Violent crimes in Washington, D.C., made national headlines in the past two weeks when there was a drive-by shooting outside Nationals Park, which injured three people. There was another shooting that killed 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney. The tragic shootings punctuated a rising tide of violence in the nation's capital. This week, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced that she plans to add 170 police officers to combat the increase in violent crimes, despite being a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement that wants to defund the police.
Bowser released a statement on Wednesday that said the city plans to hire 170 additional Metropolitan Police Department officers by 2022.
Until the Metropolitan Police Department can hire and train the new officers, Bowser "directed MPD to use any overtime necessary to meet our public safety demands."
"But we know that is not a complete solution or the right long-term solution," Bowser said. "We also know we need all of our officers to be fresh, rested, and in the best position to make good decisions – and that requires having a full force to meet all of our community's needs."
The statement noted that "MPD normally hires approximately 250 officers each year," but the D.C. Council passed a budget to slash $15 million from the Metropolitan Police Department, which left the department with a "near empty hiring pipeline."
Bowser is sending an "$11 million supplemental budget request to the Council this week to allow for the hiring and training of 20 additional officers in FY21 and 150 additional officers in FY22."
"This summer, as residents across DC – and especially residents who live in neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence – continue to ask for a strong, sustained police presence," the statement reads.
In the District, there were 198 homicides in 2020, up 19% from the 166 homicides in 2019. Last year was the deadliest year in D.C. since 2004, when there were 248 homicides, according to police data. This year is outpacing 2020, with 112 homicides in 2021 compared to 108 at this time last year. This year there have been 485 assaults with a dangerous weapon in Washington, D.C., compared to 460 at the same time in 2020, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.
Bowser famously directed a public works crew to paint "Black Lives Matter" in large block letters that span two blocks of 16th street, which leads directly to the White House.
The official Black Lives Matter website makes it crystal clear that the organization wants to defund the police.
"We know that police don't keep us safe — and as long as we continue to pump money into our corrupt criminal justice system at the expense of housing, health, and education investments — we will never be truly safe," the BLM site states. "That's why we are calling to #DefundPolice and #InvestInCommunities."
The official Black Lives Matter Twitter account has called for the government to defund the police on numerous occasions.
A February 2021 tweet shows that Black Lives Matter desires to not only defund the police, but also abolish the police: "When we say #DefundThePolice, we mean abolition—we're not just talking about what we get rid of. It's also what we create and envision in its place. Radical imagination."
In April 2021, the BLM Twitter account proclaimed, "Defund the police. Then we abolish."