Even before the D.C. Council takes up Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's crime bill at today's Council meeting, the chairman of the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter is taking aim at Phil Mendelson (D-At Large).
Kristopher Baumann, the head of the FOP Lodge 1, said he's convinced that Mendelson has rounded up enough votes to water down the proposal in an effort to appease civil libertarians who are concerned about some provisions of the bill.
The NAACP, the National Black Police Association and the Washington Metropolitian Council of the AFL-CIO also held an event yesterday to announce their opposition to the crime bill.
"This is an embarrassment," Baumann said in an interview late last night. "The Council has an obligation to protect the citizens of this city. If they gut portions of this bill, they have endangered everybody and they should be ashamed of themselves."
The crime bill has been tied up for weeks as Mendelson, chair of the Judiciary Committee, and other Council members haggled over the details. Among the details that will be considered today, is a Fenty-backed provision that would allow authorities to target alleged gang members in civil proceedings.
Baumann said he fears it will be stripped from the bill today because the American Civil Liberties Union opposes it.
"What we have proven in D.C. is if you allow the ACLU to write your criminal laws, it's a blood bath," he said, referring to the recent spike in homicides.
Baumann went on to suggest that voters might want to consider their overwhelming support for Democrats in local elections.