United States. Congress. House. Committee on the J.

Combating crime in the District of Columbia : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, June 22, 1995 online

. (page 1 of 18)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JCombating crime in the District of Columbia : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, June 22, 1995 → online text (page 1 of 18)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


COMBATING CRIME IN THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA

Y 4. J 89/1: 104/70 ^^^^^^^

Conbating Crine in the District of...

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIAKY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION



JUNE 22, 1995



Serial No. 70

OEPaSlTflRV
SEP 1 9 1996




',/%.






Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
26-242 CC WASHINGTON : 1996



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office

Superintendent of Documents. Congressional Sales Office, Washington. DC 20402

ISBN 0-16-052974-3



COMBATING CRIME IN THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA



Y 4. J 89/1:104/70

Conbating Crine in the District of...

HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION

JUNE 22, 1995



Serial No. 70




OEWRV^''



SEP 1 9 1996

Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary



2&-242 CC



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1996



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office

Superintendent of Documents. Congressional Sales Office. Washington. DC 20402

ISBN 0-16-052974-3



COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY



HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois, Chairman



CARIX)S J. MOORHEAD, California
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr.,

Wisconsin
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana
MARTIN R. HOKE, Ohio
SONNY BONO, California
FRED HEINEMAN, North Carolina
ED BRYANT, Tennessee
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
MICHAEL PATRICK FLANAGAN, Ilhnois
BOB BARR, Georgia



JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
PATRICIA SCHROEDER, Colorado
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
HOWARD L. BERMAN, Cahfornia
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JOHN BRYANT, Texas
JACK REED, Rhode Island
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
XAVIER BECERRA, California
JOSE E. SERRANO, New York
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas



Alan F. Coffey, Jr., General Counsel/ Staff Director
Julian Epstein, Minority Staff Director



Subcommittee on Crime

BILL McCOLLUM, Florida. Chairman

STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York

STEPHEN E. BUYER, Indiana ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia

HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina ZOE LOFGREN, California

FRED HEINEMAN, North Carohna SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas

ED BRYANT, Tennessee MELVIN L. WATT, North Carohna
STEVE CHABOT. Ohio
BOB BARR, Georgia

Paul J. McNULTY. Chief Counsel

Glenn R. Schmitt. Counsel

Daniel J. Bryant, Assistant Counsel

Tom Diaz, Minority Counsel



(II)



CONTENTS



HEARING DATE



Page

June 22, 1995 1

OPENING STATEMENT

McCollum, Hon. Bill, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida,

and chairman. Subcommittee on Crime 1

WITNESSES

Brazil, Harold, councilmember, Council of the District of Columbia 136

Byington, Sally, coordinator. Community Policing Council 70

Chavous, Kevin P., councilmember. Council of the District of Columbia 147

Foreman, James F., coordinator, Metro Orange Coalition 85

Fulwood, Isaac, Jr., former chief of police. Metropolitan Police Department 66

Hamilton, Hon. Eugene N., Chief Judge, Superior Court of the District of

Columbia 33

Holder, Eric, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia 6

Langston, Robert E., Chief, U.S. Park Police Ill

Nero, Catherene, former president, Survivors of Homicide, Inc 96

Thomas, Fred, chief of police, Metropolitan Police Department 15

Walton, Hon. Reggie B., associate judge, Superior Court of the District of

Columbia 126

LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING

Brazil, Harold, councilmember. Council of the District of Columbia: Prepared

statement 140

Byington, Sally, coordinator, Community Policing Council: Prepared state-
ment 73

Chavous, Kevin P., councilmember, Council of the District of Columbia: Pre-
pared statement 153

Foreman, James F., coordinator, Metro Orange Coalition: Prepared state-
ment 89

Fulwood, Isaac, Jr., former chief of police, Metropolitan Police Department:

Prepared statement 69

Hamilton, Hon. Eugene N., Chief Judge, Superior Court of the District of
Columbia: Prepared statement 36

Holder, Eric, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia: Prepared statement .. 8

Langston, Robert E., Chief, U.S. Park Police: Prepared statement 116

Nero, Catherene, former president, Survivors of Homicide, Inc.: Prepared

statement 98

Thomas, Fred, chief of police. Metropolitan Police Department: Prepared

statement 18

Walton, Hon. Reggie B., associate judge, Superior Court of the District of

Columbia: Prepared statement 129

APPENDIX

Appendix 1. — Statement of William P. Lightfoot, councilmember, Council of

tne District of Columbia 165

Appendix 2. — Statement of Paul J. Goldstein 170

(III)



COMBATING CRIME IN THE DISTRICT OF
COLUMBIA



THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 1995

House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Crime,
Committee on the Judiciary,

Washington, DC.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, in room 2237, Ray-
burn House Office Building, Hon. Bill McCollum (chairman of the
subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Bob McCollum, Stephen E. Buyer, How-
ard Coble, Fred Heineman, Ed Bryant of Tennessee, Steve Chabot,
Robert C. Scott, and Sheila Jackson Lee.

Also present: Representative Thomas M. Davis and Delegate El-
eanor Holmes Norton.

Staff present: Paul J. McNulty, chief counsel; Glenn R. Schmitt,
counsel; Daniel J. Bryant, assistant counsel; Aerin D. Dunkle, re-
search assistant; Audray Clement, secretary; and Tom Diaz, minor-
ity counsel.

OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN McCOLLUM

Mr. McCollum. This hearing of the Subcommittee on Crime will
come to order.

Over a 6-hour period last Monday night and early Tuesday morn-
ing of this week, 18 people were shot or stabbed in the District of
Columbia. Yet, when Tom Blagbum, the city's civilian director of
community policing, heard the news, he stated, "In the context of
what's occurred in recent years, it's pretty much more of the same."
More of the same? Those were his words. Mr. Blagbum did not
misspeak. Regrettably, he's right, but I submit to you that when
18 people being shot or stabbed over a 6-hour period could be char-
acterized as more of the same, we've all received a call to action.

The purpose of today's hearing is to focus on ways that Congress
and the District might together take action to combat crime in the
District of Columbia. We meet this morning. Members of Congress,
District government officials, and community leaders, with a vitally
important task: to consider how we might work in partnership to
improve public safety in our Capital City.

As the tragic violence of the beginning of the week reminds us,
violent crime fueled by crack-related violence and rising juvenile
crime has become a way of life in too many neighborhoods in the
District of Columbia. Violent crime, quite simply, is unacceptably
at high levels today here in our city. Even so, Washington, DC, con-
tinues to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world with a

(1)



booming tourism industry and a wonderful place for all of us. Large
portions of the District are relatively safe, but violent crime in
Washington, DC, is the entire city's problem. It is a blight which
all of us who live here and work here must seek to remove.

But even as Congress and the District commit ourselves to work-
ing together to combat crime, Congress must keep perspective as
it moves forward. Congress has not been invited to come in and
solve the District's crime problem. It is folly to think that Congress
could do so. There are limits to what the Federal Government can
do to help any city fight crime, and there are certainly limits to
how Congress and the Federal Government can assist the District.

As Congress seeks to work with the District over the coming
months. Congress must be listening, not dictating. The testimony
provided today marks the beginning of that listening process. We're
grateful that District officials, community leaders, and crime vic-
tims are here today to help inform us about the crime problem. I'd
like to particularly thank my friend from North Carolina, Mr.
Heineman, for his leadership in forging this partnership with the
District, as we seek to confront crime, and he has taken up, as
most of you know, a task force that the Speaker has specifically
designated for the purpose of trying to find a partnership and a
way to better facilitate assistance to the District in this regard.
And it is largely because of that that our subcommittee today is
conducting these hearings.

I'd also like to upfront apologize to some of you for my expected
absences throughout portions of the hearings today. Unfortunately,
I have a Banking Committee markup that's expected to last much
of the day, and many of the amendments that are involved in that
are, for better or for worse, those which I have either authored or
I'm trying to protect.

I'm now going to turn at this point — Mr. Schumer is not here
this morning at the present moment — to Mr. Heineman, if he
would like since he is taking such a lead in this, to make any open-
ing comments that he might have, and then I intend to turn to Ms.
Norton.

Mr. Heineman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Well, this is the beginning of, hopefully, a new day in the District
where criminal justice is concerned. When asked to do this by the
Speaker, I felt a great rush of excitement within me, not that I in-
tend to be police chief again or I intend to prosecute cases or even
judge them from the bench, but iust to be in a situation, in a posi-
tion, where there's a lot of work that needs to be done in many
areas, not just criminal justice system, but I felt a further rush
upon interviewing several of the people that are going to be testify-
ing here today: Judge Hamilton, Eric Holder, and Chief Thomas.
I found them to be very forthright, very knowledgeable, and as
eager as I am to make some changes in partnership with the city
fathers and mothers, I may say.

But I am looking forward to these hearings. It's very important
that we do get on record exactly what these folks, these profes-
sionals, really believe the city needs and the District needs as it
relates to further backup and further support of the criminal jus-
tice system by this Congress. The Speaker has made a commitment
to this. He made it very strongly and he reemphasized that to us



not only in the law enforcement field, but also in education and in-
frastructure as well.

So I look forward to these hearings. Like my boss, Mr. McCol-
lum, I also will have to be leaving spontaneously to register votes
and come back. So you may see different people occupying the
chairman's chair, but I look forward to today's testimony and your
participation in it.

Thank you.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Ms. Norton is not a member of the committee,
but we're very happy to have her here today and we're delighted
to have her participate today. And I understand you have some
opening remarks you'd like to make, and I yield to you.

Ms. Norton. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I do have a
brief opening statement.

I appreciate Chairman McCollum's generous invitation to sit as
a member of today's Subcommittee on Crime panel on the subject
of combating crime in the District of Columbia. This hearing is a
part of Speaker Gingrich's effort to encourage and help bring about
improved programs in the District with better performance and ad-
ditional resources. I appreciate the Speaker's concern, interest, his
collaborative approach, and respect for home rule that is now ap-
parent and operational. I appreciate as well his appointment of
Representative Fred Heineman to work with District officials to
help develop ideas on crime. Representative Heineman's experience
as the Raleigh, NC, police chief is especially welcome. I particularly
appreciate his intensive work with District officials.

Crime is the No. 1 issue in the District. More than education,
housing, or other serious urban problems, crime is now the chief
culprit in the flight of middle income Washingtonians from the city.
The flight of middle class black families is most serious as crime
has engulfed their neighborhoods, especially east of the Anacostia.
The relationship between flight and crime is apparent when we
note the actual rise in population in District neighborhoods with
low crime rates. This strongly suggests that in a city with the Dis-
trict's beautiful residential neighborhoods turning around crime
alone could have a significant effect on retention and attraction of
middle income people. The District's history of gaining population
in the late seventies and early eighties is evidence that there is a
pool of people who are not deterred even by our high taxes and
other drawbacks, as long as they do not feel personally endangered
by living in this city.

The District saw the light at the end of the tunnel last year
when crime rates actually went down by an appreciable amount.
However, the city's current fiscal calamity has now taken its toll,
and crime is on its way back up. What a waste it would be to have
to start all over again instead of building on the steady progress
the Metropolitan Police Department has now shown it can make.
At this time Congress could make no more important step, could
take no more important step, than to assist the District in an area
in which it has shown genuine progress, the lowering of crime
rates, before it is too late.

Again, I thank Chairman McCollum for his generous invitation
to sit with the subcommittee today and Representative Heineman



for his very helpful and important work with District officials on
this important urban problem.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you, Ms. Norton.

Does anybody else desire an opening

Mr. BuYKR. Yes, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Mr. Buyer.

Mr. BuYKR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I appreciate all of you coming today. I'd share with you I've been
a defense lawyer and a prosecuting attorney, and having sat in this
chair doesn't mean that we have all the answers. I'm definitely
here to listen. By principle, I've always felt that a very successful
judicial system is one that needs a proper balance between preven-
tion and education and restitution and retribution and deterrence.
I'm anxious to listen to things about cooperation between the U.S.
attorney's office and. Chief Thomas, your office. What other Federal
assets are there that are being used or not being used, whether it's
from the DEA or the FBI or other Federal agencies or U.S. Mar-
shals Service, whether it's Capitol Hill police — we have a lot of
Federal land exclusive jurisdiction out there and how that coopera-
tion between jurisdictions — is it there; is it happening; how can it
be improved, and that type of thing? So I'll be listening for that
today.

The other is in the gun control debates I've cited D.C. because
Washington, DC, has some of the strictest laws and ordinances
with regard to gun control; yet, it can have some of the highest vio-
lent crime rates with the use of weapons. Judge Hamilton, I'll be
listening there with regard to how that's being handled here in the
District with regard to the deterrence side. I'm here today in a
strong listening mode, to what actions are taken and if there are
deficiencies in certain areas. So I look forward to today's hearing.

Thank you.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Buyer.

Mr. Coble.

Mr. Coble. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll be very brief as well.

It's good to have you all with us today. I came in just as Chief
Heineman was speaking.

Let me extend to some extent what the gentleman from Indiana
said. I, too, am concerned about rigid, inflexible gun control laws
on the one hand and then on the other hand not a corresponding
diminishing of crime, and I don't think Washington is unique in
that regard; I think that's probably universal.

I guess what bothers me, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the
panel, more than anything else about this town — and I hope maybe
you all can help me with this — is the lack of concern for prudent
spending of public monies. The Congress is guilty of it. I think the
District of Columbia is guilty of it. "Oh, my gosh, it's going to only
be $5 million; no big deal." I hear that all the time around here,
and I think probably that is anchored in the fact that we're spend-
ing other people's money. This town, Mr. Chairman, unlike most
cities in this country, is Government-oriented, and Government ori-
entation means spending taxpayers' money. So, gentlemen, I'm
hoping that maybe you all will share my concern about what has



been a trail of reckless spending in this town for a long time, and
who knows, that may be part of the problem.

So having said that, I'll look forward to hearing from you all
today, and, Mr. Chairman, I thank you for the time.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Mr. Bryant, would you like an opening state-
ment?

Mr. Bryant of Tennessee. No, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McCoLLUM. Thank you very much.

I'd like to welcome our panel this morning, our first three wit-
nesses, and I'll introduce you and then we'll be glad to hear your
testimony.

Our first witness is Eric Holder, U.S. attorney for the District of
Columbia. Mr. Holder was born and raised in New York City. He
attended Columbia College and Columbia Law School. While in law
school, he clerked at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the U.S.
Department of Justice's Criminal Division. Upon graduation from
law school in 1976, Mr. Holder joined the Department of Justice,
working in the Public Integrity Section. In 1988, Mr. Holder was
nominated by the President to become an associate judge of the
District of Columbia Superior Court, where he presided over hun-
dreds of criminal trials, many of which involved homicides and
other crimes of violence. Mr. Holder was sworn in as the U.S. attor-
ney for the District of Columbia on October 8, 1993.

Our second witness is Fred Thomas, chief of police for the Metro-
politan Police Department here in the District of Columbia. Chief
Thomas, welcome.

Chief Thomas. Thank you.

Mr. McCoLLUM. He's a graduate of the American University,
where he received both his bachelor's degree in administration of
justice in 1974 and his masters in justice in 1981. Chief Thomas
began working with the Metropolitan Police Department in 1965,
where he served 20 years before retiring as deputy chief of police
in 1985. He then went on to be the executive vice president of the
Metropolitan Police Boys and Girls Club until his appointment as
chief in 1992. Chief Thomas as received numerous awards for his
outstanding leadership and service to the citizens of the city.

Our third witness on this panel is Chief Judge Eugene Hamilton
of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Chief Judge
Hamilton received both his undergraduate and law degrees from
the University of Illinois in Champagne, IL. From 1959 to 1961,
Chief Judge Hamilton served as a Judge Advocate Greneral in the
U.S. Army.

I might add. Judge, that while I didn't do it in the Army, I was
a judge advocate general in the U.S. Navy. So I can relate to what
you did in that regard.

Judge Hamilton. Thank you.

Mr. McCoLLUM. In 1961, he joined the Civil Division of the U.S.
Department of Justice, where he served as a trial attorney until his
appointment to the Superior Court in the District of Columbia in
1970. From 1987 until January 1992, Chief Judge Hamilton served
as chairperson of the Judicial Training Committee of the Superior
Court. He's been elected to and continues to serve on the Joint
Committee for Administration of the District of Columbia Courts.
On October 29, 1993, Chief Judge Hamilton was elevated to the po-



sition of Chief Judge of the D.C. Superior Court, becoming the
fourth jurist to hold that office.

I want to welcome you, all three of you, being with us this morn-
ing on the panel, and we're going to start, Mr. Holder, with you,
with your testimony this morning, and I would suggest to all wit-
nesses today, not just to this panel, that to the degree you can
summarize your testimony, it will help us expedite it and move on
to the question phase, since members I think for the most part
have the written testimony, but please give us that portion of your
testimony that you really want to make a point with.

Mr. Holder.

STATEMENT OF ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Mr. Holder. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleas-
ure to be here today and to have this opportunity to address some
of the critical public safety issues that confronting the District of
Columbia.

I've been very impressed with the approach that the committee
has taken over the past months with regard to this issue. I have
had a chance to meet with Congressman Heineman on a number
of occasions, and I've really been impressed by the way in which
a bipartisan approach has been used to look at these problems.

For my part, I want to assure the committee, as well as this com-
munity, that the U.S. attorney's office remains committed to work-
ing with D.C. officials and the D.C. government, to ensure that we
do all that we can do to handle this problem.

As we are all painfully aware, during the late 1980's and the
early 1990's the incidence of violent crime in Washington, DC, real-
ly skyrocketed. The District of Columbia at one point had the high-
est per capita murder rate of any comparably sized city in the Na-
tion and earned the dubious title of the "murder capital of the Na-
tion." In my opinion, the violence increase that we saw was directly
attributable to the introduction of crack cocaine into this city. Now
despite the continued presence of illegal drugs here in Washington,
DC, we recently have witnessed a very significant decline in violent
crime in our Nation's Capital, which I believe is directly attrib-
utable to good, solid law enforcement.

It would be tragic if the gains which we have made during the
last 18 months were placed in jeopardy because of the severe budg-
et crisis which is currently afflicting the city and the Metropolitan
Police Department, in particular. Let me be clear: if dramatic steps
are not taken soon, we may begin to lose a war we so recently were
on the verge of winning.

To ensure that law enforcement can continue to be effective and
to make sure that we do not lose the gains that we have recently
made, there are a number of suggestions that I would make. The
demoralizing pay cut that has been imposed on MPD as a result
of the budgetary crisis must be in some way alleviated. Techno-
logical advancements that Chief Thomas has online must be fund-
ed. They will help to modernize the police department and pave the
way for effective law enforcement into the 21st century.

Forensic responsibilities that can be performed bv Federal law
enforcement agencies need to be transferred. Skilled investigators



who can assist prosecutors in gathering essential evidence for trial
need to be hired, and the community policing plan that is envi-
sioned in the document entitled, "Goals 2000,' needs to be facili-
tated.

I am more than prepared to discuss each of those in more detail.
I would really just make the point that the things that I have de-
tailed in my written testimony really I think are absolutely nec-
essary if we're going to get a handle on the problem here. Some
might say that we are throwing money at a problem that money
itself will not solve, and in the long term I think that is correct.
In the short term, however, we face a crisis situation, and unless
immediate funding is somehow found and directed to the Metro-
politan Police Department, the gains, as I said, that we have made
will be put at risk. As prosecutors, we are only as good as the po-
lice officers who work for us. They are our eyes, our arms, our ears.
If the Metropolitan Police Department is not able to do the kinds
of things it has done over the recent past, the gains that we have
made will be put at risk.

I will submit my testimony to the committee. I'd be more than
glad to answer any questions that any members of the panel would
nave.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Holder follows:!



Preparki) Statkmrnt of Eric Holdp:r, U.S. Attornky for the District of

Columbia

It i« a pleaeure to be hare today and to have thin opportunity
to addreaB some oC tha critical public safety isBuaa presently


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JCombating crime in the District of Columbia : hearing before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, June 22, 1995 → online text (page 1 of 18)