Police to hold ‘no confidence vote’ on Chief Lanier

WASHINGTON— D.C. police have reported seven shootings — including two homicides — since Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s “All Hands on Deck” initiative went into effect at 3 p.m. Friday.

Now, the chief is facing a ‘no confidence’ vote from the police union.

Delroy Burton, with the D.C. Police Union, says officers are frustrated with the scheduling disruptions they’ve experienced since Lanier became chief. So, they’ll be voting. “It’s one question: Do you have confidence that Chief Cathy Lanier is able to properly manage the resources of the Metropolitan Police Department and keep the citizens safe?”

The union was expected to tally the results of the vote on Sunday, but no results had been announced as of 11:30 p.m.

All Hands on Deck is Lanier’s invention, something she developed in 2007 as a response to the summertime crime surge. This is the first All Hands on Deck weekend this year.

Under the initiative, All Metropolitan Police Department officers were pulled from desk duty and other details. Every officer was to be out on patrol. Even officers scheduled for vacation were to take part in the initiative. Officers were deployed in cruisers, on bikes and on foot in all seven police districts from 3 p.m. Friday afternoon to 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

Lanier says All Hands on Deck weekends have resulted in a 10 percent decrease in violent crime. In a statement to the press on Friday, Lanier called the initiative’s police presence “a visible deterrent.”

“People in the community ask for it. They like it. It makes people feel safe,” she said, adding: “I think we owe that to them—especially right now.”

But as of 3:30 a.m. Saturday, seven reports of gunfire and one report of armed robbery were recorded in Northwest, Northeast and Southeast D.C. According to later reports, at least seven people were shot within the two hours before midnight. Police confirmed Saturday morning that two people were left dead in a single incident in the 4900 block of B Street, Southeast, at approximately 11:45 p.m.

This brings the number of homicides in the city to 105, which equals the number of total number of homicides in the city for all of 2014.

In a release, police said they responded to the sound of gunshots and found three men suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. The first victim, Omoni Johnson, 26, of D.C., was declared dead on the scene. The second, Shaheed James, 21, of Clinton, Maryland, was transported to the hospital where he died.

The third victim was not identified, and is being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

In a statement, Lanier said the timing of the vote was “interesting,” considering this is the first All Hands on Deck weekend of 2015.

“I realize that officers don’t like their schedules disrupted and I try to minimize it, but when we have violent crime we have to make the sacrifices that we all swore we would make when we took this job.”

But Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King, in a Friday op-ed taking note of the rash of gun violence in the city over the summer, said the nation’s capital, a mecca for professional young, politicos and the wealthy, has become, in certain quarters, a return to the “Wild West.” He says it is up to the community, not just the police, to address it:
We probably have more gunfights on our streets than occurred in Tombstone and Deadwood combined…

We have on our hands — in our neighborhoods, on our streets and maybe living next door — walking disasters: individuals who believe that their lives matter, but not yours or mine. Neither do our laws and institutions.

The challenge, as always: to keep our potential outlaws from going down that path. That’s not up to the police. Look at the faces of the killers and their victims. It’s on us — parents, preachers, politicians, community pontificators — all who profess that black lives matter, to prove it.

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