Source: washingtonpost.com 7/29/21
Metro’s board on Thursday postponed a vote on a plan that would let transit police ban someone arrested on suspicion of a sex crime or an offense involving a dangerous weapon. The delay came after civil liberties groups and activists voiced opposition to the measure and asked the transit agency to reconsider.
Members of the board’s safety committee had unanimously approved the proposed ban two weeks ago, setting the stage for a final vote of the full board. Board Chairman Paul C. Smedberg pulled the measure off the agenda minutes before the vote was to occur.
Metro spokesman Ian Jannetta said the vote was tabled because the board requested additional information from Metro staff and the jurisdictions served by the transit agency.
“A few board members had some questions, and we plan to bring the item back in September,” Smedberg said later in an email.
Metro Transit Police say reports of indecent exposure have more than doubled this year compared with the same period in 2019. Police say low ridership on trains and buses during the pandemic has given offenders less fear of being caught. Officers argue that their options are limited in such cases because courts often release suspects on the same day of an arrest, allowing offenders to return to subway stations, trains or buses.
The proposed ban would allow police to restrict anyone arrested on suspicion of a sex crime or gun offense from the transit system for two weeks after a first offense, a month after a second offense and a year after a third offense.
Critics say offenders would be punished without court proceedings or a conviction. Metro Transit Police Chief Ronald A. Pavlik Jr. has countered that officers would not enforce the ban unless a violator is caught committing a subsequent crime — an action that would trigger a trespass charge.
The proposal comes as the agency is hoping to lure passengers back after losing more than three-quarters of its ridership during the pandemic. Police experts say trauma from sex offenses and fear of such assaults can cause riders to abandon transit, creating even emptier spaces for crimes such as indecent exposure and sexual battery to proliferate.
Opposition to the proposal grew this week ahead of Thursday’s meeting, as civil rights advocates said the proposal granted unchecked power to a police department that D.C. Council members, the American Civil Liberties Union and civil rights groups say has a history of using excessive force and making unnecessary stops.
Defund MPD, a group that advocates for cutting the D.C. police budget in half and “firing officers who violate our civil rights,” according its website, has become a vocal opponent of the transit police proposal. The group organized a rally Tuesday near the home of Metro board member Tom Bulger, who represents the District.
Bulger said protesters stood and chanted for 45 minutes until D.C. police officers asked them to leave.
“Seventy-five kooks blew their blow horns and scared … my wife,” he said.
Bulger said the vote Thursday was delayed, in part, because the D.C. attorney general’s office had questions about how the policy would be enforced. Lawyers from the office have scheduled meetings with Metro’s general counsel, Bulger said.
After the vote was tabled Thursday, Defund MPD tweeted that more than 1,000 people had sent letters to the Metro board opposing “their attempt to expand power for police.” The board delayed the vote until its next meeting, scheduled for Sept. 9.
The American Civil Liberties Union of D.C. and more than 40 other organizations — including the Public Defender Service for D.C., the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and Sunrise D.C. — also sent board members a letter saying the policy would give a department with a “troubling history of excessive force tactics” more power to stop Black riders for no reason.
“Even if Metro Transit police had just a stellar reputation for policing, the idea of having a policy where someone would be deprived without access of transit without any meaningful due process [is wrong]. We have a legal process in place, and we believe people are innocent,” said Nassim Moshiree, policy director of ACLU-D. C. “There’s just been very little to no evidence that these policies serve as a deterrent for unwanted behavior.”
The easy way for the board to pass this proposal will be to limit the restriction to people who are required to register for a sex offense. An easy win. everyone is happy. The board can go home and feel good. The civil liberties groups and activists will not dare voice opposition. The chairman will get good publicity. Their will be no more dangerous gun control talk.
Everyone can be a winner.
It is encouraging to read that ACLU and other organizations are opposing this Draconian measure. ACSOL will research the Metro’s current policies regarding registrants as it could affect our event in D.C. in March 2023. Please know, however, that it will not prevent that event from happening.
Apparently there are some advantages of not actually being a state of the union. Never has such a polis been.
If the Metro is not available to registrants, ACSOL will provide transportation within the D.C. area to the event on March 3, 2023.
Guess I’ll have to learn how to drive a limo before March of 2023.
Do we need to start donating to a specific fund to hire armed security? I think so.
If this restriction would be passed it’s another example of the banishment of registrants; which could be used against our opponents. When I first heard about March 3, 2023 I thought a few jugs of V8 juice, now I’m thinking I may need a trough.
Great idea! Red China? Maybe they should implant a chip in registrants? Ban them from driving? Planes? I’m off the registry and I look at life so differently. If this/Janice didn’t exist, I would still be on!
“Attention all riders: If you are convicted of selling and addicting children to crack, dog fighting, burglary, robbery, violent assault, domestic violence, bank robbery, or arson, then you are a respected guest on our transportation system, but if you are so vile as to somehow get convicted of any one of the 44 violations that put you on that registry then we don’t want your kind. We will soon be placing signs on the entrance to all our vehciles that says ‘No Registrants Allowed.’ “
…from the lowest level tweaker gang members to the highest ranking politicians in America all hate people forced to register especially ones with crimes evolving minors.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the feds were monitoring us on this website I mean theses people are literally obsessed with sex crimes until it’s them or their 18 year old son’s face blasted all over the internet for the world to see.
Here is the fact people. No such ban would ever be possible (to enforce) w\o an electronic registry. Obviously, facial recognition will soon play a larger role in the imposition of affirmative restraint.of this type. So it can be proven ” the database registry itself” was in fact intended by the people to punish. And not merely w\o substantive lawful process, but in a new cruel and unusual way.
In NY, didn’t “governor Cuomo the sex offender” try this?
I got 2 failure to register changes so I’m screwed I cant petition the riverside county court till 2026 I’m pissed