For Immediate Release: November 7, 2019
Contact: Rita D. Lewis, Communications Director: (202) 256-7154;   rlewis@dccouncil.us

Councilmember Robert White to Convene Joint Public
Oversight Roundtable on Policing Communities of Color

Washington, DC – Next Tuesday, November 12 th , 2019 at 2:00 P.M. Councilmember Robert White, Chair of the Committee on Facilities & Procurement, will hold a joint public oversight roundtable with Councilmember Charles Allen, Chair of the Committee on Judiciary & Public Safety, to discuss how the Metro Transit Police Department’s (MTPD) policing practices impact communities of color.

Following a June 22, 2019, incident where witnesses indicated that MTPD officers handcuffed and pinned down a 13-year old child and used significant force against an adult who attempted to intervene, Councilmember White sent a letter to Washington Metro Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Board of Directors requesting that the Board hold a public hearing on MTPD policing. The WMATA Board failed to take action or respond to Councilmember White’s letter. As a result, Councilmember White called a public hearing to examine the experiences of residents riding public transit in the District and how MTPD can improve its policing practices.

Councilmember White said, “So many residents are alarmed by reports that we hear from residents, interactions that we see ourselves, and videos on social media. Police interactions with the public make or break public confidence and have a real impact on law enforcement’s ability to solve crimes. These issues are by no means isolated to Metro Transit Police, but I will not sit in a position to act and pretend that we don’t have a real issue with policing communities of color.”

White has met with MTPD Chief Pavlik in the past about his concerns over MTPD policing incidents and said those meetings have been positive. He looks forward to continuing the conversation with Chief Pavlik at the hearing.

Councilmember White said, “Everyone can see that we have problems. We see troubling policing practices in communities of color across the country. Turning our heads and hoping for the best won’t improve policing. Dialogue will. And, in fact, it will make us safer. These conversations are long overdue.”

Councilmember White invites members of the public to testify about their experiences with MTPD, whether positive or negative. He firmly believes that there is a need for a productive and open dialogue about MTPD’s community relations, training standards, enforcement strategies, de-escalation practices, uses of force, use of surveillance, and data transparency – with a particular focus on ensuring equitable treatment for communities of color.

To sign up to testify, residents should email the Committee on Facilities & Procurement at facilities@dccouncil.us or call (202) 741-8593.

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