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  • DC Council Chairman Rips Mayor Over Failure To Address Rising Murder Rate

    The number of murders in the District of Columbia is up more than 40 percent this year, and it appears the city’s council chairman is fed up with the mayor’s excuses.

    Council Chairman Phil Mendelson told The Washington Post he thinks the mayor’s office is distracted from public safety issues, which is where it should be focusing.

    “People want to know why there has not been a clear answer given, and that’s not to say that there is an easy answer, but first we were told by the mayor that it might be synthetic drugs or domestic violence, then it was illegal guns,” Mendelson told the Post.

    Mayor Muriel Bowser and the city’s police chief, Cathy Lanier, have offered several excuses for the summer violence surge.

    Early last month, following the brutal Independence Day stabbing of a man on a crowded city train, Bowser signed an emergency law to immediately ban the sale of synthetic drugs, which she said played a role in the murder.

    A recent college graduate on his way to celebrate the Fourth of July with friends was brutally stabbed to death in broad daylight by a man suspected to be high on synthetic drugs.

    The two were on a train headed for downtown D.C. when Jasper Spires tried to steal Kevin Sutherland’s cellphone. The two struggled before Spires punched Sutherland several times in the face and stabbed him nearly 40 times before ultimately darting off the train and into the holiday crowds.

    Spires was found by police the following day after a city-wide manhunt.

    D.C.’s Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Kevin Donahue said at the time that almost 40 percent of the people arrested for violent crimes so far this year have had the synthetic drugs in their systems.

    More recently, city leaders have put the blame for violence in the city on illegal guns flooding into the district from surrounding states.

    At a press conference two weeks ago, Lanier said there has been a “huge influx of guns” and high-capacity magazines into the city in recent months and that is a major cause of the violence.

    “Every city is seeing a flood of these high-capacity magazines,” Lanier said.

    Lanier also said that ten people involved in the recent spat of murders in the city had prior homicide charges on their records.

    There are so many illegal guns in D.C. that Bowser has started paying up to $10,000 to get them off the streets.(RELATED:10-Year-Old Wanted In DC Armed Robbery Case)

    Bowser announced last week that the city is willing to pay a reward to anyone for information that leads to the recovery of an illegal gun. The city is now offering a reward of $2,500 for a tip that leads police to a gun. If the tip leads to the arrest and conviction in a shooting, the reward jumps to $10,000.

    According to Bowser’s letter, the Metropolitan Police Department has seized close to 1,000 illegal guns from criminals already this year.

    Still, Mendelson was not happy with the mayor’s explanation of the issue.(RELATED: DC Police Union Blasts Chief For Ineffective Crime Fighting Techniques)

    “Homicides are up. Not just up, but up by 30 percent. Layer over that changing explanations and it gives people cause for real concern,” he told the Post.

    A spokeswoman from the mayor’s office did not respond for requests for comment.

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