This week, demonstrators took to the streets of Anacostia, an area in Southeast Washington, D.C. where I was born, to protest the taking of black lives. But they weren’t protesting police misconduct. They were protesting the killing by gang members of an eleven year old boy and the lax policing of their neighborhood.
The boy, Davon McNeal a budding football star, was gunned down as he was leaving a Fourth of July cookout organized by his mother, an anti-violence advocate. The suspects are members of “the Crashout Gang.” Guns blazing, they were chasing people believed to be members of a rival gang. A stray bullet killed young McNeal, one of eleven people fatally shot in Washington, D.C. in the first week of July.
According to the Washington Post, the protesters want more, not less policing in their neighborhood. One mother told the Post:
Police need more presence here. They need to step it up. They’re sitting in their cars. Walk around. Where are all the police people on bicycles?
The protesters dismissed out of hand the lunatic idea of defunding the police. Said one, “of course not, that’s totally, totally wrong.”
So is a court system that doesn’t keep criminals off the street. One of the gang members arrested for the killing of McNeal had been arrested in April and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. However, a judge, Todd E. Edelman, released him from prison in May, over strong objections from the U.S. Attorneys Office, when D.C.’s prison population was reduced in response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. The gangster was required to wear a GPS tracking device. Of course, he cut off the device after the shooting.
A second shooter whom the police are still seeking had been charged with illegal possession of a firearm two blocks from where McNeal would later be killed. He was free pending trial for that offense.
The demonstrators protesting the killing of McNeal and the gunfire that plagues their neighborhood vowed to keep their neighbors awake until all five of the gang members being sought for the McNeal murder are arrested. “No justice, no sleep,” they chanted.
But what good are arrests when the court system fails to keep thugs who are arrested and convicted in jail? As the D.C. chief of police said:
[The gang members responsible of killing McNeal] have a history of picking up firearms and using them. They did it again, as we have warned. There needs to be consequences for illegal firearms, and now they have taken the life of an 11 year-old boy.
There won’t be adverse consequences for illegal firearms or for their use if, as BLM and others on the left demand, the police force is slashed and the criminal justice system becomes ever more lenient. The only consequence will be more innocent victims like Davon McNeal.