Virginia Attorney Gen. Jason Miyares wrote a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council on Thursday, calling out city officials for not doing enough to combat crime.
“D.C. is dealing with a crime explosion,” Miyares said.
“Actions speak louder than words — and the only actionable items taken by Washington, D.C. leadership have been ways to lessen criminal penalties, further fostering an environment for criminal activity. There is no deterrent for illegal behavior in Washington, D.C., as these repeat offenders know they will either not be charged or let back on the streets in no time.”
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Miyares went on to write that because of the proximity of D.C. and Virginia, the District’s crime problem is also becoming that of the Commonwealth’s.
D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson issued a statement saying he was shocked by Miyares’ letter.
“The Attorney General has never reached out to me to discuss any concerns he might really have regarding crime in DC,” Mendelson said. “Although he did not ask to meet, I do. I would like us to discuss how Virginia can work with the District to address the issue of rising crime.”
Statement from @ChmnMendelson in response to @JasonMiyaresVA letter to the council & @MayorBowser @WTOP https://t.co/7u69Fff3mg pic.twitter.com/BirgtPjVmc
— Cheyenne Corin (@CheyenneCorin) April 6, 2023
Miyares said his letter was in response to recent homicides, such as the recent murder of Christy Bautista in her hotel room.
Mendelson said the District did what it could to keep her suspected killer off the streets.
“The man who murdered Christy Bautista last weekend was on the streets because the federal prosecutors (who prosecute all our felonies) plea bargained his arrest for armed robbery with gun to a lesser offense, because a federally appointed judge released him from custody pending sentencing, and because the federal marshals had not apprehended him when he skipped a court date,” Mendelson said.
“The only role of the District in that case was to arrest him, which we did.”
To keep communities safe, Miyares wrote, D.C. and Virginia need to work together and find a solution instead of “sweeping it under the rug.”