the four killings were three juveniles:

• Andre Pee, 14, was shot in the back Sunday night in a Southeast public housing complex. Curtis Watkins, 32, was found dead nearby.

• Dominick A. Dixon, 15, was found dead Monday near a construction site in Northeast. Police arrested Robert Crosby, 51, late Tuesday and charged him with second-degree murder in that case.

• CeQuawn Brown, 16, was shot in the head Monday in Southeast.

Ed Reiskin, interim city administrator and deputy mayor for public safety and justice, said that city officials are moving forward “as if we can” get the council to extend the emergency legislation.

“I haven’t seen what the council’s counsel’s concerns are,” he said. “I mean, if it’s not legal, it’s not legal, but I’m hopeful that we can find some legal way of allowing the council to consider an extension.”

Mr. Reiskin said that the worst-case scenario would be a “gap” in which four programs authorized by the crime emergency would be suspended until permanent legislation that has already been submitted to the council is addressed.



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