Washington, DC – DC Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee declared he was “mad as hell” on Friday and blamed the escalating gun violence in the city on the closed court system and coddling of violent criminals.
“I’m going to give it to you straight,” Chief Contee told reporters at a press conference on July 23, according to FOX News. “The justice system that we have right now, it is not functioning the way that it should. The courts are not open.”
“That is a fact. Barely open,” he added.
“So cases from last year that happened during COVID of violent criminals that have not been disposed of, where do you think those individuals are? They’re in community,” the angry chief continued.
Chief Contee talked about how the city had been victimized by a “vicious cycle” of violent offenders being arrested and then released, FOX News reported.
“Enough is enough,” the police chief announced.
“We want to help people, but you cannot coddle violent criminals. You cannot,” Chief Contee ranted. “You cannot treat violent criminals who are out here making communities unsafe for you, for your loved ones, for me, for my loved ones – they may not want a job! They might not. They might not need services.”
“What they may require is to be off our streets because they’re making it unsafe for us,” he explained angrily. “And if that’s what it requires then that’s what it requires, and we have to own that. We have to own it because if not, we see more of this.”
Chief Contee was speaking at the scene of a double shooting in Logan Circle the day before that had sent people running for cover, FOX News reported.
“The police department – we’re an easy target – you can easily focus on the police department, about what the police department did or didn’t do,” he said. “That’s easy. I’m challenging you to look at the entire system. The laws that are in place for people who carry guns in our community, who do things to people in our community, violent acts.”
“Are those things acceptable? Are they acceptable?” the police chief asked. “And whatever you say is acceptable, it’s my responsibility to enforce that. That’s my job, to respond to those things that community say this is what the standard is.”
“If some people knew what the standard is, what the outcome is in some of these cases, it would blow your mind,” Chief Contee said.
“Why is it that a guy who murdered somebody is out in community after having been arrested two or three months prior with a firearm?” he asked. “What did we think he was going to do?”
“The recidivism rate for violent offenders is the highest that we’ve seen anywhere – 87 percent, I think, in that area for people who carry guns – they use them! I’m mad as hell about this and I hope you all are, too,” the chief ranted to reporters.
Chief Contee’s explosion came on the heels of the fatal shooting of a six-year-old girl in the nation’s capital on July 16, and a gunfight in front of Nationals Park that shut down a Major League Baseball (MLB) game on July 17.
The DC court system took offense at the police chief’s assertion it was somehow to blame for the revolving door problems in the city, FOX News reported.
D.C. Court spokesman Douglas Buchanan argued there was not a backlog of violent criminal suspects being released onto the streets.
“There is not,” Buchanan insisted to FOX News. “That was the theme last night that we’re trying to wrap our heads around… how we were dragged into this.”
He said the court system had continued to function though the pandemic and only jury trials had been affected.
But even so, Buchanan claimed only a very small percentage of cases required a jury trial, FOX News reported.